*** Updated to 1.2 ***

Some of the users on a Captivate list said they would find it useful if I packed up the Flash that I created to play Captivate movies. So, I made it dynamic, improved/fixed some things, and wrote some documentation. Source is included, but most people should only have to edit an XML file, and be done.

CaptivatePlayer – Docs | v1 ZIP | v1.1 ZIP

Captivate: Creating a Flash MX 2004 Component – A Walkthrough

Creating a Flash MX 2004 Component – A Walkthrough

This is a presentation I created in Macromedia Captivate. It will teach an intermediate Flash Developer familiar with coding how to create a Flash MX 2004 Component. I walk through the steps of creating a Login component that uses the component architecture from scratch.

I completed this Wednesday night after doing a second take Monday and Tuesday since my first attempt at one big Captivate file failed. I didn’t have time for additional edits and SWF construction till last night and tonight I spent 3 hours battling the MenuBar and trying to preload it. It seems that if you test streaming during a test movie in Flash, some of your traces aren’t called on static methods… just a guess at whats going on. I ravaged my local copies of MenuDataProvider/TreeDataProvider trying to find why their Initialize methods were getting called, but the traces I put in them didn’t work. I removed the copies from FirstRun and my Local Settings, and utilized the real component from Standard Components.fla vs. using the SWC… still no love. It works outside of Flash, though! …wtf…

Thanks Josh Dura, Greg Burch, Erik Bianchi, and anyone else that listened to my panicked cries about the above.

It was a fun first project, and although capturing the content was a snap, it took signifcant time during my off hours of the week to edit it to fruition. Although I now have a nice Flash framework to play movies in (I didn’t like Captivate’s MenuBuilder), I can see why RoboDemo buffs have jobs; what a lot of work! It just attests to the power of the tools; if we didn’t have these kinds of tools, I can’t even imagine how eLearning would even exist. Even so, Captivate has a ton of improvements to be made that I wrote down, which 20% can be waxed merely because I don’t know enough about it yet. It was fun! Thanks Macromedia for lowering the barrier of entry into this field via Captivate.

Tutorial Source Files – ZIP

Macromedia Captivate

Released officially today. Next paycheck, I’m buying this program. I’ve been working on a tutorial all day in it on creating a Flash MX 2004 sample component. Take some lessons from using it for awhile (there are many other more experienced RoboDemo users out there other than me, but as a Flasher I have certain expectations when using Macromedia software):
– make many small projects, and link the SWF’s together. I had a 80 meg, 30 minute presentation today that was a pain in the royal behind to deal with. My computer is a beast, and although I could multi-task, saving the file and editing it took 10 years because of the 391 slides and tons of audio. So, even if you play around, keep that in mind.
– be extremely wary of utilizing full-motion recording with hardware acceleration. Frankly, I wouldn’t click this unless your sure you don’t mind if something unexpected happens. I’ve had great results not using it with real-time recordings, like drag and drop operations, etc.
– if recording narration, take breaks. This will allow you to save your file, and continue on. Nothing like doing a 10 minute recording only to find it didn’t save, and your comp’s locked.
– plan ahead what your going to say, like a speech, only your talking to your computer’s mic instead of a live audience. You should still treat it like your speaking to a classroom type of environment, as this will show through in the end product. Planning really goes a long way.

Overall, I’ve only been using this product a short time, never used RoboDemo, and tested the Flash integration a few times. I truly love this product despite its need for a preferences overhaul and better way to manage large projects. It’s cool, though, for a 1.0 release under a Macromedia brand of an already maturing product. I didn’t have any expectations anyway, and will never do this type of work in Flash again… only edit it.

Check it out if you have 20 minutes to play with it. I’m sure you’ll dig it.

Macromedia Captivate