Authorware and OS X

Adobe’s Authorware product was a mainstay for computer-based training development for years. While the ascent of web-based training, distribution issues, and the rise of Flash led to Authorware’s retirement in 2007, it remains a viable product for some projects (i.e. kiosk-based training). However, without support from Adobe, challenges mount with advances in the underlying Windows and Mac operating systems.

While Macromedia discontinued the Mac version of the authoring tool with version 4, it retained the ability to convert Authorware applications for playback on Macintosh systems up through the last release, version 7.02.

Apple’s dramatic transition from Mac OS 9 to OS X (10) in 2002 brought substantial changes which posed a problem for existing Mac applications. To address these concerns, Apple included a virtual environment, Rosetta in several versions of OS X (10.0 through 10.6) which allowed properly packaged Authorware applications to function on the newer Macs.

However, with OS X 10.7 (Lion), Rosetta support has been completely removed. Thus, any application created with Authorware will no longer function under that version, and subsequent versions, of the Mac OS. The only workaround is for users to install virtual environments, such as Parallels or Sun’s VirtualBox, with an installed Windows OS. This is unlikely to be a reasonable option for general consumer products, unfortunately.

Authorware continues to work well under the latest Microsoft Windows environment – from the authoring system to local and web published products. But…workarounds are increasing, third-party Xtras and U32s are slowly losing functionality, and who knows  what other challenges will be faced with new versions of Windows…

If you have any existing Authorware-based courseware you need converted to a new architecture, be it Flash or HTML5, we here at ICS Learning Group can help guide you on that transition.