Macromedia today announced upgrades to its raft of web design and development tools, including Dreamweaver, ColdFusion and Fireworks, now all to be suffixed 'MX'.

The new versions bring the products into Macromedia's MX family, which already includes its flagship web animation and interactivity runtime application Flash MX, said Jeremy Allaire, chief technology officer at the firm.

The releases, which the company has been working on for nearly 18 months, are another step in Macromedia's vision to 'unify the tasks of web design and web development', he said.

The unity will lead to a different kind of internet, Allaire said. Behind this hyperbole is Macromedia's idea that the current web is built around the browsing metaphor, but the web of the future will enable more interaction on the part of users.

Perhaps the most famous of Macromedia's products has been renamed Dreamweaver MX. Dreamweaver MX now includes four previously separate products: Dreamweaver, Dreamweaver UltraDev, ColdFusion Studio and HomeSite, Allaire said. The four applications have been tightly integrated and share a common code base, he said.

The new Dreamweaver improves the visual tools for creating web pages and integrates other applications, such as Flash MX, to enable the creation of web applications and services, he said. Dreamweaver MX also allows for the creation of .Net services and Java applications, he said.

ColdFusion MX will allow script writers, rather than developers, to create web services and applications, he said. ColdFusion MX also supports Microsoft's .Net web services initiative.

Fireworks MX adds support for XML (Extensible Mark-Up Language), eases repetitive tasks and smooths the export of graphics and HTML (Hypertext Mark-Up Language) to other applications, he said. Fireworks is used by designers to build and optimise web graphics and small animations.

Dreamweaver and Fireworks run on a number of Windows and Macintosh platforms; the new versions add support for Windows XP as well as native support for Mac OS X, he said.

Dreamweaver MX will cost £299 (£149 for upgrade), Fireworks MX £219 (£109 upgrade) and Coldfusion MX Professional £589 (£409 upgrade). All prices are excl. VAT.