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The EnterPage

The ToolBook Developer's Newsletter
October 23, 2001

Issue 4-03

... From Platte Canyon Multimedia Software Corporation.

In This Issue

US News & World Report: "TBK Tracker is Best of Breed"
TBK Tracker 3.0 Adds Web Deployment Capability
Training Classes by Platte Canyon Take Off
TBCON 2001 Wrap-Up: Another Stellar Event
Platte Canyon Customer Wins Award
Learning & Mastering Assistant 8 Released
Platte Canyon Products in the Pipeline
Plug-In Pro Tool Spotlight: Import/Export Resources
CBT Creation Tip from Chris Bell: Digital Video Basics
Expert Information from "Learning & Mastering..." Series
OpenScript Tip from Jeff Rhodes
Actions Editor Tip by Cindy Kessler
OnLine Learning 2001 Report
Coming in the Next Issue
Information on Subscriptions and Article Submissions


by Chris Bell

The events discussed in this issue can be grouped by whether they happened before or after September 11. For instance, we held the ToolBook User's Conference before the attacks and attended OnLine Learning 2001 after. The change in tone was significant between these events. Everything after September 11 feels more subdued. While the hue around here at Platte Canyon has changed with concern for the victims, we know that we must move forward. So, in that vein, we offer this issue of The EnterPage.

We're excited to share the stories of TBCON 2001 and OLL 2001. We are thrilled to announce that TBK Tracker was listed as "Best of Breed" in US News and World Report. We hope the tips and tricks throughout this issue will help you with your ToolBook issues. We hope the entire issue is helpful in some way or another. After all, our company goal is still "Improving the Lives of ToolBook Developers."

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US News & World Report: "TBK Tracker is Best of Breed"

Thanks to all of you who responded to Brandon Hall’s survey of Learning Management Systems. Because of you, our TBK Tracker product was listed as a “Best of Breed” in this past issue of U.S. News & World Report. Here’s the link for the results: [Note: The article has been moved to their archive which is available for a small fee. To see the first paragraph of the article, please go HERE.]. Thanks to the voters and to all of you who expressed your congratulations!

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TBK Tracker 3.0 Adds Web Deployment Capability

Speaking of TBK Tracker, we’ve just released version 3. Here are the major new features:

* Uses Access or SQL Server as the database
* Uses Jet (Access) or the SQL Server driver rather than ODBC for the data access
* Displays dates (including reports) in regional settings (displaying the day before the month if appropriate)
* Has improved ability for the Administrator and Reporter to display lots of lesson, student, class, and course data
* Provides optional (separately priced, see below) ability to store data on a web server

The price of a development license remains the same ($2,995). The upgrade price from version 2 is $995 per development license. Unlimited technical support is $495 (phone and email) or $295 (email only).

The pricing of the new "web deployment" capability is $995 per deployed database. So if you have three different customers that each has their students and course/lesson data in their own database, they or you would need to pay $995 for each one. With your first purchase, you receive the Active Server Page (ASP) scripts, sample files, etc. If you'd like to see an example of this capability, please visit Here.

Note that deployment can be either "Rich Client" (CD, LAN, etc. with an active Internet connection) or "Neuron." This capability is dependent upon ToolBook being able to successfully "HTTP Post" data. According to Click2learn, there are problems with 8.1 (and presumably 7.X with the TB 8 tbinet32.dll which works otherwise) on Windows 98/ME machines with newer versions of Internet Explorer. An upcoming patch release for ToolBook is supposed to address this problem. One exciting application of these new capabilities is when you combine SQL Server and web deployment. Now the Administrator and Reporter can run locally and read/write data on the SQL Server database sitting on your web server!

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Training Classes by Platte Canyon Take Off

Platte Canyon Training Classes have proven very popular with students. We just completed a great session called "Instructor for Internet Deployment," which provided in-depth training on the Actions Editor and other aspects of publishing to DHTML. The next class will be December's "Learning & Mastering ToolBook: The Class," which provides thorough training on ToolBook including training on catalog objects, the Actions Editor, OpenScript, and much more.

Now is the perfect time to book your trip to Phoenix, Arizona for these classes. Not only is the weather perfect for a dip in the outside pool and jacuzzi, but there are some excellent air fares available.

