Note that discussions of electronic literature tools have been long, complex, and heartbreaking. Basically, we are asking you to create sculptures using a hand cranked ice cream machine. Judy Malloy's blog of authoring software highlights electronic authors and how they use software tools--a great starting place.
Moreover, beloved tools such as HyperCard no longer exist, and thus every work in HyperCard is basically lost to the ether. Before writing your work, please peruse the advice in ELO's Acid-Free Bits. (see the Serbo-Croatian language translation of this page as of 11/2012 Thank you Jovana).
Proprietary (You need to buy this)
Photoshop: A commercial software tool for images.
Non-Proprietary (These are usually free or with donations)
Processing. "Processing is an open source programming language and environment for
people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by
students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for
learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach Elit 101
of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software
sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is an alternative to
proprietary software tools in the same domain." See the:
Twine: an open-source tool for
writing hypertext that centers on a GUI story map, but also possesses a fullscreen
editing mode that allows writers to concentrate on composition. Twine publishes
to HTML format, and story appearance and behavior can be customized with CSS
Question Unquestioned" and "Jason's
Hike to the Top of Mount Fuji" ().
FLOSS Audio Tools. The Digital Artists Handbook describes various non-proprietary software for sound softwares for : "Audio Editing (for recording and processing sound); Sequencing (for layering sound events as tracks on a timeline and perhaps apply effects on the tracks); Score writing (creating musical scores on staves or piano roll interface. This is software based upon the old tradition of writing music as notes on paper); Virtual Instruments (tools that allow you to generate sounds through events such as commands from a sequencer or input from hardware such as a MIDI keyboard); Sound Feature Analyser (for analysing the nature of the sound: its timbre, temporal onsets and amplitude); Patchers - Algorithmic/Interactive/Generative Composition (for working with formal structures, algorithms and generativity - and that's what music essentially is)."
Director: A commercial software multimedia authoring tool. This tool has a pretty steep learning curve.
Flash: A commercial software that provides the ability to embed images, sound, video, and links. Often used for internet works. This tool has a pretty steep learning curve. Peter Howard's Rainbow Factory is a fun flash piece.
Most of the multimedia tools can be read through a web browser using a plug in. However, some tools work directly with HTML. HTML is a set of instructions in a "hypertext markup language" that browsers such as FireFox use to display a web page so that it can be read in a browser HTML doesn't need to be intimidating--particularly if you speak English. Every instruction begins with a <> and ends with a </>. So bold is <b>bold</b>. Many softwares are available to use HTML to create web pages. You can also get easy tutorials for HTML at w3schools. These tools use HTML as their basis, so the end product is an HTML web page.
Dreamweaver: A software that provides templates (so all of your pages can have the same borders or elements that you can change), site functions (so you manage a series of pages, and tools that allow you to create complex tables or images without having to "Hard code"--write directly in the HTML. You can see the HTML code or the way that the page would look on the web.
Trellix: A commercial web authoring software that also creates paths and nodes. "Trellix Site Builder is the easiest way to build, host, manage and promote a professional web site. Our award-winning tool is designed specifically for people who want to focus on their business instead of mastering complex technology and design skills. In fact, since 1995 more than four million web sites have been created with Trellix Site Builder!" Deena Larsen's Pines At Walden Pond was created using Trellix's path/node/map features.
Connection Muse: A free downloadable system that works with HTML and extends the capability of the link. It "handles the complex relationship between read and unread material, which lies at the heart of maintaining momentum during the reading and achieving closure at the end of it. Adaptive hypertext techniques can help bring this sophistication to hypertext literature, making it more responsive to the reader's needs." Jackie Craven's In the Changing Room and Robert Kendall's Clues are good examples of using this tool.
StorySpace: A commercial software designed to create hypertexts and electronic literature. "Storyspace is a hypertext writing environment that is especially well suited to large, complex, and challenging hypertexts. Storyspace focuses on the process of writing, making it easy and pleasant to link, revise, and reorganize. " This is a good tool for creating works and story-boarding what you want where, as it allows you to place nodes and text. Eastgate Systems sells works created in StorySpace but you can distribute the works you create for free.
HyperStudio:A commercial software multimedia authoring tool. This tool does not have a steep learning curve and is relatively easy to work with.
We'd love to show your work--either send it or send a URL for your work here to be a part of this site.