What are your favorite new Flash MX features?
It would be easy to pick something like scriptable masking, drawing from ActionScript, or video support. They're all great and open up a lot of possibilities, but in truth, the object and event model improvements are what thrill me the most. Specifying clip event handlers with callback functions, creating custom MovieClip subclasses, controlling text fields as objects-all these advanced tools result from the upgraded object and event model. The new development environment gives power users everything they need for serious application development. We're finally rid of idiosyncrasies like empty Movie Clips that do nothing but hold code.
What Flash MX feature affects your daily job the most?
From a workflow perspective, I'd have to pick the Flash UI Components. Using them I can build interfaces for web applications many times faster than I could in Flash 5. I can produce an entire custom-formatted interface in a few lines of code. Flash developers with Visual Basic or Java Swing experience will rejoice at the new components.
Does this new feature let you do something in Flash that you could not do before or that was very awkward to do before?
It was possible to custom develop interfaces in Flash 5, but creating anything as sophisticated as the Flash UI Components would have been a massive undertaking. Effectively I can now change my focus from building interface elements to building the applications they're used in.
What do you think is the most improved feature from Flash 5 to Flash MX?
The Property inspector interface has had the most notable effect on Flash's usability. The general clutter of panels is gone, and the interface tools seem to almost be sentient now; every time I want a tool, it seems to be magically available. The timeline folders are also a great improvement for organization freaks like me.
Any other comments about Flash MX?
I'm really pleased to see the efforts in accessibility and internationalization. Flash is now a mass medium, and that puts huge responsibilities on Macromedia. Given that no consortium guides the development of Flash, it's encouraging to see Macromedia taking these two very important areas seriously.