Here is a list of upcoming classes:
December 3 - 7, 2001: Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor: The Class
January 21 - 24, 2002: ToolBook Instructor for Internet Deployment
February 18 - 22, 2002: Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor: The Class
March 18 - 21, 2002: ToolBook Instructor for Internet Deployment

Details available at:

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TBCON 2001 Wrap-Up: Another Stellar Event

TBCON Europe (July 9 – 11, 2001, Cheltenham, England) and TBCON USA (July 30 – August 1, 2001, Colorado Springs, USA) were the occasion for some serious coding, impressive “actions,” cool applications, and great camaraderie. The European event pulled together developers from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and the USA. The USA event had a similar mix, with attendees from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, Russia, and the USA. Special thanks go to those presenters who shared their knowledge at BOTH conferences: Tim Barham, Chris Bell, Lance Campbell, Denny Dedmore, Dmitry Esikov, Ross Hopkins, Lee Karns, Simon Price, Mauro Rech, and Jeff Rhodes. Here are some of the comments from the conferences:

"Super, wonderful, terrific, as always."

"Conference exceeds the scale!"
"Excellent - only regret missing last two years."

"I enjoyed returning and meeting other TB developers. Beyond seeing what others are building, the sense of community is the best part of the conference."

"Superb! Lots of content for me--an inexperienced developer."

"Excellent. Love the relaxed atmosphere and great attitude of all the presenters."

"Once again, you have provided the best conference of the year for me. In three days, I got a year's worth of knowledge"

"Excellent - most well run, informative conference I've attended."

"Very well put together - quite impressed overall. Very applicable to my work."

"The best conference I have been to in over 20 years!"

For those of you who couldn’t attend, you can purchase the conference CD containing sample applications (including a GREAT document on DHTML export by Tim Barham, working ADO and automation sample books by Jeff Rhodes, a wealth of information by Mike Cline, and much more) for $50 plus shipping. Here’s a link for more information: http://www.tbcon.com/cd_2001.aspx

There will be a single big event next year in Colorado Springs. Mark your calendars now for June 24 – 26, 2002 with preconference workshops on June 22nd and 23rd.

See pictures from the 2001 conference and watch for more information on the 2002 event at www.tbcon.com.

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Platte Canyon Customer Wins Award

Lt. Walter Lyons and John Scassellati's "Teen DUI Program" received the Youth Community Project of the Year Award given by The Crime Prevention Association of Western Pennsylvania. In addition, Scassellati was honored as the Civilian of the Year for his ongoing work in developing multimedia presentations for the city police department. Congratulations to our friend John, for this well-deserved award!

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Learning & Mastering Assistant 8 Released

We released "Learning & Mastering ToolBook Assistant 8" in early September. In addition to completely updated content for version 8, we’ve added information on incorporating Flash™, getting the most out of DHTML, taking advantage of ActiveX, and much more. The new CBT weighs in at over 22 hours with 37 "Show Me" demonstrations, 29 "Let Me Try" simulations, and 101 "Expert Information" topics. See more information and the complete training outline at www.plattecanyon.com/lmAssistant8.aspx.

Pricing for this new version remains $495. You may upgrade from the 7.1 training for $175. We've also dropped the price on the 7.1 training to $350.

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Platte Canyon Products in the Pipeline

Next in the product pipeline is Progress Tracker™ 3.0. It will provide similar features to TBK Tracker 3.0 but for ToolBook developers who organize their training into larger books made up of chapters and sections. In particular, Progress Tracker will offer the ability to use either Access or SQL Server. It will also allow “web deployment” for native or Neuron applications via “HTTP Post” to Active Server Pages. Look for Progress Tracker 3.0 by the end of the year.

After Progress Tracker 3.0 will come Plug-In Pro 6.0. We'll be adding the ability to import and export all the paint objects in a book, still more "sticky note" functionality, the ability to delete a page or range of pages AND delete all of the bitmap resources used by those pages, special Actions Editor tools, and more!

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Plug-In Pro Tool Spotlight: Import/Export Resources

by Chris Bell

This column features one of the many tools available in the Plug-In Pro. Today, we will look at Import Resources and Export Resources, one of my favorite tools in Plug-In Pro.

