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1. What is an Authoring System?

2. Why would anyone want to use an authoring system?

3. What is an authoring paradigm?

4. What is the Scripting paradigm?

5. What is the Iconic/Flow Control paradigm?

6. What is the Frame paradigm?

7. What is the Card/Scripting paradigm?

8. What is the Cast/Score/Scripting paradigm?

9. What is the Hierarchical Object paradigm?

10. What is the Hypermedia Linkage paradigm?

11. What is the Tagging paradigm?

12. Can I develop all of my material in the authoring system?

13. What is the best authoring system?

14. Given that my subject matter is <>, my delivery platform is <>, and my design specifies <>, which authoring system should I use?

15. What are the names of some authoring systems?

16. What print magazines deal with authoring systems?

17. What books deal with authoring systems?

18. What software titles deal with authoring systems?

19. What USENET newsgroups deal with authoring systems?

20. What Independent WebSites deal with authoring systems?

1. What is an Authoring System?

An Authoring System is a program which has pre-programmed elements for the development of interactive multimedia software titles. Authoring systems vary widely in orientation, capabilities, and learning curve. There is no such thing (at this time) as a completely point-and-click automated authoring system; some knowledge of heuristic thinking and algorithm design is necessary. Whether you realize it or not, authoring is actually just a speeded-up form of programming; you don't need to know the intricacies of a programming language, or worse, an API, but you do need to understand how programs work.

2. Why would anyone want to use an authoring system?

It generally takes about 1/8th the time to develop an interactive multimedia project, such as a CBT program, in an authoring system as opposed to programming it in compiled code. This means 1/8 the cost of programmer time and likely increased re-use of code (assuming that you pass this project's code to the next CBT project, and they use a similar or identical authoring system). However, the content creation (graphics, text, video, audio, animation, etc.) is not generally affected by the choice of an authoring system; any production time gains here result from accelerated prototyping, not from the choice of an authoring system over a compiled language.

3. What is an authoring paradigm?

Also known as the authoring metaphor, this is the methodology by which the authoring system accomplishes its task. There are various paradigms, including:

  • Scripting Language
  • Iconic/Flow Control
  • Frame
  • Card/Scripting
  • Cast/Score/Scripting
  • Hierarchical Object
  • Hypermedia Linkage
  • Tagging

4. What is the Scripting paradigm?

The Scripting paradigm is the authoring method closest in form to traditional programming. The paradigm is that of a programming language, which specifies (by filename) multimedia elements, sequencing, hotspots, synchronization, etc. A powerful, object-oriented scripting language is usually the centerpiece of such a system; in-program editing of elements (still graphics, video, audio, etc.) tends to be minimal or non-existent. Scripting languages do vary; check out how much the language is object-based or object-oriented. The scripting paradigm tends to be longer in development time (it takes longer to code an individual interaction), but generally more powerful interactivity is possible. Since most Scripting languages are interpreted, instead of compiled, the runtime speed gains over other authoring methods are minimal. The media handling can vary widely; check out your system with your contributing package formats carefully.

5. What is the Iconic/Flow Control paradigm?

This tends to be the speediest (in development time) authoring style; it is best suited for rapid prototyping and short-development time projects. The core of the paradigm is the Icon Palette, containing the possible functions/interactions of a program, and the Flow Line, which shows the actual links between the icons. These programs tend to be the slowest runtimes, because each interaction carries with it all of its possible permutations; the higher end packages, such as Authorware or IconAuthor, are extremely powerful and suffer least from runtime speed problems.

6. What is the Frame paradigm?

The Frame paradigm is similar to the Iconic/Flow Control paradigm in that it usually incorporates an icon palette; however, the links drawn between icons are conceptual and do not always represent the actual flow of the program. This is a very fast development system, but requires a good auto-debugging function, as it is visually un-debuggable. The best of these have bundled compiled-language scripting, such as Quest (whose scripting language is C) or Apple Media Kit.

7. What is the Card/Scripting paradigm?

The Card/Scripting paradigm provides a great deal of power (via the incorporated scripting language) but suffers from the index-card structure. It is excellently suited for Hypertext applications, and supremely suited for navigation intensive (a la Cyan's "MYST" game) applications. Such programs are easily extensible via XCMDs and DLLs; they are widely used for shareware applications. The best applications allow all objects (including individual graphic elements) to be scripted; many entertainment applications are prototyped in a card/scripting system prior to compiled-language coding.

