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Another Year, Another Exciting Macromedia Developer Conference...

* LIVE FROM MAX 2003 * Attendance is up from 2002 and booth traffic is strong

The annual Macromedia conference has undergone both a name and location change this year. One key thing remains the same, though and that's the overall level and excitement of Macromedia's development community.

By many reports, attendance here at MAX 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah, is up from last year's show and if traffic to the SYS-CON Media/MX Developer's Journal booth here at the show is an indication, that is certainly true. That's a fantastic sign in an economic year that has those even simply breaking jumping for joy.

It's been a product-filled year for Macromedia, with the release of  Studio MX 2004, along with CFMX 6.1. Also, our new MX Developer's Journal has been launched here at the conference in print.

Macromedia's push here at the conference is once again the rich digital user experience which combines together the fields of design and development (and naturally their complete line of software as well).

The opening keynote was introduced by Al Ramadan, Executive Vice President of Marketing at Macromedia - pictured (above left) at MAX 2003 together with Fuat Kircaali, CEO & President of SYS-CON Media, publishers of MX Developer's Journal and ColdFusion Developer's Journal (above right).

It was Norm Meyrowitz, Macromedia's President of Products, who mastered the rest of the ceremonies. Norm, in his 11th year at Macromedia, spoke of being astounded by the amazing applications that everyone creates with their software.

Back to the fields of design versus development, that's something that Macromedia sees as a blurring distinction, which is evidenced by the 2004 product line. You can now write code to make beautiful Flash applications, and if you're in Flash and want to connect to a CF or other Web service, it's now just a few non-code clicks away. That's exciting to me, and I know many other developers as well who would probably never in a million years optimally use Flash timelines, but we can certainly code.

Impressive examples were then shown by the product managers for each bit of the MX product ranging from Flash to Dreamweaver showing some of the premier crop of interactive Web development that's been done in MX 2004 and then drilled down highlighting some of the new Studio MX product features used to create them. These general overviews were then covered in depth in sessions throughout the day, but the keynote served as an overall vision for Day One of the 3-day session program.

Also taking the stage to talk about "ColdFusion MX and beyond" was Ben Forta, Macromedia's Senior Technical Evangelist and a regular of SYS-CON's ColdFusion Developer's Journal since issue one. Known for spilling the beans about future CF releases at past Macromedia events, Ben didn't disappoint and once again provided lots of good CF news.

The keynote concluded with David Mendels, General Manager, Designer/Developer who spoke on expanding the MX universe. The key discussion of this was on Macromedia Flex, (previously codenamed Royale) which is a presentation-level server that sits on top of J2EE, CF, and (in the future) .NET servers designed for creating rich application front ends.

Check back here for further updates on all the breaking Macromedia and MX news tomorrow.

More Stories By Robert Diamond

Robert Diamond is the founder and editor-in-chief of BroadwayWorld.com, the premiere theater site on the net now receiving over 100,000 unique visitors a day. He is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media - a leading designer of entertainment and technology web sites. He is also the lead producer on BroadwayWorld.com's consistently sold-out Joe's Pub concert series, and Standing Ovations benefit concerts. Diamond was also named one of the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by Folio magazine. Robert holds a BS degree in information management and technology from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. Visit his blog at www.robertdiamond.com.

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