If there is one segment of Macromedia product users that have experienced the heights of exhilaration and the depths of despair, it is the Director crew. When multimedia was at its "new tech" zenith, CDs created in Macromedia Director were unavoidable. Corporations were clamoring for their own interactive CDs, and Director developers were more than happy to oblige. When the web took hold, Director developers were there, riding the wave with a new technology called "Shockwave" that put Director on the web through the use of a browser plugin. The Director crew was understandably a rather happy bunch of campers.
Then Macromedia released Flash.
Suddenly, the klieg light shining glory on the Director developers swung over to the Flash developers. Couple this with the sudden decrease in demand for interactive CDs, and it is understandable why today's Director developer community is feeling a bit resentful. This is demonstrated by a rather amusing incident that occurred at the New York Macromedia DevCon 2001.
A Macromedia tradition is to have gatherings of developers at its annual conferences. The developers and the Macromedia product managers and engineers get together in informal forums around their products and discuss any issues they have been having. The Director gathering had attracted about 150 developers from all experience levels. The Macromedia product manager opened the session with, "Well, what do you guys want to do?" A voice from the crowd piped up, "How about we go into the next room and punch out the Flash guys?"
Director MX is the current iteration of this rich media development product. In 1985, a company named Macromind introduced a product for use on the Macintosh named VideoWorks that made "animation" on the Macintosh rather easy to accomplish. In 1989, to take advantage of the "power" of the Macintosh II, the product metamorphosed into Macromind Director. In 2003, the company is known as Macromedia, and Director has moved from its Macintosh roots to a heavy-duty, cross-platform multimedia authoring application.
Obviously, entire books have been written about the application. It is that deep, rich, feature-laden, and indulgent. We are going to focus on a very small part of the application, which is using Director movies on the web to provide the viewer with a rich media experience.