Macromedia responds to criticisms of DMX 2004

When complaints and criticisms started pouring into the DMXzone Dreamweaver MX 2004 forum we asked the Dreamweaver Product Manager, Jennifer Taylor, to respond to those criticisms. We sent her a representative posting from the forum, and a supplementary question.

Overview

DMXZone:The new release of Dreamweaver MX 2004 is quite powerful.  How it has been received?

JT: The 2004 release of Dreamweaver has been extremely well received.  Users I’ve spoken with are excited about the CSS improvements and are finding new features, such as the cross-browser validation and secure FTP to be indispensable in their workflow.  The reception to the product has also been strong. Most notably the product won a CNet’s Editor’s Choice Award.


 " I hate being treated like I'm the one guilty of software piracy when I'm not. The crackers will continue to crack. In the mean time, don't punish me with having to connect to your server or call you when my disk crashes. I'm your paying customer."

DMXZone: You added product activation with this release, which was a huge shift in the user experience right out of the box.  I’ve noticed some posts from angry and frustrated customers who feel that it unfairly punishes those who are actually obeying the law.  How has it been received? 

JT: Activation has been received surprisingly well.  The majority of our customers understand how and why we added activation.  Unfortunately, piracy is a huge problem for us and for all software makers.  At the same time, we understand how frustrating activation may seem.  We’ve added a process that only those who are obeying the law will go through.  The good news is that we’ve already noticed our activation to be a serious deterrent to piracy.  By allowing us to shift our focus away from fighting pirated software we will be able to invest more into the products our customers buy. 


"What company in their right mind would ask for their customers to deactivate any virus protection for 30 days in order to try their products ?!?!? What are they thinking? Will they pay any damage due to virus attacks? "

DMXzone:There was a posting on Macromedia.com that indicated that users should turn off their virus protection software when using a trial.  Is this true?  If so, why?

JT: We looked into that posting.  It appears that this information came from an outdated page that refers to our older trial technology that we no longer use.  The page has since been updated.  Given how important virus scans are, we do not require nor encourage users to turn off their virus protection software.  Our new elicensing technology does have windback protection, so it is sensitive to clock changes.  However, the trials themselves do not require activation and should not have any conflicts with virus software.


DMXzone:What are the downsides of the launch?

JT: We’re working on some issues that users have identified and we are tracking many of the main issues through our new Emerging Issues Tech Note (http://www.macromedia.com/support/dreamweaver/ts/documents/emerging_issues.htm ).   We encourage users to reference this page for more information on some of the more hotly discussed issues on the forums.


"There is the issue of crashes in DWMX that were never fixed. For instance, if you edit a website with nested tables that was not written with DW, DW has a habit of crashing. I am sure it is having troubles with some kind of errors with the table, but surely it shouldn't crash to the desktop! How about fixing the existing software before putting out another version?"

"What's worst for me is that I've paid for support with Macromedia to help deal with bugs, which they've then verified can be reproduced on their system, and then simply apologized and offered to help me find a workaround"

DMXzone: Why weren’t all the issues resolved before the product shipped?

JT: We do the best we can to thoroughly test the product with both internally through our QA team and externally with our beta testers.  That being said, there are always unexpected cases of things we didn’t identify before we shipped or things our users find in production that arise once the software is live in the market.  We listen closely to the community’s reaction to the product.  These customer concerns become our top priority for the next release.  Examples of things that have been fixed in this release include a re-architected FTP client, which now includes Secure FTP, new support for standards-based CSS, which had previously been mainly supported with Top Style.


DMXzone: If a customer finds a bug, what should they do?

JT: Report it!  In addition to the Emerging Issues Tech Note, which I mentioned before, we have an online bug forum at: http://www.macromedia.com/support/email/wishform/ which we check regularly.  This information helps point us to areas in the product that need improvement.  User data is essential to helping us identify the issues that are on the top of the community's mind. 


DMXzone: An anonymous user who has epilepsy mentioned the flickering of some panels during various operations.  Are epileptic users at any risk?

