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New to AW7, need some startup advice please!

Nov 5, 2010 11:04 AM

Hello out there- I used to work with AW6 a few years ago, now have AW7 and would like to know, once I install AW7 out of the box, are there any new or extra files (dll, Xtras, etc) that I should add or update to make AW7 as current as possible? I believe I should install the 7.0.2 update, true?

 

I am planning on building some courses that will incorporate multimedia, e.g. 3d animations, movies, sounds, simple Flash movies, etc. Do I need any updated plugins, players, or Active X controls to keep AW7 up to speed?

 

And I seem to remember from my AW6 days, that some media needed to be installed in the same directory as the A6p file, or A6r file to be packaged properly. Is this still true?

 

Last but but not least, does anyone have any recommendations on a simple, easy to use LMS program that works well with AW7?

 

Thank you all very much in advance, some thoughts on these issues would be greatly appreciated!!!!

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 5, 2010 2:48 PM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    I'm always happy to hear about someone else liking Authorware...but first, are you SURE you want to do that?

    Authorware is no longer developed, and 'support' is pretty much whatever you can find here or the Aware Listserve. I doubt you'll find anyone at Adobe who can help much with the product anymore.

     

    Authorware can be delivered via the web, and can be made SCORM-compliant. It's a LOT easier to use other programs for that through.

     

    Everyone who wants to access your Authorware content over the web will need the Authorware Web Player. It does NOT use the Flash or Shockwave Web Players. That means a separate download that requires initial installation under an Admin account.

     

    Finally, as OS and other tool advances leave Authorware in the dust, more and more functionality breaks. For example, I don't think it's possible to use Authorware's movie icon for any movie types anymore, except the most basic MPEG files (I could be wrong on that example).

     

    So there are lots of reasons you may not want to pursue development with Authorware. It's a GREAT program. I still use it for kiosk/tablet-based applications...but never for web-based applications. Unfortunately, it's discontinued and likely not something you want to invest time in. Who knows when the next OS update will totally kill your application?

     

    IF after all that you still want to work with it, cool enough! And will then address your actual questions ;-)

    Erik

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 5, 2010 3:19 PM   in reply to Erik Lord

    Erik is right - are you sure you want to use Authorware? It is still a great tool but kinda outdated.

     

    If you deliver to IE 7 or 8 you need to enable the iFrame workaround to allow smooth communication between Authorware and the LMS.

     

    If you deliver to IE 8, my experience is that Protected Mode must be turned off. Both IE 8 and IE 7 often need the LMS domain to be a Trusted Site.

     

    Authorware Web Player has to be installed as Admin for these browsers.

     

    Erik is right - with the advent of Windows Vista, the Movie Icon lost its new features (introduced in Authorware 6.5?) that allowed the use of native Windows video playback of 'new and exotic' CODECS like MPG 4, DivX etc, so it now works just the same as it did in Authorware 6 and earlier.

     

    Authorware handles media the same as it ever did, so if you have external audio or video, it is best to include it in a subfolder of you main Authorware file.

     

    If you want to include Flash, you must either publish it as Flash 6 (!!) or use the Shockwave Flash ActiveX control for the Flash movies. You lose the ability to layer things above the Flash movie, and you lose transparency support. Not the end of the world usually...

     

     

    Not to start a fight 

     

    Authorware is a breeze to make SCORM compliant. Just pop in the LMS KOs ant start and end, configure them (really easy) then publish. Steps seem a little much when you first set up, but once you set up a file you are done. Easy peasy. If you do lots of files, you quickly learn the steps and it takes only a few moments. I prefer dealing with Authorware than, say Captivate or Flash, for SCORM support.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 5, 2010 3:37 PM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    What OS are you going to be using? If you are going to use XP (not that I recommend it - Windows 7 is way better), you'll be using an OS that is even older than Authorware 7, so should encounter fewer quirks ... But I still develop Authorware content using Windows 7, so there's no overriding reason to use XP IMHO.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 5, 2010 4:24 PM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    No 

     

    There has been no further update to Authorware beyond AW 7.02. Any 3rd-party Xtra developers pretty-much gave up on Authorware years ago.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 5, 2010 11:04 PM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    Quick reply...as I see a initial disconnect...

    If you want to use an LMS, you must deliver the content via a web browser. Doesn't HAVE to touch the internet, could be an 'intranet', but the whole LMS-SCORM thing requires web delivery.

     

    Now, there's the 'AICC' spec which does make allowances for non-web delivered content, and there are at least a few LMS products that support AICC. The easiest way to setup Authorware for SCORM-complaince for LMS  delivery are the LMS KOs. It's been a while since I played with that so  not sure it supports AICC. It might... If not, you could surely setup Authorware to communicate via the AICC spec manually...but that wouldn't be easy.

     

    Do you HAVE to use an LMS per some dictate or requirement, or does that just look to be the easiest way to setup users and tracking? Pre-LMS days, we would setup such centralized logins and tracking manually, usually to a central network location (i.e. Fileserver). So that is certainly a possible option if you don't have to use an LMS...

     

    But if an LMS is required, then SCORM is likely the way you need to setup your Authorware files, and that's going to require delivery through a browser.

     

    (Actually, a quick look here: http://learningconsulting.com shows the LMS KOs may well indeed support AICC. The LMS KOs that come with Authorware 7 are based on Andrew's KOs from that website, though they are more limited, I believe, then the 'pro' versions he offers...and maybe part of that pro update is AICC? Worth a look and read...)

