The EnterPage 8-02


The Source for ToolBook and VBTrain.Net News

from Platte Canyon Multimedia Software Corporation

HTML version available at:


May 24, 2005

In This Issue



Sign Up Now for TBCON 2005

One-Day TBCON Event in Orlando

SumTotal Systems ToolBook Design Awards

"Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor 2004" Released

Tracker.Net Version 3 Preview

Looking Forward to Decaf

Come Visit Us at ASTD and e-Learning DevCon

View Webinar on Setting up Pre-test/Post-tests


Plug-In Pro Tool Spotlight - Color Spy

Expert Information

OpenScript Tip

Web Hint


Control Spotlight - Graphical Button
VBTrain.Net Nugget


Come See Us: The Platte Canyon World Tour

Platte Canyon Products in the Pipeline

Coming in the Next Issue of The EnterPage

About The EnterPage

Information on Subscriptions




Thank you all for being part of our extended community. The newcomers among you might not know that we have been publishing this newsletter since 1997. As with every issue, our hope is that you find The EnterPage a good source of tips & tricks as well as useful news about upcoming events and products. Right now we are focusing on the one-day TBCON event in Orlando followed by the TBCON conference itself at the end of July. That is our favorite time for reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. We are also excited about the recent release of our latest Learning & Mastering ToolBook product and the upcoming update of our flagship Tracker.Net LMS. We like what we see in the "Decaf" version of ToolBook and have some information to share about it as well.


Onto the content!

Top Stories

Sign Up Now for TBCON 2005

The faculty roster is finalized and the list of sessions is close to complete. Check out to see the great conference that is in store for those of you who can make it out to Colorado from August 1 - 3, 2005 (preconference training July 30 and 31). Beginning, intermediate, and advanced ToolBook developers will all find a wealth of sessions that meet their needs. Existing or aspiring .NET developers have their own track. Based on initial registrations, we are anticipating our largest turnout to date.


Pricing remains low as always. The prices are based on your choice of lodging and include the conference itself and all meals:

Off Campus ($720)

Loomis Double ($825)

Loomis Single ($895)

Apartment Multiple Occupancy ($945)

Apartment Single ($1,145)

All of the above except "Off Campus" include lodging. Prices rise by $50 on July 1, so sign up right away. Preconference workshop pricing ranges from $150 for one workshop to $555 for all four.

If you want to learn more about TBCON (as well as see some of the .NET e-Learning samples to be covered), check out these links:


One-Day TBCON Event in Orlando


If you are interested in a full-day training session on ToolBook or VBTrain.Net, join us in Orlando on Sunday, June 5, 2005. We will split into ToolBook and .NET groups and cover such topics as SCORM, Actions Editor, JavaScript, simulations, and more. The price is $285 per person, which includes lunch. Here's a link for more details or to sign up:


SumTotal Systems ToolBook Design Awards


Have you written a ToolBook course or authoring aid that you think ranks up there with the best of the best? You'll have a unique opportunity to showcase your best ToolBook work AND compete to win an Apple iPod mini, courtesy of SumTotal Systems! SumTotal Systems applauds the imagination and ingenuity required to write a great ToolBook application, and wants to recognize those efforts. They will be looking for the best original ToolBook application in each of the following categories:


* Best ToolBook Online Training

We are looking for exceptional ToolBook courseware, deployed in HTML, that demonstrates the power of ToolBook to create engaging and effective training content.

* Best ToolBook Productivity Tool

Are you working smarter, not harder? Show us the tool you've built to help you and your coworkers develop content more rapidly. (Commercially-available tools not eligible.)


Here is a link to learn more and to enter:



"Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor 2004" Released

Get 30+ hours of professional training on ToolBook Instructor 2004 delivered on interactive CD-ROM. The Platte Canyon® Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor 2004(TM) CD builds on the success of the 8, 7.1, and 6.5 versions by adding significant new content, including:

Create Detailed Simulations

Learn how to record simulations or create them from scratch. Learn the "ins and outs" of ToolBook's powerful Simulation Editor, including how to configure its various modes and extend it with the Actions Editor.


Add JavaScript

See how to add .js files to your book and call their functions via the Actions Editor. Learn how to call their OpenScript equivalents from native mode if desired.


