The Drumbeat 2000 & Macromedia Saga

  Subject: Open Letter from Macromedia Part I
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000 17:51:17 -0700
From: Beth Davis <bdavis@macromedia.com>
Organization: Macromedia
Newsgroups: macromedia.ultradev

In response to the letter from Rick Curtis,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us on your concerns as a
Drumbeat customer about UltraDev.

I, along with many of us at Macromedia, have been personally reading the
newsgroups and we are taking the concerns presented by you and the other
Drumbeat customers very seriously. For the past several months, many
teams at Macromedia have been working with Drumbeat customers and with
third parties to develop documentation, training materials, extensions
and functionality for UltraDev to ensure an easy and successful
transition from Drumbeat to UltraDev. From the very beginning, UltraDev
was conceived with the Drumbeat developer in mind. Specifically, we are
working to:

* Combine the best of the visual design environment and Roundtrip HTML
in Dreamweaver and the server-scripting environment of Drumbeat to give
you a powerful, robust product that will help you quickly build Web
sites that connect to databases.
* Help developers make the transition to a new environment by offering
specific documentation to help Drumbeat users convert sites and working
habits to the new product including a special section of the UltraDev
Users Guide dedicated to applying your Drumbeat experience to the new
design environment.
* Provide a free 3-hour online training workshop to help you get up to
speed quickly and at your convenience.
* Develop a Macromedia authorized training program for even more
in-depth training.
* Provide a Dreamweaver UltraDev training video.
* Offer a discounted upgrade price of only $99 for all Drumbeat
customers and a free upgrade to UltraDev for Drumbeat customers who
purchased after April 3, 2000.
* Address the concerns presented by Drumbeat 2000 ecommerce customers by
announcing our plans to provide important ecommerce extensions to
UltraDev as free downloads that will be available immediately after
Drumbeat is released. The first of these is a shopping cart extension
described below.
* Work directly with partners in the various areas of ecommerce to
develop a wide range of e-commerce options that can be downloaded from
the Macromedia Exchange.
* Offer integration with products like Macromedia Fireworks, Flash and
* Deliver on the commitment to support additional application servers
and databases beyond the ASP, and JSP for IBM WebSphere that Drumbeat
supported. * *

The product development evolution
One of the biggest questions on the minds of the Drumbeat community is
why Macromedia decided to develop UltraDev on top of Dreamweaver rather
than continue to develop Drumbeat.

During the talks before Macromedia and Elemental agreed to the
acquisition, we found that the both companies shared a common goal of
enabling developers to quickly build web sites that connect to
databases. The development team at Elemental had already identified
customer requirements to deliver a product with great table editing, an
open architecture with which it was easy to integrate, and offered
developers access to the code, known as Roundtrip HTML(tm). The Drumbeat
architecture, based on a proprietary file format, could not support
access to the code, easy extensibility and preserve the underlying HTML
in a visual design environment. In order to successfully compete in the
future, Elemental determined they would have to completely re-write the
Drumbeat engine, a project that alone would take several man-years of

After Elemental and Macromedia joined, the Drumbeat product team started
defining the product that would be the next generation of Drumbeat. We
met with Drumbeat customers, Dreamweaver customers, and other web
application developers who were either hand-coding their applications or
using a proprietary tool from Microsoft of Allaire. Those developers
all had the same requirements:
* Complete access to the source code and the ability for developers to
add hand-coded scripts. For many customers, a product that didn't offer
access to and preservation of the code would not be acceptable.
* An easily extensible architecture that can be customized from one
customer project to the next, and
* An architecture that could be easily extended to support different
application servers. In order for a web application development
solution to succeed, it must be possible for customers and partners to
add server models. Drumbeat provided great support for ASP, but other
application servers were growing in popularity.

At that point, realizing that the Drumbeat architecture could not
support the basic customer needs, the Drumbeat team made a decision to
extend the Dreamweaver platform with the application server
functionality found in Drumbeat versus continuing to develop on the
Drumbeat code base. In the words of Julie Thompson who has been with
Drumbeat since the first version of the product, " All of us from
Elemental have always wanted to make Drumbeat a more flexible design
environment like Dreamweaver and once we joined Macromedia we finally
had that chance."

