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From Demonstration to Simulation in Captivate

Having grown up with Macromedia Director and then discovering Macromedia Flash, I was, like most new media developers, a bit of a control freak. This explains why I really didn’t use Macromedia RoboDemo as much as I could have. The issue wasn’t the product; the issue was that RoboDemo offered me very little control over a key element of any new media presentation: time. Simple things, like being able to stop a frame or even extend the duration of an object in a frame, were convoluted processes at best. Also, as a teacher looking for ways to demonstrate software techniques, I really didn’t have the time for the learning curve presented by RoboDemo, so I tended to avoid using it when I could, preferring the more comfortable places of Flash and Director instead.

That all changed with the introduction of Macromedia Captivate. Macromedia has taken RoboDemo, turned it inside out, rearranged its molecules, and, in the process, managed to keep and expand upon the best of RoboDemo while adding enough new features to make it a rather valuable addition to the new media developer’s toolkit.

In this tutorial I show you how to construct a simple learning application that gives you an opportunity to explore several new features of Captivate. You construct a demonstration I recently completed for use by my students. In the demonstration, I showed my students how to complete the server information page in the Dreamweaver Site Definition Wizard. After the students watch the demonstration, my entire demonstration moves in a different direction, telling the students, “Now you try it.” Suddenly a demonstration becomes a simulation—and the learning experience becomes even more valuable to the student.


To complete this tutorial you will need to install the following software:

Macromedia Captivate

Dreamweaver MX 2004

Prerequisite knowledge:

This tutorial is designed for new Captivate users and existing users of RoboDemo. No prior knowledge of Captivate is required. You should, however, understand how to define a site using the Dreamweaver MX 2004 Site Definition Wizard.