The EnterPage 2-01
The ToolBook Developer's Newsletter
|...||From Platte Canyon
Multimedia Software Corporation.
In This Issue
Introduction: The EnterPage's 1st Anniversary
The biggest news around here has been the release of Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor. We worked so hard on it that it was a painful joy to see it actually go out into the world: our little baby has grown up! We are receiving tremendous response from its release, so that makes the parting a little sweeter.
It doesn't take much to get everyone here at Platte Canyon donning party hats. The latest excuse for a celebration was The EnterPage's first birthday. We weren't sure whether to celebrate a one-year birthday for a lowly electronic newsletter, but someone pointed out that one is actually seven in dog years, and seven is certainly cause enough for a party! So, while the issue number moves from 1-x to 2-x, we know that in its heart this little pup is actually 8-x.
Now, on with the newsletter!
We are happy to announce that we have just released professional Computer Based Training on how to use ToolBook Instructor. The product is selling very well and generating rave reviews from customers.
your program today. What a nice effort. You should be very proud of it."
The release of this CD-ROM addresses the question whispered in stand-up training classes for years, If ToolBook® is so good at computer based training, when is there going to be computer based training on ToolBook®? The answer is: today!
What is Covered in the Training?
is evident that you have used Instructional Design techniques as well as Software
Development Lifecycle process to complete your project."
This product is organized into 30 sections that cover every aspect of the Instructor(TM) development process, including the OpenScript programming language, creating installation routines, and deploying your applications on the Internet.
The Certification Exam is a 27-question test taken randomly from a question pool of 72 questions. Your last ten scores are saved (as are time per section and completion status), and the most recent exam score is printed on your completion certificate (which you can print out at any time).
How Much Training is it?
The training is 453 pages long with 300 pages of that being content pages. We estimate that it is about 20 hours of training.
What Are Its Other Features?
really enjoy the details and the amount of information you have put into it. ... This
product is not only for beginners. You have successfully put together a product that will
please novices as well as experts."
In addition to detailed training on virtually all aspects of Instructor, the CBT contains 119 Expert Information topics, 93 OpenScript Tips, 54 "Show Me" Demonstrations, and 48 "Let Me Try" Simulations. As you may have seen at the Developer's Conference, these "Let Me Try" screens are a complete runtime simulation of the authoring environment to give you the ability to practice your techniques under the watchful eye of the CBT.
What's in it for the Beginning Developer?
The training covers all aspects of ToolBook Instructor. The content is provided in a unique layered fashion, with the most important information presented on the screen. In addition, you have the opportunity to explore by accessing "Expert Information," viewing "OpenScript Tips" related to the current concept, watching a "Show Me" Demonstration of how an expert developer would perform a task, and finally practicing it yourself with a realistic "Let Me Try" simulation.
The training doesn't just stop at the ToolBook interface. In addition, it gives thorough training on what is often considered the more advanced aspects such as OpenScript, properties, and ActiveX controls. We find these topics vital to developing a professional application in Instructor.
you are new to ToolBook, or even not so new, you should take a look at the Platte Canyon
ToolBook training CD-ROM. It is well worth the money!
What's in it for the Advanced Developer?
been showing people around here all day how you've incorporated agent into the
presentation and everyone's going oooo, ahhh."
We tried to make this product appealing for everyone from the novice to the advanced developer. For the latter group, you will like the fact that the scripts are available for you to inspect and dissect. You might not be as interested in what a screen is teaching as in how it is put together. In addition, the 119 Expert Information topics and 93 OpenScript Tips have a great deal of advanced information. You can access these either from their associated pages or from a central list.
More information and ordering information available at http://www.plattecanyon.com/lmInstructor65.aspx
We are pleased to announce that Platte Canyon has arranged with Denny Dedmore to sell FTS Pro. FTS Pro allows ToolBook programmers to incorporate Full Text Search into their Instructor 5, 6 and 6.5 projects. A ToolBook application that uses FTS Pro offers the user the ability to click a button and search the entire training file for all occurrences of a particular word. FTS Pro then allows the user to navigate to any page with that word.
Denny Dedmore, who wrote FTS Pro, is quite popular on the ToolBook discussion list where he uses his expertise as an Asymetrix technical support specialist to help out all levels of ToolBook developers.
While ToolBook 5.0 and previous versions had its own Full Text Search capabilities, the newest versions do not have this capability without this powerful product. For more information navigate to: http://www.plattecanyon.com/ftspro.aspx
Platte Canyon had a demo station in the Asymetrix pavilion for the Training 99 (Chicago, Feb 1 3). I plugged in the laptop and demonstrated our new Learning & Master ToolBook Instructor CBT as well as some of our other products. I also spent some time showing potential ToolBook users the feature so Instructor and Assistant. Being part of the Asymetrix pavilion was fun because I was able to talk to quite a number of the Asymetrix technical staff (e.g., Mike Florence), management (e.g., John Kellum), training organization (e.g., Joan Kane), and sales force (e.g., Jim Blaisdell). It was interesting to talk to some of the other Asymetrix partners like MediaLinx (also a Platte Canyon reseller) and the Sunset Group. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Jack Siegal, whom many of you know via the ToolBook ListServe. The Training 99 show itself had some top-notch keynotes and eye-catching booths. I had to spend most of my time in the Expo hall, but I was able to catch an excellent presentation by John Redmon of the Redmon Group. John showed some impressive examples of using ToolBook, Flash, and Visual Basic over the web. As a ToolBook developer, I dont think this show comes anywhere close to the OnLine Learning Conference (next October in Los Angeles), since that conference contains the Asymetrix Developers Conference as well. However, for a wide range of training offerings, this conference would be hard to beat.
