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Authorware 5.2 release notes

What's New in Authorware 5.2
What's New in Authorware 5.1
What's New in Authorware 5.0
Upgrading from Authorware 5.0
Known problems and limitations in Authorware 5.2
For More Information

What's New in Authorware 5.2

Enhanced Calculation Editor
The calculation window now includes syntax highlighting, automatic indenting, auto-completion of functions and variables, and more. The Enhanced Calculation Editor formats the scripts you enter according to the settings in the Calculation Preferences dialog.

New Knowledge Objects
The Assessment Knowledge Objects allow you to easily create quizzes. These new question Knowledge Objects do not require the use of the Quiz Knowledge Object and can be put anywhere on the flowline. In addition, Login and Scoring Knowledge Objects help track the user's progress. You can find these Knowledge Objects in the Assessment category of the Knowledge Objects window.

The Windows Control Knowledge Objects provide an easy way to create 14 different types of standard Windows controls. Use the Windows Control Knowledge Object to create a control on screen. Use the Windows Control - Get Property and Windows Control - Set Property Knowledge Objects to get and set the properties for controls. You can find these Knowledge Objects in the Interface Components category of the Knowledge Objects window.

New Function
The GetIconContents function returns a property list of the contents contained within an icon.

Flash 5 Support
The Flash Xtra now supports Flash 5.

The ActiveX Authorware Webplayer now gets return values from JavaScript calls.

Bugs fixed
A number of bugs in Authorware 5.1 have been fixed in Authorware 5.2. A list of these will be provided soon in an Authorware technote on

See the "What's New in Authorware 5.1 and 5.2" section of the Authorware help files for more information on the above features.


What's New in Authorware 5.1

Mac Player and Packager
Authorware 5.1 contains a runtime player and a packaging component compatible with the latest version of Authorware for Windows. The Macintosh Packager enables you to package standalone Macintosh pieces, or to package pieces for the Web on the Mac, including "flattening" Macintosh-specific font and resource data.

Enhanced QuickTime and Flash playback
You can now play back QuickTime 4 movies and Flash 4 movies from within your Authorware piece. The new QuickTime Media Xtra will play version 2, 3, 4 QuickTime files. To make use of the new streaming capabilities of QuickTime 4 files, you must have QuickTime 4 installed. The Authorware 5.1 CD contains the QuickTime 4 installer. QuickTime and Flash support in Authorware is only provided for Windows 95/98/NT and Macintosh PowerPC.

Animated GIF playback
Authorware 5.1 contains a new Xtra that allows you to play back animated GIF's from within your Authorware piece. Animated GIF playback is only provided for Windows 95/98/NT and Macintosh PowerPC.

Model Palette
The new Model Palette allows you to store commonly used icons and/or models in an easily-accessible graphical palette during authoring. The palette is moveable and resizable and you can have multiple model palettes on the screen at once.

Right Click in the Design Window
The design window now contains context-sensitive menus. Just right click on an icon to get a menu of icon-related menu commands.

Scroll Bars in the Design Window
You can now turn on scroll bars in the design window to see complex flowlines that would otherwise have required you to resize the window. Right click in an "empty" area of the Design Window to turn scroll bars on or off.

Minimal Web Player
The Authorware Web Player now comes in two versions: a "full" version and a "minimal" version. The full version, analogous to what was provided with Authorware 5.0, allows your users to play back Authorware 3.5, Authorware 4.0, and Authorware 5.0/5.1 web-packaged pieces, and contains most of the Xtras, UCDs, XMOs etc. that are commonly needed for playback. The minimal install, which is approximately an 800K download size on Windows, on the other hand, only plays back Authorware 5.0/5.1 files. It also contains no additional Xtras, UCDs, or XMOs. As an author, you can control which additional components, Xtras, UCDs, etc., you need by adding "bin" lines in to the Web Player map (.aam) file. We've also provided an Xtras Packager Knowledge Object in the goodies folder to help you determine which Xtras you need to download. Please refer to the "Distribution basics" subsection of the "Authorware basics" section of the online help files for further information on what files you need to add to your .aam files. When adding Authorware-supplied Xtras to the bin lines of your .aam file, using the "recycle" option will optimize performance.

