Director vs. Flash

Before you start bombarding us with email, we know that Director is not a part of Studio MX 2004, even though it carries the MX branding. The reason we are including it is because it is one seriously powerful application for dynamic data management. We aren't going to ignore the Flash MX 2004 guys. Skip ahead to Chapter 13, "Assembling the Booking Application in Flash MX 2004," and we will show you how to create the application in Flash MX 2004.

We also can't overlook the fact that the web development community tends to dismiss Director because "it's too difficult to learn" or because "Flash does it a lot better, so why bother?" They are about to discover how wrong they are, and we hope you will discover, as we did, that Director is an extremely powerful tool that does more on the Internet than "hog web bandwidth."

We have no intention, despite the heading, to get involved in the Flash vs. Director debate. To us, it is right up there with the Mac vs. PC debate. Both tools are remarkably similar in look and feel because both create linear, frame-based movies with which the user can interact. The workflow is quite similar, and both use scripts for interactivity and navigation. At the end of the process, both publish their movies to the web.

Still, there are some fundamental differences between the two applications that Flash users especially should be aware of. They include:

  • A Director movie can only have one timeline. Flash movies containing movie clips are actually composed of multiple timelines that resemble a tree structure, as opposed to Director's flat hierarchy.

  • Flash movies can contain multiple objects in a layer. Director movies don't use layers, meaning there can only be one item in a channel at any given time. For example, a Flash movie layer could contain three squares and a circle. In Director, those three squares and a circle would require a channel for each object.

  • Scripts in Flash are attached to specific objects or keyframes. Director scripts are simply cast members that can be used at will and attached to different frames and sprites in the movie.

Regardless of the development application, everything still starts on paper as the team plans how to approach the task at hand.