Director shortcomings; Rev/altBrowser the solution?

Van Esch, Stephen (Bolton) svanesch at
Mon Sep 20 11:38:33 EDT 2004


>Before answering your question, I guess a few more details
are needed. Especially, I don't really understand why you
need to embed a browser within a Director window ... 

Considering the amount of formatting required for the text and the length of
the text documents (scrolling will definitely be required), the only ideal
solution I can see is HTML/XHTML. While Director and Flash do have some text
formatting and XML capabilities, I can't see either of them even coming
close to what we can do with XHTML. Note that formatting includes tables
with various cell colours, a dozen heading and paragraph styles (don't ask),
graphics, and captions layered on top of graphics (not embedded in the

>...and where does the HTML file comes from ? Is the HTML code generated on
the fly from the XML, and is the browser window used to navigate between
successive screens, or different frames of the Director stage?

Yes the HTML will be generated on the fly from the XML file. A static page
will be generated when the user clicks a link or selects an option on the
Rev/Director interface (this page will automatically update when we update
the XML file). A dynamic XHTML page based on XML data will also be generated
when the user does a search.

The browser window will not include any controls. Links will allow users to
jump from one page to another (between sections, for example).

A lot of the functionality will depend on what the technology can do so we
may want the ability to pass information from the browser window to Rev or
Director. Not sure about that, though.



> Folks:
> Here (according to our Director developer) is the rundown on where
> is apparently falling short when it comes to developing the product we
> Can anyone tell me if Rev can solve these problems or if we're overlooking
> something in Director?
> ------
> Dynamic population of drop down boxes with multiple language types.
> For example, I would like to have an external (maybe XML) list of language
> names, all using their appropriate font set. I would like to have a drop
> down box that's on the stage to gather all elements from the external file
> to populate the drop down. Each element in the drop down would be a
> separately executable when selected.
> Browser Interaction-
> Embedding a browser within a Director window. The purpose of this browser,
> would be to seamlessly integrate into the Director stage and interpret an
> HTML file properly (including multiple language support).
> This embedded browser could have external Director controls that would
> print, navigate this HTML file.
> Also, a director search box could be embedded into the Director
> and allow for user searching of web pages...
> 3 D model control
> To be able to have full control over a 3 D model (rotate, pan, zoom), and
> embed hotspots on particular sections of the model. I would like to be
> to click on a spot to navigate to another area of the score within the
> Director environment, and/or launch an external browser or an embedded
> browser.
> ------
> Just to recap the complexity of this project:
> The project will deal with very large amounts of text. The text needs to
> formatted with many different styles and includes detailed tables and
> graphics with captions. The text will originate from an XML file, needs to
> be searchable, and be displayed in multiple languages. All languages will
> included in the project and users should be able to switch from one to the
> other seamlessly. All drop-down boxes and interface elements will need to
> change on the fly when the user selects a new language. Dynamic text based
> on user search strings must be generated. Users must be able to print the
> content of windows (even windows holding dynamic content.) To cap it, the
> project must interact with the user's system for base technology checks
> a few other things.
> We've looked at many different solutions. From what we can tell, the best
> way to do this consistently and effectively is through an embedded browser
> window and use XHTML/HTML to handle the formatting and unicode. An
> additional benefit is that we will be able to handle pdfs if we use a
> browser.
> For this project, Director may not work because of the problems mentioned
> above. Flash will not work because it's inability to handle large amounts
> formatted text. iShell may work but it's ability to work with the
> system seems limited.
> So, can anyone tell me if the Rev/altBrowser combination is the best way
> go with this? Are we missing something in Director? Ideally, we'd like to
> have absolutely everything handled from within the app but I don't think
> this is possible.
> Any help would be really appreciated. I've been banging my head against
> wall looking for decent solution for some time now.
> Steve
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