Director, also known as Director Shockwave Studio, is the name of Macromedia's multimedia authoring tool that generates Shockwave media. Originally a tool for creating multimedia presentations and CDROM-based demos, Director is probably best known now for Shockwave games embedded in websites. Though it overlaps in functionality with Flash, Macromedia's other web multimedia format, Director is more focused on content that is long, "heavy-weight" or highly interactive. Director comes in versions for both Windows and Mac, and the content created is portable between the two.

As you might guess from the name, Director uses a movie director metaphor. The objects you manipulate, which can images, animations, sounds and scripts, are refered to as the cast. They appear in a window called the stage and they are arranged and animated on the score. Director allows a huge number of different media types that can be embedded into a Shockwave presentation.

The scripting language incorporated in Director is called Lingo. Lingo seems to generate a lot of controversy, people either love it or hate it. It is a wordy scripting language that is light on symbols and operators; it was supposedly modeled closely around HyperTalk, the HyperCard scripting language. Director provides a window called the Message window, an interactive Lingo session useful for experimenting with the language.

As noted above, Director began life as a humble slideshow presentation tool. In the beginning, it competed with PowerPoint as a general purpose presentation program. In 1993, still before the Internet revolution, Director 4 shifted focus to true multimedia, graphics, animations, and sound as it jumped on the emerging interactive CDROM authoring bandwagon. The next major change was version 6, which reinvented Director as an Internet authoring tool. The latest version, 8.5, now adds the latest major feature, 3D graphics.