Multimedia Methods

Macromedia Director lets content authors build interactive projects using a fully visual environment with drag-and-drop tools. It's tempting to regard Director merely as advanced presentation software—PowerPoint on steroids. But in reality, it's much more than that.

Director sets up a visual environment that mimics the filmmaking process. But when the visual metaphor isn't sufficient, Director also offers a complete programming environment of its own, built around a language called Lingo. Lingo isn't just a simple application scripting language. It lets coders mix traditional procedural programming with advanced object-oriented techniques. Lingo was originally designed with a high-level, English-like syntax that was often cumbersome to experienced developers. Beginning with the Director 7 release, however, it has also supported the familiar "dot notation" of other object-oriented languages like Java and JavaScript.

Nearly every one of Director's functions can be manipulated using Lingo, and many of the most advanced Director programmers forego the GUI completely for their projects. Instead, all of the action is executed programmatically, using a series of scripts attached to a single animation frame.

Lingo also offers advanced functionality beyond the basics of multimedia production. In addition to libraries for manipulating onscreen images and 3D graphics, programmers can also access such sophisticated features as floating-point math, string manipulation, and TCP/IP networking—all from within the Director environment.

—Neil McAllister