New Knowledge Objects
ReadINI and WriteINI Knowledge Objects have been added to allow you to easily customize Windows INI files. Two more looks to the Application KO have also been added.

"Attain" named dropped
Authorware version 5.0 was previously called "Authorware 5 Attain". In Authorware 5.1, we have dropped the "Attain" portion of the name. This does not signify a change in functionality, only the name has been changed. However, some of the online documentation and other material on this CD and on Macromedia's website may still contain references to the term "Attain". This will be corrected for the next version of Authorware.

Bugs fixed
A number of bugs in Authorware 5.0 have been fixed in Authorware 5.1. A list of these will be provided soon in an Authorware technote on

See the "What's New in Authorware 5.1 and 5.2" section of the Authorware help files for more information on the above features.


What's New in Authorware 5.0

Advanced Streamer
Authorware Web Player in conjunction with the Advanced Streamer can predictively and adaptively pre-load application segments before they are needed. This intelligent streaming capability optimizes Authorware 5's streaming for delivery over dial-in (28.8) connections. The feature enabled by the Advanced Streamer is referred to as Knowledge Stream. See the "Read Me" in the Advanced Streamer folder for more details.

Voxware File Support
Authorware 5 supports industry leading Voxware voice compression format. This includes support for the Voxware MetaVoice RT24 and RT29 codecs. Authorware 5 ships with the Voxware Encoder for converting WAV files to the VOX format.

Internet Authoring Support
Authorware 5 implements 13 new system functions and variables to give finer control over Web delivery. Authorware 5 can produce a report on the size of icons in a piece. The Authorware Web Player can read JavaScript URLs. Authorware 5 can pre-roll sounds, enabling Authorware to "stay ahead" and reduce the number of pauses or hiccups during playback. Authorware 5 does not block the UI when filling sound buffers. In Authorware 5 sounds are re-chunked to 4KB to yield smaller segments. The Authorware online help has tips on how to optimize web packaged pieces for low-bandwidth (28.8) delivery.

Media Management
With Authorware 5 you can more easily re-purpose media for the Web. Using the Export command you can export media that has previously been internalized into a piece. You can optionally link to the newly exported media. Next you can use utilities such as Macromedia Fireworks to convert your media to Web standard formats. Using the External Media Browser you can change the file types of filenames to Web standard file types and lastly at package time you can package all external content internally into packaged pieces and libraries.

Knowledge Objects
Knowledge Objects encapsulate pre-built learning interactions, functions, course structures or learning strategies that accelerate the authoring of effective interactive learning applications. Once dropped on the flowline, Knowledge Objects are filled in via easy-to-use Wizards. A Knowledge Object in its most rudimentary form is an Authorware model combined with a Wizard also built in Authorware. Select Knowledge Objects from the Knowledge Object window and from the New File dialog.

Icon Variables
Authorware 5 supports custom icon variables. Simply define a custom variable at a specific icon.

Knowledge Track
Authorware 5 provides tighter integration with CMI systems such as Pathware. In the File Properties dialog there is a CMI tab which gives options for the control of CMI tracking throughout the piece. Interaction icons can automatically post the interaction results to the CMI system. There are 23 new easy-to-use CMI system variables and 50 CMI system functions.

Batch Change
Through the new Change Properties command, Authorware 5 can change multiple properties of multiple icons at the same time.

Anti-Aliased Text
Authorware 5 supports anti-aliased text. Simply select Anti-Aliased from the Text menu to anti-alias a text object.

Alpha Channel Support
Authorware 5 implements a new Alpha blending mode which is accessible from the Modes inspector. Using Alpha mode an alpha channel in a PNG, TIFF or Photoshop image controls the opacity of individual pixels of the image against any possibly moving background.

Authorware Web Player Security Changes
The Authorware Web Player security dialog has been simplified to make the choices easier to understand.

