Triple Feature

You can't release a Web graphics or design product these days without talking about integration. Designers want to be able to import, edit, and save files without worrying about what application they're using.

Macromedia (800/470-7211, www.macromedia.com ) put that idea into practice when it released Fireworks and Dreamweaver updates in late 1999; version 3 of both programs featured tight integration with each other. Macromedia's move matched a longtime strategy of Adobe (800/833-6687, www.adobe.com ), which continues to produce programs - most notably, its recent Illustrator and GoLive updates - that offer shared features.

So how does Macromedia keep pace with Fireworks 4, Dreamweaver 4, and Dreamweaver UltraDev 4? (And no, you didn't miss versions 2 and 3 of the database-driven Web-site tool; Macromedia has synced the program's version number with Dreamweaver's.) Would you believe even tighter integration between Macromedia applications?

Fireworks and Dreamweaver now sport a common Macromedia user interface introduced in Flash 5 - an interface that should be familiar to anyone who uses Adobe products. Dreamweaver and Dreamweaver UltraDev add Flash Text and Buttons tools that create editable vector graphics directly in the applications. The two programs also feature "round-trip" graphics editing, allowing users to exchange files with Fireworks. Fireworks offers round-trip table editing, letting users update HTML and JavaScript code and graphics from Dreamweaver.

The three upgrades - all of which should be available in December - provide more than just tighter integration. They add new tools (see "What's New"), as well as maintain the flexibility and customization Macromedia has offered in previous versions.

Fireworks 4 and Dreamweaver 4 sell for $299; you can upgrade to either program for $149. Dreamweaver UltraDev 4 sells for $599, with a $129 upgrade cost. Macromedia will sell a Fireworks-Dreamweaver suite and a Fireworks-UltraDev package for $399 and $699, respectively.

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