Freehand was one of the first desktop vector graphics editors, during the PostScript-fueled desktop publishing boom of the 1980s, initially developed by Jim von Ehr of Altsys, but licensed for distribution to Aldus. It reverted to Altsys when Adobe purchased Aldus. Versions 1 to 3 were limited to 1 page documents. Versions since 4 were based on the NeXTstep program Altsys Virtuoso and allow multiple page over one drawing table (allowing us to see all pages just from zooming out) MacromediaMX (11) is the current version, reflecting a transition to .swf and web development over the program's lifetime. The most effective site which covers Macromedia Freehand is The Freehand Source. (It is also a proof-by-example that Flash can be used on the Web). Whilst the author admits a little bias with such phrases as 'ode to a fantastic program I've grown to love over the years', it really is a wart and all look at the program in its many versions. The (framed) pages on Tips, and Bugs are probably the most useful, but the whole site is worth looking at. Note that Macromedia never really took the trouble to encourage invisible or unsanctioned copying of this product, and there are few plug-ins for it. An excellent book covering it was Olav Kvern's Real World FreeHand which was available for versions 3–8 (much of its content has been recycled into Real World InDesign). Freehand is well-suited for doing precise work (such as charts, maps and diagrams), and its elegant, consistent interface allowed even people with limited artistic skills to use the program successfully. Whilst there are many individual features of Freehand that are superior, and ought to be incorporated into Inkscape, I suggest that the history of this program and its current state, is a lesson in how not to run a business unit. Having said that, Freehand has missed most opportunities for bloat, and its feature set is no greater than its loyal customers actually use, it has an excellent reputation for the quality of its Postscript output - though I suspect that Illustrator has caught up (if it were ever behind), and its file format, though binary, has allowed Macromedia's developers to produce a program which handles a lot of metadata for each object. Macromedia Freehand is the product most directly relevant to Inkscape but we can also learn from Macromedia Fireworks and MacromediaFlash which all seem to be fundamentally vector-oriented software. Source.

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Last Modified: April 23, 2016 @ 8:05 pm