ToolBook Pre-Loader User's Guide


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About the ToolBook Pre-Loader

Developed for:

SumTotal ToolBook Instructor version 8.9 or higher

Works in:

DHTML ToolBook Projects

Type of Tool:

Catalog Object


When you download the program, it will self extract into your Program Files directory into a folder for NirvanaBound\TBK_PreLoader##\, where ## will indicate the ToolBook version (i.e. 89 or 90). At the end of the extraction process it will run a utility (written in ToolBook :-) to find your Instructor file and will install the Widget into your catalog folder. The next time you open ToolBook Use the Customize Catalog feature to import this new ToolBook Pre-Loader category.

What the ToolBook Pre-Loader Does

The ToolBook Pre-Loader is designed so that ToolBook Developers can easily solve the problem of slow loading pages and graphics by loading them into your end-user's local cache before the training starts. This means that internet connection speed is no longer an issue!

Click here to see the ToolBook Pre-Loader in action on a real project.

How to Use the ToolBook Pre-Loader

Please note that the following images show the complete setup for the ToolBook Pre-Loader, which looks like:


Be sure that you have properly installed the ToolBook Pre-Loader and confirm that it has been imported into your catalog.  It should be listed as the ToolBook Pre-Loader.
2. Open your ToolBook project, open the Catalog (F2) if it is not already open, select the ToolBook Pre-Loader category and drag the Pre-Loader Widget and drop it onto the first page of your project.  The Extended Properties Editor will open:
3. Window Text:  Where you set up the initial Pre-Loader window that your users will see.

Window Title: Here you can specify the wording that you want to display on the title bar of the Pre-Loader browser window. Note that by adding <BOOK_TITLE>, the title of your book will be inserted into the message.  Note: The book title is not the book name and can be maintained in the book properties Summary tab.
Default: Pre-Load Image Page for <BOOK_TITLE>
Show me the window title: Place you mouse over this object and the ToolTip will display the actual Window Title, replacing the <BOOK_TITLE> with the title of the actual book.
Please Wait: This is your message to let users know that the Pre-Load has started. You may want to use the information from the Loading Stats. tab to give your users an estimate of the Pre-Load time.
Default: Please be patient whilst the images and pages are being Pre-Loaded...
Skip Text: Your users will have the option of skipping the Pre-Load. Here you specify the text for the link to skip the Pre-Loading and close the Pre-Loader.  Note: simply removing this text will NOT prevent the end user from stopping the Pre-Loader if they wish to do so.
Default: Skip Pre-Loading
Close Text: This is your message to let users know that the window will automatically close when the Pre-Load is complete.
Default: This window will automatically close when all of the images and pages have been loaded.
Pre-Load HTML Pages: When checked the p#.html files will be Pre-Loaded as the graphics are being Pre-Loaded.
Default: checked
Auto Update After Export: When checked and you export your ToolBook project the Pre-Loader files will be created during the export process.
Default: checked
Always On Top: When checked then the Pre-Loader page will be on top of your DHTML program and you will not be able to start using your program until the Pre-Loading finishes.
Default: checked
Remove Pre-Loading: When checked and you click on the OK button the Pre-Loading files are removed.  Note that this option will be disabled if the project has not as yet been exported.
Default: unchecked

4. Automation tab: Where you define when the Pre-Loader will popup.

Automatic Pre-Loading: Check this box if you want to automatically run the ToolBook Pre-Loader when your users access your DHTML application.
You would typically only select this option if you don't add Pre-Load functionality into a button in your book. You can, however, use this option even if you do have a button in your book to trigger the Pre-Loader.
If you don't have a Pre-Load button in your book and you don't select automatic Pre-Loading, there is no way to trigger the Pre-Load process when your user starts up your program. Click here to see how to add Pre-Load functionality into your book.
Ask Pre-Load: Check this box if you want to be able to give your user the option to start the Pre-Load process. If this is not checked then the Pre-Load will begin automatically when your users starts the program. However, your user will still have the option of skipping the Pre-Load once it has started.
Ask Pre-Load text: Here you can provide your users with some basic information about why the Pre-Load process is needed and how it works. You may want to use the information from the Loading Loading Stats tab to give your users an estimate of the Pre-Load time.
If you are on a slower internet connection preloading the graphics will improve your learning experience. Loading the graphics from the internet can take up to 5 seconds for each screen/page.
By preloading the graphics you are putting them into the internet cache file on your local computer. This way when you browse to a page the graphics will appear immediately.
Because cache files are frequently cleared, you may need to preload the graphics each time you start this program.
Show Loading Error Message: Check this box if you want to be able to display error messages in the event that some images do not load.
Pre Error Msg: This message will appear if images did not load for some reason.
Default: The following images did not load:
Post Error Msg: Here you can provide your users with your tech. support contact information if they experience trouble during the ToolBook Pre-Loading process.
Default: Please contact...

