Some novel ways to use Conference-CD in practice

Introduction

This paper is about the production of a CD following the 2004 IYNC conference.  Although the majority of the discussion is to do with ways of using the Conference-CD software, there are several general points that may be of help when presenting information on CDs.

 

The modified template files are available for download here.

Scope

All of the papers and presentations had been converted to PDF format prior to the start of the project.  In addition several Word documents had been produced to act as “menus”.  As a general comment this is not the most efficient way to use Conference-CD which is designed to use the directory structure and filenames to automatically generate menus.  However most people are very familiar with Word and it does enable greater flexibility in the production of some of the navigation pages.

 

The clients also wanted to have standard navigation links on every page to allow quick navigation around the CD.  As both these points have wide applicability this paper explains the steps involved.

Procedures

Define structure

The critical step with projects of this type is to plan the directory structure well.  Conference-CD will use the directory names and file names when it generates the navigation menus and this can save a lot of work later on.

Modify Template

With the Conference-CD Professional licence it is possible to modify the templates (basic.htt file).  Each template is stored as a set of files in its own folder.  The default location is in :\Program Files\PHD\ConfCD\template\Standard.  To create a new template copy one of the folders then edit or overwrite the files within it.

Buttons in left margin

The buttons in the left margin were put in as a series of <FORM>s as:

 

<FORM action="Technical%20Program/confcd.htm"><INPUT TYPE=submit value="Technical Program" style="width:150"></FORM>

 

where the action url is defined relative to the root of the project (i.e. final CD) and the buttons are forced to line up nicely with style=”width:150”

Flash animation

For this project the standard GIF image in the top left corner of the template was replaced with a SWF Flash animation.  This was produced very simply using www.powerbullet.com  The size was defined as 150 pixels, the same as that used for the buttons in the left margin, to avoid ugly gaps or mismatches in some browsers.

 

As well as the <OBJECT> and <EMBED> tags for the SWF file it also needs to be added to the list of files to be copied to the confcd directory (defined at the top of the template file).

Alternative GIFs

As well as the background JPEG these are the buttons that are used for the various menu options:

Top of page (search, contact, help etc)

basicblo.gif, basicbhi.gif

Open file

basicup.gif, basicdn.gif

Open sub menu

basicfup.gif, basicfdn.gif

Each of these has an alternative image activated by a JavaScript routine when the mouse hovers over the button.  These are easy enough to do by taking an image then “brightening” it with a graphics application.

Working with Word Docs

Keep documents in location

If the documents are to have hyperlinks defined within them then it is vital that the documents stay at the same location relative to the documents they link to!  It is possible with Conference-CD to have one HTML document called intro.htt in each directory and this document will be integrated into the navigation page (confcd.htm) above the links to documents or other navigation pages.

Define links

This is easily done in Word by highlighting the word to be made into a hyperlink (double clicking on it) then Insert, Hyperlink and choosing the file.  If there are a number to do it is much easier to use the keyboard Alt I, I, etc.

Save As Web Page

When all the links have been defined save the document in HTML format (File, Save As Web Page).  This is a rather complicated HTML format but it isn’t too large.  The main problems can be blank lines that have an underlined space put into them (<u>&nbsp;</u>) or tables that prescribe the coordinates in pixels which don’t make sense once the document is integrated into the confcd.htm (This web page was produced by this process!)

Rename as intro.htt

After you have saved the document in HTML you will need to change the name to intro.htt so that Conference-CD will recognize it.  You can still edit it with Word by right clicking and choosing Open With Word, this should render it pretty much in its original form (unless there was anything very fancy).

Running Conference-CD

Test Mode

The penultimate screen in the Conference-CD wizard has a tick box to run in Test Mode.  This enables some ActiveX controls when the confcd.htm pages are opened in Internet Explorer that allows the navigation menu options to be amended.  Work your way through all the navigation pages altering the order, changing the descriptions or hiding items.  As mentioned before this process is much easier if the layout and file/directory names are thought out in advance.

Manual Edit

For some complex directory structures the ActiveX system does not always produce the desired result.  In these cases you will need to manually edit the project file (normally saved in My Documents with file type .CCD) you can carefully edit this with a text editor.

 

The format for controlling the appearance of items on the navigation menu pages (confcd.htm) is under the [Files] section with each line following the format:

Path, Alternative Title, Position, x if not to display

i.e.

TechProg,Technical Program, 1

would show folder “TechProg” top of the list described as “Technical Program”

or

Sponsors/image001.jpg,,,x

would hide the file “image001.jpg” on the menu page generated for the folder “Sponsors”

Rebuild not in Test Mode

Once you have got the layout as you want it you will need to re-run the Wizard with the Test Mode option de-selected.  This will produce the navigation pages without the ActiveX buttons.

Overwriting Help page

For this project is was required that the standard help file be slightly modified.  The generated page is stored in the ImageDirectory\confcd\info.htm the relevant part of the body of this file can be edited using a text editor.  It is a good idea to save just the edited part of the file somewhere else so that it can be copied back over the default text if the image needs to be regenerated. (If you copy the whole file then any changes to the template will be overwritten).

Overwriting Contacts page

An additional complication was the need to have a dropdown list of several contacts and this also had to be done by overwriting a part of the default generated page. ImageDirectory\confcd\contact.htm

 

To do this replace the <INPUT TYPE=text NAME=”eaddr”> with a select box

 

<SELECT NAME="eaddr">

<OPTION VALUE="name1@xyz.org">Technical Program</OPTION>

<OPTION VALUE="name2@xyz.org">IYNC 2006</OPTION>

<OPTION VALUE="name3@xyz.org">General IYNC</OPTION>

</SELECT>

 

Again save just the bit you have changed elsewhere.

Conclusion