8. What is the Cast/Score/Scripting paradigm?

The Cast/Score/Scripting paradigm uses a music score as its primary authoring metaphor; the synchronous elements are shown in various horizontal "tracks" with simultaneity shown via the vertical columns. The true power of this metaphor lies in the ability to script the behavior of each of the cast members. The most popular member of this paradigm is Director, which is used in the creation of many commercial applications. These programs are best suited for animation-intensive or synchronized media applications; they are easily extensible to handle other functions (such as hypertext) via XOBJs, XCMDs, and DLLs.

9. What is the Hierarchical Object paradigm?
The Hierarchical Object paradigm uses a object metaphor (like OOP) which is visually represented by embedded objects and iconic properties. Although the learning curve is non-trivial, the visual representation of objects can make very complicated constructions possible.

10. What is the Hypermedia Linkage paradigm?

The Hypermedia Linkage paradigm is similar to the Frame paradigm in that it shows conceptual links between elements; however, it lacks the Frame paradigm's visual linkage metaphor.

11. What is the Tagging paradigm?

The Tagging paradigm uses tags in text files (for instance, SGML/HTML and WinHelp) to link pages, provide interactivity and integrate multimedia elements. They tend to have limited tracking capability and are best suited to online reference material like dictionaries and manuals.

12. Can I develop all of my material in the authoring system?

Yes, but you probably shouldn't. Although most packages allow you to create content using their in-built tools, these tend to be rudimentary when compared with those available in dedicated programs. For more professional output, you should use software dedicated to the creation and editing of that medium, and then import/integrate the content into your multimedia program.

One site which gives an excellent overview of the available tools and methodologies is the User Interface Design Web.

Major content-development packages are likely to include:

  • Paint programs for still images (photos, original digital artwork)
  • Paint effects programs
  • Illustration (draw) programs for still images (modeled and rendered objects)
  • Video digitizing/editing programs
  • Video effects programs
  • Audio sampling/editing programs
  • Word processors (script and program text)
  • Database programs
  • Animation programs
  • Pre-Authoring programs; to date, there's only one, Allen Communications' Designer's Edge.

13. What is the best authoring system?

This is the most impossible question you could ask. It's like asking what's the best hammer -- it depends upon the job you're trying to do, and sometimes (like when you're working on plumbing), there is no answer. Qualify your question, and there'll be a prayer of answering it.

14. Given that my subject matter is <>, my delivery platform is <>, and my design specifies <>, which authoring system should I use?

This is a question an authoring specialist can answer (just as soon as you fill in the blanks, and add any other qualifying data).

15. What are the names of some authoring systems?

Players require authoring on a "full" platform, then a port to the player platform.

Amiga Authoring Systems:

  • Scala MM300/400 : Scala
    MM300 comes bundled with hard-disk equipped Amigas.

DOS Authoring Systems:

  • GLpro : G-media ; DOS, Windows
    GLpro is a scripting paradigm authoring system.
  • Microcosm : Multicosm, Ltd. ; DOS, Windows
    Microcosm is a Hypermedia Linkage authoring system.
  • Neobook : Neosoft
  • Question Mark : Question Mark Computing Ltd ; WWW (via Windows), DOS, Mac, Windows
    Question Mark is optimized for Electronic Assessment production.
  • Scala MM100 : Scala ; DOS, Windows 3.1
  • Scala PB100 : Scala ; DOS, Windows 3.1
    Superset of MM100, creates executables for distribution.
  • Summit Authoring System : Intersystem Concepts, Inc.
  • TenCORE : Computer Teaching Corporation ; DOS, Windows
    TenCORE is actually two products: TenCORE Producer, which is a frame paradigm authoring system, and TenCORE Language Authoring System, which is a scripting paradigm authoring system. TenCORE LAS has discernable Plato roots.

