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Thread: Flash MX... just a flashy upgrade?

  1. #1
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    I just downloaded the trial version, and so far, I'm not too impressed. It seems that the only real changes are ones that don't fundamentally change what you can do with Flash, but just makes everything simpler for you.
    -The new color mixer: Still does everything the old one did, but now puts it all into one managable menu system.
    -The new property inspector: Just puts all of the properties options into a single box.
    -Video import: From what I can tell, there's no advantage to doing this over manually importing frame by frame movies as single images. (other than it being time saving, but the end user result won't be any different in terms of file sizes etc.)
    -Pixel-level aligning: Just makes it easier to align to pixels, doesn't fundamentally improve what Flash does.
    -Pre-built objects: Another good example. Why spend all that time learning code when you can have Flash do it for you. The end result will be no different to the user, its just a flashy upgrade.
    -Distribute text to layers: The effect can be done in any version of Flash, MX just takes the work out of it.
    -Script Debugging: Debugging enhancements only. No new scripting languages for brand new ways of using code, like there was for Flash 5.
    -The timeline enhancements (folders etc) only make life easier for the designer, there's no improvement on the user's end.
    -Object transform (free transform tools): I was hoping for the ability to distort an object and then motion tween it to distort a different way, to create a moving perspective look, however it seems that the distort tool doesn't work on grouped objects, in fact, once you use it, the new shape you create becomes the original shape as if its been drawn like that in the first place. OK, so its useful for Flash to be able to transform vector images like that, but any vector line program could do the same (Illustrator) and then be imported, it makes no difference in the end, only speeds up production time.
    I admit though, that the ability to use dynamic images and sounds is a genuine improvement that could be extremly useful (eg. users could upload there own photos to go into Flash movies on a website).
    So, overall, yes I think Flash MX is an imrovement, but only one that's skin deep. For all the extra slickness and ease of use the program offers, its still just Flash, without any major improvements that anyone on the receiving end would be able to tell.
    Sorry for babbling on about it, but I was expecting so much more, especially for the increased price that Macromedia are charging for it. But anyone feel to put me in my place and prove me wrong, I just thought I'd put across my initial reactions.

  2. #2
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    Yeah, we know the changes.
    some are good, some could be better.
    The hard part right now is to use FMX as a selling point with clients. They just don't want it. And NOT telling your clients about the streaming issue (how many MILLIONS of people already downloaded faulty players?) is witholding info.
    Bleeeh!
    There goes the business.

    If I would be MM (which I'm not... hehehe) I would really really take care of all the bugs first before throwing an application and/or Flashplayer on the market.

    Life sucks, and then you die.

    But heh.... I just adore Flash.... what can I do? Not Flash? Hahaha!

  3. #3
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    I think i am in agreement with you guys

    I have been learning flash 5 actionScript for the past year and yea i too am a little miffed that the components are attempting to devalue ones learning by giving code to people on a silver platter!!!!

    I have yet to get my company to buy MX purely because i dont feel the need to yet.

    Also i dont like the way that movies exported as flash 5 through MX, say you need to download the flash 6 player to view the following content - if you press "no i dont want to download it" then you are taken to the flash 5 file. Kind of devious that is me thinks!

    I would like a definitive answer on my recent post
    "MX objects not updated - MX relying on the "faster" flash 6 player? "

    It would appear that not many people on this forum understand what i am asking - as an ActionScripter i find it quite straight forward.

    Maybe the hype surrounding MX's release has got alot of new developers involved - (I am not putting any one down here I love flash in whatever guise - i am a total flash head!!!)

    I wonder what the uptake of flash MX has been by those that have been develping for the past 6 months or so, compared to people relatively new to the Flash arena- that would be a very interesting statistic.

