So, I had a really time with Articulate today. Something that should have taken 15 minutes stretched into hours due to a few mistakes. Here’s what went wrong and how I fixed it. I received a lot of help from Twitter – links below.
Problem: I needed to update a few Flash movies embedded in a straightforward Articulate ’09 course, then publish and upload. Simple enough, right?
Updating Flash movies embedded in an Articulate course
When you update a Flash movie that’s embedded in an Articulate course, Articulate picks up the new file since has a link to it on the hard drive. But it wasn’t doing this with the Flash movies that I had. And I couldn’t figure out why – I didn’t want to reimport them all.
So, I tweeted the problem and Dave Anderson replied with a Screenr showing how this is supposed to work. Well, ok – I had the right idea. But I’d forgotten that when I installed Windows 7, I’d moved all of my working files – so the project was in a completely different location than it had been when I created it. Doh! Articulate stores absolute references to embedded Flash, not relative. Moved the files back to where I had them and that problem was fixed.
Dave later directed me to a Screenr by James Kingsley showing good Flash/Articulate workflow techniques.
Presenter locking up when publishing
So, next problem that I had was presenter stopped publishing the deck. It always stopped on the “Saving files to disk” operation. At first it seemed random as to which slide it got stuck on, and then finally settled on slide 18. It just would not go past this point. I rebooted, which has resolved this issue in the past, but no luck.
Back to Twitter. Brian Batt offered to help and directed me to download and run the Articulate debug tracer, and then send the results back to him. With this running I could see that the SWF on that slide was causing the freeze. I republished the SWF. Not fixed. Reinserted the SWF. Not fixed. Deleted the slide and rebuilt it. Still no luck.
Out of ideas, I uninstalled Articulate, rebooted and reinstalled it. I’d seen that anti virus programs can also interfere with this so I turned it off while I was at it. One of these fixed it. Not sure which since I didn’t follow good troubleshooting procedures, but it publishes just fine now. Which is all I cared about.
The trace window is pretty cool – they should include something like this in the tool under a “More Details” button – I’m not a fan of processes that take >10 minutes to run with little information. This fixes that for me.
Uploading to a FTP site
I uploaded it to my site and went to preview it. I got the dreaded “Slide 100 of 160” blank screen error. This means that either I’m using Articulate 4 with Flash 10 (which I’m not) or something didn’t upload correctly. I deleted the files and tried again. Same issue. Articulate has a built in FTP option, so I used that. It failed twice saying “Cannot upload file, unknown error.”
I’m just a little mad at this point </sarcasm>.
I started looking at options in my FTP program. I noticed that the file transfer type was set to “auto.” I’d seen problems in the past where binary files has been uploaded as ASCII, so I changed it to binary. Re-uploaded and viola!
So here’s what I got out of this:
- Articulate doesn’t use relative paths to imported Flash movies. Don’t move things around!
- Turn off your virus scanner if you have problems publishing
- Always upload Articulate courses in binary mode
- Articulate has awesome support via Twitter