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Review Direct SMS Review

Added on 5/28/2003


D7 D8 D8_5 D9 Mac PC Shockwave

Required Xtras:
DirectSMS Xtra

This item has not yet been rated

Author: MediaMacros (website)

DirectSMS is a cross-platform, easy to use Scripting Xtra for Macromedia Director, Authorware and Shockwave that provides applications with the ability to communicate with mobile devices. By using DirectSMS Xtra, Director, Authorware and Shockwave applications can easily generate and send short wireless text messages (also known as SMS messages) to cellular phones and pagers throughout the world. All that is required for the Xtra to send SMS messages is that the computer on which the application is running on would be connected to the Internet. No special hardware or software is required. DirectXtras is also able to offer a customized version of the Xtra for developers who wish to incorporate SMS receiving capabilities in their applications.

Ever wanted to take your Director apps outside a computer only environment? This nifty little Xtra from Direct Xtras may be your ticket. With it you can communicate with mobile devices such as phones, pagers, or anything else that is SMS enabled. IM your clients to their phones right from your Director app, or send a text message to contacts from a Shockwave app.  With this add-on Director can become your message operator for kiosks, web applications and CD-ROMs.

So how does this work exactly? Basically the Xtra works in much the same way the Director network Xtras do. You set up a message, send it and then monitor the status of the send.  Check the result for errors, and then have the program move on.  If you can use getNetText and postNetText, you can easily use this Xtra. On the server side you will be using Direct Xtras SMS services to connect your program to the actual device.

I have to say this is a VERY easy Xtra to use. Run a few of their tests and you will see there is little code required. You can drop this into any application in a matter of minutes. As to its usefulness, that depends on your project.  This is really one of those items that is so specialized that it will either make a huge job very easy, or not be useful to you at all.  If you are trying to do SMS in Director it's a no-brainer, but I doubt many developers will need this on a regular basis.

Cost is a bit of a fuzzy area.  For the limited functions in the program $249 for a single OS license might seem a bit steep. Compare it to your other options (custom development) and it looks a bit more in line.  The problem though, is that it does not stop there.  For a cross platform app with a single developer you need to shell out $399 (cross platform license) and then you have to pay a fee per message sent. Depending on the volume you buy this ranges from 2.2 -5 cents per message.  For example, for a program that needs to allow 100,000 messages to be sent over its lifetime you are looking at $399 for the Xtra + $2200 for the send credits.  Granted, any SMS service will have to charge per message but it is something to be aware of, as your clients will need to know to re-order credits when they start running low. One Item I really like though is the ability to create child accounts.  This way you can buy credits in bulk and pass them on to each client for individual use.  This allows you to resell the credits and ration them to each client as needed.

As always Direct Xtras is well known for their great support.  The documentation is solid and easy to follow, example movies are well laid out and email support is top notch.  If you are venturing into the world of SMS then its great to know they are along side you.

We give it an overall rating of 3 out of 5.



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