Went to a Macromedia Flash MX seminar today, some nice stuff on show.
Anyway, big new was Flash MX - loads of new stuff and a lot of tidying up of stuff that really needed tidying, highlights below. This does seem like the flash version that's going to make a lot of people happy - it's looking like a mature app, they've listened to users and done some good work. Whole load of other stuff coming from MM in 2002 - Coldfusion MX, Dreamweaver MX, a flash application server gateway (linking to .net, J2EE, etc) and flash communications server (think streaming audio/video + video conferencing/collaboration) people are going to be busy...
- new UI enhancements, all the panels in a 3DSMax type sliding tray, new context sensitive inspector like Dreamweaver, Code hinting in actionscript window like Visual Studio, stackable libraries, layer folders, lots more UI goodness, just better layout in general and sorting out of none-intuitive placement
- proper dynamic drawing api, create movieclips with createEmptyMovieclip(), draw in them, attach masks to them, all the good shit - dynamically load jpeg & mp3 (why no gif? Who can say?)
- Video in flash, no more Flash/QT fiddling, MPEG4/H.263 based streaming video using sorenson tech, fully scriptable as well (much chucking, flipping, making transparent in the demo) V.nice demo of multiple viewpoint skate video, changing from camera to camera in a Matrix stylee
- Accessibilty improvements, but not on the Mac (no accessibility layer apparently, though it's going to come in X soon, allegedly) Bookmarking & named anchors and the ability for audio reader programs to access flash elements and text.
- components, very similar to behaviours in Director, looking very cool and linked into the new event listeners (demo had drag and throw behaviour dragged onto video clip, chucked around the stage)
- .swf files up to 50% smaller due to snazzy new compression (demo of one going from 38k to 21k just by exporting in MX)
- event handlers : yeah, proper listener type event handling (think java swing type stuff)
-scriptable masks, mmmm nice
- massively faster XML, 100x faster on some tasks (for real!)