Viewing Presentations Locally

 

Summary: Use Server2Go micro package to workaround Flash and browser security issues when viewing Articulate presentations.

Difficulty: Easy

 

Many users are still coming across issues when trying to view their published content locally due to increased security features in both Internet browsers and Flash.

This article takes another look at a solution to this problem that was written up by Gabe Anderson on his Word of Mouth blog last year following a post by a user on the Articulate forums. This second look at this solution is partly justified by the fact that a new smaller version of Server2Go has been released which now makes it feasible to use when sending presentations by email and not just when publishing to CD.

 

Splash

 

Typically the issues that are being met are the following:

  • Adobe flash security message
  • Adobe Flash Player has stopped a potentiall unsafe operation.
    The following local application on your computer or network:

    C:\….\…\…..\stealthray.swf

    Is trying to communicate with this Internet-enable location:

    C:\… \player.html

    To let this application comminucate with the Internet, click Settings.
    You must restart the application after changing your settings.

    *******************************************************************

  • Attachments will not open. Clicking on a link in the Attachments tab does nothing at all or brings up an error message.

Attachment error

  • Links will not work. Clicking on a link does nothing.

 

All of these issues may occur if:

  • You are viewing your presentation off a CD Rom. ie. you have copied the published files to CD and you are trying to view your presentation on another computer.
  • You have sent your presentation by mail in the form of a zip file. The user unzips the file and tries to view the presentation on their computer.
  • You are trying to view a presentation off a zip drive or a USB drive on another computer.

 

Using Server2Go

One solution is to use an application called Server2Go which emulates an online server and so prevents the security issues from happening. Originally, Gabe’s article was more focussed on creating a workaround for CD productions as the application was well over 40 Mb in size but Server2Go have since released a “Micro” version of their software which is significantly smaller than the full version at about 5 Mb and which therefore allows it to be used for sending presentations by mail.

I have taken that smaller version, changed the splash screen and removed some unnecessary files to make it as small as possible to make it that much easier to publish using Server2Go.

 

How do we do it?

Using Server2Go might sound horrendously complicated but in fact it is extremely easy, almost childsplay. The application is basically ready for immediate use. You simply need to copy the files that have already been prepared for you on to a CD or into your file to be mailed and you are away. You should think of it as a container for your presentation. The container is ready for use, you just need to put something in it.

  • 1) First, you need to make sure your presentation is ready. You don’t need to publish to CD, just publish to the WEB in Articulate. Let us take an Articulate Presenter presentation as an example. Here are our files.
  • Standard files

  • 2) Now comes the only change you need to make to your files. Change the name of the player.html file to index.html. This will make it readable by Server2Go. Your files will look like this:
  • Changed file name

  • 3) Now download the Server2Go files. I have prepared a special version of the files which you can download here:
  • Download adapted Server2Go files

     

  • 4) Unzip the package. This unzipped package contains all the elements for your new format presentation. It is the container that will need to be copied “as is” to your CD or into your mail. You package should look like this:
  • Server2Go package

  • 5) Now comes the second manual operation by you to get this to work. You need to put your presentation files (with the changed player.html to index.html file) INTO the htdocs folder as shown by the arrow below.
  • htdocs folder

  • 6) You’ll just find a readme.txt file initially. You can delete that once you have read it and replace it with your presentation files. So your htdocs folder should contain the following files:
  • Changed file name

And that is all you have to do.

If you are going to publish to CD, you need to copy all of the Server2Go package including the newly filled htdocs folder to your CD Rom. Make sure you just copy those files and not a folder containing the files. When you open your CD and view the files on the CD you should see the following files that we saw earlier:

Server2Go package

The presentation should launch automatically but if it doesn’t, clicking on Server2Go.exe will lauch it.

 

Sending by mail

Because the package is so small, you can easily send your entire presentation by mail, provided of course that your presentation itself is not too large. If you want to send your presentation by mail, you can zip up the package again (this time it will contain your presentation in the htdocs folder), and send it to your correspondent. They will unzip and double-click on the Server2Go.exe file to launch it.

Here is a simple example of a packaged presentation that I prepared to show you the file structure. Download it, unzip and play it on your computer by double-clicking on the Server2Go.exe file. Notice the Articulate published files in the htdocs folder.

Example

Download example presentation

Notice too how the attachments button works and you are able to view the readme text.

Now download the presentation outside of Server2Go and you’ll get the attachments error message. Unzip and double-click the player.html file to run.

Download standalone Articulate presentation.

 

Notes:

  • Server2Go is donation software. If you are using the software commercially, then the author asks that you make a small donation (anything from $15). although of course that might not be easy in a corporate environment.
  • You can change the splash screen which the user gets on launching the course as I did in the specially prepared package. Simply locate the splash.png file and change it as required.
  • There are other alternatives to Server2Go which may work as well including HTML Executable.
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    4 thoughts on “Viewing Presentations Locally

    Add yours

    1. Hello Dave
      Thanks for the great info regarding Server2Go. Just tried to use it myself, and your post is extremely helpful. However, I still can’t get it right. I am wondering if that’s because of the way the original “course” was organized. We thought we had a lot of content, so we broke the course into 8 “modules” that are really just separate PPTs/published files, brought together under one “menu.html” file with buttons linked to each of the 8 published modules. My question is with this organization in mind, can I use Server2Go with the same directions as your post? Each module has its own /data folder, /player folder, and player.html. Any ideas? Thank you very much.

    2. Hi Felicia,
      Yes you should be ok with Server2Go. You just need to be careful with your directory structure. You would want each presentation to go in a separate folder and then have the menu.html at the root level of the htdocs folder with the 8 module folders. You would need to change the menu.html to index.html. Your links in the menu would then point to the player.html within each module folder. Each module folder would in turn also hold the corresponding player and data folders. That way, files are not confused between presentations. Please get back if that doesn’t answer your question.

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