Price: 705 . 209
Pros: Vista and Leopard support; support for Flash 9; PhysX engine and DirectX9; new bitmap filters; Unicode and text engine enhancements; script browser; code snippets.
Cons: No PPC support for Mac users; workflow and installation gripes on Windows Vista; no GPU enhancements for Mac users; relatively expensive.
The biggest change, however, is that the document windows now appear as separate tabs in a central docking channel, which is useful for focusing on a particular part of the workflow. The Stage and Score windows can be docked together by pressing Cmd/Ctrl and then dropping the Score window over the Stage window. New media editors appear as separate tabs in the maximized tabbed view and Windows users can add new tabs for a media editor by clicking the Plus button. The result is a more streamlined workflow.
This edition adds support for Windows Vista and Windows XP SP2, but Mac users will find that the authoring application will only run on Mac OS X 10.4 on Intel processors. This level of support also extends to Director’s Shockwave plug-in technology, in the form of the Shockwave Player (for online playback) and Shockwave Projector (for standalone applications), but here at least PPC Macs are supported. You’ll still need to be running at least Mac OS X 10.4, though.
Windows users will also be able to use the new support for DirectX 9 to take advantage of graphics hardware to render 3D elements, if they have a compatible video card.
Installation was straightforward enough, and the application takes up relatively little space, but when installing on Vista we had to run the program as an Administrator to avoid an annoying licensing glitch. Another minor grumble is that the installer doesn’t automatically place a shortcut to the application in the Windows Vista Start menu or on the desktop.
It’s tempting to see Director’s resurrection as a timely response to the focus on rich-media online and offline applications, which has been sparked by Adobe AIR and Microsoft Silverlight. However, aside from workflow enhancements and some changes to scripting and physics, there’s nothing groundbreaking in this release. The logical next move would be to beef up the feature set with something really novel.