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Introduction: The pitfalls of platforms

Today's world of computers is, and continues to offer a variety of challenges to the people who use them. Computers and the Internet have enabled new forms of communication to be made possible. The barriers have come down and the world has become ever smaller as a result.

As a multimedia designer, communication is the key. My work has to convey the message in the way which I intended. In multimedia and the Internet, that means that the computer or device should not get in the way of the message.

And yet, the diversification of this world has created this very problem, which upsets the way in which the message or information is displayed or translated.

More specifically, have you ever produced a piece of work on one computer, and found it does not work first time on another? The chances are that you have, and if you have not, then you will surely encounter it in the future.

This website contains information and opinion from myself, other computer users and the multimedia profession about the subject of cross platform compatibility, the term applied to the degree at which a program or file can be run successfully first time, regardless of the type of machine it is being played on.

Within these pages you will find a personal account of how I came to produce a commercial cross platform product. I will then explain what ideas exist now and in the future to help the designer (or user) get to grips with portability of their work. I will then make a conclusion on the state of multimedia authoring, and some recommendations on what should be done to ease the problem of incompatibility between different computers.

As a multimedia designer, I must be aware of the possible limitations of moving project work between different platforms, preventing frustration and headache prior to its deadline. Any words in italics may be listed in the Glossary of Terms, and further information can be gleaned from the reading lists and websites listed at the end of each chapter.

I have good reasons for creating this website. Firstly, I think that multimedia should be wholly creative, and be devoid of technical considerations that can hamper such work. And, despite the wealth of information available to aid designers in cross platform compatibility, much of it is conflicting and overcomplicated. Basically, multimedia designers and with it, users, currently have a hard time projecting their message to the world.

Lastly, all common file formats should be platform independent. Image, sound, movie and text files should all be cross compatible with all machines, with the machine being capable of interpreting them without question.

“One day we'll have just one format for multimedia, just like in audio, where we have compact discs, cassettes, vinyl, eight track.....” (page 272, Vaughn)
Tim Carrigan, editor, Multimedia, a UK based magazine

Cross compatibility can be affected by;

Although the object of this website is to detail my findings and experiments in attempting to answer the question and present to you general opinion from outside sources, a chapter has been given over to the description of the three computer platforms I am most familiar with, two of which are very well known, the third being known in only a few countries.

I hope you enjoy using these pages. If you have any comments to make about any aspect of its content, do not hesitate to contact me.

Bibliography

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