Leaving the cave

9 January 2014
by admin
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About #AdobeCaptivate versions (2)

In the second post in this series, I want to focus on the issues my colleagues and I encountered using both Captivate 6 versions.

Both the 6.0.1 and the 6.1 projects can be opened with each version, other than Captivate 5.0 and 5.5 projects.
I do understand the reason for this, as 6.1 was not considered a new version, but more an important patch.

Therefore, you would expect the projects to be interchangeable between the different 6 versions, when not using the new features (where the most important ones were Drag and Drop, Interactions,…).

There are three issues here to report. A very important one, and two smaller one.

Most important is this:
You build a template with version 6.1, with no special features.
When your colleague, using version 6.0.1, creates a project from your template, she/he is unable to copy/paste any object within the project.
This is a major issue, and according to me, a solution would be to prohibit using a 6.1 template to create a project in 6.0.1, as it is not really workable.

A second issue was for a specific project:
For one of our customers, we had these settings for the Skin Editor:

This gave several issues in version 6.1. These had to do with HTML Scaling and playbar visibility. I will not discuss these issues here.
The different projects were all developed with version 6.1, as the whole team migrated to this version (subscription model).
When the customer (using version 6.0.1) tried to make a minor change, and publish to HTML5, this issue arose:
On the left side everything is OK, but on some of the other slides, the right side of the image was showing.

The lesson learned here was that the publication of version 6.1 and 6.0.1 are not the same.

A third issue has to do with labeling slides:
When a project is switched from version 6.0.1 to 6.1 and back, at some point, you will no longer be able to change the labels of a slide, as the field on the Properties pane seems frozen. You can enter a label, but the field remains the same, whatever you try. From time to time, we are able to fix it by trying both version the one after the other until it works again. We can always fix it by pasting all the slides in a new project, but, as we will see in a next post, this will not always be the solution, because other issues can pop up then…

The main conclusion here is that a mixed environment is something that must be avoided. But this is more easy said than done. As said in the previous post, some customers still use version 6.0.1 and cannot upgrade due to company guidelines, restrictions,… you name it. This implies that we, as a content development team, must still support (and use) this version.

So, every member of our team should have Captivate 6.0.1 and 6.1 installed. This is not the case. In the next post, I will describe what I have learned from having the two Captivate 6 versions installed.

28 December 2013
by admin
1 Comment

About #AdobeCaptivate versions (1)

Adobe’s popular e-learning authoring tool is currently at version 7.0.1.
But in reality, our customers still have a variety of versions on their systems, so we should support all of them.

In this series, I will elaborate on the different versions of Captivate, and the issues my colleagues and I encounter when using these different versions.
Recently, Adobe changed their subscription plan. This issue is not discussed in this series.

Let’s first take a look at the different versions:

Captivate 6.

This version comes in two flavors:

  • 6.0.1 – A non subscription version. The main features (on the top of my head) are HTML5 support for the first time and the use of object grouping. There are a lot more features, but these come to mind immediately.
  • 6.1 – A subscription version. This version has better HTML5 support (more question types are supported), and the ability to create Drag and Drop exercises out of the box. (Again, main features for me.)

Adobe says these versions can be used together (for supported features, apparently). In a next post, I will provide you with my findings about the mixed use of these versions.

Captivate 7.

There are as we speak two version of Captivate 7 around:

Again these versions can be used together, if you do not use the features of the newer version.

On top of that, you can open and edit Captivate 7 projects with Captivate 6. More on this in one of the next posts.

This ends the first post in this series. You got an overview of the different versions. In the next post, I will discuss any issues and Lessons Learned when using the two version 6 flavors.

4 March 2013
by admin

How to clear the cache in #AdobeCaptivate?


Do you have the impression that Captivate is behaving strange (or more strange than usual)? Does Captivate react slower than you are used to?

When this happens, it is a good idea to clear the Captivate cache. This will increase both productivity and fewer nuisances.

