Mar 97 URLs
Volume Number: 13 (1997)
Issue Number: 3
Column Tag: Uniform Resource Locators
Beyond the Basics
By Nicholas C. "nick.c" DeMello
Director - Shocking Developments
It's 1997, the only excuse for not having built a web site for yourself is if you've been too busy making them for other folks. However, what are you doing to make your pages grab the jaded, "been there, done that" web veterans attention? Are you streaming real-time, 16-bit music tracks directly to your visitors speakers? Do you have a 200 by 500 pixel animated menu? Does your site offer VRML navigation? If so, you are - or should be - a Director Programmer.
MacroMedia's Director 5.0 allows you to create stand alone applications (called movies) by organizing and controlling multi-media elements (called cast members) with a language called lingo. Cast members can include sprites, sounds, QuickTime movies, and other multimedia elements. Director movies can optionally be converted into dramatic, interactive components for your web pages by the free and downloadable utility Afterburner for Director. These elements are supported by Shockwave, a plugin for Netscape 2.02 and 3.0 Final (Windows and Macintosh versions), as well as MS Internet Explorer 3.0 for Windows. Your visitors do need to download and configure Shockwave to interpret your "Shocked" Director files, but the process is very easy. Shockwave elements also have an amazingly small file size. The 200 x 500 pixel animated menu I mentioned above can be found on Netscape's site - it's only 20k.
Streaming audio is definitely an attention getter. Check out the MusicNet pages. MusicNet is a no-cost site that allows you to stream Shocked audio files of top ten music tracks directly to your speakers. Since the music never hits disk (beyond a small buffer cache) you need no disk space to hear the latest samples.
Putting Director files on the web is easy, but you can put a touch of the web into your Director programs as well. Director supports many plugins that expand it's ability to manipulate multimedia elements, including a VRML interpreter provided by RealSpace Inc. By interpreting both the VRML 2.0 and QuickTimeVR standards the RealVR Xtra for Director lends a depth to your Director movies that is remarkable. It also supports retrieval of HTTP assets without the use of a browser, so you can create hybrid disk based applications that access and incorporate content from remote internet sites.
Director Multimedia Studio
MacroMedia Shockwave Developer Central
Example of a 200 x 500 pixel Animated Menu - 20k
Music Net, Streaming Audio
RealSpace Inc., VRML 2.0 Plugin for Director
Beyond C, there are many ways to express your ideas from programs into applications. Visit the comp.lang usenet hierarchy to learn about Smalltalk, Oberon, VRML, and others. If you're hungry for more, here are a few parting URL's to keep you busy until next month. Talk to you later.
The Oberon Language FAQ <ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/Oberon-FAQ/language>
The Oberon Home Page
Oberon MPW Compiler
Smalltalk on Usenet <news:comp.lang.smalltalk>
The Art & Science of SmallTalk
The Smalltalk Page <http://www.di.ufpe.br/smalltalk/>