Creator (software)

Creator (software)

Creator was a software multimedia authoring application allowing 'point of information' systems to be easily created. The program was designed and developed by Nigel Pearce whilst working for the monitor manufacturer Microvitec.


Creator had its roots in an application written for the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford in 1991. The original software written in Turbo Pascal for DOS ran on touchscreen driven PCs housed in interactive booths within the theatre foyer. The application allowed visitors to browse the program for forthcoming shows, to books seats using a visual seating plan and to look for restaurants in the locality. This system was the brainchild of Brian Lumb of Visual Solutions (Saltaire), who along with Pearce helped to implement the working solution. Much of the coding logic within the application was based upon the research by Pearce for his BSc thesis: 'Point of Information Systems' undertaken at Sheffield Hallamshire University in 1992.

When Visual Solutions dissolved in 1992, Lumb brought the 'touch interactive software' concept to Microvitec where Pearce evolved the application into a Windows based version using a mixture of the programming languages Visual Basic and C. This matured version became the commercially available application 'Creator'. Version 1 was released in late 1993 followed by Creator Professional in 1994. The program achieved a significant user base in the lates 90's, having functionality rivalling more sophisticated authoring packages of the time.

Creator was distributed by Cosmi UK between 1994-1995.

In 1995, Plymouth County Council adopted Creator as it's general point of information system across the city and was implemented using a network of touch screen driven PCs connected via modems. The satellite systems received updates from the central control server on a daily basis.

In 1996 Microvitec were suffering significantly in the sector and the rights to the Creator application were sold to newly formed interactive whiteboard manufacturer Promethean after seeing the program demonstrated at Ceebit in the same year. Pearce joined Promethean at the same time.

Promethean continued to maintain the product and to support the user base until mid 1999.


Creator used a 'book and page' metaphor. The 'book' was a Creator file containing one or more pages where each page comprised a set of objects such as text, images and video.

Each object could have up to two programmable actions which when clicked upon could link the user to another page in the book, change the appearance of another object on the page or play a video or sound file (amongst other actions).

The program implemented a unique feature whereby each object on the page could be made to replicate itself in a defined grid formation. Additionally each object could contain a list of content references such as text strings, images or external file references which would then be automatically displayed inside the replicated objects within the grid. This feature made it extremely easy to create interactive menus and scrollable data lists.

The application could run either unattended in 'slide show' mode or be driven interactively via touch screen, mouse and/or keyboard.

Creator included database searching techniques via SQL queries on the book data.

The program also utilised over 100 page transitions and hi-resolution, true colour graphics to attract it's target audience.

The Creator Server extension allowed for a system administrator to update book and page content on any client machine across a LAN or to remote machines via modem dial up.


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