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11002 - Some Differences Between Director and Authorware (12 June 1999)

by - Joseph Ganci

I love Director. I love Authorware. I'm much more expert in Authorware than Director. My opinion here is subjective, as I'm afraid all our opinions are. This is my opinion, based on observation: I have seen many Director pieces run, including ones I've worked on, where bugs pop up on the screen (in a rather obvious manner, with a "frame not defined" message box appearing). I attribute this to the fact that in Director, you basically need to jump from one frame to another for many things you do. Of course, any smart Director user will use markers rather than specific frame numbers, but what happens if you delete or rename the marker? All references to the marker will be like lost children and you get the nasty message box. Of course, I'm sure there are ways around this but there are many who must not be using those ways.

In Authorware, if you delete an icon that is being referenced by other icons, you can also have the same situation. But  two things are different here. One, Authorware just ignores the jump (you can make a case that this is not a good thing). Two, at least you have the ability in Authorware to click the icon you're going to delete, choose Modify, Icon, Connections to see if there are any references to it. Three, if all else fails, just do a Search for "DeletedIcon" to see if you've accidentally deleted a referenced icon.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, the flowline approach Authorware uses, with icons embedded in Maps, with Decision icons and Framework icons allowing basic navigation, and with Interaction icons containing all the basic navigation you need for an interaction, there is not nearly as much need in Authorware to jump around as there is in Director. Of course, we use Navigate icons to jump around and some (you know who you are) even use the GoTo function in Authorware (bad, nasty habit), so it is possible to circumvent the safety measures and lose links, but the blame there is more on the Authorware user, who could have used safety measures to avoid these sorts of problems. Director users must be much more disciplined to avoid the same kinds of bugs.

As I said, I love both products and think it's best to use each product for what it does best, just as is true for Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Visual Basic, Delphi, etc. In addition, it is also true that there are many other kinds of bugs that creep into our applications than jump ones, but it seems to me that these seem to be among the more common.

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