ContentsWhat's New in 8?
You're going to love what we've done in AutoPlay Media Studio 8. Our goal was to improve everything you love about AutoPlay Media Studio, while pushing it fully into the realm of rapid application development (RAD).
While AutoPlay Media Studio's roots are in making beautiful interactive menus and launchers for CD-ROM and DVD-ROM applications, savvy software developers have been using it for years to rapidly prototype and build full-scale graphically rich software applications.
AutoPlay Media Studio 8 takes it to a whole other level, bringing visual WYSIWYG software development to the masses. What would take a professional programmer days or weeks to build using traditional software development tools like C, C++, Java or even Visual Basic can now be created by just about anyone in less time than you'd have ever thought possible.
While AutoPlay Media Studio is still the best tool out there for making autorun/autoplay menus, its true strength in visual programming now shines through. There’s no faster or better software development tool for combining multimedia elements like video, image, sound, music and animation with advanced business logic, database manipulation, text parsing, web interaction, data collection and graphically-rich data visualization.
You'll turn to AutoPlay Media Studio 8 over and over again to quickly create full-featured software applications. It's destined to become an indispensable part of your software development toolbox! Here’s just a taste of some of the features new to AutoPlay Media Studio 8…
AutoPlay Media Studio 8's scripting engine is now faster, more powerful and much more extensible. The Lua 5.1 system features a new module system, incremental garbage collection, new mechanism for varargs, new syntax for long strings and comments, mod and length operators, metatables for all types and a fully reentrant parser.
With the new scripting engine upgrade comes compatibility with Lua 5.1 modules. You now have access to a wealth of free Lua code you can download and use in your AutoPlay Media Studio 8 projects. In most cases you simply copy the module files into your project and "require" them in your script. Just some of the useful modules out there include Bit Operation, Date, Canvas Draw, Imaging Tool, GD, Crypto, Colors, Speech, Alien, Social (Twitter), CURL, Regular Expression Parsing and so much more. It’s a whole treasure chest of addons and tools just waiting for you!
Do your projects contain huge database and video files? AutoPlay Media Studio 8 now includes full support for burning directly to Blu-Ray media (BD-R, BD-RE). The integrated Bluray disc burning allows you to publish your project directly to single layer and dual-layer BD-R and BD-RE media, supporting 25 GB, 50 GB and even 100 GB formats.
AutoPlay Media Studio 8 gives you the freedom to create applications that look exactly the way you want. Perhaps you prefer that your programs to take on the same appearance as the operating system (e.g. Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 Aero...)? Or do you want them to be entirely customized with completely custom drawn background images, buttons and window shapes? Or perhaps you'd like to simply make use of the hundreds of ready-to-use MSSTYLES themes (like OS/X Tiger and Panther) that you can download on the Internet? In any case, AutoPlay Media Studio makes it possible – and easy!
It's never been easier to write database applications using AutoPlay Media Studio! Easily connect to a variety of popular local and remote/Internet database systems including MySQL, SQLite3, ODBC, Oracle and PostgreSQL. Execute any SQL statements you desire like CREATE, INSERT and more – even easily retrieve data results using a row-by-row cursor system. Features full integration with our fill-in-the-blanks style Action Wizard, plus intelligent code completion.
AutoPlay Media Studio now features integrated support for displaying PDF documents right in your application. This highly requested feature also gives you full control over the display and formatting. You can show/hide toolbars, scrollbars and borders. Layout options include "Single Page", "One Column", "Two Columns" and "User Preference". View options include "Fit Page", "Fit Page Width", "Fit Page Height" and "Actual Size".
Take control of the PDF object with 18 easy-to-use actions. Fully integrated into the fill-in-the-blanks Action Wizard, you'll be able to easily create dynamic applications to work with PDF files. Actions are provided to Print, Load, Navigate, Zoom, Resize, Hide and much more.
Thanks to the new Apple QuickTime object, your AutoPlay Media Studio applications are now compatible with over 80 video, audio and image formats. Video formats include .MOV, .DV, .M4V, .MP4 and dozens more – including the amazing h.264 format. Audio formats include .AAC, .AIF, .M4A, .MP3, etc. Visual formatting options let you lock an aspect ratio, resize the media to fit the object dimensions or center it within the object area. Border styles include 3D, plain or none.
The Quicktime object by itself is great - but a Quicktime object plus 22 built-in high-level actions is just plain awesome! Brought together, your AutoPlay Media Studio actions have exceptional control over the QuickTime object. Using simple script commands you can Play, Seek, Set Volume, Load, Mute, View Full Screen, Hide, Show and much more. Your only limit is your imagination.