These two tools will save you many hours of tedious work. Here are two scenarios where I use the tools all the time:

Scenario one: You need to import 35 bitmaps for use as Resources
Solution: Plug-In Pro's Import Resources. This extraordinary time saver allows you to specify the directory that contains your resources and import them all at once. Each resource is named the same as the file name (minus the .bmp). The whole process, including browsing to the correct directory, takes about 5

Scenario two: You need to edit several of your bitmap resources
Solution: Plug-In Pro's Export Resource. Dump out all bitmap resources to a specified directory. The files are named according to their resource names. Now you can edit any or all of the graphics you want with your preferred paint program. And then re-import using Plug-In Pro's Import Resources. All graphics are replaced (you choose whether are prompted when a resource will be replaced). All names and ChromaKey settings of each graphic are preserved.

For more information on Plug-In Pro, please browse to:

To see detailed on-line help with graphics on Import Resources, please browse to:

To see detailed on-line help with graphics on Export Resources, please browse to:

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CBT Creation Tip from Chris Bell: Digital Video Basics

Since the whole video world has changed so much, I thought it might be good to run down just how easy it is to now work with video. While you originally needed a fancy capture card and lots of expensive equipment to get good results when converting analog video into the digital format, the whole process has gotten streamlined and downright easy at this point. Here's a step-by-step procedure for creating a simple and very clean digital video file for use in a ToolBook project.

1. Shoot the video on a Digital Video (DV) camcorder.
This is the most expensive piece of equipment that you'll need. You can get one for about $800 with the super duper portable units going for $1500 and the "professional" ones going for even more. For our purposes, the quality will be excellent no matter what camera you shoot with, as long as it uses DV format.

2. Connect your camcorder to your computer via FireWire (aka. IEEE 1395, iLink).
Some computers have FireWire ports built right in. If not, you can get a card to plug-into your desktop for about $50. For laptops, a PC card (PCMCIA) will put you back about $100. On my Windows 2000, installation involved simply plugging the card in its slot. Windows 2000 actually had the drivers already installed. This was, believe it or not, actually "Plug and Play." (My first experience with this).

3. Capture the video scenes you want onto your hard disk.
Adobe Premiere 6 makes this very easy. You can control the camcorder from inside Premiere (a very cool experience already). Mark your start and stop points of the scenes you want to capture and save these to a "log." When done marking the scenes, you can batch capture the video (say, while you're on a lunch break).

4. Edit the video
When you get back from lunch, the files will be on your hard disk, ready for editing. Edit the video by placing the captured files on a timeline. Add any titles you want by using a graphics program to create the titles and inserting them into the editor. We use PhotoShop to create the titles and Premiere 6 for editing.

5. Build the final, edited video.
Choose a format that will work for your needs. Here are some suggestions:
On-Line streaming video via UMP: Windows Streaming Format or Real Video
CD-ROM Delivery (lowest common denominator): Indeo 3.2
CD-ROM Delivery (newer machines or can install codec): Indeo 5.1

6. Use in ToolBook
Move the file to an appropriate directory (such as in a media directory below your TBK file) and use it and away you go!

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Expert Information from "Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor"

from Jeff Rhodes

Bypassing a Potential Installation Problem

By default, AutoPackager associates ToolBook files with a specific version of "tbload.exe". This can cause problems if your users later install a newer version of ToolBook, since an older version of tbload would not be able to open the newer ToolBook files.

You can use InstallShield Express™ to bypass this problem by deleting the Win.ini => "Extensions" settings "Make System File Changes" as well as the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT registry entries under "Make Registry Changes":


If you delete these, however, you will need to explicitly specify which ToolBook executable to open your application with. For example, if you check the target for the icon for the “Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor 8” CBT, it will probably look something like:

"C:\Program Files\Common Files\click2learn\TBSystem\tb80run.exe" "d:\ibcbt\icbt8.tbk"

Setting this up in InstallShield Express means changing the Run command (Specify Folder and Icons) from:

[Application Files:$Install$/AskUser]\yourapp.tbk


[ToolBook System Files:$Common$/IfNewer]\tb80run.exe [Application Files:$Install$/AskUser]\yourapp.tbk

Caution: Deleting the registry entries means that your users may not be able to double-click on your application's tbk or exe file and have it open. They would need to use the Start menu or double-click on your application's icon instead.

