What is Neuron?

Patches / Updates / Installers ›› Neuron ››

WHAT IS NEURON? HOW DOES IT WORK?

Neuron is nothing more than the ToolBook Runtime (playback) engine with the extra ability to show itself within a Browser window.


notice

ToolBook was retired with the release of ToolBook 11.0. If you are still using ToolBook 10.5 (or earlier) you can still use the Neuron plugin.


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CAN NEURON DO EVERYTHING TOOLBOOK RUNTIME CAN?

For the most part you will find that Neuron will behave just like you would expect ToolBook to. However, the process of making ToolBook run inside the confines of a browser window has a few side effects.


For example, to make the ToolBook window run inside the Browser window, ToolBook's main window has to become a child window of the Browser. This means it is not possible to have a menu bar on your application deployed through Neuron. Also the "normal" techniques for making a book full screen do not work in Neuron, however there are alternatives.


Neuron has three modes: Secure, Non-Secure, and Ask.


Secure Mode is essentially a way for the user [not the programmer] to prevent potentially harmful ToolBook applications from being loaded.


Your Neuron Help file will outline exactly what is not permitted in Secure mode, but to summarize:



It would be very difficult to build a full featured application and have it run in Secure Mode. You would have to give up using hyperlinking, path animation, and the use of the question objects in the catalog, all of which require loading of system books as well as various DLL linking.

WHEN I INSTALL NEURON, WHAT REALLY GETS INSTALLED?

When you install Neuron, the installer will install the ToolBook Runtime components in the TBSYSTEM folder on your computer.

This location is typically:


c:\program files\common files\sumtotal\tbsystem


This engine is the same Runtime engine that gets installed when you install ToolBook.


In addition, depending on which browsers were detected during the installation, these two files may be installed.



HOW DO I ACCESS MY TOOLBOOK FILE FROM MY BROWSER?

There are two ways to access your ToolBook file from your browser.

Navigate directly to the .TBK file.


When you navigate to a .TBK file on a Web Server, the browser will try and find an application on the user's computer that knows what to do with this .TBK file.


In the event that ToolBook [not Neuron] is installed on the user's computer, then the browser will prompt to either SAVE the .TBK file or Open it. Choosing Open will launch the .TBK file in ToolBook (not Neuron).


In the event that Neuron [and possibly ToolBook] is installed on the user's computer, then the browser will attempt to launch the Neuron Plugin based on the following logic.

If NETSCAPE/FIREFOX/SAFARI IS THE BROWSER BEING USED:


These will only use the Neuron Plugin if the Web Server has been configured to identify all .TBK files with a MIME type of application/toolbook. Ask your Web Server administrator to configure this for you.


The Browser knows of the existence of the Neuron Plugin because when the browser is launched, it scans the contents of the Plugin folder in the browser's directory and the Neuron Plugin is located in this plugin directory.


If you are testing your .TBK files from your local hard drive (not a web server) then how does Neuron know to load without a MIME type being provided from the Web Server?


This works because the following setting is configured during the install of Neuron in the windows registry:


  HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.tbk

  Content Type = application/toolbook


This 'trick' essentially tells the browser that the .TBK file you are using locally, is a MIME type of application/toolbook, which is needed to make Neuron start up.

IF INTERNET EXPLORER IS THE BROWSER BEING USED:


Internet Explorer does not require the use of a MIME type setting on the Web Server. It locates the Neuron Plugin by an alternate method, looking up the .TBK extension in the Windows Registry:


  HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.tbk


This registry key points us to the TBKFILE entry:


  HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\tbkfile\CLSID


This registry key points us to the following value:


  {F4818F4C-BEC5-11CF-83AD-00A0242FBEA6}


You will find this value referenced by this key


  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\


Looking up the subkey of INPROCSERVER32 will in-turn point to the actual NEURON.OCX ActiveX control which acts as the plugin for Internet Explorer.

Navigate to an HTML file that contains instructions to load your .TBK file.


This second method is more work, but also gives you more control. There are several aspects that you may want to control like:



This second method is done by using some sample HTML code from the Neuron Help file.


In the Contents tab of the Help File, expand Tips for HTML and ToolBook authors and then double-click on An example HTML file.

CAN NEURON READ/ACCESS FILES FROM A WEB SERVER?

ToolBook has always been able to read data from your Hard Drive. Neuron does also have the added ability to be able to access files from a Web Server.


This ability does have its limits however. Neuron can access the following types of files directly off of a Web Server:



When you access these 'supported' types of files, you don't have to do anything special to reference the Web Server's location. Neuron will automatically check for these files locally first, and if not found, also check the Web Server [in the same location of the .TBK file currently running] for your requested file.


For example:


  linkDLL "file123.dll"


Since my sample DLL [file123.dll] contains no pathing reference, Neuron will search locally for the DLL first and then check the Web Server for the DLL.


If you need the ability to access other types of files, such as a raw text file, you must use ToolBook's FTP commands to move the file to a local destination. Once local, you can access the file just like any other local file.

CAN NEURON WRITE/MODIFY FILES ON A WEB SERVER?

Neuron does not have any special abilities to allow you to write data back to a web server.


If you need the ability to place files on web server, you must use ToolBook's FTP commands to do so.


If you need to modify a file that exists on the web server, first download it to the local computer, modify it, and then upload it back to the web server...all using ToolBook's FTP commands.

BROWSERS

Which browsers can you use Neuron in? Consult your ToolBook documentation for current information on supported browsers.

WHAT ABOUT MACINTOSH OR UNIX BASED MACHINES?

Since the Neuron product is essentially the ToolBook Runtime engine, it has the same system requirements as the ToolBook Runtime engine. ToolBook's main engine is a Windows based application and cannot be run on a Macintosh or a Unix based machine, therefore Neuron will not work on a Mac or a Unix machine.



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