Chapter 19. Using Xtras


Like one of those kitchen gadgets advertised on late-night TV ”"It's a grinder! It's a grater! It's a slicer!" ”Director can be made to do nearly anything, depending on what add-ons you attach to it ( Figure 19.1 ). In Director's case, the add-ons come in the form of software modules called Xtras .

Figure 19.1. Spell checking in Director? A third-party Xtra (in this case, Speller4 from Design Lynx Ltd.) makes it possible.


Xtras allow Director to import diverse cast-member types, link to networks and external files, expand its scripting vocabulary, add special effects, and handle a variety of other tasks . (See the sidebar "Types of Xtras" on the following page.) Xtras are integral to Director's design ”so much so that when Macromedia developers add features to Director, they often don't tinker with the program's code; they simply add another Xtra.

Dozens of Xtras were copied to your hard drive when you installed Director. Every time you create a vector shape, embed a font, format text, or perform many other seemingly basic tasks, it's not Director itself doing the work, but an Xtra. These Macromedia-supplied Xtras function behind the scenes, without your necessarily even knowing they exist.

But the writing of Xtras isn't confined to Macromedia developers. Lots of third-party developers also create Xtras, which you can download from the Web and install in Director. If you have programming skills, you can even write Xtras yourself.

This chapter will show you how to install and work with Xtras, and how to make sure the people to whom you distribute your movies have the Xtras they need to view the movies properly.

Types of Xtras

Xtras can be classified into six general categories:

  • Cast-member Xtras, which allow Director to handle nonstandard types of cast members (such as Flash movies and digital video files).

  • Importing Xtras, which allow Director to link to various kinds of external files.

  • Transition Xtras, which add transition effects that are not built in to Director (see Chapter 5, "Playing & Refining Movies").

  • Lingo Xtras, which add new commands and functions to Director's scripting language.

  • Network Xtras, which allow Director movies to access the Internet or other external networks.

  • Tool Xtras, which are designed to help you with authoring. (An example is the Xtra that allows the Windows version of Director to convert WAV audio files to Shockwave Audio files.)

In general, if you use any of these Xtras in creating a movie, your audience must have the same Xtras in order to play the movie. (See "Including Xtras with Projectors" and "Using Xtras with Shockwave Movies," later in this chapter.) The only exceptions are the tool Xtras, which need only to be present in Director, not in the viewing environment.


Macromedia Director MX for Windows and Macintosh. Visual QuickStart Guide
Macromedia Director MX for Windows and Macintosh. Visual QuickStart Guide
ISBN: 1847193439
Year: 2003
Pages: 139 © 2008-2017.
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