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The EnterPage 2-01

The ToolBook Developer's Newsletter
February 22, 1999

Issue 2-01

... From Platte Canyon Multimedia Software Corporation.

In This Issue

Introduction: The EnterPage's 1st Anniversary
"Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™" Now Available!
FTS Pro™ now part of Platte Canyon's Product Line
Field Report: Training '99
Upgrade Fever:  Upcoming Offerings from Asymetrix
OpenScript Tip From Jeff Rhodes
Expert Tip from "Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™"
Join the Platte Canyon Email Discussion List
Platte Canyon's Reseller Program Takes Off
Coming in Next Issue
Information on Subscriptions and Article Submissions


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!

Chris Bell

Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™ released

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.

"Got your program today. What a nice effort. You should be very proud of it."
--John R. Hall Ph.D.
Moderator: ToolBook ListServe
Arizona Health Sciences Center

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?

"It is evident that you have used Instructional Design techniques as well as Software Development Lifecycle process to complete your project."
--Gilles Bouchard
High Specs Training Inc.

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.

Certification Exam

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?

"I 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."
--Gilles Bouchard
High Specs Training Inc.

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.

"If 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!
--Peter Hoyt
4D Solutions, Inc.

What's in it for the Advanced Developer?

"I've been showing people around here all day how you've incorporated agent into the presentation and everyone's  going oooo, ahhh."
--John R. Hall Ph.D.
Moderator: ToolBook ListServe
Arizona Health Sciences Center

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

FTS Pro™ now part of Platte Canyon's Product Line

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

Field Report: Training '99

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 don’t think this show comes anywhere close to the OnLine Learning Conference (next October in Los Angeles), since that conference contains the Asymetrix Developer’s Conference as well. However, for a wide range of training offerings, this conference would be hard to beat.

By Jeff Rhodes

Upgrade Fever: Upcoming Offerings from Asymetrix

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 haven’t yet had the time to put it through the paces. We need to get busy, though, since we’ve 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).

ToolBook Tips From Jeff Rhodes

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? Here’s 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 doesn’t 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 didn’t 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

Expert Tip from "Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor™"

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):

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.

Join the Platte Canyon Email Discussion List

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, we’d 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.

Platte Canyon's Reseller Program Takes Off

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:

CN Eminent Systems Sdn Bhd - Noorliza Harun - Maylasia

CT2 Computer Technologies - Dr. Carlo Tognoni - Italy

Idea DVT AB - Ralph Anderson - SWEDEN

Interactive Advantage Corp - Shawn Liaguno and David Crossman - Lawrenceville, GA

Media Freilingen GmbH - Rudolf Ledwon - Germany

MediaLinX Inc. - Nir Slepack - Forest Hills, NY

Multimedia Computer + Communication Ltd. - Andreas Huber - Switzerland

Multimedia Interactive 5 - Pat Cannon - Brentford, Middx., United Kingdom

RCS Performance Systems, Inc. - Bob Sugarman - Buffalo, NY

Lasso Communications Inc. - Robert Sandler - Toronto, Ontario

Learnability Inc. - Bob Ramers - San Francisco, CA

X-Pert Team - Arnaud de Corgnol and Pierre-Henri Amalric - France

Coming in the Next Issue of the EnterPage

  • Product Review: ToolBook Assistant™ 7.0
  • Sneak Peak:  Instructor™ 7.0
  • More OpenScript tips from Jeff Rhodes
  • ToolBook Tip (from Learning and Mastering CD-ROM)
  • More

Information on Subscriptions and Article Submissions

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.

This page was created by Platte Canyon Multimedia Software Corporation.

.. .. Copyright 1999 Platte Canyon Multimedia Software Corporation