I worked at Macromedia, mostly on the Director team, for 2-1/2 years, from 1992-1994.

Macromedia Director (1992-1994)

I participated on the Director team from versions 3.1.1 through 5.0.

Director 4.0 was a milestone release of the product: the first cross-platform Mac and Windows release, and the first to have a “modern” user interface, the first to be implemented in the C/C++ (rather than Pascal) programming languages, and the first to be available for the PowerPC processor architecture.

As an engineer on the team, I was instrumental in creating scripted tools to automate the massive migrations to C/C++ and to the PowerPC architecture, and also helped with the migration to the Windows platform.

To achieve the Windows port, I helped the team incorporate a third-party emulation layer of the then-more-sophisticated Macintosh OS toolbox on the Windows operating system, and to abstract away from Mac-specific code. The resulting architecture remained in place for three subsequent major releases (5.0, 6.0, and 6.5.) I also designed and implemented the automated build and configuration management systems and processes for several major and minor releases of the project.

The build systems and other automated tools were implemented in the MPW shell scripting language, a derivative of Unix shell scripting tools.

Drawing on my QuickTime experience at Apple, I also helped plan, implement, and expand the incorporation of QuickTime movies as a newly-supported media type in Director, and helped generalize the digital video support to include other digital video standards, including Video For Windows (AVI).

Most importantly, I took the lead role in the effort to completely overhaul the user interface and functional design of the 4.0 release.

I worked collaboratively with Diana Wynne, the instructional media producer for the product for nearly a year, producing several hundred pages of design documents and functional specifications. Then I personally implemented or oversaw most of the changes to the user interface.

Diana and I were responsible for the complete user experience including menus, wording, behaviors, shortcuts, and dialog box layout. We worked efficiently with few dedicated development resources and a tight scheduling requirement to ship the product before the company’s fiscal year end.

In 1994, we began this same process with respect to Director 5.0, starting from scratch, designing new features, and rethinking much of the product’s core functionality.

We turned in the first complete draft of the Director 5.0 specifications on my last day at Macromedia.

Macromedia MediaMaker (1992)

My first job at Macromedia was helping finish and ship a project left unfinished by a previous employee: MediaMaker 1.5.

MediaMaker was a Macintosh desktop video-editing tool using serial-based video device control (Sony LaNC and other standards).

In addition to lots of bug-fixing, part of my work involved and improving the product’s use of QuickTime-based thumbnails and digital video previews.