Further details:

If you drill down to the value in:


you can see it contains:

<CommonFilesDir>\Click2Learn\TBSystem\tbload.exe "%1"

This is the association that can cause the problem with later versions of ToolBook! (Aside: The "%1" is used to deal with long directory names.)

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OpenScript Tip from Jeff Rhodes

It is sometimes important to know where an object resides in the hierarchy. One common example is when handling the mouseLeave message. A quirk of ToolBook is that the mouseLeave message is sent AFTER the leavePage message when you use the keyboard to change pages. This can cause problems with the code below when the NEW page doesn't have the “field 1” referred to in the script.

To avoid this problem, you use the objectContainer() function to ensure that you are on the right page before executing the rest of the script. This is shown below. :

to handle mouseLeave
	if name of target = "george"
		hide field "field 1"
	end if
end mouseLeave

to handle mouseLeave
	if objectContainer(target,"page") = this
		if name of target = "george"
			hide field "field 1"
		end if
	end if
end mouseLeave

You can also use the keywords "parent" and "child" in your script. This is often useful when trying to reference a particular background or book as shown in the script below:

to handle doSomething
	-- script is in the page of a system book
	local book bookID
	local background backgroundID

	backgroundID = parent of self
	bookID = parent of backgroundID
	-- rest of script
end doSomething

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Actions Editor Tip by Cindy Kessler

Creating a Replay Option With "User Event"

The Actions Editor's "User Event" and its corresponding "Send User Event" action provide a handy way to create a replay option for an interactive page.

We often want to show and hide objects or reset variables when we enter or leave a page. Although we can do this "On load page" or "On unload page," the load and unload events are not simple to invoke. A cleaner solution, especially if you want to provide your end user with a "Reset" or "Replay" option, is to do your setup and clean up in a User event action sequence at the page level. You can then "Send User Event" to the page when the page loads or unloads, when a "Replay" button is clicked, or any time you want the page reset.


We used the Actions Editor to create interactive samples in our "Learning And Mastering Instructor 8." On one of these pages the user can click on "method" buttons to see various ways of opening the Actions Editor. The "Next Page" button on this page changes color when the user has seen all the methods. In addition, the user can right-click on the page at any time to get a popup Replay option that will reset the page.

We created our reset action sequence in the User event of the page. We then used the "Send User event" action when the page loads and if the user selects Replay.

Here are the relevant action sequences:

Actions for Page "Opening the Actions Editor"

-- On right-click... -----------------------------------------------------------
Define local variable "tempResponse" (Initial value: "false")

Display confirmation: "Replay?"; store response in tempResponse
If tempResponse = true
  Send User event to Self
End if

-- On load page... -------------------------------------------------------------
Comment: User event resets page.
Send User event to Self

-- On User event... ------------------------------------------------------------
Define local variable "tempNum" (Initial value: "")

Step tempNum from 1 to 4 by 1
  Comment: Hides all objects.
  Execute Shared Actions "changeChoice"
End step loop
Set visible of Field "field 5" to true
Set gLastObjectNum to 5
Set gNumsSeen to 0
Set visible of Field "allDone" to false
Set gAllDone to false

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OnLine Learning 2001 Report

Chris and Jeff had a fun but busy time at the OnLine Learning conference in Los Angeles at the end of September. We conducted a full-day preconference session on Sunday looking at various approaches to e-learning: ToolBook, Flash, Dreamweaver, FrontPage, and Visual Basic. Jeff then had two conference presentations on Monday and Chris had one. Most of the rest of our time was spent in our booth. Thankfully, good friends like Lee Karns, Dawn Adams, Ross Hopkins (who again made it from Australia/New Zealand), Paul Couple (a TBCON alumnus from England), Scott Gray, Brad Crain, Karen Smith, and many others stopped by. Lee showed us his awesome new simulation tools for the Actions Editor. Click2learn had a nice new booth matching their Aspen theme. Nice seeing everyone!

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Coming in the Next Issue of the EnterPage

  • Progress Tracker 3.0 Report
  • Another Plug-In Pro Tool Spotlight
  • More CBT Creation Tips from Chris Bell
  • More OpenScript Tips from Jeff Rhodes
  • More Actions Editor Tips from Cindy Kessler
  • ToolBook Tip (from Learning and Mastering ToolBook Series)
  • More

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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.

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n .. Copyright © 2001 Platte Canyon Multimedia Software Corporation