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The EnterPage 1-06

The ToolBook Developer's Newsletter from Platte Canyon Multimedia Software
November 16, 1998

In This Issue

"Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™" to be released in December
Introducing TBK Tracker™
Field Report: OnLine Learning ‘98
Upgrade to Instructor™ 6.5
Customer Profile: Effective Training Inc.
OpenScript Tip From Jeff Rhodes
Expert Tip from "Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™"
Coming in Next Issue
EnterPage Submissions
Subscription Information


As winter’s cold descends outside, things are heating up in our offices. We have cooked up a major new product called the TBK Tracker™ and we’re about to release our CBT on how to use Instructor™ too. This issue of The EnterPage offers descriptions of each of these products.

In addition, this issue offers accounts of OnLine Learning ’98, an overview of the new features in Instructor™ 6.5, and Jeff Rhodes’ always helpful OpenScript tips. We’re also starting a new feature here: an expert tip for ToolBook developers culled from "Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™." (This is the kind of stuff you won’t find in the manual!)

I hope this issue helps you learn something new about TooLBook or maybe even a new way of using it. If so, then we are on our way to achieving our motto "Improving The Lives of Training Developers."


Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™ to be released in December

We’ve set a December ‘98 release date for our Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™ CBT. Although we know that this is not soon enough for some of you, we wanted to update it for the new features and user interface of Instructor™ 6.5. We sent out a beta version in late September (special beta tester award goes to Mary Jerkins; she is unbelievable) and demonstrated it at the OLL ’98 show. With over 100 Expert Tips, 85 OpenScript Information topics, 60 Show Me Demonstrations, and 50 Let Me Try Simulations, we think you’ll find this an excellent training resource. Since all scripts will remain in the product, you can take the CBT "as is" and then dig into the scripts to learn even more. Here is the outline:

Getting to Know Instructor™
-How To Use This Training
-Instructor: A Tour
-Things To Consider
-Books, Pages, Backgrounds, and More

Instructor™ Objects
-Using the Catalog
-Creating Objects
-Manipulating Objects
-Object Properties
-Text, Hotwords, and Captions
-Graphic Resources
-Adding Media

Adding More Power
-OpenScript Handlers, Functions, and Properties
-OpenScript Tools and Techniques
-Navigation Methods
-Menus and Printing
-Drag and Drop

Specialized Applications
-The Book Specialist
-Instructor's Mini-Apps
-ToolBook Synergy
-Progress Tracker™ and TBK Tracker™
-Plug-In Pro™

Delivering Your Application
-Other Installation Options
-Further Resources

The price of the CBT is $395 plus $10 shipping. Contact us for Educational pricing. Note that you save $50 when you upgrade to Instructor™ 6.5 or $100 when buying a full version of an Asymetrix product from Platte Canyon. We’re currently accepting pre-orders.

Introducing TBK Tracker™

By Cindy Kessler

Your customer wants computer based training. Oh, and also…

They want their entire staff to take the first two courses, their clerical staff and new hires to take courses three, four, and six, and manufacturing to take five through nine. They want student tracking that includes completion, time in lessons, and test scores. They want login, bookmarks, and return to last page functionality. They want an administrator to be able to view information and edit and organize training elements. They want the option for self-registration depending on the site. And they want it soon.

You can do that, of course. You’re used to spending 50% of your development time on tracking and related functionality; what else is new? TBK Tracker™.

If you like the idea of spending your development time on training instead of tracking, read on. (You can also access the URL links below for more information.)


We’re now shipping our new "TBK Tracker™" student management product. The TBK Tracker™ has been written to provide easy and powerful tracking for ToolBook applications deployed via Local Area Network (LAN) or standalone (CD-ROM or floppy).