Macintosh Authoring Systems:

  • Apple Media Tool : Apple Computer ; Mac, Windows player
    Apple Media Tool is a frame paradigm authoring system. To create complicated interactive structures, you will likely need to get the accompanying AMT Programming Environment.
  • Authorware Academic : Prentice-Hall ; Mac, Windows
    This is the 500-icon limited version of Authorware 3.5; it follows the iconic/flow control paradigm and is sold mainly through university bookstores and other ".edu" markets. The other limitations include: no .UCD support, limited .DLL support, no JumpFile (between Authorware-generated files) or JumpOut (to other applications/files) support.
  • Authorware : Macromedia ; Mac, Windows, WWW (via Shockwave)
    Currently in version 3.5, this follows the iconic/flow control paradigm with a limit per individual file of 32,000 icons. Authorware supports jumping between files (I've worked on projects greater than 100 MB in content), jumping out to apps and even printing from them. This has unparalleled external media support, and can encapsulate all non-motion media content into apps and content libraries. Text support for styles, and navigation structures including hypertext are new features. This tool is optimal for CBT and rapid prototyping.
    MacUserReview
    MacWeek Review
  • ClickWorks : Pitango ; Mac, Windows player
  • CourseBuilder : Discovery Systems Int'l.; Mac, Windows Player
    CourseBuilder is an iconic/flow control paradigm authoring system optimized for CBT delivery. Allows scriptless interactive courseware construction.
  • Digital Box Office : PowerProduction Software
    Digital Box Office is a frame paradigm authoring system.
  • Digital Chisel : Pierian Spring ; Mac, Windows, NT, WWW
    Digital Chisel has been rewritten in Java for delivery to most platforms. It has moved from its card roots to a frame paradigm.
    MacWeek Review
  • Director : Macromedia ; Mac, Windows, WWW (via Shockwave)
    Currently in version 5.0 (6.0 just shipping), this popular general market product follows the cast/score/scripting paradigm, which makes it the tool of choice for animation content. Its roots as a cel- and sprite-animation program are unmistakable; and its inclusion of Lingo, its object-based scripting language, has made it the animation-capable program to beat. The AfterBurner compression program creates Shockwave files, allowing Web playback.
    MacUser Review
    NewMedia Review
  • HyperCard : Apple ; Mac, WWW (via LiveCard!)
    HyperCard is a card/scripting authoring system currently in version 2.3.5. It runs natively on both 68K and PowerMacintosh machines, and is widely used because of its easy availability at . Its largest drawback is the lack of integrated color; current color implementation is via the ColorTools XCMD set (included) or via third-party XCMDs.
  • HyperGASP : Caliban Mindwear
    HyperGASP is a card/scripting authoring system currently in version 3.0; the newest version no longer requires HyperCard. Supports export to HTML for Web authoring.
  • HyperStudio ; Roger Wagner Publishing ; Mac, Windows
    HyperStudio is a card/scripting paradigm authoring system, optimized for and focussed on the educational market.
    MacUser Review
  • IconAuthor : AimTech ; Windows, OS/2, NT, UNIX, Mac Player, WWW (via Windows)
    IconAuthor follows the iconic/flow control paradigm. It is notable for its SmartObject editor, which tags content files (still graphics, RTF text, etc.) for interactivity. It has the option to either embed content files or leave them external in specified directories. The biggest strength of this program is its included data handling, which makes it unparalleled for CBT data tracking. The latest version should also provide WWW porting of existing content. Avoid its internal "Move Object" path animation feature due to jerky response -- use a .FLC or .AVI instead.
  • Infomedia : Eloquent ; PowerMac, Windows, NT
  • Lexicographer : Abiogenesis Software
    Lexicographer uses the Tagging paradigm to produce viewable electronic references from text or RTF files.
  • Libra Authoring Tool for the Mac : Michael Farris & Robert Fischer, Southwest Texas State University
    HyperCard-based tool optimized for Interactive Videodisc Instruction production and general instructional title development.
  • mBed Interactor : mBed ; Mac, Windows95, WWW
  • MocKingbird®CBT : Warren-Forthought, Inc. ; Mac, Windows, NT
    MocKingbird is a Performance Support System following the scripting paradigm.
  • mTropolis : mFactory ; Mac/PowerMac, Windows player, WWW (via mPire)
    mTropolis is a Hierarchical Object paradigm authoring system, optimized for simulation and "twitch-game" content. While many of the internal tools are rudimentary, if response time is more important than hypertext content, this is an ideal choice.
    MacUser Review
    MacWeek Review
  • Oracle Media Objects : Oracle ; Mac, Windows
    Oracle Media Objects is a card/scripting paradigm authoring system. Often billed as "Hypercard done right", this is actually not as robust as Allegiant's SuperCard, but interfaces well with database content and is cross-platform.
  • QuarkImmedia : Quark ; Mac, Windows Player
    QuarkImmedia is a frame paradigm authoring system.
    MacUser Review
  • Question Mark : Question Mark Computing Ltd ; WWW (via Windows), DOS, Mac, Windows
    Question Mark is optimized for Electronic Assessment production.
  • Special Delivery : IMC
    MacWeek Review
  • StorySpace : Eastgate Systems ; Mac, Windows
    Hypertext authoring system, uses "Writing Space" links, corresponds pretty closely to the frame paradigm.
  • SuperCard : Allegiant ; Mac, WWW (Mac and Win32 via Roadster)
    SuperCard 3.0 shines among the card/scripting authoring systems. With built-in support for 24-bit color, hypertext, and external media handling (QuickTime, PICS, Filmstip, PICT, AIFF), this is the best of its paradigm. This is an excellent tool for hypermedia implementation, and has the best support staff on earth.
    MacWeek Review
    MacWorld Review