The new product does not attempt to create a feature for feature match
of Drumbeat. Rather we have picked the strengths of both Dreamweaver
and Drumbeat to create a product that best meets the needs of
professional developers. In particular, UltraDev will offer things
Drumbeat developers can uniquely appreciate:
* Support for ASP, vendor-neutral JSP and ColdFusion in one single
product (no need to buy separate versions)
* A Mac OS version
* The ability to easily add server scripts and server-side behaviors to
a web site
* A visual design environment to create pages that display, navigate and
update database data
* Easy connection to any ODBC, JDBC or ADO relational database
* Support for flow based HTML
* Textbook server scripts. No more include files to uploaded to the
* Roundtrip HTML(tm), and a full copy of HomeSite (Windows) or
integrated BBEdit Eval (Mac)
* A fully-documented, easy to use JavaScript API for extending the
* An extensions exchange, where customers can easily download and share
extensions to the product
* A menu system that can be completely customized using XML

Ongoing product support for Drumbeat 2000
Since acquiring Elemental Software, and throughout our roll out of
UltraDev, Macromedia has tried to support the Drumbeat developer
community. We have created active support resources and newsgroups,
training materials, Drumbeat showcases in the customer gallery and all
the traditional Macromedia product support vehicles. In fact, many
Drumbeat customers consulted and advised Macromedia as we were
developing this new product, either directly, or through the feature

Moving forward, developers can continue to use Drumbeat to maintain
existing sites or even create new ones after Macromedia ships UltraDev.
Existing Drumbeat customers can expect continued technical support from
Macromedia through the end of the year 2000. The Drumbeat newsgroup and
other Drumbeat support resources will be actively maintained.

Support for Windows 2000
More than a year after Elemental and Macromedia completed development
and shipped Drumbeat 2000, Microsoft released a new version of Windows,
Windows 2000. Once Macromedia had a chance to work with Windows 2000,
we uncovered conflicts between Drumbeat 2000 and Windows 2000.
Technical investigation showed that resolving the conflict would take a
team of engineers several months to complete, creating a difficult
decision for us. To support Windows 2000 would have dramatically
impacted our ability to create a new and vastly better product for our
users. We believe the development community will be better served with
the engineering team working to make the next generation application
development platform as good as it can be, so the team is ensuring
UltraDev will be compatible with Windows 2000, and at this time we do
not have plans to re-engineer Drumbeat to provide Windows 2000 support.

While we do not have plans to ship a separate ecommerce edition of
UltraDev, we expect that many customers will use UltraDev to create
thriving ecommerce applications. In particular, Macromedia is working
with Drumbeat developers to create a shopping cart extension that will
be available for free within a month of the UltraDev product release.
The shopping cart will support ASP, JSP and ColdFusion servers, and will
allow developers to add shopping cart functionality to their sites. It
will allow customers to adjust quantities and add and subtract items
from the shopping cart and pass shopping cart information to a database
or other back end system. In addition we will be working with partners
in the various areas of ecommerce to come up with a number of options
for developers to choose from. With Drumbeat, developers were limited
to UPS and CyberCash for order processing. By working with partners we
plan to open up a much greater variety of options for shipping, order
processing, credit card validation, and other ecommerce functionality
that will work for our developers all over the world.

What should Drumbeat developers do until UltraDev ships in June?
Until UltraDev is available, we suggest you continue to work with
Drumbeat. When UltraDev ships, there will be a free 30-day evaluation
version available so customers can decide how the new product meets
their needs. Considering that UltraDev answers the top requests from
Drumbeat customers, we expect than many developers will find the
transition manageable and rewarding. Since the same engineers that
created Drumbeat created UltraDev, we think you will find it is truly
the next generation of Drumbeat. It will include all the robust
application development features that you are looking for, plus the
control of Roundtrip HTML(tm) and the flexibility of a JavaScript based
API for customization.

Macromedia communication
It is our desire to create great products that support web developer's
needs in the long term, and Macromedia has had to make some difficult
decisions that affect the lives and businesses of our customers in doing
this. We need to communicate that information in the best possible way
to our developers, and we apologize that we didn't provide enough
detailed information to help you and Drumbeat customers effectively
assess how that announcement would affect your business. We are
increasing our effort to help give Drumbeat customers the information
they need. We plan to make more information available prior to the
shipment of UltraDev, including posting a new web site with screen
shots, a feature tour and all the details on pricing and upgrade
information within a month. In the meanwhile, we will continue to
participate actively in the newsgroup and address your questions there
as best we can. Thank you for your continued patience and support.

Best regards,
Beth Davis
VP of Product Marketing