A Student’s Perspective

Joe-student starts a "front end book" and is presented with a login box. The elements of the dialog will automatically adjust depending on self-registration and password settings for the courses in the training system. After logging in, Joe sees a list of all his assigned courses and any "open enrollment courses," with completion status indicated graphically. He selects a course, enters a password if required, and is presented with a menu of lessons for the course. Joe clicks on the desired lesson to navigate to the separate lesson book (returning to where he left off if he chooses). His bookmarks are restored, and he can access his user information at any time.

TBK Tracker™ - The Administrator Module

Developers use the Administrator to define their ToolBook content books as lessons. Then authorized end users or the developer can use the Administrator to group lessons into an unlimited number of courses, to order the lessons within each course, to set self-registration and password options (per course or globally), to determine lesson availability (forced sequence or "free order"), and to add users (individually or via batch file). Classes (e.g. "Engineers", "Safety Team", etc.) can be defined, and both courses and users can be added to each class. Change the class courses, and all users in the class are automatically assigned the updated course list. The Administrator also allows authorized users to view statistics for classes, courses, lessons, and users.

Technical Details

Works on TB II Instructor™ 6 or later and Assistant™ 6.1 or later. All machines must have 32-bit operating systems (Win 95/98/NT) in order to support long file names. All objects and the few required scripts can be dragged from an included catalog, though Assistant™ users will need a one-time access to Instructor™ to input the required book script. Very few changes will be required for existing lesson books. Data is stored in encrypted ToolBook files (one per student), so there are no ODBC or other database issues. Maximum users per network is on the order of 1500 users, depending on the length of the user names.


$2,295 per developer. There are no runtime fees or requirements that the end user buy the product.

Relationship To Progress Tracker™

This product is NOT a replacement for our Progress Tracker™ line. The Progress Tracker™ is the optimal solution for CBT where an entire module is contained in a single ToolBook file. The TBK Tracker™ is best when you want to create courses made of a larger number of smaller ToolBook files.

More Information:

General TBK Tracker™ Information


Field Report: OnLine Learning ‘98

The OnLine Learning ’98 (OLL 98) show started out on the right foot when we (Jeff, Chris, and Jeffrey [Zink]) took time off from setting up the booth to head off to Disneyland. Accompanied by our friends Kent and Barry from SUMMETRIC Interactive Software, we hustled between the Indiana Jones and Space Mountain rides and had a great time. We then stayed up a bit late finishing the booth and setting up our "Hands On" Learning Lab. The first day of the conference started with our lab on the upcoming "Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™" product, led by Jeffrey. We had to keep calling for more chairs, since we had over eighty people. Next came the lab on student tracking systems. With still a full house, Jeff demonstrated the Progress Tracker™ family as well as the just-released TBK Tracker™. Chris was next on the slate, showing all the productivity utilities and editors that are part of the Plug-In Pro™. The response to all the products was very enthusiastic. No rest for the weary, however. We hustled to the exhibit hall and demonstrated products to a packed booth for the next three hours. But there’s not much more enjoyable than showing our products. Thanks to the many members of the ToolBook mailing list who stopped by as well.

The next day was not quite so hectic. Although the booth was still very crowded, we managed to slip off for some excellent technical sessions by Tim Barham and Leo Lucas of Asymetrix. We attended a nice Value Added Reseller reception put on by Asymetrix, and then had an excellent dinner with our friends from QuickSystem 9000 software.

The last day of the conference started early (8:00 AM), with Jeff’s technical session on the technologies and techniques behind the "Learning & Mastering" CBT. [The associated paper from this presentation is in The ToolBook Companion.] The attendees asked a lot of good questions and seemed to value the session. We attended a good database session by Tim Dutcher of Asymetrix and then spent the last hectic hours in the booth. Overall, this was a great show for Platte Canyon and the three of us. We hope to see many of you again OLL 99 in Los Angeles, October 18-20, 1999.