    Again not wishing to put any new developers down


    A very interesting thread

    well done weaponkiller



    gilesb

    oh yea - have a look at my post would you!!!! - thanks

  4. #4
    Components are a big deal if you ask me. We'll only start to see that as 3rd party companies bring their component sets out and people start to use them. A lot of changes MM made are nothing to do with the IDE or the flashy new features such as video support. For developers there are quite a few things to get excited about... Maybe as you point out, not so many for designers but it seems to me MM are targeting the application developer with MX and may well have lost some support from angry designers. I must say that as a developer I find the Flash MX IDE a huge improvement. Things like syntax colouring, automatic indenting and integrated (sort of) reference material might not be so important on a small project but when you have hundreds of lines of code the old Flash 5 AS editor starts to get unbearable. I was using an external text editor at times...

    Just a thought anyway. I agree that there should be thourough testing before a major release. I am also suprised that these things get through beta testing, but who knows?

  5. #5
    P.S I have tested Flash 5 files exported from MX and never had a problem with Flash 5 player... this sounds like an issue though.

    Does this happen on the following link ??

    http://www.freewebz.com/pixelfresh/map_ir.htm

    Any Flash 5 player users please let me know!!!

    Actually that file is an example of a dramatic improvement in the IDE, which is why I finished it off in MX: the ability to put layers in folders!!!

  6. #6
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    Just to let you know pixelFresh that no i did not get the wizard asking me to download the 6 player

    this is wierd.....

    gilesb

  7. #7
    Are you sure your html does not specify that the Flash content is version 6 ??

  8. #8
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    Nope definitely flash 5 content there

    gilesb

  9. #9
    Originally posted by weaponkiller
    I just downloaded the trial version, and so far, I'm not too impressed. It seems that the only real changes are ones that don't fundamentally change what you can do with Flash, but just makes everything simpler for you.
    As people who are presumeably here because we love Flash, why would we want MM to "fundamentally change" what we can do with it? Isn't a new version of a program supposed to involve improvements which "make everything simpler for you?"

    I confess that at first I was miffed with MX, because I had just embraced F5 actionscript and smart clips, but it's true that components are far more powerful and the future of app development in Flash is huge.

    <OBJECT WIDTH="100" HEIGHT="35" id="josh_sig" ALIGN=""><PARAM NAME=movie VALUE="http://www.pwbyt.com/josh_sig.swf"> <PARAM NAME=menu VALUE=false> <PARAM NAME=quality VALUE=high> <PARAM NAME=bgcolor VALUE=#FFFFFF> <EMBED src="http://www.pwbyt.com/josh_sig.swf" menu=false quality=high bgcolor=#FFFFFF WIDTH="100" HEIGHT="35" NAME="josh_sig" ALIGN="" TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash" PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"></embed>
    </object>

  10. #10
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    I do not see your point at all. You are looking at this upgrade all wrong. You talk as if you are a designer, which understandably limits what you could take from MX. But as a programmer, MX is leaps and bound better than 5, not perfect but much better. This will in turn allow more complex and useful components to be written and eventually the benefits will filter down to the desinger. Compare this to a Microsoft Upgrade.....new colors on the screen with one or two new features, oh MX has done ok (If they can fix the streaming issue this week!).

  11. #11
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    Oh, I'm not saying for a second that the improvements aren't benificial to the designers and programmers, because they are. And hopefully, Flash MX will make it possible (or at least easier) for developers to come up with better ideas, and to do it more effieciently. I just would have expected something a little more considering how much hype there was.
    Yes Flash is a great tool, but I would have liked to see more vast improvements. I like the browser back button support and the dynamic jpg loading, I think these are all things that can drastically improve the way Flash is used and will benefit the end user too. So no, it's not perfect, but a good upgrade, just as long as people see it as this, and not something that will "soon rule the internet". There'll need to be a few more upgrades before that dream becomes a reality.

  12. #12
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    Totally agree!

  13. #13
    I agree, but this upgrade was much bigger than a cosmetic change:
    The components are much more powerful than smart clips.
    It is almost entirely object oriented.
    The new draw API is a huge improvement over only being able to control MCs.
    The ability to import graphics dynamically and stream them was a needed addition.
    I am sure this list could go on, but I will get to my point...