If you're trying to create an application that blends in beautifully with the operating system, the new xButton object is just what the doctor ordered. However, that's just the beginning! The new xButton object supports far more customization than was previously possible. Now you can modernize your applications by adding "icon" images to your buttons, plus you can "markup" the text however you desire! This object lets you control the relative placement of button text and button images; choose between normal and toggle styles; adjust fonts and colors; and even markup you text using dozens of XAML tags – including hyperlinks right on your buttons! By default, the xButton styles itself according to whatever operating system it is being run on. If your application is running on Vista, the button looks like a standard Vista button. If you're running it on Windows 7, it looks like Windows 7. However, you can easily override this and choose from many included styles like Flat, Office 2000, Office XP or many different Office 2007 styles. Or hundreds of MSSTYLES themes… The options are endless.
Checkbox lists are a long awaited addition to AutoPlay Media Studio! We've integrated this feature into the existing Listbox object – you just need to turn it on. Once you do, you can easily present lists of items with corresponding checkboxes. Actions are included to get and set the checkbox state for any listbox item with ease. You'll find dozens of great uses for this one!
AutoPlay Media Studio 8 adds another layer of protection to your applications and scripts. A unique random encryption code is now generated every time you build your project, making "hacking" of your applications much more difficult. As we all know, anyone determined enough can break any protection system given enough time and resources, but the use of rolling codes renders generic attacks ineffective. You can now sleep a little easier!
You're no longer limited to just one timer event per page! You can now set as many "named" timers as you want. Having multiple timers running really opens up the creative possibilities for animations, games, status updates and dozens of other applications.
Easily control Windows Services using the seven new actions included in AutoPlay Media Studio 8. Everything you need is included, such as Create, Start, Stop, Pause, Delete, Query and Continue.
AutoPlay Media Studio 8 includes a set of built-in FTP actions, enabling your application to easily download files over the Internet from FTP servers. These new FTP actions make use of the WinINet API to ensure compliance with the RFC 959 File Transfer Protocol specifications. Actions include FTPWI.Download, FTPWI.GetErrorInfo and FTPWI.GetFileSize.
This trio of system restore actions are extremely powerful and essential for any application that might want to make system changes or install software in a failsafe manner. By creating a system restore point using System.SetRestorePoint before making changes to the computer, the user can easily rollback those changes using the operating system's "restore" feature (found on Windows Vista or later). Actions include System.IsSystemRestoreAvailable, System.SetRestorePoint and System.RemoveRestorePoint.
Here's an action that'll find a lot of use! The Dialog.ComboBox action is used to pop up a dialog box presenting the user with a drop-down list of items they can choose from. You simply pass in a list of items to select from, choose if you'd like them sorted or not and whether or not to restrict the user to just the items in the list, or allow them to type in their own text response. It's a fast and compact way to get user input, while offering suggestions to them at the same time!
In addition to the standard popup tooltips you're used to from previous versions, AutoPlay Media Studio 8 now lets you display Balloon tooltips! It's an extremely attractive option for presenting context sensitive help within your application. It's also much more useful than the old style tooltips, as you can use multiple lines of text to present your instructions. In fact, multi-line tooltips were so useful, we also added the feature to the standard looking popup as "extended" tooltips.
AutoPlay Media Studio has always looked pretty slick, but that wasn't good enough. The entire project workspace has been overhauled. Selection boxes, toolbars, context menus – everything has been redone using a consistent color palette, light source and 3D perspective. You spend a lot of time working on your projects. Your tools should serve to increase your productivity, rather than distract you. With AutoPlay Media Studio 8, you'll find everything is more logically arranged and attractively presented – so you can get more done.
Action Plugins and Object Plugins are one of the best features of AutoPlay Media Studio. They allow 3rd party software developers to extend and expand the product in an extremely integrated and seamless fashion. By simply dropping a plugin into your project, you can easily save yourself hours of work and add significant functionality to your application. The great news is that with AutoPlay Media Studio 8, plugin developers can now fully leverage the advantages of the Lua 5.1 language. The Plugin SDK v2 is available for free download on the indigorose.com website.
Working with data grids in AutoPlay Media Studio is more useful than ever, especially with the new integrated database features in v8. As always, the grid object allows you to add spreadsheets, grids and list controls to your applications. With over 110 scriptable actions, it is extremely powerful. To help you easily preload data, you can now even specify a CSV (comma separated value) data file at design time.
The Adobe Flash object now supports calling and responding to Flash actionscript functions with the addition of the new "Flash.CallFunction" and "Flash.SetReturnValue" actions and new "On FlashCall" event. Access to Flash's external API opens up many new uses for the Flash object and advanced interaction with your AutoPlay Media Studio application such as playing FVL video files using a Flash loader.