Upgrade to Instructor™ 6.5

Instructor™ 6.5 has just been released, and it has a number of excellent new features. Here’s a quick list:

  • "New Page" and "New Background" dialog boxes now allow you to select any page or background to use. This means that you can quickly create a page using any background in the book. You can also use a page or background from a "template book."
  • A new "Coach" gives you information on how to use the selected object or extended object (widget).
  • The redesigned Catalog is easier to use and has more space for the description of the objects.
  • A number of new extended objects such as one for video synchronization add power.
  • Improved "Impulse" technology makes your Neuron applications download much faster.
  • Digital Video Producer adds Video editing to the crop of helpful applications that ship with Instructor.

For those of you in the U.S. or Canada, we’d ask that you consider upgrading to Instructor™ 6.5 from Platte Canyon. You’ll receive free email technical support from Platte Canyon (in addition to your normal Asymetrix technical support). You also get a $50 credit toward the upcoming Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™ or another Platte Canyon product. The special introductory price of the upgrade for owners of Instructor™ 6 is $295. This price only lasts through December when the upgrade will cost $495.

For more information, or to place your order, call our sales line at: 1-888-ToolBk-1 [1-888-866-5251] or contact us at info@plattecanyon.com.

Customer Profile: Effective Training Inc.

ETI produces training materials specifically targeted to users of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, or GD&T for short. GD&T is a design language used by engineers around the world. ETI’s customers include industrial giants such as General Motors and AT&T, as well as educational institutions such as Eastern Michigan University and the Pennsylvania College of Technology. ETI has sold more than 50,000 textbooks, videos, reference materials and computer based training packages worldwide. ETI utilizes the Platte Canyon TBK Tracker™ in "The GD&T Trainer," a CBT package that teaches the basic concepts of GD&T.

Contact Information:

Effective Training, Inc.
2116 S. Wayne Road
Westland, MI 48186

Tel: (1) 734-728-0909
Fax: (1) 734-728-0909
Email: gdtman@aol.com

Platte Canyon’s New Worldwide Resellers

Platte Canyon is pleased to welcome the following resellers of our product line. Please feel free to contact them directly. Watch this space for more reseller announcements.


CT2 di Carlo Tognoni
Attn: Carlo Tognoni
Via Puricelli 8
Tel: +39-2-48704179
Fax: +39-2-48704265
Email: ct2@ct2.it


X-PERTeam/ Le Spécialiste de l'EAO
Attn: Arnaud de Corgnol
Email: adecorgn@x-perteam.com
Tel: 33 1 4334 9009
Fax: 33 1 4334 9008


KS Eminent Systems Sdn Bhd
Attn: V. Louisa
S7, Level Two, Centre Point
Lebuh Bandar Utama
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel : 7169951 ext. 210
Fax : 7168609
Email : louisa@kseminent.com

Chris Bell to Present at ASTD ’99

Chris has been selected to do a presentation on "Tools and Techniques for Measuring Student CBT Performance" at the 1999 American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) International conference in Atlanta. Chris’s time slot is Wednesday, May 26, from 10:00 to 11:30 AM. On a related note, ASTD is publishing a case study that Jeff and Chris wrote about the student tracking behind our new Learning & Mastering CBT. This paper, entitled "Evaluating Performance for Software CBT", will be published in early 1999 and is also available here.

ToolBook Tips From Jeff Rhodes

When creating test questions for the "Certification Exam" part of the "Learning & Mastering" CBT, we found it easiest to copy some of the review questions rather than dragging new questions into the catalog. However, I discovered in testing that some of the exam questions still had feedback associated with them, which we didn’t want in the exam. Checking this for every question would be time-consuming, since we’d have to open the editor for each question and then check both the immediate and delayed feedback. It was well worth the time to write the command window script below, which returns a list of the pages on the current background that have feedback still in the question.:

local tempAnswer[][]
local tempFeedback[][]
feedbackList = null
step num from 1 to pageCount of this background
	pageID = page num of this background
	questionID = getQuestionID(pageID)
	foundWrong = false
	if questionID <> null
		tempAnswer = asym_wid_ansArray of questionID
		tempFeedback = asym_wid_summaryFeedback of questionID
		step num2 from 1 to item 2 of dimensions(tempAnswer)
			if tempAnswer[num2][12] <> null
				foundWrong = true
				push pageID onto feedbackList
				break step
			end if
		end step
		if foundWrong = false
			step num2 from 1 to item 2 of dimensions(tempFeedback)
				if tempFeedback[num2][12] <> null
					push pageID onto feedbackList
					break step
				end if
			end step
		end if
	end if
end step
put feedbackList

