For this blog post, I was going to write a summary of the changes to the template and wrap up the series. Instead, I’m looking at ways to increase the template’s flexibility and hot-rod it for some cool other stuff.
First, in case you missed it, here are the first five parts of the series:
This series has been an exercise in refactoring; I walked through the code and continued to refine it until I reached a point where the template performed as I felt it should have; a bare minimum of functionality was met, with a sprinkle of extra goodness.
The problem is, when it comes to refactoring code, you’re never really done! Flaws are found, ideas pop into your head when you’re trying to go to sleep, and suggestions come along, all prompting another look at your work. Bug fixes and new features (aka scope creep) rule the roost. This project is no exception.
Regarding bug fixes, as part of the cleanup process, I added a feature that displays an error message to the learner when the SCORM API isn’t found; this works great when launching the course from an LMS, but as Infosemantics’ Rod Ward pointed out, it prevents the developer from previewing the course locally. Oops. I also noticed that the code I added for centering the SWF makes the ‘no SCORM’ message look strangely off-center, in the rare cases where you’d see it. No worries, it will be fixed.
Regarding new features, there are many ways we can improve the template, or at least make it more flexible. For example:
- We can add a debug mode that logs SCORM commands to the console; the debug mode could be toggled on or off via the CONFIG object in the HTML file.
- We can provide a compressed version of the template’s scorm_support.js file, which reduces file size.
- We haven’t touched the imsmanifest.xml file, but there are probably some improvements we can make there, as well.
I’m sure there are other possibilities I’m leaving out. Improvement is an ongoing process, and I would love to hear any ideas you might have about improving Captivate’s SCORM 2004 publishing template. Post a comment below, or message me on Twitter.
(Note: I’m not a fuddy-duddy, but I will ignore and sometimes delete off-topic comments; I tend to get a lot of these, and they’re a drag to deal with. If you have general e-learning questions, please post them on the E-Learning Technology and Development Google Group, which I moderate.)
Reminder: all of this work is centered on Captivate 5.5, not older versions. Captivate versions 4 and 5 require a little bit of help from the inside (ActionScript delivered via a second SWF). I might cover that ground in a future post if I have time.
Update: I was mistaken about Captivate 5 — this revised template should work fine with both 5.0 and 5.5.