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Macromedia Shows Off First Shockwave Sites

SAN FRANCISCO--Calling Shockwave for Director the only product ever to enjoy a six-month ramp-up followed by an upgrade cycle of five days, Macromedia officials yesterday unveiled here at Web Innovation a group of cutting-edge online sites already using the multimedia development language.

The multimedia development software, which is targeted at nonprogrammers, had been available only to beta testers and developers before yesterday's unveiling. Any Web user employing Netscape Navigator 2.0 to browse cyberspace can view Shockwave-enabled sites, said Joe Dunn, vice president of product management for the San Francisco-based company.

Developers wishing to imbue Web sites with multimedia content must use the Shockwave for Director developer's kit, which is priced at $1,195. The viewer is free and can be downloaded at Macromedia's site. The group of Shockwave debut sites include Advertising Age, CNET, CNN, and Toy Story.

Future versions of the Shockwave multimedia toolset will include support for streaming data, better compression, enhanced multiuser features, and access to local CD-ROM software. Asked if differentiating Shockwave from JavaScript will become difficult once the just-announced scripting language becomes available, Dunn said, "I think that as soon as people see what's being done with Shockwave, they'll have no trouble. Two weeks from now there'll be thousands of sites with beautiful graphics out there, and people will know they didn't get built with Java because Java takes longer. Same thing with JavaScript. It's still a programming language."