NeXT Authoring Systems:

  • HyperSense : Thoughtful Software
    HyperSense is a card/scripting authoring system, which allows import of HyperCard stacks.

OS/2 Authoring Systems:

  • Creative Course Writer : Creative Approaches, Inc.
  • IconAuthor : AimTech ; Windows, OS/2, NT, UNIX, Mac Player, WWW (via Windows)
    IconAuthor follows the iconic/flow control paradigm. It is notable for its SmartObject editor, which tags content files (still graphics, RTF text, etc.) for interactivity. It has the option to either embed content files or leave them external in specified directories. The biggest strength of this program is its included data handling, which makes it unparalleled for CBT data tracking. The latest version should also provide WWW porting of existing content. Avoid its internal "Move Object" path animation feature due to jerky response -- use a .FLC or .AVI instead.
  • NeoN StoryBook : Compo Software ; Windows, OS/2

Windows Authoring Systems:

  • Apple Media Tool : Apple Computer ; Mac, Windows player
    Apple Media Tool is a frame paradigm authoring system. To create complicated interactive structures, you will likely need to get the accompanying AMT Programming Environment.
  • Authorware Academic : Prentice-Hall ; Mac, Windows
    This is the 500-icon limited version of Authorware 3.5; it follows the iconic/flow control paradigm and is sold mainly through university bookstores and other ".edu" markets. The other limitations include: no .UCD support, limited .DLL support, no JumpFile (between Authorware-generated files) or JumpOut (to other applications/files) support.
  • Authorware : Macromedia ; Mac, Windows, WWW (via Shockwave)
    Currently in version 3.5, this follows the iconic/flow control paradigm with a limit per individual file of 32,000 icons. Authorware supports jumping between files (I've worked on projects greater than 100 MB in content), jumping out to apps and even printing from them. This has unparalleled external media support, and can encapsulate all non-motion media content into apps and content libraries. Text support for styles, and navigation structures including hypertext are new features. This tool is optimal for CBT and rapid prototyping.
  • CBIquick Authoring System : AMT International, Inc. ; Windows, NT
  • CBTExpress : AimTech
    This is a CBT-optimized, stripped-down descendant of IconAuthor; follows the frame paradigm. Plenty of templates provided for novice CBT developers.
  • CBT-EZ : Warren-Forthought, Inc.
    CBT-EZ is a pre-built template for electronic assessment construction, corresponding roughly to the frame paradigm.
  • Click & Create : Corel; Windows, NT
    Click & Create is a frame paradigm "scriptless" authoring system. It is one of the easiest authoring tools to learn.
    PC Magazine Review
    Windows Sources Review
  • ClickWorks : Pitango ; Mac, Windows player
  • CourseBuilder : Discovery Systems Int'l.; Mac, Windows Player
    CourseBuilder is an iconic/flow control paradigm authoring system optimized for CBT delivery. Allows scriptless interactive courseware construction.
  • Courseworks : Iprax Training Solutions
  • Desktop Support Factory : Usability Sciences Corporation
    Desktop Support Factory is optimized for Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) development.
  • Director : Macromedia ; Mac, Windows, WWW (via Shockwave)
