Celebrating Black History Month – Black In Tech

John Henry Thompson 

(1959 – Present)

John Henry Thompson has brought together his skills in computer science to bridge the gap between tech and art. He taught himself a few coding languages in high school, then went on to college at MIT where he earned a Computer Science major and a Visual Arts minor. He was so passionate about the arts that he took a break from MIT after just two years to attend the Art Students League of New York, where he learned to draw and paint.

Four years down the line, he was a chief scientist at Macromedia™. He created a range of products, a lot of which were based on his remarkable invention, Lingo programming: a scripting language for rendering visuals in computer apps. Thompson used Lingo in one of his more popular computer creations, Macromedia™ Director. Macromedia™ Director let’s you mix different types of graphics (like BMP, AVI, JPEG, QuickTime, PNG, RealVideo, and vector graphics) to make multi-media content and apps, combining computer programming and art.

Lingo has become the go-to language for many interactive programs that feature visuals, animation, sound, and video. Thompson has had a hand in developing MediaMaker, Actions, Video Works Accelerator, and Video Works II with Macromedia™ Director. Plus, it’s now being used to create flash and shockwave programs that are everywhere – from video games and web design to animation and graphics.


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