Authorware is an integration program. It is perfect for putting multi-media together in one structured, interactive program. It is not, however, the best tool for creating images, sounds or animations.
The metaphor used is that of a procedural program's execution flowline. The programmer adds graphics, animation or sounds to the flowline in the order she wants them to appear. Media components can be created in Photoshop, Director, SoundEdit, FreeHand, Authorware itself, etc, and can stay up on the screen for as long the programmer wants by setting the components' properties.
Media components are added to the flowline using Icons, hence Authorware's Icon-Based authoring scheme. There are ?12? different kinds of icons that represent the different media components. You drag an icon from an Icon Palette to the main flowline and double-click on it to add the desired media. The icons that distinguish Authorware from other authoring tools are the Framework, Interaction and Decision Icons. The Framework Icon allows you to navigate through parts of your program, the Interaction Icon allows you to interact with the user, and the Decision Icon allows you to take specific paths according to criteria you set. It is important to note that other programs will allow you to create these same functionalities, but they will inevitable require heavy scripting, while Authorware Icons have their functionalities self-contained..
- Authorware is ideal for programs that require heavy and complex interactivity. If you have many objects on the screen with which the user interacts, including text fields, buttons, hot spots, and key strokes, Authorware lets you specify specific interaction results for each more easily than other tools.
Example A complex Help feature of your program might have a text field for index searches, a couple of clickable words that jump to their definitions, some buttons to quit or jump back to the program, plus some images that highlight when moused-over.
- The Decision icon provides built in flow of control functionality.
Example A quiz where questions are presented in a random order and where the students can only start getting the intermediate level questions after they have completed the beginner level questions with a 90% correct rate.
- Using Framework and Navigation Icons, you can easily create navigation componets that take you to next, previous, first, last sections, or anywhere in your program without any scripting.
Example A hypertext book whose text is organized in chapters and words within the text may link to specific pages or heads of chapters within the book.
- Using the Map icon, the program can be divided in modular sections that can be worked on separetely by different members of the group, allowing for easy collaborations and group work. Programmers can work on different parts of the project, and completed sections can be copied onto the flowline.
Example A program with Log In, Tutorial, Excercise, and Quiz sections. Each programmer works on each individually, and then each Icon is copied onto a main flowline for a complete program.
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- Authorware cannot run on computers that have little memory. It requires ?6MB? of RAM.
- Like most tools, file IO is not possible over the Internet. Authorware's local hard disk file IO is good, but all the built-in functions are disabled when the program is run over the Internet.
- Authorware is not ideal for complex animations. However, animations can be created using other tools, such as Director, and imported into Authorware.
ExampleA program with numbers flying around the screen with a clickable text spinning in the middle while a sound clip plays synchronized with a graphic that moves up and down the screen. (This is definately a Director task.)
Last modified: Sat Feb 13 12:41:30 EST 1999