The web object now uses the latest Microsoft Internet Explorer SDK. New scrollbar and border options have been added to give you increased visual control over the object - allowing you to better integrate web pages into your AutoPlay Media Studio applications.
We've made it easier for you to debug syntax errors in your scripts by providing you with better error reports. Error messages now include additional details about exactly where the problem occurred – right down to the event name and line number!
Testing and debugging your projects is much easier in AutoPlay Media Studio 8. You can now send all debug message to a human-readable text format log file, to a debug window or simultaneously to both locations. Between the automatic "Trace Mode" logging, "Event Context" information and "Last Error" actions, you've got a formidable collection of tools to help squash those pesky bugs and logic errors!
Easily match colors thanks to the new eyedropper style color picker. Integrated into all color choosers, simply move your mouse pointer off the dialog and watch it turn into an eyedropper cursor. Click on the color of any pixel on your screen and voila – you've automatically set the color to match.
All of the dependency modules have been updated in AutoPlay Media Studio 8. Dependency Modules make it fast and easy to detect whether or not common 3rd party software applications and technologies are installed on the user's computer. AutoPlay Media Studio 8 can detect the current versions of such products as Microsoft PowerPoint, Adobe Flash, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Acrobat, Apple QuickTime, Windows Media Player and more. If the required product is not detected, the user will be alerted to the problem and conveniently directed to the appropriate website for download and installation.
In order to enable you to create applications that can look and feel exactly like those created using traditional Windows platform SDK development tools, we went through all of our existing objects and updated them. For example, objects like the Checkbox, Radio Button and Progress Bar will now take on the look that users expect to see on their operating system. On Windows 7, they'll look consistent with the standard operating system theme. On Windows XP, they'll look like XP – and so on. The best part though is that they'll also now respond correctly to changes in the application theme or MSSTYLES skin files that are supported in AutoPlay Media Studio 8. It all adds up to a 100% professional look!
The Action Wizard now marks any actions that are contained in Action Plugins with a "plugin" identifier. This makes it much easier to quickly identify what is built-in to AutoPlay Media Studio and what you've added later through 3rd party additions. It's especially handy when you're looking for documentation, help files, samples and technical support.
The Video object has been modernized with a variety of new graphic styles. Choose from attractive new blue, green and gray skins. If you don't find a style you like, it's super easy to create your own video transport skins using Photoshop or any other graphics editor. We've also made the skin format more flexible, removing the constraining height restrictions that may have hampered your creativity in the past.
The Paragraph object in AutoPlay Media Studio 8 has been updated to default to Windows 7 style scrollbars. This will give any of your scrolling textboxes a much more up-to-date visual appearance. Of course, you can still make your own scrollbar styles from scratch (or download shared skins from http://www.autoplaymediastudio.com) or choose from old favorites such as Chrome, Euro, Corporate, Charcoal, Industrial and more.
AutoPlay Media Studio 8 is all about helping you get things done faster and easier. Even small things like the startup welcome screen have been improved! The startup screen now gives you fast access to multiple recently used projects, one-click restore of the last used project, or simply creating a new project using a template or blank project. Additionally, an integrated RSS feed keeps you updated on product improvements, updates, bug fixes and news!
The Project Explorer in AutoPlay Media Studio 8 has been revamped to give you a better overall view of your project. Things like better icons, collapsible Dialog and Page categories and better visual indications for hidden and locked objects will be much appreciated. Additional context-sensitive right-click menus have been added and reworked to present you with only the most appropriate commands for working with objects, pages, dialogs and events.
A variety of changes were made to the script editor to help more quickly write your code. Of course the popular Action Wizard, Code Completion and Intellisense are still there to guide you. We've also expanded and reorganized the one-click "Quick Script" feature. Many common programming "snippets" are included, making it super easy to add loops, control structures and other often-used bits of script. Additionally, "object tables" have been moved into their own category in order to help you find what you’re looking for at a glance.
With all the new possibilities available to AutoPlay Media Studio 8 developers, we've put together a centralized archive to help organize everything. At http://www.autoplaymediastudio.com you'll find an easy-to-navigate repository for everything related to AutoPlay Media Studio. You'll find action plugins, object plugins, application themes, Lua modules, video transport skins, scrollbar skins, MSSTYLES skins, custom .BTN format button files, background images, project templates, example projects, scripts, audio files, tutorials, tools and lots more.
Hundreds of other changes have made their way into AutoPlay Media Studio 8. Some visible, some hidden deep within the core… All of them designed to make AutoPlay Media Studio 8 your "go to" tool when you’re on a deadline and need to create graphically rich interactive software applications.