Playing a media file stored on a network

Media Players ››


I need my DHTML content to play a media file stored on a location other than the web server where my content is stored.


When you export your lesson to DHTML, ToolBook will create a Web Export folder to put all of the resulting DHTML files into. During this conversion process any media files which you configured for playback within Universal Media Players will be copied into the Media folder of the Web Export folder - so that the media files become a part of your DHTML exported set of files. Normally this is exactly what you'd want, what you'd expect.

However, what if you didn't want the files to be copied into the Media folder? What if you wanted to keep your media files stored in their original location, so that that same location would be used during later playback of the DHTML? Specifically this is useful if your audience is in a corporate environment where all users will have permanent access to the same company network and therefore the same network drives.

Consider the following:

If you were to point the Universal Media Player to this that file, ToolBook would simply copy it to the Web Export folder during the web export process. I would seem that there is no way to keep the file from being copied - but there is.


It is not possible to stop the Universal Media Player from copying the file into the Media folder, however there is another way of pointing to your media file which will work around this issue.

In the case of the sample file I'm referring to in this article (WMV) it is played back using the Windows Media Player ActiveX control (this is handled for you transparently by the Universal Media Player). The Windows Media Player is capable of playing various file types, and one of them is a file type called ASX.

The ASX file type is not really a media file, but rather a Metafile (a text file with instructions about what to play, contained within it). The point of this article is not to teach you the details of the ASX file format - I'll leave it to you to research this further if you want full details. For the purposes of this article I'll show you how to use one to get around this problem.

The general format of the text with an ASX file is:

<ASX version="3">


      ref href="<file reference>" />



In order to incorporate one of these ASX files to resolve this problem, I recommend doing the following:

  1. Create a text file called HR_Lesson1.asx (the name is not important) using notepad, and add the sample text (shown above) to it, but replacing <file reference> with \\MediaLibrary\HR_Lesson1.wmv
  2. Put the HR_Lesson1.asx file somewhere convenient (I'd suggest within your ToolBook project folder)
  3. Point the Universal Media Player to this ASX file
  4. Test it at Reader Level
  5. Puplish the lesson to DHTML

You will find that the resulting Universal Media Player within the browser will play the WMV file from the network location as you wanted, and it plays just fine within Native ToolBook as well.

ToolBook will have moved the ASX file into the Media folder during the Web Export process but also left your actual media file on the Network drive.


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