Action Methods

Through detailed examples, learn how to add this powerful new ToolBook feature to your projects.


Advanced Actions and OpenScript Topics

Using our "Mastermind" sample game, learn how to construct Action "behaviors" to greatly increase your efficiency and functionality. Make SCORM(TM) calls from the Actions Editor. See how to build actions and even entire pages via OpenScript. Walk through various "Suggested Exercises" on your own.


HTTP Post Plus ASP.NET Server-Side Projects

Learn both the ToolBook code (Actions Editor and/or OpenScript) as well as the server-side ASP.NET code to post results to a web site, send email, save to a database, and more.


Expanded and Updated Content Throughout

Greatly expanded content on the Actions Editor, OpenScript, HTML, and more. Plus all 30+ hours of training has been completely updated for Instructor 2004.

The price for Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor 2004 is $495. You may upgrade from version 8 for $185 or from an earlier version for $325.



Tracker.Net Version 3 Preview

We have begun beta testing Tracker.Net version 3 with an eye toward release around the end of June. Here is a list of some of its new features:


* Fully multilingual with simultaneous support of six languages

* Supports Netscape, Mozilla, and Firefox browsers

* Supports SCORM 2004 Runtime Environment

* User-configurable Alert, Critical, and Expired Statuses

* New "My Courses" Interface Options

* Ability to filter courses and lessons by status or keyword

* View or email reports as Word, Excel, or HTML

* Assign Courses and Classes by Organization

* Improved password-control options

* Ability to customize and close the lesson window

* Many new reports

* Downloadable trial version

* Increased email notification options

* Required course completion dates

* Notification messages for individual courses, lessons, and classes

Looking Forward to Decaf


Along with many of you, we have been eagerly testing the various betas of ToolBook Instructor 2004 SP 2 (AKA Decaf). The work that Tim Barham, Charlie Delaney, and company have done to eliminate Java from the ToolBook HTML has been phenomenal. We have seen firsthand with some of our Tracker.Net customers that Decaf fixes some significant problems they were having with Java versions. The move toward individual HTML pages should eliminate any artificial limits on page size as well. We are anticipating Decaf’s release in the next few weeks. We highly recommend anyone who’s creating web-based content with an older version of ToolBook to immediately upgrade to 2004 so you can take advantage of Decaf.



Come Visit Us at ASTD and e-Learning DevCon


We invite anyone coming to the American Society of Training & Development (ASTD) conference in Orlando (June 6 - 8 with a one-day TBCON event on June 5) to visit our booth (1521). You can use this link to sign up for a free expo pass:


August 15 - 17, Jeff will be presenting sessions on "Talking SCORM with ASP.NET" and "E-learning on Pocket PC Using .NET" at the e-Learning DevCon conference in Forest Grove, Oregon. To learn more about that conference, go to:


View Webinar on Setting up Pre-test/Post-tests


Chris recently conducted two webinars (web seminars) for SumTotal Systems. The topic involved setting up question objects, adding Actions Editor code to evaluate the score, and navigating the user to the appropriate page. To see an archived version, go to:


You can download the sample book created during the webinar at:




ToolBook Tips and News


Plug-In Pro Tool Spotlight

by Jeff Rhodes


Color Spy

Have you ever wanted to match colors in ToolBook to those in a graphic? Or edited someone else's book and tried to figure exactly what color that text is? If so, the Color Spy will be a big help. It allows you to click on or move your mouse over an area of the screen and then display and copy its color in either HLS or RGB (individual numbers of HEX) for use in other applications like PhotoShop. You can even magnify the screen so you can see individual pixels. Here's a link to the help topic to learn more:


If you want to learn more, check out the help topics:


More information on Plug-In Pro is available at:



The following are all from the "Learning & Mastering ToolBook" series

Expert Information from the "Learning & Mastering ToolBook" Series

by Tim Barham


Simulation Editor Properties and Parameters

Here's a rundown on some of the properties and parameters supported by the simulation object:


initialMode - read/write property - specifies what mode the simulation will run in the next time it starts. If you set it to a mode not supported by the simulation, then it will pick the closest mode that is supported by the simulation (for example, if you specify "practice" mode but have set the simulation to only support demonstration and assessment modes, it will run in assessment mode).


currentMode - read-only property - specifies what mode the simulation is currently running in, if it has been started (if it's not started, then this property is not valid).


mode - parameter - Most events triggered by the simulation widget will include a mode parameter, which specifies the mode the simulation is currently running in. It's basically synonymous with checking the currentMode property of the simulation widget.


currentStep - read-only property - tells you what step the simulation is currently up to. Most simulation events include a "stepNum" parameter which will give you the same value.


isScored - read-only property - tells you if the simulation is scored. This will return true if the simulation is running in assessment mode, or if it is running in practice mode and "score in practice mode" option is selected.