    Currently in version 5.0 (6.0 just shipping), this popular general market product follows the cast/score/scripting paradigm, which makes it the tool of choice for animation content. Its roots as a cel- and sprite-animation program are unmistakable; and its inclusion of Lingo, its object-based scripting language, has made it the animation-capable program to beat. The AfterBurner compression program creates Shockwave files, allowing Web playback.
    NewMedia Review
  • Everest Authoring System : Intersystem Concepts, Inc.
    Everest is a Hypermedia Linkage authoring system; it uses a hierarchical Book/Page/Object metaphor, with multiple palettes and windows for Attributes, Variables, Layout, etc. The A-pex scripting language has extensive online help via the A-pex3 Assistant (wizard); standard Windows API calls (such as MCI, WinHelp, VBX and ActiveX) are supported. DOS-created Summit files can be imported to leverage existing courseware.
    PC Magazine Review
  • Formula Graphics Multimedia System : Harrow Software ; Windows, NT, WWW(via FG)
    This is a Hypermedia Linkage authoring system, whose interface is more than vaguely reminiscent of Visual Basic; has a relatively powerful scripting language. Formula Graphics is available as shareware, with only the packaging functions disabled.
  • GLpro : G-media ; DOS, Windows
    GLpro is a scripting paradigm authoring system.
  • HM_Card : Dr. Nick Scherbakov, Technical University of Graz
    HM_Card is a Hypermedia Linkage authoring system, with two modules: a content database and a linker. Optimized for hypermedia, HM-Card should be ideal for producing electronic references. This is one of the few shareware authoring systems available.
  • HyperMethod : Prog. Systems AI Lab
    HyperMethod includes support for Russian language content.
  • HyperPlus : ObjectPlus Corporation
    HyperPlus is a conversion program for Macintosh HyperCard stacks to run under Windows. Files produced can be edited using HyperCard (Macintosh) and WinPlus (Windows).
  • HyperStudio ; Roger Wagner Publishing ; Mac, Windows
    HyperStudio is a card/scripting paradigm authoring system, optimized for and focussed on the educational market.
  • IconAuthor : AimTech ; Windows, OS/2, NT, UNIX, Mac Player, WWW (via Windows)
    IconAuthor follows the iconic/flow control paradigm. It is notable for its SmartObject editor, which tags content files (still graphics, RTF text, etc.) for interactivity. It has the option to either embed content files or leave them external in specified directories. The biggest strength of this program is its included data handling, which makes it unparalleled for CBT data tracking. The latest version should also provide WWW porting of existing content. Avoid its internal "Move Object" path animation feature due to jerky response -- use a .FLC or .AVI instead.
  • Illuminatus : Digital Workshop
    Illuminatus 3 is a frame paradigm authoring system optimized for electronic book production.
  • Infomedia : Eloquent ; PowerMac, Windows, NT
  • The Instructor : BCD Associates, Inc.
  • Maestro Pro : OmniMedia plc ; Windows, CD-I Player
    Maestro Pro is an interactive video authoring system following the Hypermedia Linkage paradigm using MPEG video.
  • MetaCard : MetaCard ; Windows95, NT, UNIX
    MetaCard is a card/scripting authoring system, currently in version 2.1.
  • Microcosm : Multicosm, Ltd. ; DOS, Windows
    Microcosm is a Hypermedia Linkage authoring system.
  • MMD : Capella Computers Ltd. ; Windows, NT
    Capella/MMD is a Hypermedia Linkage authoring system, where all content is derived from its proprietary multimedia database; optimized for kiosk/POS applications.
