Adobe has launched llustrator 10, with the new version loaded with Web-centric tools and database integration features. The company says it hopes the update will appeal not just to artists and Web designers, but a new market niche for creative tools: Web developers. Web features have been beefed up in this release, with new object-slicing tools and support for symbols debuting. However, Adobe insists that this is not simply an update with Web tools bolted on. Also making the upgrade are live distortion effects, arc and line tools, a unique vector-based lens-flare, and the ability to link to databases to create dynamic vector art. Symbols have been added, which Adobe says will keep files sizes small and make managing graphics easier. Symbols let users create an object, then save it for reuse elsewhere. Instead of recreating the object, Illustrator references it from the original instead. It also means that updating the original updates the sibling symbols as well. Image slicing of objects, layers, and groups has been added. Slices can be exported as GIF, JPEG, PNG, SWF, and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) files, with the ability to set the format and compression of each slice. Image slices are automatically updated whenever an object is altered. Adobe has been actively promoting SVG as a format for the past two years, and Illustrator 10 adds a range of effects for creating SVG artwork. Effects are accessed via a scripting, tag-based interface, and give developers control over drop shadows and other effects. The company is also keen to take advantage of the move towards dynamic data-driven sites – and Illustrator 10 includes a new Variables palette to define objects, such as logos or text, as variables. These variables can be linked to a database of objects and other data, then updated via scripting controls found in other Adobe tools, such as GoLive. Adobe says the data links will work with any ODBC-compliant database, or an image server such as Adobe’s AlterCast software.Scripting isn’t limited to databases, either, says the company. New scripting support will let users automate tasks, and allow low-level access to almost every aspect of Illustrator 10. Scripts can be created by users deploying JavaScript, Microsoft Visual Basic, and AppleScript. A range of headline-grabbing warp tools have been added, bringing the types of graphic effects previously seen in the likes of bitmap packages to a vector environment. Billed as Live Distortion, these series of tools apply bend, stretch, twist, and warping effects to text, graphics, and vector images. The company says distorted objects remain live, and are editable at a later stage. Other drawing tools added include commonly used objects such as lines, arcs, and grids, as well as a new lens flare tool. The lens flare feature creates vector flares that look photorealistic, says Adobe. Expanding the symbol feature, Illustrator 10 can use symbols as a graphic tool, spraying symbols over a canvas much like the image hose found in Procreate Painter. Attributes, such as scrunch, spin, and resize, can be added to the symbols. Illustrator 10, along with the new InDesign 2.0, is the first package to support Mac OS X natively. It will also run on Windows XP. It should cost around £299 plus VAT.