Though the crowd wasn’t quite as big as last year’s event,
was upbeat during today’s keynote at Flashforward 2001 in New York City.
Flashforward is the world’s premier conference dedicated to the design and development community gathered around Macromedia Flash and the Flash SWF file format. Flash 5 is Macromedia’s technology for producing high-impact Web experiences. According to Macromedia, Flash now resides on 96 percent of personal computers worldwide (it’s included with almost all Web browsers) and has chalked up 1 billion downloads from its servers over the past 18 months.
During the keynote, Macromedia President Kevin Lynch showed off Sitespring, an upcoming application for collaborative Web development. He also offered a sneak peak of the Flash authoring environment running native on Mac OS X.
Macromedia Sitespring is Web-based application for managing the Web site production process. Unfortunately, no native Mac version is planned right now, though one is a possibility — Sitespring is compatible on the client side. Macromedia Sitespring is designed to enable professional Web teams to be more productive and more profitable in the creation of Web sites by reducing cycle time, eliminating file rework and decreasing time spent on non-business focused activities. Macromedia Sitespring offers an integrated, server-based approach to team collaboration, file management and client communications.
Lynch didn’t give a ship date for the Mac OS X version of the Flash tool demoed, but he said that it would ship at the same time as the next Windows upgrade. Both versions will offer the same basic set of authoring features, but the Mac version will follow the user-interface conventions of Mac OS X’s Aqua interface.
And according to an eWeek article, Macromedia has no specific plans to offer special capabilities based on Mac OS X’s Quartz imaging layer. “For us, we want to make sure content plays back really well across platforms, Lynch said.
Macromedia also told how that some Web sites were using Flash to both appeal to current fans and attract new ones. The Web team of well-known celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse has
integrated Flash into their Dreamweaver site. The site offers a new, interactive Macromedia Flash navigational menu, which gives users “zero-to-one-click” access to all main courses of interest, all of which are streamlined to provide visitors with the most tantalizing user experience possible.
Within the first two weeks of the site re-launch, sales went up by 8 percent and are projected to climb by 21 percent within a year. With the new site, monthly maintenance costs were reduced by 85 percent, according to the Emerils.com Web team.
“With the new site, the idea was for people to quickly find the information they want in an easy-to-navigate environment, and Macromedia Flash seemed the best way to achieve that result,” said Damion Michaels, director of Web development for Emeril Lagasse.
Sponsored by Macromedia and produced by lynda.com and United Digital Artists, Flashforward2001 features more than 42 sessions presented by 55 designers and developers. Session topics at Flashforward include: Advanced ActionScript, Advertising, Business Strategies, Macromedia ColdFusion, Design, Entertainment, Generator, Audio, Narrative, Navigation, Project Management, QuickTime, SmartClips, 3D, Usability, Education, Wireless Devices, and XML.