Welcome!

Adobe Flex Authors: Matthew Lobas, PR.com Newswire, Shelly Palmer, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Adobe Flex

Adobe Flex: Article

And My Magic 8-Ball Says...

Divining Director's future with Adobe in the picture

Director has three things going for it that are unique in both the Macromedia and Adobe product lines: Imaging Lingo (or JavaScript), Shockwave 3D, and DVD support

It's the middle of summer, and it's particularly hot this year. I suppose the same could be said of multimedia content tools. I've seen a ton of new products this year, each of which looks interesting in its own way. In prepping for this issue, our editor-in-chief asked each of us to do the impossible: predict where our products will be going given the merger of Adobe and Macromedia. Well, let me be the first to tell you, I don't have a clue, but I can make some educated guesses. Through several contacts at Macromedia and others in the industry, as well as my own work, I'm going to attempt the impossible: gaze deeply into my crystal ball and predict the future development of software in a volatile marketplace. Wish me luck!

Director Isn't Going Anywhere
I'm sure that by the time you read this, Studio 8 will have launched, and it won't contain Director bundled in. This will spark a series of e-mail-threads and bulletin-board topics about "Director is Dead! No, really, this time it is! See?!?" At last count, Director has died at least six times. The truth is, there are plans for a next release, with some significant feature development.

Future Directions Are Being Discussed
It was done quietly, but then publicly announced that Macromedia had formed a Director Advisory Council (DAC) composed of users who have used the product at various levels. Most of them have been using Director for a long time, and have some idea of where they'd like to see it go. Macromedia has also been making on-site visits to customers to understand their needs and their Director-related wish lists better. If you feel your voice is critical to this discussion I would point out that the DAC is composed primarily of folks who have been involved in Director beta programs. So if you want to participate you should become a beta tester and then apply to participate at www.macromedia.com/support/programs/beta.html. For more information on the DAC, see Tom Higgins' blog at http://weblogs.macromedia.com/thiggins/archives/general/index.cfm. He's Director's technical product manager. Take the opportunity to get involved in the community!

What About Adobe?
Ahhh, yes, Adobe, the great unknown. What will Adobe do with / for / about Director? I've read just about every opinion out there so far: "Adobe will kill it!" "Adobe will save it!" "Adobe will merge it with Flash!" I think the thing to do in this situation is to look at history. What does Adobe's product line-up have now, and how does Director complement it? Currently Director has three things going for it that are unique in both the Macromedia and Adobe product lines: 1)Imaging Lingo (or JavaScript), 2) Shockwave 3D, and 3) DVD support.

Imaging
So let's look at each of them. First off Imaging Lingo. It doesn't seem like the most glamorous of features, but real-time image manipulation enables a great deal of interactive feature development. This is why Flash8 has new imaging features. Some say that makes Director less important, but from what I've seen so far the two products actually complement each other quite well. Not nearly all of the ink effects in Director are implemented in Flash. Likewise, Flash has some new stuff that I can't wait to get my hands on like filters, blend modes, advanced gradients and FlashType. I predict that we'll see some incredible imaging apps that harness the power of Flash plus Director.

Now where does Adobe come into play? Imagine using the programming power of Actionscript and JavaScript to manipulate pixels and the like in Photoshop documents or specific Photoshop layers. I predict that support for .psd files will be infinitely improved soon (no big leap of faith there) - and that programmatic control of the format through Director and Flash will enable some really great imaging stuff.

Shockwave 3D
Next up, Shockwave3D. It's truly the feature that sets Director apart, a real-time Web-enabled 3D engine that can be scripted with complete control. Adobe tried to hit this market with Atmospheres, and Atmospheres was very interesting, although it didn't succeed. It was unique in attempting to give people a template for creating Web 3D - all you had to do was drag pre-built pieces into place. Shockwave3D is often criticized for going too far the other way and being too oriented to the programmer, not the designer. If these two products come together somewhere in the middle, I predict we'll see what could be the most complete solution to 3D authoring for the Web. There's an interesting twist on this discussion in that Adobe may not have been considering Director when it acquired Macromedia, but it now probably has the best-known and most widely recognized Web 3D content creation tool on the market today. The market, as they say, is "theirs to lose." Competition is there, and gaining steadily, but currently Shockwave's install base dwarfs its rivals'. I'm giving Adobe the benefit of the doubt in recognizing this opportunity for what it is. Embedding interactive 3D directly into PDF documents would personally help me out to a degree I can't even express - there's a market for that as well, mark my words.

DVD Authoring
Finally there's DVD authoring. Adobe has products that do a better job authoring DVD's core, from film production to the Encore product line that deals with formatting and compression. Combining Director's support for menuing and its interactive driven interface with Adobe's digital video tools is clearly a win.

The Future
It's odd trying to predict a product's future, particularly bring a developer. I've been around the block enough to know that I'll be wrong at least half the time, because I don't think like a business analyst. But from the developer's standpoint, Director still has a lot to offer. Ironically, Adobe, with its Hypercard history, may be in a better position to recognize this than Macromedia. I create content in Shockwave 3D every day that I couldn't do in any other package, and would take me roughly 10 times as long to build from scratch in C/C++. There's an asset there, and beneath all the Studio hype and all the glamorous announcements about the merger, I'm actually feeling pretty positive about the future of our beloved product. And having met some of the Macromedia team, I predict that our little environment will live on, and be enhanced in the future.

More Stories By Andrew M. Phelps

Andrew M. Phelps, a member of the Editorial Board of Web Developer's & Designer's Journal, is in the Information Technology Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY (http://andysgi.rit.edu/).

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Be Among the First 100 to Attend & Receive a Smart Beacon. The Physical Web is an open web project within the Chrome team at Google. Scott Jenson leads a team that is working to leverage the scalability and openness of the web to talk to smart devices. The Physical Web uses bluetooth low energy beacons to broadcast an URL wirelessly using an open protocol. Nearby devices can find all URLs in the room, rank them and let the user pick one from a list. Each device is, in effect, a gateway to a web page. This unlocks entirely new use cases so devices can offer tiny bits of information or simple i...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
TechCrunch reported that "Berlin-based relayr, maker of the WunderBar, an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware dev kit which resembles a chunky chocolate bar, has closed a $2.3 million seed round, from unnamed U.S. and Switzerland-based investors. The startup had previously raised a €250,000 friend and family round, and had been on track to close a €500,000 seed earlier this year — but received a higher funding offer from a different set of investors, which is the $2.3M round it’s reporting."
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. Every other IT news item seems to be about IoT and its implications on the future of digital busines...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things needs an entirely new security model, or does it? Can we save some old and tested controls for the latest emerging and different technology environments? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, will review hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal privacy options and a new risk balance you might not expect.
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.