  • MocKingbird®CBT : Warren-Forthought, Inc. ; Mac, Windows, NT
    MocKingbird is a Performance Support System following the scripting paradigm.
  • mTropolis : mFactory ; Mac/PowerMac, Windows player, WWW (via mPire)
    mTropolis is a Hierarchical Object paradigm authoring system, optimized for simulation and "twitch-game" content. While many of the internal tools are rudimentary, if response time is more important than hypertext content, this is an ideal choice.
  • Neobook Professional : Neosoft ; Windows 95, NT
  • NeoN StoryBook : Compo Software ; Windows, OS/2
  • NetMC : NEC Systems Laboratory ; Windows, WWW(via Windows)
    NetMC is a cast/score/scripting authoring system, oriented to producing interactive presentations.
  • Oracle Media Objects : Oracle ; Mac, Windows
    Oracle Media Objects is a card/scripting paradigm authoring system. Often billed as "Hypercard done right", this is actually not as robust as Allegiant's SuperCard, but interfaces well with database content and is cross-platform.
  • Podium : University of Delaware
    Podium is a Hypermedia Linkage paradigm authoring system.
  • Quest 5 for Windows : Allen Communications; Windows, WWW (via QuestNet)
    Quest 5 for Windows is a frame paradigm authoring system currently in version 5.1. Its most notable feature is its scripting language, which is ANSI C.
  • Question Mark : Question Mark Computing Ltd ; WWW (via Windows), DOS, Mac, Windows
    Question Mark is optimized for Electronic Assessment production.
  • Rapid ST : Emultek ; Windows95, NT
  • Scala MM100 : Scala ; DOS, Windows 3.1
  • Scala MM200 : Scala ; Win95, NT
    MM200 is a frame paradigm authoring tool with an emphasis on interactive presentation authoring. It includes support for most Windows-based multimedia content formats and has a large bank of available transitions.
  • Scala PB100 : Scala ; DOS, Windows 3.1
    Superset of MM100, creates executables for distribution.
  • ShowBasic : MIKSoftware
    ShowBasic is a scripting paradigm authoring system, using Basic for its scripting language.
  • Slim Show : PC Wholeware
  • STDemo : MIKSoftware
    STDemo is a scripting paradigm authoring system.
  • StorySpace : Eastgate Systems ; Mac, Windows
    Hypertext authoring system, uses "Writing Space" links, corresponds pretty closely to the frame paradigm.
  • SuperLink : Alchemedia
    SuperLink is the successor software to Linkway, and follows the card/scripting paradigm, while holding the content externally to the script file.
  • TenCORE : Computer Teaching Corporation ; DOS, Windows
    TenCORE is actually two products: TenCORE Producer, which is a frame paradigm authoring system, and TenCORE Language Authoring System, which is a scripting paradigm authoring system. TenCORE LAS has discernable Plato roots.
  • Toolbook II : Asymetrix ; Windows, WWW
    Toolbook is a card/scripting authoring system now broken into components: Instructor, the standard tool; Assistant, the pre-built templates, and Librarian, a course-management system. Toolbook includes database linkage, MCI compliance and many examples (called "Widgets") of interactivity. This newest version exports HTML and Java for Web delivery.
  • WinPlus : ObjectPlus Corporation
    WinPlus is a card/scripting authoring tool, which can edit files ported from (Macintosh) HyperCard. Extensiblility is provided with the add-on product WinPlus ProPac.
  • Xpower : Paul Mace Software
    Xpower is a scripting paradigm authoring system in a full-fledged IDE; you can also view your program as a flowchart or on a visual stage.

