In case you missed the blog-rush on this yesterday, automakers Scion have a Flash 8 contest/competition running right now that will dish out a new car to the grand prize winner. As long as your site/application is exported to Flash 8 and compatible with both Windows XP and Mac OS X, includes at least 2 Scion creative assets (from a library made available after registering), is less than 2 minutes runtime and 10 megs size, and your own work- you can enter to win your choice of a swanky, new Scion xA, XB, or tC car. (side note, the contest is only open for permanent legal residents of the continental US.)
Contest judges include MXNA (and Flash) stalwarts like Guy Watson, Grant Skinner and Eric Dolecki- who’ll be doling out up to 50 points respectively for both artistic vision (your expression of the Scion personality), and technical merit (your mastery of the Flash 8 toolset). If this sounds interesting (or you’re sorely in need of a new set of wheels), check the contest rules and judging criteria, grab the official assets, roll up your sleeves and get cracking on your next F8 masterpiece.
I must admit- the hype a few weeks back appears quite justified- Shaun Inman’s new site analytical tool Mint is one of my favorite new toys- I’ve been using it to monitor a personal site for a few weeks now and am impressed well beyond my initial expectations. I haven’t seen a more usable (not to mention aesthetically-pleasing) way to scan my current referrers, visits, page views and search terms to date. I really resisted the urge to post right after the release (as the Mint beta squad did a pretty thorough job of getting the message out on their own), but can’t hold back any longer.
Dreamweaver extension developer extraordinaire Massimo Foti has just released a new extension, which allows you to quickly and easily import and export your Dreamweaver snippets directly from the Snippets panel. As there’s no out-of-the-box way to manage your custom code snippets in Dreamweaver save manually copying files out of your DW configuration directory, Massimo’s extension is a very welcome addition, and a very slick and convenient way to manage Dreamweaver snippets in general. You can download the MXP extension file directly at Massimo’s website, make sure to send him a good word if you find it handy. Nice!
Stephanie Sullivan posted a great overview of recent changes in Dreamweaver 8 Templates you’ll want to read through, specifically if you’re noticing that template-based links to external files are getting transformed incorrectly when updating ‘child’ content. In a nutshell, you’ll need to use either template expressions or template parameters to avoid having your link paths rewritten (note that this is primarily due to the fact that DW MX and DWMX 2004 were very lax in how paths like this were handled when publishing/updating template-driven content, and the fix in DW8 will certainly affect anyone who was relying on the prior behavior). Check out Steph’s post at the link above for more details, as well as a similar post at Jesse Rodgers’ blog, great info to have on hand if you’ve leveraged templates heavily in your sites.
In case you haven’t noticed already, the Flash Remoting component was updated yesterday to Flash 8 compatibility- and is now on the Macromedia web site for immediate download/installation. Make sure to read the release notes for specifics, of course. Alongside the Remoting connector itself, the installer will also include the NetConnection Debugger, support and help files for Flash 8 (i.e. updates to the Help panel in Flash 8), as well as AS2 API class source code. If you were wondering where the Remoting component was in the default Flash 8 install… wonder no more. :)
Well, as you may have guessed by the title, Studio 8 just jumped free from it’s crib- and is available now for poking, prodding and general fun up on Macromedia.com. Which means I can stop teasing you about it with these ‘feature of the day’ postings- and you can start showing us all what can be DONE WITH IT.
You can get all the shiny links and info from here:
And don’t forget all the new Developer Center content:
So alas, my 24-post FOTD series also comes to its close, but I’m certainly open to doing more – on a slightly relaxed schedule of course – if there’s interest. What do YOU want to know more about in Studio 8 and it’s products? Bang out a comment and let me know- and don’t stay up too late playing with all the new toys… ;-)
Dreamweaver 8 recieved a lot of updates to the way it authors and displays CSS, and we’ve already looked at how the Unified CSS panel consolidates workflow on the authoring side. Let’s take a peek today at how the rendering has changed- and first, some new visualization features that will make authoring much easier overall.
In recent FOTDs I’ve covered encoding videos in Flash, both individually and in batch via the standalone encoder, but today we’re going to actually do something with your FLV file- using the new FLV Playback component in Flash 8. If you’ve been holding out on integrating video assets into your sites and RIAs, then you really owe it to yourself to explore the possibilities with Studio 8. It’s just too darn easy to ignore now.
Syndication is one of the most rapidly-growing themes online these days, and I’ve personally used RSS and Atom feeds to browse and aggregate content from the blogosphere, news sites, podcast directories, TV listings and many other sources quickly and easily in Flash (using its XML features) as well as with some server-side tricks. And now with version 8, Dreamweaver speaks XSLT authoring- allowing you to really do something with all those XML documents and site feeds you’ve been collecting. Roll up your sleeves, this FOTD will be a doozy (and it’s relatively certain I’m only going to scratch the tip of this iceberg).
A week or so ago we took a look at one of the new/updated panels in Fireworks 8 (the Image Editing panel), and today I’m going to run down several more that you’ll find useful once you get version 8 in hand- the Auto Shape Properties, Special Characters and Align panels, and the new Add Shadow command in Fireworks 8.