Lingo was invented by John H. Thompson at MacroMind in 1989, and first released with Director 2.2. Jeff Tanner developed and tested Lingo for Director 2.2 and 3.0, created custom XObjects for various media device producers, language extension examples using XFactory including the XFactory application programming interface (API), and wrote the initial tutorials on how to use Lingo. Dave Shields tested and documented Object-based Lingo for Director 3.13 and 4.0. He ran build scripts to create weekly releases for testing, originated the Macromedia KnowledgeBase, created examples of how to write Lingo XTRA plug-ins in C++, and assembled the Golden Master disks of Macromedia Director that were shipped to the duplicator.
Lingo was quickly adopted by burgeoning multimedia community during the 1990s and the already popular Director product. Initially, about 90% of the users only used 10% of Lingo's features; primarily go to the frame by multimedia authors of tutorials and presentations. However, 10% of the users were game developers who took a wider interest in the other 90% of its abilities, including their own function extensions by creating their own XFactories/XObjects. The Journeyman Project is a prominent example of this.