    HTH
    Erik

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2010 9:09 AM   in reply to Erik Lord

    Authorware supports coding your own LMS communication via all the CMIxxxx functions and variables. These were in Authorware for AICC support before the world of SCORM came along

     

    There is LAN-based LMS communication 'built in' using AICC's HAACP commands http://documentation.skillsoft.com/index.htm?toc.htm?19169.htm

     

    Moodle is a free open source LMS that can be used for AICC HACP lessons http://docs.moodle.org/en/Adding/editing_a_SCORM

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2010 9:05 PM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    Set the File properties to change the window to the size you want. Same properties dialogue lets you switch off menu bar etc.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2010 7:53 AM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    As mentioned before, I still do AW development regularly. I do not ever encounter this issue.

     

    Just to be clear - did you turn off both the menu bar and the tool bar in the Authorware file properties?

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2010 9:20 AM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    Ah - now what happens if you set your monitor to a big-boy resolution above 1280x1024? In (amost) 15 years of Authorware development I have never developed an AW app that is the same size as my development monitor resolution.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 12, 2010 10:42 AM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    As you say - if your data needs are so limited, an Access database will do just fine.

     

    I've always been cynical of LMSs for most of us. The typical usage is tracking who accessed what and when, and if the completed lessons and assessments. If you are a large corporation tracking compliance etc than maybe an LMS makes sense, but from your description, I'd say go ahead and use an Access database.

     

    If you really really want to use an LMS, I reiterate Moodle. But beware that it will require some configuration and effort that you may prefer to devote to other tasks.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 14, 2010 11:25 AM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    I think for true SCORM or AICC compliance you must use a SCORM or AICC compliant LMS too.

     

    If you simply want to track data as has been discussed, using ACCESS, that would not really be SCORM compliant.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2010 3:57 AM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    Xtras,

     

    Yes and no... meaning none of them are up to date. Do a search simply for "Authorware Xtras" and you can get some results, but you may find little help or support on anything you find.

     

    QD3D Xtra was old and relatively useless in 2000, so I wouldn't hold your breath for it now ... But I think it should be on your Authorware CD.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 17, 2010 1:55 PM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    There's multiple ways to solve that. None of them are quick and easy. All require extensive knowledge of Authorware. If you dig around the Aware List archives you should be able to find some excellent history.

     

    http://listserv.cc.kuleuven.ac.be/archives/aware.html

     

    First, you could build one version of the course, then make a copy, and switch out the text in the second version.

    Sounds easy, but this quickly becomes a maintenance nightmare - any time you have to maintain multiple files, you create extra headaches for yourself.

     

    Second, there are multiple ways to build something more dynamic - something that uses external text perhaps in rich text or XML format. Here, you would build your course with some logic to read the external content at runtime, and populate your text objects with the appropriate language. There is no quick and easy way to tell you how to do this. You will need to understand external files, XML, the use of custom code, variables etc in Authorware.

     

    There is a third possible approach, where you have all your text content in libraries, and create a library for each language. At runtime, you can control which library Authorware loads by allowing the user to select a language, then use JumpFile to select your course and language library.

     

    I am sure you will find many other solutions discussed in the Aware archives.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 17, 2010 8:51 PM   in reply to Steve Howard, ACP

    A few years ago, I spent a few hours trying to convert an application to Chinese. I didn't have any luck. Installed the Chinese font and followed whatever posts I could find on it, and just couldn't get the characters to appear on-screen.

     

    Latin languages, like French and Spanish, are FAR less complex. I just keep my text in external .ini files (yes, I know, way old-school these days ;-) and reference those files/values based on the language the user selects at the beginning of the program.

     

    The biggest issue I've found with this approach is layout - if the text area for English is tight, you can almost be assured that text in French or Spanish is going to overflow that space in many cases....so you have to leave some padding/margins and maybe workout some dynamic display icon placement.

     

    HTH
    Erik

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 18, 2010 2:37 PM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    There's an additional thing to remember in dealing with languages. Some of them require a 'double-byte' OS. I'm thinking way back five years or more so I'm not sure how it's been affected by newer OS versions. IIRC there were specific OS versions that were requred to support some languages. If you need to use one of those then I think your only option will be to obtain a machine and OS capable of supporting that font and obtain a copy of Authorware that supports that OS to do the development for that langauge on that machine. This could be why Erik's attempt at Chinese didn't go well.

    I've never tried using Authorware's RTF objects with different languages. I'm not sure if it's capable. Here's a link to something I found in the AWARE archives... http://www.jsconsulting.ca/products

     

    HTH,

    Mike

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 18, 2010 2:45 PM   in reply to Michael V Baker

    Good point about double-byte fonts windows vista and windows 7 have expanded language support that removes the need for language specific versions of the os.

     

    You can display external rtf objects with code and/or by variable expression. Dazzletech did this for at least one project I saw.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 18, 2010 3:50 PM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    You're right that the font needs to be installed for it to work. There is a KO for installing and removing fonts during the execution of your program. Test early, test often. We really have no idea if these will work with current OS's. Since Authorware's EOD at Adobe there isn't a full time QA staff testing out all these things. It's up to us.

     

    Mike

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 18, 2010 4:46 PM   in reply to Erik Lord

    Oh yeah - Authorware does not support double-byte fonts natively. There used to be a third-party u32 that did. It was like RTFObjects.u32 only better. Can’t remember the name offhand ... Can't remember if rtfObjects.u32 supports double-byte fonts or not - gonna guess not.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 18, 2010 4:51 PM   in reply to cubsfan2010

    By the way, one workaround for font support is to use images instead of text. Not ideal, especially if your course is large, but it can be an option.

     

    Steve

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 18, 2010 5:30 PM   in reply to Steve Howard, ACP

    I believe this is it. Found it in the AWARE archives searching "unicode". http://www.jsconsulting.ca/products

     

    Mike

     
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