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Macromedia Director MX 2004

My name is Carlos-David Donoso and I’m currently working as the Multimedia Director of, a leading web design firm in Montreal, Canada. With all kinds of interactive projects going on daily basis, I get to work on many different tools to achieve specific goals. I’m always on the look out for new authoring solutions and I decided to try out the latest version of Macromedia Director MX 2004. I have to say that I haven’t touched Director in a little while (since version 8.5) but like all of the Macromedia titles, it didn’t take much time to get familiar with the latest interface. I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised by all the new features and improvements I’ve come to discover.

The Product
  • Comprehensive media support
  • Powerful scripting tools
  • Tight Macromedia MX 2004 integration
  • DVD-Video and other new media
  • Flash MX 2004 integrations
  • Cross platform projector
  • Highly Customizable interface
  • Extend without limits
  • Incorporate diverses media

Approx. USD $1200

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For those who wonder what exactly Director MX 2004 is, consider it as THE multimedia developing tool for any platform: CD’s, DVD’s, kiosks and of course, the Web. You can integrate virtually any kind of media (audio, video, vectors, bitmaps, fonts, real-time interactive 3D, Flash) and make them seamlessly interact with each other allowing you to easily build rich and complex applications for powerful deliveries.

OK, so you have a basic idea of what Macromedia Director MX 2004 is all about and it all sounds very promising doesn’t it? Well let’s get into details of the new features and see how really powerful this tool really is.

One of the popular features Director MX 2004 offers is the ability to now integrate DVD-video and produce your own DVD applications. With DVD-burners getting more and more affordable, this will definitely turn out to be a very interesting title. The embed Controller components allows you to playback and control your DVD movies in nearly every way possible. You can use the pre-built components or you can just as easily customize them yourself. In addition, you also have the ability to easily add interactivity with the DVD Event Manager tool. With this visual tool, you can trigger specific events during DVD playback and customize them to your needs without having to go through DVD scripting. And all of this can then be published on cross-platform Director Projects, stand-alone applications or even the Web in Shockwave format.

In the same wave of media features, Macromedia Director MX 2004 has a couple of new media format support. You can now import the popular Windows Media and Real Media formats to your projects. Director also supports QuickTime 6 features like MPEG-4 video and mp3 audio. Of course an array of other available media is supported as well, over 40 different types!

Director MX has the versatility of working with other Macromedia tools such as Flash MX 2004 and Fireworks MX 2004. You can launch and edit Flash content from Director MX. By double-clicking a SWF file, Macromedia Flash opens it automatically and lets you edit them as you need. Once you’re done, the SWF file is automatically updated back into Director; a neat little time saver. The same feature is also available with Fireworks MX 2004.

So now that you know what you can integrate in Director MX 2004, how do we make things happen? For years Director has been using a powerful scripting language called Lingo and programmers have come to develop some powerful data-driven applications with this language. There is even a huge community of Lingo users that exchange abundant resources to answer virtually any obstacles you may encounter by building your applications.

This time around, Macromedia has made a serious new introduction to his multimedia authoring tool; developers have now the option of scripting in JavaScript. That’s right; Director MX 2004 now fully supports ECMAScript-compliant JavaScript syntax.

Web developers can use their existing knowledge and apply them to Director MX without having to learn a whole new language; you can seamlessly use both languages on a single project allowing both Lingo and JavaScript developers to combine their expertise. Now that’s productivity! And if that’s not enough for you, other developing resources can be found with Extra Extensions. These extensions can add an array of custom features and functionality to Director MX.

And like other extensions available for other Macromedia tools, there are hundreds of available Extras to fit your needs and giving you the option to actually create your owns in order to share them with other Macromedia users.

For web developers, Director MX 2004 supports Internet Protocol. Import HTML files and keep control of all the links, secure transactions (HTTPS) for e-commerce applications within Shockwave, two-way communications (CGI-Post) integration and improved XML parsing.

Productivity is always an important aspect of any software and those who are familiar with Macromedia MX 2004 tools will feel right at ease in the Director MX 2004’s work environment. The interface is fully customizable to fit your needs and that’s either you’re more design oriented or script oriented.

There’s even a variety of panel settings to optimize the interface accordingly to your screen resolution

If you are already familiar with Director MX, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a new Sprite & Channel Naming feature that allows you to manipulate these elements throughout your projects without affecting the code or reducing productivity time.

The new Projector Publishing Panel enables you to customize, save publishing settings and avoiding redundancies in future projects. Another improvement regarding Projector, you can now create cross-platform Projectors, meaning you can publish your applications or Web based Shockwave content for both Windows (98, 2000, XP) and Macintosh (OS X).

There’s no doubt about it, Macromedia Director MX 2004 is definitely the tool of choice for professional multimedia development. Its versatility to integrate all kinds of media formats, its strong scripting language structure and its ability to expand the functionality with the Extra components community will allow designers and programmers alike to deliver rich and interactive applications in order to make it available to the world.

A valuable asset to any media production company, I know I’ll be looking forward to get a copy in the office in the next weeks.

Justin Svatina