Multimedia, Video, and Web Development Tools

Interactive media products have become more robust and full-featured. Where we use to purchase separate products for video, animation, graphic design, collaboration, storage, and presentation, we can now find one or two solutions that take us from the germ of an idea to a disseminated work in much less time. We publish directly to the Web in a seamless digital process. We’ve surveyed some of the top tools for content development and multimedia presentation.

Web Development Tools
Adobe Creative Suite
The Adobe Creative Suite is a complete design solution that offers the tools creative professionals need to create and publish content for print and the Web faster, more easily, and more affordably than ever. It combines the full, newest versions of Adobe's leading-edge creative applications—Adobe Photoshop CS with Adobe ImageReady CS, Adobe Illustrator CS, Adobe InDesign CS, Adobe GoLive CS, and Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Professional—with the innovative, new Version Cue file version manager. It also supports a full Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) workflow and offers a robust collection of educational resources, a single installer, and expanded support options.

Contact: Adobe Systems, San Jose, CA; (800) 833-6687; www.adobe.com.

Eveo Publisher 3.0
Eveo, known for both its applications and services, is now offering an integrated suite of four applications—creation, asset management, deployment, and reporting. With a drag-and-drop interface and user-friendly toolbox for creating rich media and Web video presentations on the fly, Eveo Publisher 3.0 is designed to be simple to use, providing an intuitive media management system to upload, categorize, and manage assets; workflow and review functions to let users manage their brand and marketing assets centrally; and remote access for group collaboration. Once a rich media page is created, the user can view it and activate it with a mouse click either as a stand-alone Web page or an embedded e-mail. Tracking utilities can track streaming activity, user events, popularity, and other feedback. Publisher 3.0 is available as a hosted application or through enterprise licensing.

Contact: Eveo, San Francisco, CA; (415) 749-6777; www.eveo.com.

Flash MX
Flash is a professional Web development tool—a full-featured product with an omnipresent counterpart on the client side: the Flash player, which is installed on millions of personal computers and used by over 400 million Internet users. Flash files incorporate rich media in a small file size. Flash MX features video, multimedia, and application development components for creating rich Web experiences. Users can import any standard video file supported by QuickTime or Windows Media Player, including MPEG, DV (Digital Video), MOV (QuickTime), and AVI. Flash MX can manipulate, scale, rotate, skew, mask, and animate video objects. It can also make objects interactive with the help of scripting. The panel layout, accelerator keys, and publish settings are all customizable. A new intuitive user interface is available in this version. Included are prepackaged templates and learning interactions that provide users with ready-to-go shells for dynamic Flash presentations, slide shows, menus, and quizzes. Users who have two versions can work with the same document.

Contact: Macromedia, San Francisco, CA; (800) 833-6687; www.macromedia.com.

IBM WebSphere Studio
IBM WebSphere Studio, available in both Application Developer and Enterprise configurations, integrates various Web application development roles and software languages into one environment. By creating a single development environment, WebSphere Studio allows users to create Web services from both new and existing software across multiple platforms, languages, applications, and vendors.

WebSphere Studio Application Developer helps to optimize and simplify J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) and Web services application development with best practices, wizards, code generation, and support for open standards. It offers integrated support for Java, HTML pages, servlets, JavaServer Pages (JSP), Enterprise JavaBean (EJB) components, and XML documents. It also facilitates group collaboration and remote testing.

WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer includes features of WebSphere Studio Application Developer and supports Cobol, PL, and EGL programming languages all within a single environment. This brings the advantages of J2EE, rapid application development, and team support to diverse development organizations, enabling them to modernize, re-use, and integrate existing assets written in older languages. Both the Application Developer and Enterprise Developer configurations of WebSphere Studio include support for J2EE, Linux, and emerging Web services standards.

Contact: IBM Corp., White Plains, NY; (888) 746-7426; www.ibm.com.

