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C2007 - Why does my packaged file start so slowly? [another]

by - Joseph Ganci

I am new to Authorware and have experienced slow loading of a packaged piece I created across a Government Intranet. Is it possible to create a Splash screen with a progress bar to let the user know when the piece will be loaded? If you can tell me, I will praise your name to everyone I know!

Do you know what is causing the slowdown? Is it low bandwidth or is there another explanation? Since the packaged piece is loading slowly, it's impossible to have it do anything at all until it starts up, as you obviously can't have a progress bar WITHIN the packaged piece BEFORE the packaged piece starts to run. So what other solutions are there?

1. Is this strictly a packaged piece or is it web-packaged on the intranet?

2. If it is web-packaged, do you have a large first segment? What are your segment sizes set to?

3. If it is NOT web-packaged, have you eliminated any Xtras you don't need from the packaged piece's Xtras folder? Speed increase can be dramatic after taking out any unneeded Xtras. I've seen differences range from over a minute before deleting to less than 5 seconds after.

Let me know if any of this helps. If not, try to get me more info and we'll see what we can do. Good luck!

JOE: Thanks for the fast turnaround! Here are some answers to your questions, and I apologize for not amplifying more the first time:

1. The piece is a CBT presentation created in Authorware 5.1 Attain with links to multiple, but external, .avi's and other authorware .exes. It is NOT web-packaged, but created strictly for a corporate Intranet environment. All files are located in the same directory on a corporate server. The main program is approximately 14MB in size, and I have tried packaging it two different ways - one with all the libraries internally, and one with all the libraries externally. Internally = 14MB; Externally = 3.2MB for main executable, with libraries totaling about 11.5MB. I am launching it as the Help menu from an Electronic Document Management system, and either way it takes about 12 secs to load, with no real indication to the user that it is loading (i.e., the traditional hour glass is "buried" in the face of the EDM system).

2. As I said, it is running over a Government Intranet, so peak bogdown times apply as usual. But since it takes about the same time to load each time, I don't think low bandwidth is an issue.

3. Thanks to your suggestion I pared down the Xtras folder to the "bare necessities", but unfortunately have experienced little or no increase in speed for the load.

4. The piece was packaged on a Dell Dimension 500MHZ machine with 255MB RAM. All pieces were saved and compacted prior to packaging.

5. As to the showing of a splash screen idea: what I am trying to simulate is what you see when you load Word, PowerPoint, or some other application - a splash screen indicating loading is happening. I guess what I am asking is is it possible to package a very small piece showing a picture of the coming product with an explanation of what's happening (i.e., "The Help Menu is currently loading . . . please have patience."), and have the real executable loading in the background? I am trying to think of some way to do this, but as I said I am new to authorware and my experience is limited. Haven't other people ever experienced this challenge and informed the user of what is happening using a version of this method?

Hey, Joe, I know you probably have much better things to do than to solve this problem for me; but I want you to know I appreciate the effort. I think Authorware is great, and I want to learn all I can. Thanks again.

Thanks for the extra info. I'm surprised that taking out the Xtras didn't help that much. Can you tell me what you have left in the Xtras folder at this point?

1. When you packaged the files, did you package them all on the C drive of the Dell? All source and packaged files should be on there. The reason is that if any assets, including all external files, are not on the local drive when you package, you will definitely get a slowdown while the packaged Authorware file is looking for the assets. If it looks for an asset in a network location that it can't find later, it will keep looking until the network timeout passes, then it will look locally.

2. Make sure you set all files to read only on the network so you won't have problem with different people accessing them.

3. You can make a small Authorware file that acts as a splash screen, then use the JumpFile function to jump to the other file. If you place them both in the same network directory, you can use the FileLocation variable to make sure the jumpfile works correctly. For example, if your splash file is called splash.exe, you can package without runtime the main file and call it main.a5r. In the splash file, you would use the following script line:

JumpFile(FileLocation ^ "main")

to jump to the other file. I don't know exactly how well this will work for you, but it should help.

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