Windows NT Authoring Systems:

  • CBIquick Authoring System : AMT International, Inc. ; Windows, NT
  • Click & Create : Corel; Windows, NT
    Click & Create is a frame paradigm "scriptless" authoring system.
  • Formula Graphics Multimedia System : Harrow Software ; Windows, NT
    This is a Hypermedia Linkage authoring system, whose interface is more than vaguely reminiscent of Visual Basic; has a relatively powerful scripting language. Formula Graphics is available as shareware, with only the packaging functions disabled.
  • Gain Momentum : Triton Services, Inc. ; NT, UNIX
  • IconAuthor : AimTech ; Windows, OS/2, NT, UNIX, Mac Player, WWW (via Windows)
    IconAuthor follows the iconic/flow control paradigm. It is notable for its SmartObject editor, which tags content files (still graphics, RTF text, etc.) for interactivity. It has the option to either embed content files or leave them external in specified directories. The biggest strength of this program is its included data handling, which makes it unparalleled for CBT data tracking. The latest version should also provide WWW porting of existing content. Avoid its internal "Move Object" path animation feature due to jerky response -- use a .FLC or .AVI instead.
  • Infomedia : Eloquent ; PowerMac, Windows, NT
  • MetaCard : MetaCard ; Windows95, NT, UNIX
    MetaCard is a card/scripting authoring system, currently in version 2.1.
  • MocKingbird®CBT : Warren-Forthought, Inc. ; Mac, Windows, NT
    MocKingbird is a Performance Support System following the scripting paradigm.
  • Neobook Professional : Neosoft ; Windows 95, NT
  • Rapid ST : Emultek ; Windows95, NT
  • Scala MM200 : Scala ; Win95, NT
    MM200 is a frame paradigm authoring tool with an emphasis on interactive presentation authoring. It includes support for most Windows-based multimedia content formats and has a large bank of available transitions.

UNIX Authoring Systems:

  • Gain Momentum : Triton Services, Inc. ; NT, UNIX
  • IconAuthor : AimTech ; Windows, OS/2, NT, UNIX, Mac Player, WWW (via Windows)
    IconAuthor follows the iconic/flow control paradigm. It is notable for its SmartObject editor, which tags content files (still graphics, RTF text, etc.) for interactivity. It has the option to either embed content files or leave them external in specified directories. The biggest strength of this program is its included data handling, which makes it unparalleled for CBT data tracking. The latest version should also provide WWW porting of existing content. Avoid its internal "Move Object" path animation feature due to jerky response -- use a .FLC or .AVI instead.
  • MetaCard : MetaCard ; Windows95, NT, UNIX
    MetaCard is a card/scripting authoring system, currently in version 2.1.

16. What print magazines deal with authoring systems?

  • AV Video and Multimedia Producer
  • CBT Solutions Magazine
  • EMedia Professional formerly CD-ROM Professional
  • Interactivity
  • Lingo User's Journal
  • NewMedia

17. What books deal with authoring systems?

  • Authoring Interactive Multimedia by Arch C. Luther. Excellent, albeit non-comprehensive, reference.
  • Creating a Digital Portfolio: A Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion by Cynthia Baron. Includes hybrid Macintosh/Windows CD-ROM.
  • Lingo Sorcery by Peter Small. Includes hybrid Macintosh/Windows CD-ROM.
  • Macromedia Director Design Guide by Lee Swearingen & Cathy Clarke.
  • Macromedia Director Lingo Workshop by John Thompson, et.al. Includes hybrid Macintosh/Windows CD-ROM.
  • Multimedia Authoring : Building and Developing Documents by Scott Fisher
  • Multimedia Authoring for Presentation and Education - HM Card by Hermann Maurer, Nick Scherbakov Includes HM-Card.
  • Multimedia--Making it Work by Tay Vaughan. Includes hybrid Macintosh/Windows CD-ROM. Now out in its 3rd Edition; essential if you're just starting out; useful if you're breaking out on your own.
  • Multimedia Starter Kit for Macintosh by Michael D. Murie. Includes Macintosh CD-ROM. Vital reference for newbie multimedia producers.
  • Special Edition Using Asymetrix Multimedia ToolBook 4 by Dottie Natal, Erik Reitan, Thomas C. Blake, Scott Petersen, Lola Gunter
  • Utilizing Multimedia Toolbook 3.0 by Tom L. Hall

Additional book pointers are collected at:

  • Hayden Books' site
  • New Riders' site
  • Betsy Bruce's Authorware Books site.

18. What software titles deal with authoring systems?

  • Interactive Multimedia - Getting Started: A CD-ROM Hands on Guide to creating interactive multimedia by Interactive Media Corporation. Macintosh CD-ROM.
  • The Lingo™ Timesaver™ : UpdateStage ; Hybrid Macintosh/Windows CD-ROM.
  • Multimedia, Working it Out! by Tay Vaughan. Hybrid Macintosh/Windows CD-ROM. Invaluable resource for independent professional and would-be multimedia developers.

