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Director 7 FAQ

(still growing)

Copyright 1998. Bruce A. Epstein. All Rights Reserved.

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Q. What is new in D7?

The new features in D7 are detailed on Macromedia's site, or see "New Features" in the on-line Help's index.

There is an improved Color model, System-independent date functions, more accurate/consistent timer functions, embeddable fonts, multi-user server, XML parser, rudimentary HTML parsing, vector shapes, rotating sprites, 1000 sprite channels, and much more.

Q. Should I upgrade to D7?

D7 has a lot of nice, new features. It also has a completely new playback engine which can be both a plus and a minus. If you need D7's features, upgrade. If not, D6.x is still quite powerful (and you'll need it to support Windows 3.1 or 68K Macs). Either way, take some time before shipping a product with D7 to make sure you don't run into any show stoppers.When upgrading, keep the advice of John Dowdell of Macromedia in mind. John writes:

"Reminder: Please do give yourself some time to explore the new version. Going on deadline with a new environment is not as prudent as continuing nearterm projects in the environment you already know. ''It's easier to create than to convert''... gradually building up your chops after the new version arrives is better than porting existing work on deadline."

Q. What new bugs are there?

See the D7 Bug list.

Q. What has moved/changed from D6 to D7?

See the D7 Differences list.

Q. Why isn't the Help context-sensitive like in previous versions?

Macromedia was planning to release the D7 documentation in HTML format. Due to feedback during the beta program, and much to their credit, Macromedia reconsidered this decision at a late date. There was not time to implement context-sensitivity, but Macromedia's Instructional Media Dept. nonetheless made a tremendous effort to ensure that the D7 Help as fast and compact as in previous versions. The unanimous opinion of the beta testers was that they made the right choice, and we thank them for being so responsive. Trust me, it is better than the HTML alternative by several orders of magnitude.

Q. What platforms does D7 and SW7 support.

A. D7 supports PowerMac and Win 95/98/NT only. No 68K Mac support or Windows 3.1 support of any kind. (In fact the new features in D6.5 didn't support these platforms either). Shockwave 7 will not support 68K Macs or Windows 3.1. You must provide such users a SW6 version of your DCR file. The Shockwave download center will accomodate users of these older OSes by pointing them to SW6 plug-ins.

Q. Does D7 render HTML and can I use it instead of a browser?

A. HTML files (including those at remote URLs) can be imported via File>Import. D7 text cast members only recognize very basic text-based HTML pages and tags. D7 recognizes simpel tables and some formatting codes. It does not render embedded objects other than tables, such as <IMAGE> tags for GIFs, JPEGs, etc. It does not recognize frames, nested tables, applets, or forms. Director ignores any tags it does not recognize. (<FRAME>, <APPLET>, <FORM>, <FRAME>, <INPUT>, <IMAGE>, etc.). Formatting, including spacing and layout, is very approximate.

This is not necessarily a problem if you are creating simple text-only HTML pages, but you can't use it to browse a generic site or the entire web. If you need a real live browser in Director, you still need an Xtra. (WebXtra, LiveCD, etc.)


Q. How do I colorize scripts?

A. Script colorization is set under "File>Preferences>Script". It allow you to colorize different keywords automatically. I think it is useless and slow, but beginners may find it useful. It is not very accurate or consistent, and to that extent it can easily mislead beginners. Better to learn Lingo, IMNSHO. Click here for a free Lingo tutorial (Chapter 1 of Lingo in a Nutshell).

Q. What happened to the QT3 properties starting with "VR"

A. They are deprecated, and replaced by properties of similiar names without the "VR" prefix, such as "motionQuality" instead of "VRmotionQuality".

Q. Is D7 Y2K compliant?

A. Macromedia has a Y2K compliance statement on their site. D7 can be used to create Y2K-compliant applications, but it could also be misused to create ones that are not Y2K-compliant. To ensure Y2K compliance, use the new property the systemDate and the getDate() function in the UIHelper Xtra (which returns the year since 1900 (i.e. 2000 is year 100)).

Q. What versions of QuickTime does D7 support?

D7 supports only QT3. As such, when you use File>Import, it creates a #quickTimeMedia cast member, not the older QT2-style #digitalVideo cast members. #DigitalVideo is reserved for AVI members under Windows only. Any older #digitalVideo cast members are updated to #quickTimeMedia cast members if you update a D6 .DIR file to D7.

Using File>Import is now the preferred method to import QT3 cast members. The older Insert>Media Element>QuickTime Media option is still available, but requires additional gestures to get to the point where you can actually import a file.

In D7, you no longer need to substitute the relative path operator (@) for the current directory in the QT3 Cast Member Properties dialog, as you did in D6. D7 will adjust the paths properly as it does for all files imported via File>Import.

Q. I have QuickTime installed and Director won't play QT videos.

A. D6's standard QT2-style #digitalVideo cast members require QT2.x, which D7 no longer supports. Likewise, in D6.5, QT3 cast members imported via Insert>Media Element>QuickTime Media require QT3. QT2.x and QT3 can co-exist under Windows 95/98/NT, but you have to make sure you have the right version of QT for the type of cast member you are using. (Refer to the type of member property to determine a cast member's type)

Q. Did Projectors get bigger or smaller?

A. Yes, they got both bigger and smaller because there are two kinds - standard projectors which got bigger and "Slim Projectors" which are small. Standard Projectors are 2 MB to 3 MB depending on which of the "basic" Xtras they include. Slim Projectors are about 300 KB, but require that Shockwave 7 be installed.

Q. Tell me more about Slim Projectors and System Players. What are Shockwave Players, and Lite Projector, Shim Projectors, Thin Projectors, and Otto?

A. They are all the same thing. A slim projector is built using the Use System Player option in the File>Create Projector>Options dialog box. When the user tries to run such a Projector, it will prompt the user to download the necessary components unless the IMLlib and DPlib libraries for SW7 are installed in your System folder. (They are put there automatically by the SW7 install). The prompt to download the components is supposed to be optional, but it appears unaffected by the Web Download If Needed option in the File>Create Projector>Options dialog box.


Q. How do I embed a font in D7?

Use the new #font cast member type by choosing Insert>Media Element>Font.

Q. How do I include Xtras with my Projector?

A. The option to include Xtras has moved from the Projector creation options dialog to the Modify>Movie>Xtras dialog. I continue to advise against bundling Xtras with a Projector.

Q. How can I build a Windows 3.1 or Mac 68K Projector in D7?

A. You can't with D7. You must stick with D6 instead.

Q. Is there a way to add multiple Behaviors to a sprite and to set its parameters via Lingo such that they will saved with the movie?

There is still no way to permanently set multiple Behaviors and their properties. You need to kludge it at runtime using the scriptInstanceList. See the UIBehavior Xtra for ways to read attached Behaviors.

Q. Why doesn't AfterShock 2.5 save in Animated GIF format?

A. To give you another reason to dislike lawyers.

Much more to come

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Copyright © 1996-1998. Bruce A. Epstein. All Rights Reserved.

(The page last revised December 19, 1998)