    When they designed MX they didn't have better tweens, or longer timelines in mind. In fact, at a seminar I just attended, they said they are trying to eliminate that, because the internet was filled with amatuer swfs with a ball moving across the screen. They want designers and programmers to release more professional work, and to do that, they are not improving the tweening aspect of Flash any more. Instead they are enhancing ease of coding.
    This version of Flash, although buggy, is the best to date. It was strange switching from Flash 4 to Flash 5 and it will be strange getting used to Flash MX too. Flash 5 took a step towards making actionscript a real language and Flash MX took actionscript much further. MX tripled the amount of functions available and provided the developers a much easier way to share code through components.
    Finally, many of the bugs come from people thinking things should work because it worked in Flash 5. They changed a lot in Flash MX. Even in Flash 5, if someone couldn't get their code to work the first thing you would see is, I found a bug in Flash 5. I realize there are bugs in the MX player, but they will be fixed. The language is powerful and it will attract many new developers to Flash.


  14. #14
    Yes, I fully agree with you. MX is nothing more than Flash5 except that you can import MOV/AVI and see it. However the windows are more complicated and difficult to adjust. Options are less possible than F5 and it requires you to download Flash Player6 - It seems much annoying

  15. #15
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    You guys forgot to mention a couple of other things: the new accessibility features in MX, which allow people with disabilities to read buttons and text in flash using a screenreader. A big improvement I would say. There is a lot of more actionscript allowing new things to do. There is the new drawing tool allowing to make shape changes similar as in freehand. What else do you expect from an upgrade version?

  16. #16
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    I upgraded a few weeks ago from Flash 5... Im not that impressed, The main feature, the movie import, is useless for me...

    However, I love the components, the new actionscript junk, and especially the dockable windows.

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by congthanh
    Yes, I fully agree with you. MX is nothing more than Flash5 except that you can import MOV/AVI and see it. However the windows are more complicated and difficult to adjust. Options are less possible than F5 and it requires you to download Flash Player6 - It seems much annoying
    an extremely uninformed comment.

    also, the initial comment in the thread, "I just downloaded the trial version, and so far, I'm not too impressed." makes no sense. how can you judge it if you just downloaded it? there are massive changes under the hood. they are not all right in the interface staring at you. the drawing api alone is worth the upgrade price, in my opinion.

    to say there is no advantage in loading in a video as opposed to breaking it apart frame by frame and importing it as a series of bitmaps....huh? and yes, there will be a file size savings. sorensen spark.

    the event model. another drastic change! again, worth the price of upgrade.

    granted, a lot of the big changes are more from a developer angle than a designer angle. but if you are not impressed with it, i can only say that you don't know enough about it.

  18. #18
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    an extremely uninformed comment.

    granted, a lot of the big changes are more from a developer angle than a designer angle. but if you are not impressed with it, i can only say that you don't know enough about it.
    I Couldn't agree with you more BIT. Tired of reading the same old thread Flash MX is just Flash 5 with a new UI. Completely uninformed comment!

  19. #19
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    I agree completely with bmoser and bit-101 (read my earlier comment about some other new features). I think the reason for the disappointment is that some people read only the new feature comments from Macromedia, which covers little of what is new.
    A BIG MISTAKE (of macromedia too). Also it is false to state that macromedia published the new updated flash 6 player so late. Except for those internet users who actively produce flash content, 99.999% of all other users do NOT have the player and will at some point get the new version.

  20. #20
    easily distracted mattGuest's Avatar
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    Another feature that people keep overlooking is how flash mx fits into the mx family.. flash remoting is going to revolutionize web application development. My company is using flash mx in conjunction with coldfusion mx to create stuff that just wasn't feasible in flash 5. And I won't even go into how important it is that you can now scale a movie without stretching everything in it.

    If all you do is create animations and websites with a little extra pizazz then flash 3 is sufficient. If that's the case, then don't upgrade. For developers like me, mx is a godsend.

    Macromedia does have to work on thier documentation. I shouldn't have to find out about important features from other sites because macromedia didn't feel like putting it in the documentation.

    -matt


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