Experience demonstrates that the best time to do this, is the first time you open Captivate in your work week, or the last time you close Captivate.


Follow the steps below to clear your cache:

  1. Open Captivate.
  2. Click Edit > Preferences.
  3. Click the button Clear Cache.
    Adobe Captivate PreferencesAdeobe Captivate Preferences

Remark: it is possible that Captivate will not respond for a while. This indicates there was a lot of data in the cache.

12 September 2012
by admin

Must have apps

As from today, I will be using an interim laptop. My own workhorse has a broken VGA port, and will be send to the factory to be replaced.

Excellent opportunity to test out the apps I really need. This is pre-installed: Microsoft Office 2010 and the Adobe e-learning Suite 2.5.

First app I needed was Google Chrome, to sync all bookmarks, and my whole online history.

I guess I will install Notepad++ soon as well. But that has to wait until I really need it.

Let’s see what I will have installed in two weeks!


And that ****** azerty keyboard already bothers me.

27 January 2012
by admin

Put your #AdobeCaptivate animation in the middle of the page

When you publish a Captivate project to HTML, the animation is always at the top of the page.

Let’s say you want the animation to be in the center of the screen, e.g. because the animation will run fullscreen. How can you do this?

You just have to change some of the HTML in the published .htm file.

This is the business part of the default htm file for a project of 1024*768 (lines 17 and 18 in HTML output, lines 212 and 213 in SCORM 1.2 output):

<div id="CaptivateContent">&nbsp;

The only thing you need to do is change the style of the <div> tag like this (found it here):

<div id="CaptivateContent" style="position:absolute; top:50%; left:50%; margin-top:-384px; margin-left:-512px;">&nbsp;

Let’s take a look at what this piece of code does.

1. Position: absolute
This is used to detach the div from the rest of the page content.

2. Top:50% and left:50%
This code sets the top left corner of the animation in the middle of the screen.

3. Margin-top:-384px and margin-left:-512px
We change the position of the div with negative margins half the amount of the size of the swf.

Let’s take another example:

<div id="CaptivateContent" style="position:absolute; top:50%; left:50%; margin-top:-300px; margin-left:-400px;">&nbsp;

Can you guess for what size of project the code above is?

Are all of your projects the same size and do you always want them centered?

For the HTML output, change the file “Standard.htm” in this (default Win7 64bit) location: C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Captivate 5.5\Templates\Publish. This file is used as a template when publishing the project. All projects published after you changed this file, will have the changed code in it.

Easy, if you know it.

BTW, the project site of the last example is 800*600. I guess you figured it out by now.

18 January 2012
by admin

Touch interface and games – Vice Versa

As discussed in a previous blogpost, the interface is important for a game. I gave an example of a PC game that was recoded for an iOS device.

This time it’s the other way around. If you are familiar with iOS games, you certainly know Angry Birds. Something similar is the game Cut The Rope (iTunes Link). Since a few weeks, it is available as a browser game, completely written in HTML5: http://www.cuttherope.ie/ (I tried it in IE9 and Chrome).

This game has been around for a while. If you do not know it, a look at the trailer will learn you a lot more: http://youtu.be/8xPUdFaraoQ.

Having played Cut the Rope from time to time, I really enjoy it. The only thing that can be frustrating is that sometimes I am not fast enough. Yes, you read that correctly, not fast enough. Even with TEN fingers.

If you are from time to time not fast enough with ten fingers, how can you be fast enough with one mousepointer in the browser version?

The developers are no idiots, and that’s probably one of the reasons why some levels from the iOS app are not available in the browser version.

Let’s take a look at two identical levels in the two versions:








As you can see, there is no real difference in look.

The difference is the interface. This game works great if you can control it with your fingers, and cut the ropes, or push the balloons. When using a mousepointer, you lose all the feeling.

On the plus side, the browser version is a great demo for the capabilities of HTML5.

28 December 2011
by admin

Touch interface and games

I use my iPad for casual gaming, and discovered something annoying.