19. What USENET newsgroups deal with authoring systems?

  • General Authoring:
    • bit.listserv.edtech
    • comp.infosystems.kiosks This moderated newsgroup deals with kiosk issues, including software development for kiosk delivery.
    • comp.multimedia This unmoderated newsgroup is the omnibus multimedia forum; issues covered range from sound cards to authoring tools to C++ libraries.
    • comp.os.ms-windows.programmer.multimedia
    • comp.os.os2.multimedia
    • comp.publish.cdrom.multimedia
    • comp.sys.amiga.multimedia
    • misc.education.multimedia
  • Authorware
    • alt.authorware Inundated with spam, this group is mostly oriented to newbie questions; more technical questioners tend to be pointed to the AWARE mailing list.
    • bit.listserv.authorware This newsgroup has a uni-directional feed from the AWARE mailing list; posts to the newsgroup no longer bounce back to the list. Questions range from newbie to highly technical.
  • Director
    • alt.multimedia.director Fairly well spammed, this group is mostly oriented to newbie questions; more technical questioners are usually pointed to DIRECT-L.
  • HyperCard
    • comp.sys.mac.hypercard
  • ToolBook II
    • bit.listserv.toolb-l
  • Windows Help and Multimedia Viewer
    • comp.os.ms-windows.programmer.winhelp

20. What Independent WebSites deal with authoring systems?

  • General Resources:
    • Authorbase Cobweb site -- not updated for a couple of years.
    • Gamasutra is sponsored by the same crowd that runs the Computer Game Developer's Conference; in the Production and Programming sections there are threads on authoring.
    • In-Depth Reviews Roger Moncrief has written a number of excellent reviews of various multimedia tools.
    • Maricopa Authoring Web Excellent authoring site; regular updates and new pointers.
    • MediaBuilder
    • Multimedia and Internet Authoring Tools : SF Bay Area IICS Wider focus on Multimedia development; includes Web development links.
    • Multimedia Resources Page. This is the comprehensive multimedia site.
    • News from the Field, by TRIA M EUROPE BV, a webmagazine aimed at authoring specialists.
    • UI Design Web. Excellent reference site for multimedia design and development.
    • Picking a Multimedia Authoring Tool : article by Andy Oeftering, Data-Tech Institute
  • CBT Resources:
    • CBT Autorensysteme German/Deutsch article about CBT authoring systems by Markus BeiЯer.
  • Apple Media Tool Resources:
    • The Unoffical Apple Media Tool (AMT) Site
  • Authorware Resources:
    • Authorware FAQ It is strongly recommeded for reading if you're doing Authorware development.
    • The Authorware Professional (AWARE list) Page. If you are doing any level of Authorware development, check out the AWARE mailing list and its mirror at bit.listserv.authorware.
    • Betsy Bruce's Multimedia page Includes the current list of Authorware books.
    • The Kintй Space This is Bryan Wilhite's Authorware demo space; check it out -- especially the Kinte FAQs!
    • The Media Shoppe Wade Wells' site, 3rd party Authorware UCDs.
    • Whirlwind Multimedia Tim Miller's site, 3rd party Authorware XCMDs and UCDs.
  • Director Resources:
    • DIRECT-L List home page for the Director mailing list; if you're doing Director or Shockwave development, subscribe!
    • Director FAQ-in-progress.
    • Director Web at Maricopa; Here is the Director resources site. Excellent!
    • Great Bay Interactive, a New England Director shop
    • LingoLand
    • UpdateStage; a fantastic Director site
  • HyperCard Resources:
    • The HyperCard Resource Page : maintained by GlassCat Communications
  • mTropolis Resources:
    • mTroposite : iXmйdia inc. hosts the mTropo-List mTropolis mailing list and website listing third-party mTropolis scripts and modifiers. The mailing list archives are searchable.
  • QuarkImmedia Resources
    • THE IMMEDIA PLACE
  • Shockwave Resources:
    • ShockeR : Shockwave Sites Mailing List and Search Engine
  • SuperCard Resources:
    • Austrialian SuperCard User's Group
    • Fourth World Richard Gaskin's site; 3rd-party SuperCard tools developer/distributor
  • ToolBook Resources:
    • The Toolbook List
    • The Toolbook User's Web
    • Multimedia Toolbook Resources Page

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