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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 … Continue reading “Let us now praise MacroMind Director”

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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.)

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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]

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About the author

Harry McCracken is the technology editor for Fast Company, based in San Francisco. In past lives, he was editor at large for Time magazine, founder and editor of Technologizer, and editor of PC World.

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