on Monday will announce a new version of Director, the company’s multimedia authoring application. Dubbed
Director MX, the newest addition to Macromedia’s MX line of products adds Mac OS X support, as well as other new features.
In addition to OS X support, Director MX also includes support for QuickTime 6 and takes full advantage of the underlying strengths of Mac OS X and the G4 chip with Velocity Engine, Macromedia senior product manager Miriam Geller told MacCentral.
Director is Macromedia’s multimedia authoring environment for building high-end, interactive content and applications deployed on CD/DVD-ROM, kiosks, and the Web via Macromedia Shockwave Player. The Shockwave Player itself makes up more than 44 percent of the 3D player market with over 335 million Web users. Director — which was Mac only until 1995 when a Windows version was released — has a revamped user interface and boasts a range of new capabilities, according to Geller.
“Anyone who does any sort of online work regarding the government or education will be pleased with the accessibility enhancements,” Gellar said. “Director MX should boost Mac OS X content in education and games development.”
Due next month, Macromedia Director MX boasts such new features as comprehensive integration with the Macromedia Flash MX product family, adoption of the streamlined Macromedia MX user interface, new workflow efficiencies, and the ability to create accessible content so that Director presentations can be enjoyed by people with disabilities.
Macromedia Director MX is used to author content once and deliver it in a variety of methods, both online and offline. It supports most major video, audio, bitmap, 3D and vector formats and video capabilities that let developers stream video files that are natively supported with QuickTime, RealVideo and AVI. The new version can import files from the current version of Director.
The performance, media handling and extensibility of Director MX are designed to handle data deployed to fixed media, as it quickly loads and unloads data into system memory for optimal playback of large CD/DVD-ROM or kiosk-based files, she added.
Though it’s not yet part of Studio MX, Macromedia Director MX is the latest addition to Macromedia MX, an integrated family of client, tool and server technologies. It integrates with the other members of the MX family, which include Flash MX, Dreamweaver MX, Fireworks MX and ColdFusion MX. While most of Macromedia’s MX products are Mac compatible, the one exception is ColdFusion MX, the rapid server scripting environment for creating rich Internet applications.
“ColdFusion MX isn’t available for the Mac itself, but we have built application development capabilities for using ColdFusion into Dreamweaver MX for the Mac,” Adam Berry of Macromedia said. “We’ve seen in most Macintosh development shops that people put an application server or scripting technology such as ColdFusion on a server platform and work off of that. However, up until now there hasn’t been a strong application development environment that works with such platforms and which supports all remote development capabilities you need in such an environment.”
Director’s integration with Macromedia Flash MX and consistency with other products in the Macromedia MX family is a substantial benefit for Director developers, most of whom are already using other MX products, Geller said. Director MX lets users launch and edit Macromedia Flash from within Director to make quick content changes, and also gives developers direct control over Macromedia Flash MX content through Lingo.
Director MX is integrated with Macromedia Flash server technologies including Macromedia Flash Remoting to enable a secure, high performance connection between Macromedia ColdFusion MX and Shockwave Player, and Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX for multi-user games, streaming Macromedia Flash video, and real-time collaboration. Director MX will ship with a copy of Macromedia Flash Communication Server MX, Personal Edition.
“Flash users are getting more and more sophisticated, getting into areas where Director normally excels,” Geller said. “Director MX lets Flash users intuitively create sophisticated experiences that combine the best of both products.”
Developers will also benefit from new workflow efficiencies for multimedia application development in Macromedia Director MX, she said. Director now includes advanced debugging features such as an Object Inspector with data browser functionality and color-coding of recently changed variables. A unified script and debugging window, split-pane message window and script window buttons will reduce development time.
Macromedia Director MX will cost US$1,199 for new users, $399 for users upgrading from versions 8.0 or 8.5, and $499 for educational customers. Government and corporate volume licensing will also be available. Director MX is available for Mac OS X 10.1 or higher. The U.S. and Canadian versions are due in mid-December, while Localized versions for French, German, Japanese and Korean will be available later.
“The response to Studio MX has been great,” Geller said. “It’s been the single most popular product we’ve ever released.”
But not all products Mac compatible products will join the MX family, as evidenced by the
recently announced Macromedia Contribute. Announced on November 11, Contribute will be released on Mac OS X, but will not make it into the MX family.
“Where it makes sense, we’ll bring products to the line. For some, such as Contribute, it doesn’t make sense,” said Gellar.
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