Macromedia is expanding the reach of its development tools by reaching out to more traditional software developers with its new MX 2004 line. You can read the news angle here. My take on this is Flash MX Professional 2004 is a nice addition to the product line and could help spur Flash beyond the glitzy multimedia stage and into serious Web applications. The new forms-based metaphor for creating Flash applications will appeal to developers used to programing with Visual Basic or Delphi, while the timeline approach is still available for those that want it. Plus, Web services and support via SOAP and XML will hopefully help Flash applications take on more data intensive tasks. For the multimedia enthusiast, Macromedia has added enhanced QuickTime to Flash support as well as better integration with video editing tools and encoders from the likes of Discreet, Avid and Apple. The new Flash Player 7 is also said to bring 2x to 8x speed improvements in both data and graphics processing. All the products in the MX 2004 line will be available in September for Mac OS X 10.2.6 and Windows. Macromedia Studio MX 2004, which includes Flash MX Professional 2004, Fireworks MX 2004, Dreamweaver MX 2004 and the latest version of Freehand, will be priced at $999 for new users.