Review of Macromedia Studio MX 2004

The heart of Macromedia Studio MX 2004 is their web building program, Dreamweaver MX 2004. I will be writing this review from the perspective of the package as a whole with special emphasis on how the contents relate to web construction and especially how they interact with Dreamweaver. I will, also, have links to separate reviews and discussions of most of the programs that are this five part review. The programs that comprise Macromedia Studio MX 2004 include:

I am reviewing Macromedia Studio MX 2004 and all the programs from the perspective of a graphic artist and web designer. I am not a programmer and do not know scripting languages.

First, however, I will summarize Macromedia Studio MX 2004 as a whole and each program's function. For more information on each program and how they are used, click on the name of each program above for its review.

This review was created using only Macromedia Studio MX 2004. Once an image was captured from the screen by a print screen capture product, then all editing and optimizing was done in Fireworks MX 2004.

Macromedia Studio MX 2004 combines five programs that integrate with each other to give the user all the tools necessary for creating powerful, dynamic, interactive, and media rich websites. The programs integrate like never before so that not only are interfaces similar, but so are functions. Thus, there is not a new learning curve for each program. One just learns the features and can easily plug into how to use them. With each program is an excellent Help Menu. In addition, the Macromedia Support Center can be reached from the Help Menu. From the Dreamweaver site on the Opening Screen. Macromedia has tutorials, technotes, forums, and a wealth of information about all its products. It is the most document complete site I have ever seen. In addition, the Help Menu for all the programs is more than excellent. Basically the Help Menus can answer any question the user might have.

Macromedia Studio MX 2004 uses next-generation development by using industry standard technologies. In addition, standards of accessibility are being set and Macromedia Studio MX 2004 has the material to develop sites that are in full compliance with U. S. law and International standard. There are controls built into Dreamweaver to check compliance with browsers as well as tools to ensure that data being uploaded and used is protected.

This version of Macromedia Studio MX 2004 embraces CSS (cascading style sheets) for site-wide design structures. Both Dreamweaver and Flash can share CSS settings. Some of the other examples of the programs' tight integration are the ability of Dreamweaver, Flash, and Fireworks to use MX elements, pre built layouts, code, and components to quickly generate sites; consistent systems for working such as checking in and out files, uploading and file management across applications; a similar start page which gives immediate access to most recently used files and easy access to other areas that are frequently used.

Two other visible areas that are similar in all programs are the panels which are on the right of the screen but can be moved, re docked, and configured in many ways. These panels can be easily hidden or shown. All one does is click the very visible arrow on the side of the panels. Since I use two monitors, I have found it very easy to have one of the panels open fully on my second monitor.

It is very hard to list all the areas that contain program integration for this is a very tightly integrated suite of programs. To see more, go to Macromedia's website for Program Integration. But one area that is very visible even if it might not appear revolutionary or important is the Options pull down menu which is on the right corner of all the panels in the programs.

While the workplace in all programs is customizable, initially it looks about the same.

The specifics of how the programs integrate will be presented in the reviews of the various programs. While all the programs can be purchased separately, buying the Studio package saves money and actually is greater than the sum of its parts. The full price for Macromedia Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional is $899.00. For Macromedia Studio with Flash MX 2004 it is $799.00. Since there are many upgrades available, it is best to look at the Macromedia site. Click Studio. All are US prices.

The prices for the other full editions are:

  • Flash MX 2004 $499.00
  • Flash MX 2004 Professional $699.00
  • Dreamweaver MX 2004 $399.00
  • Fireworks MX 2004 $299.00
  • Freehand MX $399.00

All of the these products also have many upgrade avenues, so check on the Macromedia website.

In addition to the products listed above, Macromedia Studio MX 2004 also contains:

*Macromedia® HomeSite®+ combines the power of ColdFusion® Studio 5 and HomeSite 5.5 with additional support for ColdFusion MX 6.1 tag development. HomeSite+ provides a lean, code-only editor for web developers to be used to build reliable sites in less time. Advanced coding features enable you to instantly create and modify HTML, XHTML and WML tags, while integrated tools allow you to effortlessly validate, reuse, navigate and format your code. Project management, quality control and site deployment features help you efficiently build, deploy and manage your entire website.
[ The above is a quote from the readme file on the Studio MX 2004 CD].

The system requirements are:


  • 600 MHz Intel Pentium III processor or equivalent
  • Windows 98 SE (4.10.2222 A), Windows 2000, or Windows XP
  • 256 MB RAM (512 MB recommended)
  • 800 MB available disk space
  • 500 MHz PowerPC G3 processor
  • Mac OS X 10.2.6 and later, 10.3
  • 256 MB RAM (512 MB recommended)
  • 500 MB available disk space

As you read the separate reviews, always remember that these programs are integrally connected with each other. Both Dreamweaver MX 2004, Flash MX 2004, and Flash MX 2004 Professional also integrate with ColdFusion.

After reviewing Studio MX 2004 and looking at the individual prices of the products compiling it, I was struck with what a fantastic deal it is. Even if you are a "non-advanced user" and only use the products as an upgrade from a prior version or have never owned these products, the Studio package is a great deal.

Macromedia has basically done the impossible. They have retained the programs so that beginners can still use them, but have added content that makes them a haven for advanced users and developers.

© Paula Sanders 2005