What a release: Director MX 2004!

Macromedia announced Director MX 2004 today. This is the most significant release in Director’s history. Why am I excited about this? As a developer who used Director since version 3, it’s been an amazing tool for many projects in the last 13 years or so. The new features in this release brings Director back to the spotlight with features that will attract Flash developers.

Although Flash got all the attention in the last couple of years, Director is still an important tool for:

  • content-heavy projects such as CDs / DVDs / kiosks
  • true 3D games / product demos / interface / environments
  • interacting with the local operating system and devices
  • third-party author-time and runtime plug-ins (Xtras)
  • pixel-based access
  • performance

Here are some of the exciting new features in this release:

  • JavaScript 1.5 (SpiderMonkey engine) support
  • Cross-platform projector publishing
  • DVD video/event/content support
  • Sprite and channel naming
  • Improved XML parsing
  • Extensive media support
  • Flash MX 2004 components

By the way, I’m still deciding on what to do with these old Director boxes. There’s both Mac and Windows versions, and even one unopened Director 5! The later versions were electronically shipped so I don’t have boxes to fill up my space, but they also lacked printed manuals that I still find easier to read than on-screen text… well, at least they saved a few trees.

Looks like it’s time to allocate budget for the upgrade again!

10 thoughts on “What a release: Director MX 2004!

  1. the cross platform publishing is good news. It also means that developers will have to know the differences between mac and pc platforms and take that into account – especially little basics like the file separator ( its a colon on a mac ) or just things like the file management – big difference on the mac. Overall, exquistite feature.

  2. What do to with the old Director boxes? Keep them, for goodness sake. They’ll be worth a lot of money some day. Or, at the very least, a lot of nostalgic aaah’s and oooh’s.

  3. Yes Vera, that’s why I still have these boxes. However, one day I looked at ALL the boxes I collected over the years (over 200) and guess what? They are taking over my space with mostly air inside! LOL!

  4. The upgrade requires Director 8.5 on the same platform. So this crossplatform publishing is great news. I recon a lot of Design shops/ developers will finally stick with one platform and have a Mac/Win version they would love to convert to one or the other platform.

    Why Macromedia doesn’t offer a crossgrade is beyond me. They could charge an extra $100 for it. I’d pay the money instead of having to hunt down someone that wants to swap a Win vers. for a Mac and then transfer ownership.

    I’ve got Studio MX on Mac and Director 8.5 on PC; crossplatform publishing finally allows me to settle on the Mac platform.

  5. I’m sure cross-platform publishing is one of the most wished for feature in the Director community.

    I spent way too much money purchasing version after version of the same software on both platforms for just this one purpose (even though there are stud projectors out there)… This is definitely good news for developers.

  6. I never got into Director, and never learned Lingo in any practical way. Does the JavaScript support allow you to utilize all Director functionality or are there things you can do with Lingo that you won’t be able to do with JavaScript?

    If I can leverage my ActionScript knowledge in really useful way, I will most likely buy Director. If not, it will always be one of those apps that I really wished I had the time to learn because it is so damn powerful – but never will.

    I find this much more exciting than all of Central and Flex combined.

    blue skies,
    bryan

  7. Hi Bryan, I don’t have answer to your question, but I certainly hope that both languages are equally capable.

    For Flash developers who have never used Director, there will be some surprises in the different metaphores. For example, movieclips and sprites are quite different in that sprites are single on-screen objects. Movieclips are more powerful because they can contain other movieclips. It used to be a pain to fit a lot of sprites on the stage back when Director was still young, because there was a very limited number of sprite channels.

    As for cross-platform publishing and path separators, it’s easy to check during runtime and use the appropiate one with encapsulated file access functions.

    There are many headaches in developing cross-platform standalone applications. Central takes away many of these headaches, but also is a lot more restricted in its own sandbox.

  8. I recall being nervous in 2002 when all the talk was flash and I had just bought Director 8.5 and began learning it. “Director is dead”, etc. was all I could find on the boards. So this new feature list has me VERY excited because it will not only get older director users to upgrade, but the javascript inclusion and flash support should bring on board new users to the user base. Very exciting!

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