IMHO, it is not possible to transfer all games to a touch interface. Take these two examples.

1. Bejeweled Blitz (iTunes App Store link)

Most of you are familiar with the concept of this game, but for those who are not: you must score as many points as possible within 60 seconds by aligning three or more identical gems. You can only switch the position of two adjacent gems, if one of those gems will form a line of three or more. You tap the gems to select them.

This is the interface:


2. Diamond Dash (iTunes App Store link)

A very similar game. Within 60 seconds, you must score as many points as possible by removing three or more adjacent blocks. In order to remove the blocks, you need to tap on them.

This is the – rather equal – interface:

Here is the issue I face: being a lefty (and proud of it), and tapping along the right side of my iPad screen, I cannot see the left side of the screen. How can I play a game like that, when I cannot see half the interface?

Is it me? Should I use both my hands? Being in my early thirties, I am not yet trained to do that.

Or are the game developers jumping on the iOS cart, because it still is the mobile operating system with the largest user base?

Whatever the reason, it is not a given that everything that works on desktop computer with a mouse, can work as well on a touchscreen device. Just like learning content: because a presentation works in a classroom environment, it will not (a priori) work in standalone mode with a voiceover…


20 August 2011
by admin

Hide and seek

Ever since my kids were born, I wondered how they would perform in the hide and seek game. I now have a 2y and a 4y old. You can spot them both in the picture below.

And there are some things I noticed:
The 2y old does not get it (neither did the older one when she was 2), but learns fast by imitating his sister.
The 4y old starts to get it, but does not yet realise that her hiding place must be a secret. When she is hidden, she do is invisible for me (most of the time, not when she hides behind a tree). But she must always make some noice, like saying “I am here”.
And she understands the concept of the game: someone counts, the others hide, and then the searching starts.
Nevertheless, it is a great game to play regularly. Each time we play it, she learns a new hiding place, and she even find new ones.
Kids are so great!

25 July 2011
by admin

One week of Google+

It has been more than a week since I’ve been using Google+.

Here are my findings so far:

  • Circles are a great concept, but the more you think about it, the more difficult it gets. It has to do with the whole platform. I’ll come to that in a sec.
  • If you want something in your stream, you must follow enough people. This certainly is caused by the the fact that there are not enough users on G+ from e.g. my Twitter community.
  • I really like the idea to share stuff with circles, like my family. The problem here is that G+ is – in it’s current form – way too difficult for them. I am by far the only geek in our (small) family. It would be great to organise hangouts with my aunts in France and the US, e.g.
  • This is the first platform where I can target my shares based on language, i.e. I have a Dutch circle to post in Dutch. When I post in English, I posted publicly or to theme circles.
  • There seems to be much more engagement, which is a good thing.
  • There are a few annoying things currently, like the order of posts in the timeline, the lack of a default circle for your stream, the diarrhea of comments on some posts (not mine),… Some of those things can already be solved with browser extensions, but that can easily become a myriad of plugins and settings. I am certain this platform will grow out of these annoyances.

Google+ first reminded me of Twitter, but I got it all wrong. I heard @JeffJarvis discuss  this on TWiG: it is a sharing platform. In my opinion, Twitter was as well. But there is a huge difference.
When using Twitter, you share everything publicly, or private. This means, if you follow people, you can read everything they post. On Google+, on the contrary, you van only read public posts of the people your following, except if they put you in a circle. Furthermore, you have no clue in what circle others put you. This implies that you do not know what your followers share with you…

This bring me to the ambiguity of circles. You can organize them to share (push content to), and/or to read them in a stream (pull content from). Is it me or do you need different circles to achieve both functionalities? If so, you would have too much circles to manage (say 8 circles for 200 people).

I can certainly see the value of this net platform, but it does not have a purpose yet. If I compare with Twitter, it took about a year before I discovered the value of it. So I will give it more time, and see how it goes…

Feel free to give your comments, opinions,…