By Jeff Rhodes
As many of you know, Assistant 7.0 is currently in beta testing, with a release within the next month or two. Instructor 7.0 is slated to come out this summer, with presumably a beta period before that. We have Assistant 7.0 in-house but frankly havent yet had the time to put it through the paces. We need to get busy, though, since weve committed to doing a Learning & Mastering ToolBook Assistant product this year! Look for a detailed report on Assistant 7.0 in the next issue of The EnterPage. Remember that you will receive a $50 credit towards a Platte Canyon product for every upgrade of Assistant or Instructor that you purchase from Platte Canyon (U.S. and Canadian customers only).
As described elsewhere in this newsletter, much of our effort since the last edition was related to releasing our ToolBook CBT. As part of that, we had to retrain those of us who took typing class in high school that it is no longer appropriate (when using typeset fonts) to put two spaces after a period (thanks to Mary Jerkins for bringing this to our attention). But how do you fix this after hundreds of training pages are already completed? Heres the command window script that I used to first fix the fields and recordfields. Notice that it operates directly on the text of the fields/recordfields rather than putting the text in a variable so that it doesnt change the formatting. This is a good example of how using the command window can save a tremendous amount of time.
numWords = 0 step num from 1 to pageCount of this book objectList = getObjectList(page num, "field,recordfield", false) while objectList <> null pop objectList if text of it <> null offChar = offset(". ",text of it) while offChar > 0 numWords = numWords + 1 char (offChar + 1) of text of it = null offChar = offset(". ",text of it) end while end if end while end step request numWords
This approach worked well for the visible content, but much of the content (e.g., Expert Information, OpenScript Tips, etc.) is stored as page properties. I used the command window script below for the properties. I did each page property in turn for simplicity. Since we only stored text rather than rich (formatted) text, I didnt have to be concerned with overwriting the property with the updated text. A word of caution: Be very careful to back up your book and test your results before using scripts like this. While they save a great number of hours, even a small error can totally wipe our your content.
numChanged = 0 step num from 2 to 305 pageID = page num foundChange = false if moreInfoContent of pageID <> null tempContent = moreInfoContent of pageID offChar = offset(". ",tempContent ) while offChar > 0 foundChange = true char (offChar + 1) of tempContent = null offChar = offset(". ",tempContent ) end while if foundChange = true moreInfoContent of pageID = tempContent increment numChanged end if end if end step request numChanged
Note: this is one of the 100+ Expert Information topics from the "Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor" CBT. Each issue of The EnterPage will include a new tip.
Changing the Default Catalog
Whenever you open the catalog window, ToolBook will load the last catalog that you had open. The easiest way to change your default catalog, therefore, is to manually open the catalog you want and then close the catalog. However, if you have a bigger development team and don't want each person to have to do this, you can edit each person's inst60.ini file (e.g., using the setIniVar() function):
[Catalog] Last Catalog=INSTRUCT.WBK Window Bounds=436,419,1003,626 Catalog Page=16 Minimized Position=198,441 Thumbnail size=64,48 Menu Choice=9
If your new default catalog is in the standard \catalog directory, then you will only need to change the Last Catalog= line. If not, you will also need to change the catalog path in inst60.ini as shown below.
Be sure to also change the Catalog Page= and/or Menu Choice= settings if it your new default catalog book has fewer pages or categories than the old one.
You are invited to join the new Platte Canyon email discussion list hosted by OneList. It is intended as a forum for users of any Platte Canyon products to share ideas as well as to ask questions of us and other users. Since we want to be sure not to detract from the ToolBook ListServ, wed like to ask that general ToolBook questions not related to Platte Canyon products remain on the ListServ. To sign up, go to:
<This link no longer valid>
We look forward to seeing you.
With the growing popularity of Platte Canyon's training, student tracking, and add-on product lines, a number of companies throughout the world have agreed to become Platte Canyon resellers. This means that in addition to being able to deal directly to Platte Canyon, customers now have the opportunity to work with companies that may be geographically closer to them or that have training and development expertise on a specific topic area.
Our company's motto has always been "Improving the lives of Training developers." The Platte Canyon reseller program is another way we hope to achieve this goal. Here is a list of Platte Canyon Resellers and their location:
The EnterPage is distributed 4 times a year, with occasional special issues. Individuals who have expressed interest in Platte Canyon Multimedia Software Corporation or its products receive The EnterPage. If you do not wish to receive future issues, send an email message to EP@plattecanyon.com with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line. New subscriptions are available by sending an email message to EP@plattecanyon.com with the word "subscribe" in the subject line and the person's name and company in the text of the message. Suggestions for articles or proposals for article submissions are welcome. Send information to EP@plattecanyon.com. Back issues of the EnterPage are available at http://www.plattecanyon.com/enterpage.aspx.
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