JT: We are looking into the flickering issue.  We follow standards and conventions of the operating systems that our applications run on (Windows and Mac). We do not have any specific information about flickering causing problems. If you have any information, we welcome that input. In the meantime, we are working with our partners in the research community to explore this issue.


"Macromedia! You are killing yourself with poor, inadequate and delinquent customer service. You shot yourself in the foot really bad when you dumped the Team MM people we all came to love and respect. They were the best FREE marketing tool you ever had."

DMXZone: Speaking of the community, we’ve noticed that there have been a lot of changes within the Macromedia customer support community, notably, the elimination of many of our favorite Team Macromedia members.  Can you speak about the changes that have been made?

JT: Change within the Team Macromedia group is more common than most users may realize.  Our Team members are all volunteers and their term is limited to six months. Team members can re-enroll, but their acceptance isn't automatic. With Dreamweaver we had many more volunteers than we needed, so we made some changes.  Now it's back to a proportional size.  More information on Team Macromedia can be found at: http://www.macromedia.com/support/forums/team_macromedia/team_members/faq.html and descriptions of our Team Macromedia members are at: http://www.macromedia.com/support/forums/team_macromedia/.  Team Macromedia members can be found regularly in the Macromedia Dreamweaver Forums http://webforums.macromedia.com/dreamweaver/


"One thing that I have noticed is that access to a real person at Macromedia has become extremely difficult in the past several years and the only analogy that I can think of is Microsoft. That's what disturbs me."

 "I want to add a comment to the "not responding". This refers to an email I sent in shock when I discovered the renewal for Silver Support had increased from $500 last year to $2400 this year. When I called Macromedia, the customer service rep abruptly told me it was a "marketing decision to increase it" and to send an email to Macromedia. I sent a long email and have never received any response."

DMXzone: If a user needs to reach someone at Macromedia, what is the best way for them to do so?

JT: Well, it depends on what they need to reach Macromedia for.  For issues such as purchasing and upgrades, they should contact Customer Service: http://www.macromedia.com/support/email/cscontact/ . If they have technical issues with the product, such as problems with the installation or operation of the products, they should first review the tech notes for Dreamweaver at:  http://www.macromedia.com/support/dreamweaver/ . If the tech notes don’t answer their questions, they should contact Technical Support: http://www.macromedia.com/support/email/complimentary/main.cgi . Customer Service and Technical Support are available by phone and by email, as noted on the pages I mentioned. If they find issues with the product or would like to suggest a new feature, they should file a bug or feature request: http://www.macromedia.com/support/email/wishform/ And if they want to talk with other community members about the product or exchange ideas and techniques, they should use the online forums: http://webforums.macromedia.com/dreamweaver/


DMXZone: When the bugs are fixed, will it be another $200 upgrade to MX 2005, or will you be issuing a free patch? When do you anticipate that being released?

JT: You may recall that Dreamweaver MX had a bug fix release that was freely distributed - so if we do find that we need to make bug fixes available, we release them free of charge.  We're not sure right now that we'll need to do this, but we're considering it.


DMXzone: Thanks Jennifer.

Did that answer your worries, folks? Click on the 'discuss' button below to leave a comment.

Ian Blackham

Ian BlackhamFollowing a degree in Chemistry and a doctorate in Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, Ian spent several years wrestling with acronyms in industrial R&D (SEM with a side order of EDS, AFM and TEM augmented with a topping of XPS and SIMS and yet more SEM and TEM).

Feeling that he needed a career with more terminology but less high voltages, Ian became a technical/commissioning editor with Wrox Press working on books as diverse as Beg VB Application Development and Professional Java Security. After Wrox's dissolution and a few short term assignments Ian became content manager at DMXzone.

Ian is a refugee from the industrial Black Country having slipped across the border to live in Birmingham. In his spare time he helps out with the website of a local history society, tries to makes sure he does what his wife Kate says, and worries that the little 'un Noah is already more grown up than he is.

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