Authorware was originally a company founded in 1987 by Michael Allen as well as the multimedia product produced by Authorware, Inc. Allen originally helped in the development of the PLATO Learning Management System (PLM) collaborative learning system during the 1970s. Authorware is an interpreted, flowchart based, graphical programming language. Authorware is used for creating interactive programs that can integrate sound, text, graphics, simple animation, and digital movies.
Authorware programs start by creating a flowline, which is a flowchart showing the structure of the user's program. The user can add and manage text, graphics, animation, sound and video; develop interactivity and add navigational elements such as links, buttons, and menus. Macromedia Director movies can also be integrated into an Authorware project. Xtras, or add-ins, can also be used to extend the functionality of Authorware, which is similar to HyperCard's XCMDs. Authorware's power can be even better utilized with the use of variables, functions and expressions.
Authorware, Inc. merged with MacroMind-Paracomp in 1992 to form Macromedia. In 2005, Adobe and Macromedia signed an agreement to merge, with the new company retaining the Adobe Systems name. The results of that merger proposal are not known at the time of this writing.
Today, one of the most widely used e-Learning authoring applications is Macromedia's Authorware. Authoring applications like Authorware are mainly used for producing multimedia, interactive, instructional products.
As you can see from the screenshot, although it may appear confusing if you are unfamiliar with it, you can develop simple e-Learning applications without scripting. Macromedia Authorware uses simple dialog boxes to customize a given icon's behavior and properties.
Authorware can be used to create e-Learning content for delivery via CD, data DVD, and over the web. Being SCORM-compliant, Authorware can also be used to deliver content via any SCORM-compliant Learning Management System. A variety of media types can be integrated with Authorware, such as Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Director, digital video in a variety of formats, digital audio, a large variety of image formats, and Powerpoint. Authorware also has very powerful filesystem functionality and can be extended with third-party "Xtras" and ".u32's".
Authorware Overview Macromedia's Authorware Support Webforum Macromedia's Authorware Support Newsgroup Authorware Resources Page Authorware Web Ring