XMetaL 4
Featuring tight integration with content management systems, Corel’s XMetaL 4 consists of four tools designed to simplify development, deployment, and implementation of custom XML applications. XMetaL for ActiveX enables XML authoring in a browser or any Windows-based application. XMetaL Developer provides an IDE (document editing interface) for XML authoring customization and integration. XMetaL Author features Corel’s spell check and thesaurus tools. XMetaL Central is a server-based environment manager that simplifies the deployment and maintenance of customized XML applications. Version 4 of XMetaL has an improved find and replace dialog box, enhanced support for W3C Schema, and improved WebDAV support.

Contact: Corel Corp., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; (613) 728-8200; www.corel.com.

Freeway Pro 3.5 and Freeway Express 3.5 (OSX and OS9
Freeway Pro is an HTML generator that helps users build great Web content with professional layout, graphics and typography features—all without coding. Extensive drag-and-drop capability lets users add content from just about any source (Web pages in browsers, iPhoto, iTunes, MS Word, or the desktop) straight into a Freeway document.

Freeway Pro includes support for native Illustrator 10, Photoshop 7, TIFF, PICT, GIF, JPEG, Quicktime, MPEG, and SWF file formats, as well as the ability to manipulate compressed Flash files (change backgrounds and URLs). Within Freeway, users have access to all of Macintosh's fonts with full typographic control for creating GIF text. Freeway also scales image files and converts them to JPEGs, GIFs, or PING files, sparing the user the need for an external graphics editor.

Also from SoftPress, is Freeway Express 3.5 (OSX and OS9), created to offer home, school, and small business users an easy-to-use, accessible, and powerful tool to design and build great Web sites without having to worry about writing code. The "What You See Is What You Get!" approach to Web design means users can start building a site with an idea, not a list of restrictions, and see results immediately. Users draw—or simply drag-and-drop—pictures, text, graphic headlines, and rich media right onto the page. Scale, rotate, distort, and overlap these graphic elements, and combine them with HTML text for total design freedom.

Both versions work with FAST packs, which let users extend Web sites in new and exciting ways. With FAST packs users can build complex menu schemes, create, and modify graphics, or build millions of buttons—all without switching to another application. One FAST pack comes free with purchase of Freeway Pro.

Contact: Softpress, Sausalito, CA; (415) 331- 4820; www.softpress.com.

NetObjects Fusion 7.5
Designed to accommodate the needs of the basic home Web page builder as well as an experienced Web developer, NetObjects Fusion 7.5 is replete with features that make it accessible. Beginning with its QuickStart building tips and tools, NetObjects Fusion 7.5 provides support for all proficiency levels. Novice users can build a Web site in three quick steps: choose a template, choose a style,and then add the content. They can connect pages through an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop layout manager that automatically adds navigation to link pages. Users can import content from other HTML sources or from other Web sites; the product also gives users the ability to import Word documents without loss of formatting. Fusion 7.5 includes built-in eCommerce solutions for launching an online catalog and shopping cart, enhanced Photo Gallery options for importing and displaying digital images, and integrated Web services for effectively managing and promoting Web sites. Other time saving tools include global asset management, cascading style sheets, and a library of styles to choose from.

Contact: Website Pros, Jacksonville, FL; (877) 650-8171; www.netobjects.com.

Sonic Foundry MediaSite Live
Mediasite Live is a rich media Web communication system that provides all the hardware and software needed to create and deliver instructor-led distance education over the Web. Mediasite Live automatically captures, synchronizes, streams, and archives online multimedia presentations in real time, thereby eliminating the need for any special preparation, costly production or complex authoring. For the professors, Mediasite Live is completely transparent to what they do. No more having to pre-record classes. No restrictions to the materials they can use. Just show up and teach as usual.

The highly versatile Mediasite Live captures in real time any kind of data output (PowerPoint, Excel, live Web pages, DVD, complex imagery, etc.) from any presentation device (laptops, projectors, document cameras, graphics tablets, smart boards, even traditional chalk boards). The content is instantly synchronized with the audio and video of the instructor, and streamed live to the Web. The captured presentation is immediately archived for convenient on-demand viewing. The product’s unique dual channel real-time processing enables it to handle even the most complex engineering diagrams, detailed medical imagery, intricate drawings that require visual clarity.

Contact: Sonic Foundry, Madison, WI; (877) 783-7987; www.sonicfoundry.com.

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