Lingo PDF Generators

Years ago, I thought I was pretty cool for knowing enough about PostScript to be able to write a tool to import simple EPS and PostScript files into Director as vector shape data (PS2VS).

Now that I’m old and all of my creativity has dried up, I can only look admiringly on as people move into areas I thought about but never managed to explore. Specifically, Daniel Nelson and Valentin Schmidt, who have both posted code demos and libraries showing how to generate PDF files with Lingo.

Check out Daniel’s BlueJade demo page or download Valentin’s latest PDF Class library.

P.S. Valentin also has a Windows-only PDF-creation Xtra!

P.P.S. Daniel’s got a set of vector shape import scripts that beat PS2VS on speed, too.

Circular Lingo

A thread on DIRECT-L came up wondering about a handler that could draw a vector shape circle of a specific size. This little knock-off script is just reverse-engineered from a circle drawn with the vector shape tools.

on createVectorCircle diameter
  vs = new (#vectorshape)
  radius = diameter / 2.0
  rhsqh = radius * sqrt (0.5)
  cpoffset = rhsqh * 0.5625
  vs.vertexlist = [[#vertex: point(-rhsqh, -rhsqh), \
                    #handle1: point(cpoffset, -cpoffset), \
                    #handle2: point(-cpoffset, cpoffset)], \
                   [#vertex: point(rhsqh, -rhsqh), \
                    #handle1: point(cpoffset, cpoffset), \
                    #handle2: point(-cpoffset, -cpoffset)], \
                   [#vertex: point(rhsqh, rhsqh), \
                    #handle1: point(-cpoffset, cpoffset), \
                    #handle2: point(cpoffset, -cpoffset)], \
                   [#vertex: point(-rhsqh, rhsqh), \
                    #handle1: point(-cpoffset, -cpoffset), \
                    #handle2: point(cpoffset, cpoffset)]]
  vs.closed = true

Director ROI

Over the past couple of months, I’ve updated a number of Macromedia products: Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Freehand — and now Director — to the MX 2004 level. In addition, I’ve gotten ColdFusion, JRun and Flash Communication Server developer editions and copies of Contribute for both platforms, as well as a year’s worth of Developer Resource Kits.

What’s annoying is that the Director upgrade cost me $399 per platform, while everything else cost only $599 as part of a DevNet Professional upgrade.

Flash underwent some major changes in MX 2004. The other applications in the DevNet upgrade didn’t change as much (at least not in ways I cared about, apart from the greater incorporation of CSS in Dreamweaver), but Macromedia’s push is definitely behind Flash in a way that you just don’t see there for Director. It’s clear that Macromedia sees a future in Flash.

That’s not so obvious for Director. Yes, much has changed in DMX2004, but it’s not getting the kind of overhauling that it needs for long-term development. We’re still missing standard controls. Compare the text display engine in Director with the inlined graphics and style sheets text in Flash. Shockwave 3D, the thing that was supposed to save Director and which siphoned off development resources four years ago has been relatively stagnant for two versions; nobody’s shipping new SW3D exporters.

I wish my Director dollars went as far as my Flash dollars do.