Macromedia Tunes Tools

'MX' family of Web development products offers server integration and easier application building.

Macromedia Inc. this week will announce a new integrated family of tool, server and client technologies under the name of Macromedia MX.

The Macromedia MX family features three product upgrades, including ColdFusion MX, Fireworks MX and Dreamweaver MX, as well as a packaged suite of the technologies called Macromedia Studio MX. In addition, the Macromedia MX family includes Flash MX and FreeHand 10.

Jeremy Allaire, the San Francisco companys chief technology officer, called the Macromedia MX product family "the most significant family of products Macromedia has ever introduced in its history."

In addition to the new technology, Macromedia will announce integration between ColdFusion MX and Java 2 Enterprise Edition application servers from IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc.

ColdFusion will support IBM WebSphere and the Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) Application Server (formerly the iPlanet application server), Allaire said. He said ColdFusion developers will be able to develop and deploy ColdFusion MX applications on WebSphere and the Sun ONE Application Server.

IBM will resell ColdFusion MX, said IBM officials in Armonk, N.Y. Macromedia plans to integrate Dreamweaver MX, its tool for developing ColdFusion applications, with IBMs WebSphere Studio development system through the IBM-supported Eclipse open-source development platform, Allaire said.

Chris Dial, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., in Cambridge, Mass., said the most significant thing about Macromedias announcement is "how well the tools are integrated and how easy it is to build applications."

Customers said the developer tools and server integration are key.

"The most important feature of the MX suite is the integration that results from the union of ColdFusion and Flash," said Scott Neil, interactive services manager at Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc., in Toronto. "It enables us to quickly develop and deploy functionality for our Web site. The result is greater efficiency when updating our Web site. ... Overall, the MX suite helps us produce a more rich and meaningful Web experience for our customers."

"From the standpoint of integrating the products into a single package, Macromedia is providing developers and designers the tools they need to create more powerful Web sites and Web applications," said Jim Whitney, CTO of Webvertising Inc., in Houston. "Clearly, the goal with integrating these products is to speed production and make it easier to create each of the elements that are needed when developing Web sites. What stands out the most is the integration of Flash MX with ColdFusion MX for application development, because you can completely change the user experience on the Web for the better."

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