Macromedia Director Rev Extends Developer Reach

By adding support for a standard scripting language, JavaScript, the multimedia-authoring tool hopes to reach developers who are unfamiliar with its long-standing proprietary language.

Macromedia Inc. is broadening the developer reach of its Director multimedia authoring tool by adding support for JavaScript in an upcoming update to the software.

The San Francisco-based company on Monday announced the latest release of the tool, Macromedia Director MX 2004, which is expected to ship in February. The support for JavaScript means that developers will have the choice of using a standard scripting language along with Directors proprietary Lingo scripting language.

The move should be particularly helpful for Web developers and Flash developers who typically are more familiar with JavaScript and similar languages, said Miriam Geller, Macromedia director of product management.

"Making the transition to multimedia will be easier, since there wont be a need to learn another language," she said.

With Director MX 2004, Macromedia also is adding support for additional media types, specifically Windows Media and DVD-Video. By adding the DVD-Video support, Director lets developers add DVD-ROM media content that can be supported on both Windows and the Mac, something often missing in other Windows-specific tools, Geller said.

Macromedia is making several workflow improvements in the new Director release. Developers will be able to publish a Director application for both Windows and Mac systems from a single operating system, and they will be able to create their own names for media elements, Geller said.

Other new features in the new release include support for the latest Flash MX 2004 content, the ability to create projector files for Windows and Mac, and updates to the user interface.

Macromedia Director MX 2004, which runs on Mac OS X 10.2.6 or higher as well as Windows 2000 and Windows XP, will cost $1,199 for new users and $399 for upgrades from Director 8.5 and Director MX.