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 ;-)
Thank you so much for replying, I appreciate it. I am still evaluating
different possibilities for a development program. Not ready to throw out AW
quite yet, as I will NOT be deploying any courseware over the web. Just one
computer classroom with a dozen or so workstations, so I have FULL control
over the OS, environment, computers, etc.
I am open to other suggestions for alternative programs, but I do not like
programs like Dreamweaver/Coursebuilder or Toolbook, as they present the
courses in a web browser. I do NOT want the courses displayed in a web
browser as I am in a pure classroom only situation.
So if is possible to briefly answer any of my post questions I would REALLY
appreciate it, as I need to pick a program sometime soon and go with it.
Thank you so much for your time!!
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 It is still a great tool but kinda outdated.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.
Thank you so much for your time, a really appreciate it. I replied earlier
to Steve, provided some details on how I need to potentially use AW. As I
will be creating lessons for a stand-alone classroom, I have full control
over all computers and will not be distributing over the web at all, so some
concerns are not an issue. I do not want the lessons to display on a web
browser, which is why I like AW. If you have any other suggestions besides
AW I could research, I would love to know, and if by browsing my previous
post to Erik you have any other thoughts I would be all ears!
Again, thank you for your time, I can't tell you guys how much this helps
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.
I believe I will be able to choose, but will probably end up with Windows 7
at it is the latest. During my research, I see that movies can still be
played, just not using the Movie icon. No biggie. So I am leaning towards AW
still. But once I install AW7 and the 7.0.2 update, are there any more
files/dlls/Xtras or any other tweaks that should be updated or added? Thanks
again in advance!
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...)
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
Thanks Steve- you guys have been so helpful! I am still evaluating my
options, and I have been trying to get the rust off my brain and building
some AW lessons, refreshing my memory and a lot of things. Many complicated
functions are coming backj to me, but so far, one seeming simple thing is
killing me. My monitor screen resolution is maxed at 1280x1024. And I want a
full screen, 1280x1024 lesson. And when I play the file in AW, I still have
the menu bar, tool bar, and Windows taskbar taking up space and I can't view
my entire 1280x1024 background graphic. I don't remember having this issue,
or how I got around it, in my earlier AW days. Any guidance?
Thanks again, I may find myself on here a lot this week, as I have to decide
on an authoring program soon. I hope to keep getting your help, it is
Yes, thats the first thing I did when I set up the lesson, and when the file
is packaged and run via the .exe, it works fine of course. In other words,
my 1280x1024 lesson takes up the full 1280x1024 monitor area.
My problem is, when I open the .a7p file and press Restart/Play to preview
the lesson, the blue windows title bar and AW Menu Bar are still displayed
at the top of the screen, pushing the lesson background down and cutting off
the bottom portion.
Since my post, I did find a strange workaround- if I press Restart/Play, as
I said, I have the title/menu bar at the top of the screen. But if I
minimize then maximize the window, they go away! And I can continue
previewing the lesson as it would display to a user. Is this normal AW
Might be something goofy with this trial version I have, if the standard
full version doesn't seem to do this I won't worry much.
Can't say thanks enough for your help, I'm sure there will be more to
Yes, I did. The file works super when packaged, its just the AW menu bar
taking up space when I play it in AW. Not a dealbreaker, as I found a
workaround, and I can still move things around, adjust hotspots, etc, with
the bottom part cut off. I think its just a trial version issue, if I commit
to AW I will get the full version. Again, I have my monitor screen
resolution set to 1280x1024, and I have a 1280x1024 background imported into
AW. (If I import a 1024x768 background, no issues of course.) If you get
bored, try to use a background that is the same size as your monitor size
and see if you have the same issue I do.
Anyway, great to hear you still use AW regularly, if I commit to using it,
I'll probably be pestering you for awhile!! Thnks again!
Well, I can't go above 1280x1024 on my current computer, if I decide to
upgrade my computer (which I may for this upcoming project, I may need a
big-boy resolution!) I won't have to worry about it. I do need this new
course to be full screen, I don't want any desktop or browser windows to be
visible. When the course is started, we just want the lesson to take up ALL
the real estate on the monitor. So, looks like I can make this happen how I
want with AW.
Can't say thanks enough, I'm sure I'll be back here soon...Terry
Back again! So I'm hoping to get your opinion again on LMS software that
works well with AW. I have been poking around, and most popular LMS programs
do a lot more than I need. I have full control over a independent,
stand-alone classroom, so I do not need a courseware deployment system or
need to use the internet. I just need a basic student record system, I
really just need to keep track of some personal info (name, last 4, etc),
lesson progress, lesson completion, and quiz/test scores.
I know I could capture and export this data to a Microsoft Access file, but
that isn't really considered and LMS system, is it? I would like to go down
the road to AICC-compliance/certification for this. Would Access be enough?
So if you know of any simple LMS programs that work well for basic
recordkeeping, I would appreciate your opinion. Thanks!
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.
Yes, I agree, if I really need to be 100% compliant I would need an LMS.
Also, there is the difference between "compliant" and "certified". And the
fact that technically I am not developing e-learning for the web, or
web-based distribution, but stand-alone instruction. According to SCORM and
AICC websites it does make a difference in requirements.
To change the subject, is there a website or resource that still has 3rd
party Xtras/Sprite add-ons available? I know there is a lot of added, bonus
functionality that doesn't come with AW. Not really finding much out there.
I saw on the Adobe website a mention of something called QuickDraw 3d Xtra,
but the link was bad. Anyway, if you know of a decent Xtra source I can
browse out of curiousity, let me know.
That's it for now- as always, thanks for your time!
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.
Good morning Steve- time for another question of the day!!
So I may be tasked with developing a course in AW, and then have it
translated into several different foreign languages. Could be simple, could
be complicated. If I have English text in my AW course, and replace all the
text with, say, a Korean or Russian font, would I need to install the
foreign font on the target computer? Will the foreign text display in a
packaged AW file? I guess the question may be as simple as how do I include
an unusual font in an AW packaged file. Have you ever heard of or dealt with
foreign languages and AW?
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.
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.
Thanks so much for the detailed answers, I can't tell you enough how big a
help you have been. So yes, it looks like dealing with foreign languages
will be painful. I am still in the planning phase for this project, so a lot
of requirements are still up in the air, so I am trying to anticipate as
many hurdles as I can. I believe I will definitely have a need for some
translation, but I do not know how many or which languages I would be
dealing with yet. But you have given me a great start for thought on this!
I'm sure I will have more crazy questions soon...
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.
Thanks so much for your input, I really appreciate it. I can see dealing
with foreign languages won't be easy! I don't have to decide or determine
exactly how I need to proceed, as I am still in the dark as to which
languages and to what extent I may need to translate. But I am sure I will
be posting again soon, it seems a new question comes up every day. Thanks
again for your time, it means a lot!
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
Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it! As I go through
this planning phase for this project, more details on the extent of the
foreign language requirements will come to light, and I'll have to look
close at the AWARE archives for help. Thanks for the reference, its a big
So, no matter what method is used, and no matter whether its an a7p, a7r,
exe, or published for the web, doesn't the unique foreign font have to be
installed in the target machine's c:\windows\fonts folder? If this is the
case, is there a work-around of some sort, some way to include a unique font
in the packaging/publishing of an AW course, so its not an issue? I'm full
of questions, I know...
And this kind of throws a wrench in the use of some system variables, does
it not? I used to display map icon names for page titles, you know,
displaying variable text on screen with IconTitle or page numbers with
PageNum, I believe it was. Just rambling now. But as always, thanks again,
and I'm sure I'll be back soon...
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.