Note that you can also set the initial mode from within the Simulation property dialog.


If you are having problems getting initialMode to work, a couple of things to consider are:


1. Are you setting it before the simulation starts? If a simulation is set to auto start on enter page, then setting initialMode on enter page is not likely to work. In that case, it's better to turn off auto start, and instead set initialMode then trigger the simulation.


2. Has the simulation been configured to support the mode you're specifying (by checking the appropriate checkbox on the General tab of the simulation properties dialog).



OpenScript Tip

by Jeff Rhodes


TThe ASYM_AddHyperlinks() function can be extremely useful in taking advantage of the power of OpenScript in order to automate publishing to the web. For the Actions Editor example book of "Learning & Mastering ToolBook Instructor," we wanted to create a simple tool to automatically create the hyperlinks on the menu page of that book. That way, the entire book could be published to the web and work when viewed in the browser. The code below steps through the pages of the book (starting with page 2 since the menu page is page 1) and puts the name of each page into our field (as well as to a user property used by the popup menu script when viewed from the CBT). Once the text is in place, we select each line, make it into a hotword, and then add the appropriate hotword to that hyperlink. Notice the use of the selectedHotwords property to reference the just-created hotword.

 to handle buttonClick
	local page pageID
	local field fieldID
	local word num, lineNum, numPages
	local string menuPageList, pageName

	numPages = pageCount of this book
	fieldID = field "menuList" of this page
	text of fieldID = null
	menuPageList = null
	step num from 2 to numPages
		lineNum = num - 1
		pageID = page num
		pageName = name of pageID
		textline lineNum of menuPageList = pageName
		textline lineNum of text of fieldID = pageName
	end step
	menuPageList of this book = menuPageList
	step num from 1 to (numPages - 1)
		select textline num of text of fieldID
		send createHotword
		pageID = page (num + 1)
		get ASYM_AddHyperlink(selectedHotwords, "buttonClick", pageID,"", "jump", 4, "")
	end step
end buttonClick

Web Hint

by Chris Bell


Alignment Problem with Reusable Graphics


A normally helpful feature of the Reusable Graphic placeholder is the auto border, which shows at author but hides at reader. However, this auto border can cause problems when trying to align graphics. If you watch carefully when switching from author to reader, and you'll see that the graphic moves up and to the left by the width of the (now missing) border.


The movement is about 1 pixel up and 1 pixel to the left, so it isn't normally enough to notice. However, if you use a reusable graphic for simulations or other places where you're aligning one graphic on top of another and expect them to match perfectly, this 1 x 1 pixel shift could get frustrating.


The easiest way around this is to uncheck "Auto border" in the reusable graphic's extended properties editor. Once you do this, you'll need to set the objects borderstyle to none in its normal properties editor. The other option would be to make your own button for showing graphics.



VBTrain.Net Tips and News


Control Spotlight - Graphical Button


The Graphical Button control has a simple purpose: make it easy to create rollover buttons that have four different states: up, down, over, and disabled. For ASP.NET, this means that the control generates the appropriate JavaScript for preloading the graphics and swapping the images "onmouseover" and so forth. For Windows Forms, it means that the graphics can be images embedded within the application, resources that are built into the .exe but than can be overwritten at design time, or external graphic files in a wide variety of formats.






VBTrain.Net Nugget

by Jeff Rhodes


This issue’s Nugget comes from a recent post to the VBTrain List:


"In ToolBook, there is a method to pass variables between a ToolBook application and a Flash file. Is there a way to do the same thing with Platte Canyon's Web Player? If so, a code snippet would be appreciated."