5. Banners/Colors tab: Where you can add customized messages for your users to read as the Pre-Load is working.

Pre-Loader Colors: Here is where you specify the colors for your Pre-Loader.
You may set the Base Fill Color (Background) and the Base Stroke Color (Font color).
Note that these colors are used on the Ask Pre-Load and the actual Pre-Loader.
Use Banners: If checked your Pre-Loader will include a banner area allowing you to have continuous scrolling text during the Pre-Load process.
Color and Font buttons: The banner text can have a different font, font color and background color to the main Pre-Loader window.
Border Color and Style: The banner area has a border and you may select a various styles and the border can have different color.
Banner Text: You may add as many banners as you wish, using the Add and Edit buttons a popup window will open allowing you to enter multiple lines.
As you add your banner messages you can see what they will look like by selecting the Test button. Click here for ideas on how you can use the scrolling banner.
Add, Edit, Delete: These functions allow you to add, edit, and delete your banner messages. There are several lines of space added between each banner message so that your messages do not run together. The amount of text that you can have on each line depends on the number of characters and the size of the font.
Note: The area at the bottom of this tab is used to show the colors and fonts that you have selected.

6. Mouse Effects tab: Where you can add some fun to the Pre-Load process for your users.

Ripple Mouse: Check this box to add the ripple mouse effect during the Pre-Load. This may seem like a silly addition to the Pre-Loader, but it was BIG hit with the beta testers.
Ripple Mouse Text: Add your own message or company name here.
Nirvana Bound Pty Ltd
Show Ripple Mouse: When checked you will see the ripple mouse effect.

7. Loading Stats tab: Where you can obtain download details

Total Files: This tells you the total number of files in your media folder that will get Pre-Loaded. If it seems like a lot more than you thought, keep in mind that when ToolBook exports it creates .gifs of all ToolBook objects. So, in addition to all of the graphics (.gifs and .jpgs) that you have put into your program or that ToolBook has created in the export process from your resources, the Pre-Loader is also going to Pre-Load any of the ToolBook objects that were created during the export process.
Total Size: The total size of all of the .gifs and .jpgs in your media folder that will get Pre-Loaded.
Progress Bar This is the progress bar that your users will see during the Pre-Load process. In the Pre-Loader tool this bar is static and set to 50%.
Estimated Download Times: Estimated download times for dial-up modem speeds of 28.8kbps and 56kbps give you a rough estimate of how long it will take to Pre-Load the graphics at those connection speeds.
Actual time may be different depending on network traffic and the quality of the dial-up connection. Use this information in either your Please Wait or Ask Pre-load messages so that your users have an estimate of how long the Pre-Load will take.
Please note that these statistics are produced from the actual exported files, therefore, if you are intending to add some info about the potential download time of the book you are currently working on you will need to check these stats once you have done an export.

8. Buttons:
OK: When clicked the Extended Properties Editor will close and the Widget will be updated with all of your changes.  If your ToolBook project has already been exported then the Pre-Loading files will be created or updated if they too already existed.  However, if Remove Pre-Loading is checked then the Pre-Loading files will be removed.
Cancel: When clicked the Extended Properties Editor will close and the Widget will not be updated.
Help: Links to this user guide page.
Save Data: Allows you to save the current details for use as default data for use in other ToolBook projects.
Test: When clicked a test dialog will display an example of the Pre-Load page:

9. Adding Pre-Load functionality into your book.
If you wish to add the ToolBook Pre-Load function to your book then:

Add a button
Open the Action editor (Actions F5)
Select the "On click" event
Select Navigation group of actions
Add the "Display Document" action
Change document to URL
Change <target URL> to javascript:preLoad()

Your action should now look like:
On Click...
Display URL: javascript:preLoad()

After you export and you click this button the preLoad.htm page will be opened in a popup window.
10. What happens:
When you select the OK button the Pre-Loader will do the following:

preLoad.htm: This file is created and saved in the directory that contains the index.html page. Typically this is: ..\WebExport\MyBook\.
askPreLoad.htm: If you have selected Ask Pre-Load then the askPreLoad.htm page is also created along with the preLoad.htm.
testPreLoad.htm: This is a simple page that you may use to test the preLoad.htm and askPreLoad.htm pages without having to run your DHTML program. This page can be found along with the preLoad.htm page.
globals.js: The globals.js file in the ie4/ie5 and/or ns4/ns7 directories is updated, here we add the appropriate JavaScript to popup the preLoad.htm page. If you have selected Automatic Pre-Loading then the preLoad.htm is opened on entry to your DHTML program. If you have selected Ask Pre-Load then the askPreLoad.htm page is opened.
plBarBase.gif: Small image of the progress bar base.
plBarPer.gif: Small image of the progress bar.
11. Example of the Ask Pre-Load page: this also shows the defaults

12. Example of the Pre-Load page: this also shows the defaults except for the banners:-)

13. Ideas for banner messages:
Tips for preparing for the training
Training objectives
Sales messages
Short jokes
"Did you know" fun facts
Trivia questions - general or related to your training topic

FAQs, Troubleshooting, and Tech Support Tips

Please see the Knowledge Base for additional assistance in using the ToolBook Pre-Loader.