Notice that this function needs the getQuestionID() function, which is part of our Tracker product:

to get getQuestionID page pageID, string allQuestions
	local stack widgetList, questionList
	local string questionID,qName

	if "tb60r.sbk" is not in sysBooks
		push "tb60r.sbk" onto sysBooks
	end if
	widgetList = ASYM_CollectWidgets(pageID)
	while widgetList <> null
		pop widgetList
		qName = tbk_wid_name of it
		if (qName contains "ASYM_Q" OR qName = "Fill-In Hotword")
			questionID = it
			if allQuestions = null
				return questionID
				push questionID onto questionList
			end if
		end if
	end while
	return questionList
end getQuestionID

One final permutation. I also wanted to be sure all of the exam questions were set to be scored. This script uses a similar approach to the one above.

notScoredList = null
step num from 1 to pageCount of this background
	pageID = page num of this background
	questionID = getQuestionID(pageID)
	if questionID <> null
		if ASYM_wid_isScored of questionID <> "true"
			push pageID onto notScoredList
		end if
	end if
end step
put notScoredList

Since most fields should be activated in our CBT, we search the book and jump to any pages with unactivated fields to take a look. We then use the Plug-In Pro™ field editors to set all fields on the page to activated in one "swoop."

Expert Tip from "Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™"

Note: this is one of the 100+ Expert Tips from the "Learning & Mastering" CBT. Each issue of the EnterPage will include a new tip.

Setting Size & Position of Viewers

There are two basic approaches to setting the size of viewers.

1. Make the page to be shown in the viewer on a background that is exactly the size that you want to display in the viewer. In that case, you go to the "Size" tab of Viewer property sheet and check the "Auto size to page" button. The viewer will then automatically adjust to the size of the background.

2. Put the things that you want to display in the viewer at the upper left-hand side of the page (so that you don't need to set the pageScroll property each time you show the viewer). Next, create and show the viewer. Be sure the viewer has a "thick" border style at this juncture even if that is not your final desired setting. Close the Viewer property sheet and the Viewer dialog box, but leave the viewer itself open. Now drag the edges of the viewer until it is exactly the right size. Click on the main window and reopen the Viewer property sheet. Uncheck the "Auto size to page" button, choose "Use specific size" and then click on the "Set As Current" and "Set as Default" buttons. You can do the same thing on the Limits tab if you desire.

For setting the position of viewers, you have three principal options.

1. Display the viewer centered on the screen using the "Center on screen" option.

2. Do a process similar to the 2. above and click the "Set As Current" and "Set as Default" buttons.

3. Open the viewer first with OpenScript and then set the position before showing the viewer. This is very useful if you need to position a viewer in a specific spot on the screen regardless of screen resolution. You will need such functions as pageUnitsToFrame() or pageUnitsToScreen() to convert between pageUnits and pixels.

Coming in the Next Issue of the EnterPage

  • EnterPage 1st Anniversary Celebration!
  • Update on ToolBook training CD-ROM
  • More OpenScript tips from Jeff Rhodes
  • Comparing Tracking Products
  • ToolBook Tip (from Learning and Mastering CD-ROM)
  • Focus on a Platte Canyon Customer
  • More

EnterPage Submissions

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.

Subscription Information

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.


.. .. Copyright © 1999 Platte Canyon Multimedia Software Corporation