35 Replies Latest reply: Nov 18, 2010 5:30 PM by Michael V Baker RSS

    New to AW7, need some startup advice please!

    cubsfan2010

      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!!!!

        • 1. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
          Erik Lord ACP

          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

          • 2. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
            cubsfan2010 Community Member

            Erik-

            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!!

             

            Terry

            • 3. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
              Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

              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

              • 4. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                cubsfan2010 Community Member

                Steve-

                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

                me!

                 

                Terry

                • 5. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                  Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                  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

                  • 6. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                    cubsfan2010 Community Member

                    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!

                     

                    Terry

                    • 7. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                      Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                      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

                      • 8. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                        Erik Lord ACP

                        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

                        • 9. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                          Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                          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

                          • 10. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                            cubsfan2010 Community Member

                            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

                            INVALUABLE!!!

                            Terry

                            • 11. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                              Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

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

                               

                              Steve

                              • 12. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                cubsfan2010 Community Member

                                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

                                behavior?

                                 

                                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

                                follow...

                                 

                                Terry

                                • 13. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                  Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                                  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

                                  • 14. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                    cubsfan2010 Community Member

                                    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!

                                     

                                    Terry

                                    • 15. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                      Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                                      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

                                      • 16. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                        cubsfan2010 Community Member

                                        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

                                        • 17. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                          cubsfan2010 Community Member

                                          Steve-

                                          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!

                                           

                                          Terry

                                          • 18. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                            Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                                            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

                                            • 19. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                              cubsfan2010 Community Member

                                              Yes, I believe Access will do the trick. I've done a little research, since

                                              its been awhile, but I believe using Access for student tracking is totally

                                              fine as far as AICC/SCORM compliance goes. Thanks again for your timely

                                              input! Have a great weekend...

                                               

                                              Terry

                                              • 20. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                                                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

                                                • 21. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                  cubsfan2010 Community Member

                                                  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!

                                                   

                                                  Terry

                                                  • 22. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                    Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                                                    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

                                                    • 23. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                      cubsfan2010 Community Member

                                                      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?

                                                       

                                                      Terry

                                                      • 24. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                        Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                                                        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

                                                        • 25. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                          cubsfan2010 Community Member

                                                          Steve-

                                                          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...

                                                          Terry

                                                          • 26. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                            Erik Lord 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

                                                            • 27. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                              cubsfan2010 Community Member

                                                              Erik-

                                                              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!

                                                              Terry

                                                              • 28. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                                Michael V Baker Community Member

                                                                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

                                                                • 29. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                                  Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                                                                  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

                                                                  • 30. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                                    cubsfan2010 Community Member

                                                                    Hello Mike-

                                                                    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

                                                                    help.

                                                                    Terry

                                                                    • 31. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                                      cubsfan2010 Community Member

                                                                      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...

                                                                      Terry

                                                                      • 32. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                                        Michael V Baker Community Member

                                                                        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

                                                                        • 33. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                                          Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                                                                          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

                                                                          • 34. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                                            Steve Howard, ACP Community Member

                                                                            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

                                                                            • 35. Re: New to AW7, need some startup advice please!
                                                                              Michael V Baker Community Member

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

                                                                               

                                                                              Mike