Let us now praise MacroMind Director

Today, I read that Adobe is discontinuing its venerable Director multimedia authoring package and Shockwave, the technology used to put Director content on the web. After work, I went out for dinner at a shabu-shabu joint and—San Francisco being a small town—found myself sitting a table away from Marc Canter, the industry legend who cofounded MacroMind, the company that created Director back in the the 1980s. (Director was originally called Videoworks; MacroMind later evolved into Macromedia before being swallowed up by Adobe, its archrival.)

I took the opportunity to ask Canter for his thoughts about Director, which was born in the pre-web era when CD-ROMs seemed to be the future. He told me that 85% of the CD-ROMs published in the medium’s golden age were assembled using the package. “You’d buy this $800 product and hang a shingle and make multi-millions,” he said.

Canter also lamented that Director doesn’t receive the same appreciation for its pioneering role in interactive content creation as does Apple‘s HyperCard, which appeared two years after Videoworks and had a much briefer period of relevance. He’s right. Even though Director long ago faded away, it gave way to Flash, which was rendered irrelevant by HTML5—and it deserves a spot on any list of the most significant foundational technologies of all time.   

[Director screen via MacGUI]