Here are what were some of the major happenings regarding adobe captivate 5 on web this week –
the activity on widgets side is high. Michael has released a free version of google map widget – link. If you want more customization with google maps and use it in your captivate project – link. And continuing with his help in proving that widgets can do what adobe would have needed a release. In response to a feature request in adobe captivate forum he has come up with this free widget using which you can replay the current slide – link
a well attended eSeminar on widgets – link . If you missed it you can find the recording on the page.
a blog post on why you should use aggregators in adobe captivate – link
apple has announced that now adobe flash applications can be compiled to iOS compatible apps. Adobe Captivate 5 along with Adobe Flash CS5 which is part of eLearning suite is well geared to take advantage of it. See how to publish captivate courses for iphone and ipad – link
With increase in discussions and happenings around adobe captivate it is bit difficult to keep track of everything. I use host of search engines and rss readers to be updated. Thought of starting this series of posts to aggregate the news and actions around adobe captivate. Please add to the posts if you find something interesting. Just hoping I can maintain the momentum and do it same day every week.
- a new video on “storyboard view in adobe captivate 5” on adobe elearning channel on youtube.
- Kevin on analyse and chart quiz data without an LMS – he talks about configuring you own web server for storing the quiz data. In his earlier post he talked about storing data on acrobat.com. Link
- a new blog post on adobe captivate team blog about new integrated FMR editor inside Adobe Captivate 5. In earlier versions it was a separate application outside Captivate but now it is all within. Link
- Hidden shortcuts in adobe captivate 5 on team blog. Link
- utility for deleting captivate 5 cache folders on team blog. Link
- Michael has release a intelligent print widget for adobe captivate 4 and 5. It will also always force the print to landscape mode without the user having to select it in the print dialog. Another clever thing is that it will automatically rescale the printed slide so it will fit on the paper selected in the print dialog box. Click here to see demo and buy it here. Link
- Hide TOC duration widget and email reporting widget for 4 and 5 for adobe captivate 5 by Michael
- The review of adobe captivate 5 in Business computing world. Positives – no competition on mac, CS kind of UI, pre built widgets, master slides alongwith other new features. Negative – prebuilt templates could have been better, screen capture for complex screen activity(may be with FMR this should have been solved). Link
- And upgrade to variables in button url widget by Jim. The original post is here.
- A newspaper created with messages shared on twitter. Read it here
Facebook is a representation of actual world. Gone are the days of emails and phones we used to keep connected with each other. We use facebook for all sort of things. Would it be better if I can access my learning materials without leaving facebook. Adobe Captivate is leading tool to create learning content. In this blog entry I am covering how to put an Adobe Captivate swf file as a facebook application.
To get some familiarity with facebook application development watch this video
To get started with few more concepts read http://developers.facebook.com/docs/guides/canvas/
Following are broad steps you need for putting a captivate swf as a facebook app.
- Set up a facebook application which will have application page and other tabs. It will call the actual application which is in our case a captivate swf.
- Copy facebook sdk files to your webserver directory. Maintain proper directory structure. Facebook app will call the index.php kept at this directory. Index.php will have calls to render the captivate swf or any html file alongwith facebook API calls. These API calls can be part of Captivate swf also through widgets but for this blog entry we are not going in that path.
- Have commands to call captivate swf inside index.php
- Publish the application for public use when you are done. This step needs to be completed from facebook people. We are also not concentrating on this step for now.
How to set up a facebook application –
- Go to http://www.facebook.com/developers/createapp.php and fill out the details
- You get the various tabs to fill in the data. Not all are needed. Fill in whatever you want. But notice API key and Application Secret string. You need it when you want to call facebook APIs.
- Go to Canvas tab
- Give a canvas page URL. It is the link which anyone can access directly from outside to reach your application. For ex – http://apps.facebook.com/captivateapp can directly take you to the application page. Of course there are other ways to land there.
- In canvas callback URL give a location where you will be keeping your application. For ex – http://cpfb.webfreehosting.net/facebook where “facebook” is a directory created at root location of my webspace. The directory name could be anything. Most important point for server is that they should support php. Incidentally my personal paid web hosting server did not support this and it took me long time to realize. So I went on to find a free web hosting solution which can support php and allow me to put my own files through the non linux/unix commands where also I was very new. For this purpose I discovered http://webfreehosting.net which allowed me to do it all free without any waiting period or restrictions. But cannot vouch completely for this website as the swf access through facebook app worked for some time but in the end it just stopped working.
- In same “Canvas” tab select “fbml “ as render method.
- After saving your changes you will get a page with key information
Copy facebook sdk files to the directory inside your webserver. In our example this is at http://cpfb.webfreehosting.net/facebook
- Facebook used old REST API till very recently so most of the information you will get on web will be outdated. It uses Graph API for which you will find very less information.
- Go to http://github.com/facebook/php-sdk/
- Click on “Download Source”
- Select zip or rar – any format you are comfortable with. You will get facebook-php-sdk-v2.1.1-0-g08909f3.zip file
- Upload it to webserver and maintain directory structure like this in your specified directory. In our case it was “facebook”
- Move example.php which is in examples folder to one level up and rename it as index.php so that whenever http://cpfb.webfreehosting.net/facebook is called index . php is invoked.
