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Chapter 4. Flash and Generator > Introduction to Generator

Introduction to Generator

The Generator product line consists of three products:

  • Generator 2 Authoring Templates (free)

  • Generator 2 Developer Edition ($999)

  • Generator 2 Enterprise Edition ($3,000 per processor)

That’s quite a range of prices. The version of Generator you need depends on what you are trying to accomplish. The differences among the three products are outlined in the following paragraphs.

The Generator 2 Authoring Templates come free with Flash 5. If you installed Flash 5 from a CD, chances are that you also installed the authoring templates. In fact, unless you chose not to install the templates, they were installed automatically.

With Flash 5 and the Generator authoring templates, you can create Generator templates (SWT files) and test them locally, but you can’t deploy them live without having the Generator server extensions installed on a Web server. However, and this is a big however, you still can generate Flash movies—SWFs, GIFs, JPEGs, and so on—in the authoring environment and use them anywhere. This might not sound like a big deal right now, but wait until you see how simple it is to create charts, tickers, scrolling lists, and such. You’ll become a Generator convert in no time. You’ve got the templates. Why not learn how to use them?

Generator 2 Developer Edition comes into the field at $999 and includes the Generator server extensions. The Developer Edition can handle only one request from the Web server at a time, so it’s not scalable. However, it does work well for low traffic sites or for sites that don’t rely on live generation of graphics.

Generator 2 Enterprise Edition is the fully scalable enterprise solution for Web sites that need to generate unique media for each user who visits a site. This version of Generator is ideal for high volume sites that require personalization. It’s also ideal for the presentation of information that has underlying data which changes very frequently. The Enterprise Edition also has administrative and caching capabilities. Its price tag starts at $3,000 per processor. Although that price might give you pause, remember that it is an enterprise solution.

Because Generator runs as an extension to the Flash 5 authoring environment, you’re working in the familiar Flash environment, with a few add-ons. You now know what Generator is and how it fits in with Flash, but how do you actually use it? In the next section, you explore the Generator interface.

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