You can indeed interact with Flash from ASP.NET, but it needs to be via JavaScript rather than server-side code. So you use the Web Player as normal but then either have JavaScript already in the page or generate it on the fly to do what you want. You can see an example of this type of thing in my TBCON examples for this year. Here is a link:


onclick="return HotspotSelected(this, 6, 'True', 'content/TBCON History/media/', 'movieSample1.swf', 'Flash', 'VideoPlayer')


The server-side code also puts the HotspotSelected function onto the page:

var completionArray = new Array(5);
var lastTextId;
var showedMessage=false;

function HotspotSelected(labelId, contentNum, isShowMedia, medPath,
mediaString, mediaType, playerName){
	if (isShowMedia == 'True') {
		if (mediaString != '') playMedia(playerName, mediaType,	medPath, mediaString);
	else {
		var mediaId=document.getElementById('VideoPlayer');
		if (mediaId != null)'none';

	var contentName = 'content' + contentNum;
	var contentId=document.getElementById(contentName);

	if (contentId != null) {

		var displayId=document.getElementById('DisplayField');

		if (displayId != null) displayId.innerHTML = contentId.innerHTML;

		var sourceImageId=document.getElementById('Image' + contentNum);

		if (sourceImageId != null) {
			if (sourceImageId.src != null) {
				var displayImageId=document.getElementById('Image0');
				if (displayImageId != null) {'inline';
					displayImageId.src = sourceImageId.src;
		if (lastTextId != null) {'navy';'transparent';

		lastTextId = labelId;'green';'yellow';
		completionArray[(contentNum-1)] = 'true';

		var completed = true;

		for (var num = 0; num < 6; num++) {
			if (completionArray[num]!='true') completed=false;
		if ((completed==true) && (showedMessage==false)) {
			var completionId=document.getElementById('CompletionImage');
			if (completionId != null)'inline';

This function in turn calls playMedia, which is already in the .aspx page:

function playMedia(playerName, mediaType, mediaPath, mediaName)
	var mediaId=document.getElementById(playerName);

	if (mediaId != null)
		var documentId = mediaPath + mediaName;

		if (mediaName.indexOf('://')!= -1) documentId = mediaName;'inline';
		if (mediaType=='Flash')
			mediaId.LoadMovie(0, documentId);
		else if (mediaType=='Real')

This is the part that shows how to work with the player itself. This example shows how to call methods of the player. One example that handles events or the Windows Media Player (Flash would be similar) is:


You'll notice that text displays if you stop the video when it ends. It uses this script that is again injected into the page:

<script for='VideoPlayer' event='PlayStateChange(stateId)' language='javascript'>
if ((stateId==1) || (stateId==8)) {
	for (var num = 1; num < 11; num++) {
		var contentName = 'Content' + num;
		var contentId=document.getElementById(contentName);
		if (contentId != null)'inline';
	var completionId=document.getElementById('CompletionImage');
	if (completionId != null)'inline';

I'll be explaining all of this at TBCON this year.


More News and Information


Come See Us: The Platte Canyon World Tour

Here are the upcoming conferences and events that we have firmed up at this time:


TBCON One-Day Event
Orlando, Florida
June 5, 2005


ASTD International Conference & Exposition
Booth 1521
Orlando, Florida
June 6 - 8, 2005


E-learning DevCon
Forest Grove , Oregon
June 6 - 8, 2005


Training Fall
Long Beach, California
October 17 - 19, 2005



Platte Canyon Products in the Pipeline


Tracker.Net version 3 is first out the chute followed by "Learning & Mastering ToolBook Assistant 2004." After those, look for SCORM 2004-enabled versions of LmsApi and Question. Stay tuned!



Coming in the Next Issue of The EnterPage

·         TBCON Report

·         Another Plug-In Pro Tool Spotlight

·         More Expert Information, OpenScript Tips, and Web Hints from the "Learning & Mastering ToolBook" series

·         Another VBTrain Control Spotlight

·         Another VBTrain.Net Nugget

·         More


About The EnterPage


The EnterPage is distributed four times a year, with occasional special issues. Individuals who have expressed interest in Platte Canyon Multimedia Software Corporation or its products receive The EnterPage. Suggestions for articles or proposals for article submissions are welcome. Send information to Back issues of the EnterPage are available at



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All content Copyright Platte Canyon Multimedia Software Corporation, 2005.