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Macromedia Flash Platform like a printing press

has announced a new Flash Platform that includes content creation and Web development tools that can interact with a company's server and be sent to mobile devices. The Flash Platform includes a collection of individual Macromedia Inc. products, many of which have been in the public eye for a long time. Now, they've been brought together to form an interactive coalition.

Platform users will have access to the Flash Player; development tool Macromedia Flex; Flash MX 2004 for content creation; the Flash Communication Server for two-way audio and video streaming; FlashCast, which delivers mobile content; and Flash Lite, which is used to run Flash on mobile devices.

Companies have already been putting the Flash Platform to work to create rich media sites. For instance, Purdue University uses Macromedia Breeze to hold virtual office hours and online conferences. Discount clothing store TJ Maxx used it to create a simplified and intuitive shopping cart for its Web site.

The Sherwin-Williams Co. used the Platform to construct its Color Visualizer, an interactive tool that allows customers to try out different paint color combinations on virtual interior and exterior environments. Whitmann-Hart Information Architect Andy Dennee, who worked with Sherwin-Williams to create the color tool, said the new Platform has enabled his team to create a site with rich color, photorealistic images and real-time lighting, something he said wasn't possible before, using just the HTML paradigm.

Dennee said he sees big things ahead for the platform. "It's really like the printing press," he said. "It represents such a significant shift of the experience you can provide to the user - keeping them interested and engaged in the online experience."

Read the full story on Flash Matures into Full-Fledged Platform