Macromedia Can Play with the Big Kids

A merger that took place recently will have a big impact on a large number of people who build, design and maintain Web sites-the acquisition of Allaire by Macromedia.

A merger that took place recently will have a big impact on a large number of people who build, design and maintain Web sites—the acquisition of Allaire by Macromedia. n At first, the deal seemed like it had to be backward. Surely Allaire, the maker of the seminal Web editing tool HomeSite, as well as the groundbreaking Cold Fusion Web application server and the Spectra content management platform, had acquired Macromedia, whose main claims to fame are the popular Dreamweaver visual Web authoring tool and the Flash animation format. However, in a world where AOL acquires Time Warner, nothing should be surprising.

So will HomeSite be subsumed into Dreamweaver? Probably not—after all, Macromedia has pretty much always bundled HomeSite with Dreamweaver. Now Macromedia has gained a direct connection to the hard-core, code-only site developers.

What about Cold Fusion? There could be some changes here. Dont be surprised to see Macromedias UltraDev become the default editing interface for Cold Fusion. I hope Macromedia will continue to take advantage of the cross-platform strengths of Cold Fusion. I have the same sentiments about Allaires popular Java application server, Jrun—I hope its strengths dont get lost in the merger.

And Spectras fate? This could be interesting. For a while now, Macromedia has lacked the content management piece that competitors such as NetObjects (and former competitor Allaire) have had. Also, Microsofts forthcoming FrontPage 10 is slated to include a variety of group-content management features.

Macromedia has generally compensated for its lack of content management features through integration deals with leading vendors of content management software. It will be interesting to see how these deals hold up once Macromedia becomes a competitor with Spectra.

Macromedia isnt the only winner in this acquisition. You can expect the Allaire products to benefit from the strong interface and graphics handling in Macromedia products. But for the most part, the beneficiary is Macromedia, which finally gets to play in the high-profile, and often lucrative, server side of the game.