Macromedia's Director software (which significantly predates the Web) has long been the industry standard for creating multimedia presentations appropriate for CD-ROMs and kiosk displays. Director movies incorporate images, motion, sound, interactive buttons, and even QuickTime movies. In 1996, Macromedia introduced the Shockwave system, which enabled Director movies to be played directly on web pages. While Flash is better suited for the Web, there are some functions that can only be done in Director. Following is a summary of Shockwave's pros and cons.
Shockwave has a number of attractive features:
And on the downside . . .
Creating Shockwave Movies
Shockwave movies (which use the suffix .dcr) must be created usingMacromedia Director. Director is a powerful multimedia authoringenvironment. Although learning the basics of the software itself is not toodaunting, to make Director movies do the really cool interactive stuff, youmust learn Lingo, Director's proprietary programming language. Lingo,although simple by programming standards, can still take a long time tomaster, which is why many designers hire Director and Lingo specialists.
That said, a lesson in Director and Lingo is beyond our scope. If you'reinterested in learning Director. Pay special attention to tips for optimizing file size and preparing files for streaming. Once you've created a movie inDirector, you must save it in Shockwave format to make it play over the Web. In Director 8.5 (the current version as of this writing), use the Publish
command (listed under the File menu) to save your completed movie toShockwave format. By default, when you publish a movie, Directorautomatically creates a .dcr file and an HTML document that contains all the code necessary for displaying the Shockwave movie. Additional exportsettings (such as generating code for plug-in detection) are available on the Publish Settings dialog box.
Director 5 used the Afterburner Xtra to save a movie in Shockwave format. The ability to save directly to .dcr format was built into Director as of Version 6, making Afterburner obsolete.
Configuring the Server
Although you don't need special server software to handle Shockwave files, the server must be configured to recognize the new MIME type. The specific syntax for configuration varies for different servers, so coordinate with your system administrator.The following provides the standard necessaryelements:
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