Saturday, October 12, 2002


Bob Tartar (see below) posted the following list of technote updates to the Aware List and to the macromedia.authorware newsgroup. The updates are invaluable to those updating to Authorware 6.5.

Installing Authorware 6.5 (TN 16600)
Preview option is not available via One Button Publishing (TN 16589)
Where to find new feature documentation in Authorware 6.5 (TN 16585)
Registration error message appears when launching Authorware 6.5 (TN 16578)
Authorware 6.5 Release Notes
Authorware 6.5 and Macintosh computers (TN 16553)
Broken link in Authorware welcome screen (TN 16095)
Installing Authorware 6 (TN 15860)
Flash MX in Authorware (TechNote 16556) - Discusses Flash MX support in AW 6.0 & 6.5.
Converting older files to newer formats (TechNote 16546).
Authorware files are not backwards compatible (TechNote 16545).
Authorware 6.5 and Macintosh computers (TechNote 16553)

Thanks again Bob!!

Are Macromedia taking Authorware more seriously?

For a long time, users of Authorware have felt that Macromedia have been treating Authorware as - to use a favoured colloquialism - a "red-headed step child". Authorware gets little marketing and hardly a mention in the e-Learning literature that comes out of Macromedia. Admittedly this is becuase Authorware has a mainly Corporate market and it makes little sense marketing the tool to the same people who use Flash. Yet somehow Authorware survives as a major player in the field of education delivered by computer - be it delivered on hard drive, via cd, over a LAN, via the web or from an LMS.

More importantly Authorware continues to make a healthy profit for Macromedia.

Those who frequent the >Aware List have been surprised and pleased to learn that Macromedia has appointed Bob Tartar to to act as Community Manager for Authorware, something he already does for Director. To quote his introductory announcement:-

My job as Authorware Community Manager will be to monitor the Authorware forum and Aware list, post product related news, assist developers where I'm able, and provide feedback from the Authorware developer community to the Authorware product development team.

You can read the entire note in the Aware List archive.

Among other things, Bob has actioned changes to the way Macromedia presents Authorware on their web site - something that has long been a cause of irritation for the dedicated Authorware developers.

A heartfelt thanks goes out to Bob!

Friday, October 11, 2002

Flash integration

More and more people are integrating Flash inside Authorware. Whilst Flash is becomming a powerful tool, it still lacks a great many features that Authorware has to make the development of training applications a breeze, so integrating Flash like this is a perfect way to offer the gorgeous graphics and effects of Flash whilst maintaining the power of Authorware.
All is not roses

There is a slight problem though. When you roll over a button in Flash the cursor automatically changes to a hand with pointing finger. This feature vanishes when you import the Flash file using the Asset Xtra. Here is one way to work around this issue:-

Place a display icon right after the Flash icon. Type this expression in a text field in that display :-


Note it should be all on one line. Remember to set the display icon to Update Displayed Variables. Finally, make sure the display icon has been placed on the flowline directly after your Flash sprite.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Authorware 6.5 Subtle Visual Changes

One thing in Authorware 6.5 that has slipped in very quietly is the fact that there have ben a couple of very subtle changes to the interface. Take a closer look at the tool bar across the top of the workspace. And take a look at the icon pallet. Don't see the difference? Fire up an earlier version of Authorware and compare the two.

A bonus for those using XP
It does not end there. If you are using XP you will see that Authorware has now taked on more of the look and feel of XP. Open up and Properties sheet or maybe the Functions dialogue. See how, for instance, buttons, radio buttons and drop-down lists now have the XP-style look and feel? Of course if you have Windows XP themes switched off you will not see this.

How did they do that?
Look in your /macromedia.Authorware 6.5 folder for a file called "Authorware 6.exe.manifest". If you want to see similar subtle changes to your earlier versions of Authorware, you can just drop that same file into the Authorware 4, 5, or 6 folder. Note that this only effects Authoring, it has no effect on delivered applications. In fact you are not licensed to distribute this file.

Monday, October 07, 2002

What's this? Technology?

You have no idea how happy I was today to learn that the university has a wireless network that I can tap into.

The bad news is that I have to find a university electrician to authorise my laptop as safe to draw university electricity. If only I could get someone to answer that phone (sigh).

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Zips are still growing

Today I decided it was time to buy that USB Zip drive I have been promising myself.

So I headed off to my local PC store. I used my motorbike so I could enjoy the continued unseasonably warm weather here in the UK. Arriving at the PC store I was told by the security guard that I could not enter the store with my rucksack, which I wore knowing I needed something in which to carry my long-awaited purchase.

"You can't come in with that" says he.

"Why?" askes a surprised Steve.

"We've been losing stock, so we are not letting people bring bags into the store".

Not wishing to debate the finer points of the irony that since he has failed to stop people removing things they are not entitled to he is now employed to stop people bringing their own belongings into the store, I told him "Well you'll be losing customers too, treating them like that" and stomped off in a suitably childish huff.

Thus commiting myself to a 3 hour treck around Preston, Lancashire on a Sunday, trying to find an open store that could sell me a USB Zip drive. Thankfully I did eventually find one. However, when I got it home and installed, I launched the (annoying) movie that is burned onto every new Zip disc, only to discover that I could have purchased a new Zip 750 for less than I bought the 250 for. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!