Yesterday (the 15th September 2005) was the South African Johannesburg launch of Macromedia studio 8 at the Dimension Data Campus (Bryanston). Being someone who develops solely in Dreamweaver (not only for design but also for PHP coding), and who also uses Flash whenever I get a project that's suitable, I thought I'd check it out. The launch started off with a video of case studies of various projects that were created using the latest Macromedia products, including Cold Fusion, Dreamweaver and Flash. Some pretty cool stuff there, including a booking system for a theatre, flash games that port easily to mobile devices, and some great interactive flash video. After that the presentation began. Here are some of the highlights: Flash Player 8 The latest Flash player, codenamed "Maelstrom" really looks great, with a strong video focus, bitmap cache that does not redraw information that hasn't changed, runtime effects(!), better looking static and dynamic text, plus a new video codec, and support for a video alpha channel to allow overlaying. One of the big strengths of the flash player is its size and ability to penetrate the global market. Within 1 year, flash 7 reached 80% penetration. Another strength is its size: 480kb (although when I checked on the macromedia website, the size given is 927kb - I assume this includes the installer). If you create content with flash 8, and the end user has a version of the flash player which is older, there is a new inline update which will automatically update the flash player for you (auto update only available in windows). Macromedia has apparently also got 5 of the 7 leading mobile phone manufacturers to ship their phones with flash player lite, enabling mobile phones for multimedia flash content.