Several companies have produced add-ons and plugins for ToolBook, allowing you to add features to ToolBook or enhance existing functionality. Some of these add-ons are free and some are not. SumTotal does not endorse the use of any particular third party add-ons. SumTotal cannot answer any questions about add-ons created by third party companies. Please contact the vendor of the add-on if you have questions about it.
Nirvana Bound Pty Ltd has produced a ToolBook Add-on, called the Graphics Preloader.
The size of your graphics, use of objects on the page, and use of the Simulation widget coupled with the user's connection speed could really drag down the learning process and frustrate your user's. That's because each time a learner goes from one web-based page of your course to another, everything on that page has to be "served" from the web-server to the local PC in order to be displayed in the browser. Now, once that page has been downloaded to the local computer, it is stored in the temporary internet cache and providing it is still in the local cache it will display quickly the next time the user goes to that page. So doesn't it just make sense to load all of the pages and graphics into the local cache BEFORE the learner starts the training? YOU BET IT DOES!
The ToolBook Pre-Loader will 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!
It is a Widget that you simply drag from the catalog and drop onto the first page of your ToolBook project to add page and graphics pre-loading functionality to your project. The ToolBook Pre-Loader adds a web-based interface to your program that enables your user's to Pre-Load graphics and pages with the touch of a button or you can automatically start the pre-loading when your program launches - it is your choice.
The most common way to add Pre-Load functionality to ToolBook projects is to put all of the graphics in the program on one page and have the user navigate to that page and wait for the page to render all of the graphics. There are a couple of problems with this approach:
The ToolBook Pre-Loader works after the export is completed and and before the preview dialog so it can pre-load all of the .gifs and .jpgs in the program along with all of the other graphics created from ToolBook objects without the hassle of physically putting all of the graphics onto a separate page in your project. In addition, the ToolBook Pre-Loader will optionally pre-load all of the html pages for your project - sometimes those pages alone can take 5 or more seconds to load. This is time for EACH PAGE to load since each page is handled as a completely new page with ToolBook 2004 SP3. So, not only is the ToolBook Pre-Loader easier to use, but it does a more complete and professional job for you :-)
The ToolBook Pre-Loader is easy to use during development, all you need to do is drag the Widget from the Catalog and drop it onto the first page of your ToolBook project. The Extended Properties Editor will open an allow you to enter the details and configure the Pre-Loader. The Pre-Loader ships with default values, however, it also provides the ability to save default details. This means that after you have configured your first Pre-Loader and saved the data then all other ToolBook projects will use these defaults.
If your ToolBook project has already been exported then the Pre-Loader will automatically update the export files, this means that you don't even need to re-export your books to take advantage of Pre-Loading immediately:-) Please refer to the user guide for details on the files that are updated - briefly there are very few files that you need to upload to the server, again saving a lot of time and effort.
You have several options for launching Pre-Load functionality in your ToolBook projects:
Regardless of the approach you take, adding Pre-Load functionality will take less than five minutes.
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