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Macromedia presents Authorware 6.5, cuts education pricing in the US

Macromedia will make a new version of its Authorware course creation application available at the end of September. Main changes include better accessibility tools and extensive XML support. Meanwhile, deeper discounts are offered to US educational volume buyers.

Authorware 6.5 is claimed to have pretty substantial standards support, mainly on the strengths of built-in data tracking capability, XML support and a SCORM Metadata editor. Support for IMS is also claimed, but that is likely to be a straightforward consequence of the inclusion of XML editing tools and data tracking capability (which would be necessary for IMS simple sequencing, for example).

The data-tracking capabilities also mean that course authors will be able to make SCORM and AICC compliant learning objects more easily. This is mainly accomplished by making it easy to include the necessary commands that let the course content talk to the learning management system (LMS) in which the content is hosted. SCORM compliance is also made easier by Macromedia's inclusion of a SCORM metadata editor.

More generaly. it appears that this version of Authorware has been focussed on supporting XML. Data can be read and written in XML derivatives, and also parsed, scripted and edited.

What already sounds attractive, is made even more so by the separate news that Macromedia is offering some substantially lower educational volume licencing deals. Larger US universities appear to be able to get products like Dreamweaver for around half the educational list price. There's no word yet on the availability of these deals elsewhere in the world.

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