Product Review: Adobe Flash CS3 and the CS3 Web Premium package

With the recent release of Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 Web Premium package, Adobe are now able to fully realise the potential of owning not only the world's favourite medium for delivery of rich media via the internet, Flash, but also two of the primary tools for designing and creating content, Photoshop and Illustrator. The huge potential of this package lies in its ability to integrate these three important applications and move towards streamlining the production process from concept to delivery, but the question remains, has Adobe lived up to this potential and presented a unified and coherent suite, or have they just churned out new versions of the same old titles without taking advantage of this opportunity?

The acquisition of Macromedia by Adobe has finally borne fruit with the release of the Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 Web Premium package containing, among other things, the first version of Macromedia's flagship application, Flash, to be released under the Adobe moniker. This review will focus on Flash, arguably the most valuable asset acquired by Adobe when they took over Macromedia, as it remains the most popular method of delivering rich, interactive content to the web, and also because the new Flash CS3 has been one of the most eagerly awaited product upgrades for some time.

Many users will be wondering whether or not Adobe have done anything to build upon Flash and the other applications in the suite in terms of tighter integration, particularly between Flash, Illustrator and Photoshop. It appears that integration is a key aspect of this software that will determine its ability to remain the top choice for designers and developers the world over, and Adobe still have quite a way to go in this regard. This release is however a good step in the right direction.

First we'll take a look at the new features available in this new release of Flash CS3, followed by a closer analysis of how these new features work, some pros and cons, and what we might expect in the future. Finally, we'll take a look at how Adobe have done in packaging this set of applications together as a suite, and what the future might hold in terms of it's development.