Relative Paths for Libraries and UCDs
When Authorware 5 opens Libraries and UCDs that are in the piece folder or a sub-folder of the piece folder, Authorware automatically changes the Library and UCD pathnames to be relative to the piece folder.

The Web and LAN versions of the 32-bit PWInt Xtra have been combined into a single Xtra.

Debug Tracing for the Authorware Web Player
To debug a problem with the Authorware Web Player you can add a text file named "shktrace.on" to the plug-in folder which will cause the plug-in to dump diagnostic information to a file named "ptrace.txt".

HTML-based help
The Authorware 5 Help Pages provide an online version of everything in your "Using Authorware 5" manual, plus additional information. To open the Help Pages, use the Help menu or the F1 key. The Help Pages will open in your default web browser. (For best viewing, a 4.x web browser is recommended.)

Name Changes for Web Technology
Authorware's Web delivery technology has historically been referred to as "Shockwave." Authorware 5 continues to build on this same foundation, but the naming of players, utilities and related Web technology has been changed to avoid confusion with the more widely distributed Shockwave Director. The correspondence between the old names and new names for the most commonly used components is as follows: new name (former name):

  • Authorware Web Player (Shockwave Authorware)
  • Authorware Web Packager (AfterBurner)


Upgrading from Authorware 5.0

In general Authorware 5.1 and 5.2 are forward and backward compatible with Authorware 5.0. The only exception to this is if you use the new versions of the QuickTime, Flash, and Animated GIF Xtras and edit the properties of one of your movies in Authorware 5.1 or 5.2. You will then not be able to go back to Authorware 5.0 and modify those properties.

There are two update files. One updates Authorware 5.0 to 5.2 and the other updates Authorware 5.1 to 5.2.

You should use the same serial number that you were provided with Authorware 5.0 to open and launch Authorware 5.1 or 5.2.

Pieces authored in Authorware 5.0 are playable unmodified in Authorware 5.1 or 5.2. This includes web-packaged .aam files. If you use new features of Authorware 5.1 or 5.2, your piece may not run correctly in Authorware 5.0, but it should at least open in Authorware 5.0.


Known problems and limitations in Authorware 5.2

  • The current PWInt.x32 Xtra does not include a function to send an ExitAU command, which is necessary for compatibility with some learning management systems. We expect to address this issue in the near future. Please check for the most up-to-date information. As a temporary workaround you can use the hidden function, CMIFinishExitAU(), to send an ExitAU command to the LMS. Calling the CMIFinishExitAU() function can only be done from the webplayer in Trusted mode.
  • The Pathware Integration Xtra is now only supported for Windows 95/98/NT and for Macintosh PowerPC. We no longer supply a .u32 or .ucd version of PWInt.
  • The Pathware integration Xtra, PWInt, does not work in IE/Mac, and also does not work on any 68K browser.
  • Because of limitations in Internet Explorer for the Macintosh (particularly version 4.5), the Authorware Web Player does not perform as well on IE/Mac as it does on Netscape for the Mac. We are working with Microsoft to help remove these limitations in future versions of IE/Mac. Under IE/Mac, the Authorware Web Player has the following limitations:
    - Download performance is not as fast as for Netscape/Mac
    - NetDownloadBackground() and PostURL() functions do not work correctly in IE/Mac.
    - You must embed your .aam file in a web/html page for it to play in IE/Mac. You cannot just enter the URL of an .aam file directly into IE.
    - Playback of .aam files from the local hard disk doesn't work. To play back .aam files on IE/Mac, they need to be placed on a true web server.
  • PostURL() does not work in IE/Mac 4.5
  • On the Macintosh, the Full Install version of the Authorware 5.2 Web Player will only playback Authorware 4 and Authorware 5.0/5.1/5.2 files. It will not playback Authorware version 3.5 files.
  • PostURL() does not work on 68K versions of the Netscape browsers earlier than Netscape version 4.0.

For More Information

The latest information about using Authorware 5.2 is always available on the web. Check out for the most up-to-date information and TechNotes.