Thursday, July 26, 2007

Media Flexibility

One aspect of eXe that we have been eager to improve is how images, audio, and video can be included within a course. R3m0 Williams has been hard at work over the past few releases to improve our rich text editor. When authoring each field of nearly every iDevice you will now see buttons for inserting images, media, and mathematics.(1) This gives you the flexibility to include media wherever it is appropriate, including things like inserting multiple video clips in one activity or putting an image in the feedback. There is no longer any need for special case iDevices that exist only for holding an image or certain type of media.

For example, if you click on the leftmost of the highlighted buttons you are shown a dialog box for selecting the image to embed and the properties of that image. Click on the file browser icon and you can pick an image (JPEG, PNG, GIF) from your local hard disk to be inserted in the field. The dialog box also allows you to set the description (the ALT tag of the image for accessibility) and the title (which many browsers display when hovering the mouse over the image). If you want finer control over image and text layout within the field, you can embed items inside of table cells using the rich text editor.

Old eXe packages that use the Image with Text iDevice are automatically updated to use the Free Text iDevice with the image embedded in it. You can edit that iDevice to change its layout (or even add more images). We plan to deprecate the other media-specific iDevices like Flash Movie, Flash with Text, MP3, and Maths since you can now include all of their features and more within the standard iDevices.

(1) The image button was added in eXe 0.95, the media button in eXe 0.97, and the mathematics button will appear in eXe 0.98 which you can get a sneak preview of by helping to test our nightly builds. Your feedback in our forums is most welcome.