- Copy captivate swf in the “facebook” directory. Let us say it is myCaptivate.swf
- Open index.php for editing. The file should look like following. Notice the second line. It should point to correct facebook.php as we have moved index.php from some other folder.
- Notice the API key and Application secret we have put in new Facebook() function call.
- The last line is to call Captivate swf file
<fb:swf swfsrc=’http://cpfb.webfreehosting.net/facebook/myCaptivate.swf’ allowscriptaccess=’always’ bgcolor=’#ffffff’ wmode=’transparent’ flashvars=” width=’500′ height=’400′>
With these changes accessing http://apps.facebook.com/captivateapp will play “myCaptivate.swf” inside facebook. This can also be accessed from “Go to application” Button on application page so that facebook users don’t have to leave their environment to access any captivate course.
For anyone to access this application it has to go thorugh the approval process of facebook which I am not covering in this entry.
This is just starting moment for Captivate swf on facebook. To use full functionality of facebook applications ecosystem facebook Graph API can give access to many of the data users has. It can send notifications , write on walls etc. The possibilities are endless – To get a feeling of what can be done please start at http://developers.facebook.com/ and wait for more updates on this space here.
finally it is out of door. Read here.
to help you in deciding whether you should go for this or not adobe has done independent study on how much time you can save. They compared doing similar tasks in Adobe Captivate 5 with previous version. For ex – you can now create software simulation 39% faster. Read this pdf to know the details.
here are my other reasons why anyone should consider buying the latest version of Adobe Captivate.
- It works both on windows and mac. Captivate behaves exactly same on both platforms. The content created are also same and can be used interchangeably on both platforms without any worry. So no more workaround of “running vm on mac for using it” and reasonings like “captivate is the only reason I need a window machine”.
- You can open multiple files at same time and work across them. Seems a basic feature but for captivate users this has been long missed feature. And in real life projects this will be the first thing you will notice.
- almost no dialogs. Most of them are now PI which are more familiar to anyone coming from a Creative suite perspective. And the overall user interface is no learning curve for someone coming from other adobe applications.
- if you though adobe flash should have screen capture – see this functionality in eLearning suite 2.0.
There are many new features which you will appreciate. Some of them are
- Optimized user interface
- Object Styles
- Master Slides
- Rich animation effects if you always wanted captivate to be closer to flash in terms of rich effects
- Multivideo support and synchronization
- Tracking and reporting if you were intimated by various lms and your clients did not have one and still you wanted the functionality.
besides this there are multiple small nuggets which you will notice while working on this.
PS – if anyone follows this blog they can roughly guess the timeframe of captivate release by looking at the frequency of posts. Before the release it starts warming up, after release the frequency increases and in between release it almost dies down.
one of the advantages of twitter is that it gives you instant feedback of the product unlike blogs which is a thought over thing. tweets are as the first thought that came to your mind on the topic. I have been following Adobe Captivate on twitter recently and it is buzzing about adobe captivate on mac. I could not help myself a bit of researching on net to find what are the information about captivate on mac platform.
- found this petitiononline petition for captivate on mac request.
- probably one of the most commented blog on this topic
- as the name indicates www.captivate4mac.com – a website dedicated to this request though not much activity
- a blog post by one of the mac users on how to run captivate on mac in virtual XP environment
- and a recent blog post on the same topic by a captivate users
and here are some of the reactions on facebook
Update 1 – 11th May 2009 – Read the announcement of Adobe Captivate on mac here. Follow the instructions to join the prerelease program if you are interested.
if you are thinking of creating widgets in Adobe Captivate 4 the help files contain very relevant information. and they are very concise so it is good idea to go through them once so that you can get a feeling of where to search for when in problem.
I am listing below the links for reference. You can add comments to the online help also if you feel that you can add anything more or if the information is partial/wrong etc –
collaboration is new way of learning. We already know how chats and social networks are helping in this. It is all fun but everyone has to find their own way to learn, there is less flow and pattern. In most of cases one has to reinvent the wheel. Can there be a better way in which the learning flow can be decided by the content creator and he can pass on the knowledge to the learners. The learners still use all the fun things of web 2.0 world.
Since my world revolves around Adobe Captivate so my thought goes on to the ways in which we can use Adobe Captivate for this. In my view it can help by creating content which controls the flow of learning and all web 2.0 and collaboration is initiated, contained, guided, tracked and stopped by it. We have seen some example in form of youtube and google map widgets wherin we could use them inside Adobe Captivate content. And the content is restricted in terms of the information which is visible to users but more engaging and in the form they are comfortable.
in view of all this one news caught my attention – this month ribbit opened itself to flash developers. According to them they help to “integrate voice and rich communication features into your website, application or community”. It means that you can add voice and telephony related features to your your flash content which includes eLearning content created by Adobe Captivate. It includes sms and transcription features. And with widgets feature of Adobe Captivate it is better poised to take advantage of the things happening.
next two post we will see few scenarios wherin Adobe Captivate users can use it to add voice and sms collaboration features to their content and go through a tutorial to use ribbit APIs for flash .