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Atrixware November 2008 - Atrixware
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Archive for November, 2008

Autorun Packages from a CD

After our users have created a package with Package Wrapper, many of our users to choose to distribute there packages via CD-Rom.  A question we’ve been asked in the past is how to burn the CD-Rom so that the packaged EXE file will start automatically.

Depending on what burning software you use (Roxio, Nero, etc.) it is possible to set a specific file to ran automatically.  However, for the purpose of this tutorial I’ll be going over a different method that can apply to any burning software, including the burning functionality that is included in Microsoft Windows.

Autorun.inf is a file that is stored in the root directory of your CD-Rom.  It tells the computer the location and name of which file to run when the CD-Rom is inserted into the drive.  What we’re going to do is create our own autorun.inf using a text editor such as notepad that we will be burning to CD along with our package EXE file.

The first step is run Notepad from either inside of the Start menu or via the Run Dialog (notepad.exe) in Microsoft Windows.

We only need to place two lines of code inside of the text file in order to create our autorun.inf file.  Place the following into notepad (or the text editor you are using):

[autorun]
open=filename.exe

Where filename.exe is the name of the executable file that you created in Package Wrapper and plan to burn to CD-Rom.

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In the example above, the name of the package I created in Package Wrapper would be mytest.exe.

Once you’ve entered the lines into notepad, simply save the file to the same folder where your package EXE file is stored with the filename autorun.inf.  When you are ready to burn your software to CD, all you need to do is burn both your packaged executable file and the autorun.inf file.  When your user inserts your CD-Rom into there computer, your package should start automatically.

NOTE:  Microsoft Windows allows the user to disable the autorun feature.  That means that even if you create the CD-Rom so that your package will start automatically, it will only do so on systems where the feature has not been disabled.

For more information on creating and using the autorun.inf file, you can view Microsoft’s How-To for a wealth of information: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/818804.

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Customizing you wrapped Packages

Package Wrapper is a powerful tool for easing the distribution and install process of E-learning software for you and your users.  While some of you might have used Package Wrapper in the past, you might not realize the amount flexibility that exists in customizing what your end user sees. In this tutorial, I’ll be showing you the different ways you can customize your package in Package Wrapper.

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Once you’ve gone through the first four steps of creating the package, you’ll get to Step 5: Visual Styles, which is the area I’ll be working in for this tutorial.

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The first thing I can modify in the Visual Styles is what the user will see when they first run my package.  By enabling Show a Yes/No message box at the beginning , the user will be prompted on whether or not they want to continue the installation of the package.  You can change the wording of the display by entering your own text in the Question field.

The next option is Enable password protection.  Enabling password protection allows you to require the user to enter a password before they continue installation of the package. You can define the password in the Password field.  If you do not use any form of piracy protection on your Elearning packages, this might be one way to give your packages a small amount of protection.

Next you have the option to Show a license agreement before extracting. Most software has some sort of extended copyright information or terms of use that they like to display. By enabling this option and clicking on the Edit Text of the License Agreement button, you can enter your own license (up to a maximum of 2,040 characters long).

If you’re package is of considerable size, you might want to enable the Show progress while extraction option to display a progress bar to the user that alerts them that the software is still actively installing.  Even if your package isn’t all that sizable, this may be an option you would choose if some of your users might be installing on older, slower systems.

The last option we have on this screen is Show a messagebox after finishing. After your files are done extracting and prior to executing the file that you may have set up to run after extracting, this message will be displayed to your users.  You can edit the text of the popup message in the Message field.

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Clicking on the Adapt more visual elements and preview dialogs button on the Visual Styles will bring up the Language Editor. From here you can change the text for the rest of the elements of your package, as well as get a preview of what they will look like when compiled.

From the General tab, the first thing you can do is set the caption that is displayed in the titlebar of all your popup dialog windows. Underneath that you can edit the text displayed on the various buttons within the package.  By entering the & character before a certain letter indicates that letter being the keyboard shortcut for that button. For example, by default the Yes button is set as &Yes, and in my package it would display as Yes, with Y being the shortcut key.  If I were to set the Yes button to Ye&s instead, my packages would display Yes, with S being the shortcut key.

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The Welcome Message Box tab of the Language Editor edits the same text that is set when you enable the Show a Yes/No message box at the beginning option from the Visual Styles screen.  By clicking on the Test Dialog button, you can see exactly what the dialog will look like when it is in action.

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The Password Protection screen allows you to edit what is displayed to the user if you have required them to enter a password prior to extracting files.  The Bold Heading is what is displayed at the very top of the dialog, in a white heading bar.  The Heading Subline is displayed in a smaller font, directly underneath the Heading in the same white heading bar.  Finally, the Text above password field is the main message of the Password Protection dialog, displayed directly above the box where the user enters a password.  Clicking on the Test Dialog button will show you a preview of what this dialog looks like in action.

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Under the License Agreement tab you can edit what is displayed to the user when viewing your license agreement (if you’ve enabled the option to display it on the Visual Styles screen).   The Bold Heading is the text that is displayed at the very top of the dialog, in a white heading bar.  The Heading Subline is displayed in a smaller font, directly underneath the Heading in the same white heading bar.  The Text below license agreement is what is displayed underneath your license agreement (which you can set on the Visual Styles screen).  Again, clicking on the Test Dialog button will give you a preview of what this dialog will look like in your completed package.

