The Macromedia roadshow hit Auckland this week, with demonstrations of Authorware, Director and Freehand, along with the sleight of hand Shockwave can perform.
The Shockwave demonstration was visually impressive. Shockwave is available for downloading from the Macromedia website (www.macromedia.com/) for Macintosh, Windows 95, 3.x and Unix. Visitors to the site can specify which system they have and the web page will give a list of ftp sites which have a version appropriate to their configuration.
It seemed similar to Sun's Java when used for animation and games but it doesn't have the wider capabilities of Java.
"Shockwave has been incredibly well received," says Bill Holtzman, Macromedia's senior director for Asia and Latin America. "Disney, Netscape, Yahoo and Nissan are just some of the companies using it at their sites. It takes the Internet to a different dimension because you can take anything on Director and put it on the Internet; you can do desktop publishing on a Mac, import it into Freehand and run it on the World Wide Web through Shockwave."
Holtzman says Macromedia aims to keep a foot in both camps by also developing for Java and has set up a Java-based group within the company. Macromedia has been cautious about rushing into Java, preferring to see if it will stay the distance first.
"It's a very very fast moving industry. It would be a mistake to go charging after the latest sexy thing in the computing industry."
Holtzman says the real explosion in Internet usage, of things such as video-on-demand, will not come until cable modems or similar data transmission tools are widely installed.