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The Select Extraction Path tab allows you to configure the text displayed if you allow your users to choose a path where your package will be extracted.  The Bold Heading is the text that is displayed at the very top of the dialog, in a white heading bar.  The Heading Subline is displayed in a smaller font, directly underneath the Heading in the same white heading bar.  The Text above path name is the text that instructs the user what to do next, displayed directly under the white heading bar and above the folder selection bar.  The Text on folder select dialog is the text that is shown at the top of the folder navigation dialog that is displayed when the user clicks the Browse button to select an install folder.  Clicking the Test Dialog button will display a preview of what this dialog will look like (including when the user clicks the Browse button) in your package.

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The Progress Dialog tab allows you to configure what is displayed to the user if you selected to display a progress bar during extracting.   The Bold Heading is the text that is displayed at the very top of the dialog, in a white heading bar.  The Heading Subline is displayed in a smaller font, directly underneath the Heading in the same white heading bar.  The Text above progess bar is the text displayed directly below the white heading bar and above the progress bar.  The Warning Messagebox when pressing the Cancel button configures what Yes/No popup that is displayed to the user if they click the Cancel button while the package is still installing.  As always, click on the Test Dialog button will show you a preview of what your completed Progress Dialog will look like.

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The last tab we come across is the Finish Messagebox tab, while is displayed to the user when the package is finished extracting (if you enabled the option in the Visual Styles tab).  The text that you can edit here in the Finished message field is the same text that you can edit in the Show a messagebox after finishing section of the Visual Styles screen.

Once you’ve completed configuring the text for all your dialogs, simply click the Close button and you can proceed to finishing up with wrapping your package.  With Package Wrapper it is possible to customize what is displayed to the user during installation, whether it be consistent with your E-learning packages or in the language of you or your end user.

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Creating a Package with Package Wrapper

When creating an ELearning Package with Test Pro Developer, the end result is a bunch of files that some users might have difficulty installing.  To make installation easier for your end user, as well as add an additional sense of professionalism to your final product, you can wrap your files with Atrixware Package Wrapper.  In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to wrap a package using Package Wrapper that is compatible with Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, & Vista.

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The first screen I see after launching Package Wrapper is the Welcome screen, where I can see what Package Wrapper I am using and modify the global settings.  By click on the Program Settings button, I can set the default path where my project files, output files (this is the final package .exe file), language files, and icon files are stored.  For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m going to leave all of these as the default settings.

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Click the Next button will bring me to Step 2: Create or open a project file.  When creating a package I have the option of saving my settings as a project file so that if the need arises to create the package again, I can create it with the same settings I used before.  In this example I’m going to allow Package Wrapper to create a new project file.  I can also choose or edit the Project Language by either selecting one of the pre-defined languages from the dropdown or by selecting and clicking the Edit button for any of the languages.  For this example I’m just going to leave the Project Language as English.

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Clicking on the Next button will take me to Step 3: Source Files.  This is where I want to add the files for the package I created in Test Pro Developer.  Clicking the Browse button will bring up the Browse For Folder window where I can select the folder that my Elearning package has been saved to.

To find the folder  where my files have been saved, I can run Test Pro Developer, go to the Build and Deploy (or Packaged Tests if you’re using Test Pro Developer 8) section, and find the option to View Files.  This will bring up a Windows Explorer window with a view of the all the files we’ll be adding into Package Wrapper.

By default, the path for a Windows XP installation should look like this (NOTE: This will vary slightly depending on the version of Test Pro Developer being used):

C:\Documents and Settings\{computer name}\Application Data\Atrixware\Developer 9\projects\{project name}\Package\{package name}\

In Windows Vista, the default path should look like this (NOTE: This will vary slightly depending on the version of Test Pro Developer being used):

C:\Users\{computer name}\AppData\Roaming\Atrixware\Developer 9\projects\{project name}\Package\{package name}\

Once I’ve found the folder where my files are stored, I’m going to click the OK button.  All the files from my project should now have been added into the Source Files List.

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Click the Next Button will take me to Step 4: Extraction Mode.  The first thing I want to do is select Normal mode (extract files) for the mode of the package.  By default most people use %programfiles%\MyApp as their Default Installation Directory.  However, to ensure that the package installs properly in Vista I want to change this to %temp%\MyApp.  I also want to make certain that Automatically Extract Files is selected, rather than have the user select the folder where the package files will be stored to make the process as easy as possible.

The other option I want to make sure I have selected is Execute a file after extraction.  This tells the package that as soon as it’s decompressed it’s files, to run the the E-learning software install.  If I did not select this option, the program would end after the files were extracted and my users would have to browse through their computers until they found the E-learning software install file.  Using the dropdown, I want to select the file %appfolder$\setwiz_i.exe as the File to be executed after extraction.

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Clicking the Next button will take me to Step 5: Visual Styles.  In this section I can choose what you want to be displayed to the user during extraction of my package.  Not only can I choose what dialogs I would like to display to the user, but I can customize the text for them either directly within this window or by click on the Adapt more visual elements and preview dialogs button.  For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m going to leave everything as the default setting.  If you would like more information on customizing your packages, you can find more information via the online manual or by reading the Package Wrapper blog article on customization.

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Click the Next button will take you the final step, Step 6: Create the EXE file.  By default, the path where my package is saved might be difficult for me to find later.  By clicking the Browse button, I can select to save the final EXE file anywhere on my hard-drive.  Once I’ve found the folder where I would like to save my package all I need to do is enter a filename and click the Save button. This will place the path I have chosen and filename into the Self-Extracting exe file location box.

Clicking the Next button one last time will create my package and save it to the folder and filename I specified above.  Now all I need to do is distribute the package to my user, whether by burning the exe to CD, emailing it to my users, or placing it on my website for my users to download.

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