10 (or more) Things that Every ToolBook Developer Must Know
Use the on-line help that is right in
ToolBook. It's FREE! It is very comprehensive, has lots
of script examples, and easily searchable.
Use the ToolBook Knowledgebase on the
SumTotal Systems website. It's FREE! Chances are if you
are having a problem someone else has had the same problem and
called it into tech support. A golden rule of tech support is
to document solutions to problems so that others with the same
problem can solve them on their own. The knowledge base goes
beyond troubleshooting and also has a lot of good articles on how to
get more out of ToolBook. Click
here for the Knowledge Base.
Join the ToolBook List Serve.
It's FREE! Maybe you don't like getting deluged with a lot of
list serve e-mails, but for the 5 or 10 minutes it takes to scan the
list serve each day, it is time well spent. The list serve
keeps you up to date on what is happening with ToolBook, will give
you ideas on how you can use ToolBook based on how other people are
using it, and is a great resource for you should you have questions.
Set up a rule in your e-mail program that directs ToolBook list
serve e-mails to a special folder so that you can look at them
when you want and they don't clutter your in-box. Click
here to sign up
for the list serve.
If you have a question, before you
post it to the ToolBook List Serve, search the list serve archives.
It's FREE! The easiest way to search the archives is to do it
through Google Groups which runs a mirror of the list serve and has
exceptional search capabilities. Click
here to search the ToolBook List Serve archives.
Attend the annual ToolBook conference
(TBCon) held each summer in Colorado Springs. OK, it's not
free, but it is a great deal! You only need to attend it once
and you will be hooked. You will accelerate you knowledge in
the ToolBook arena by months if not years. In addition you
will be able to tip a frosty mug with some of the top ToolBook
developers in the world. This is unlike any conference you
have ever attended- relaxed, fun, and jam-packed with fantastic
information. Click here to
learn more about TBCon.
Learn OpenScript. It's FREE!
You are probably thinking, "But I am developing for the web so
OpenScript can't be used." You are right, OpenScript cannot be
used for program functionality...BUT, it can and should be used for
development. Simple tasks like change font colors on all pages
in 10 books that could take hours will be reduced to minutes.
The best way to get started using OpenScript is get your hands on a
few simple, but functional pieces of OpenScript and then, as needs
arise, modify the OpenScript to do what you need it to do. How
do you learn how to do that? Look at point #1 in this list :-)
Click here for
some quick scripts to get you started.
Get yourself a couple of good
reference books on ToolBook and the Action System. OK, another
one that is not free, but well worth every penny as you will realize
three years down the road when you look at your well-used, dog-eared
sitting on your bookshelf. The best sources for book:
Use the Developer Exchange Tools that
are in ToolBook (Tools, Developer's Exchange Tools). It's
FREE! In the remote tools you will find all kinds of handy
tools that will automate routine tasks. Some of my favorites
are: Add/Remove Multiple Pages, Background AutoMerge, and the
Unused Resource Remover. Do yourself a favor and download the
DevEx Tools to your local machine so that they are always available
- even when you are offline.
are instructions for how to do this for TBK 2004.
If you have a different version of ToolBook, do a
search in the
ToolBook Knowledge Base on DevEx.
If you like the DevEx Tools, you will
love Platte Canyon's Plug-In Pro. While it is not FREE, it
will save you lots and lots of time. Actually, it will easily
pay for itself in your first ToolBook project so after that, in a
way...It's FREE after that :-) Just the option to always paste text as
unformatted is worth the price, but on top of that you get a bunch
(over 140 to be exact) of other utilities like sticky notes, hide
and show hidden objects, the CBT question editor and lots more.
Check it out
Check out the other FreeBees on right
here on this site. They are FREE! Some are tips like
this, some are utilities, and some are short training sessions
accompanies by a utility. Some are for beginners and others
are for people who have quite a bit of ToolBook knowledge. In
any case, they certainly are worth pursuing in the event that
someday you have a use for them. All of my FreeBees are listed
to the left of this page.
If you deploy to DHTML, you probably
need to offer your end users a Browser test. You can create your own
for FREE! There are lots of Browser Tests out there thanks to the
collaborative work of several people in the ToolBook Community.
here for a good example of a Browser Test.
While you are
at the QualityTrainingPortal site you also might want to check out
Knowledge Base. Creating your own can be FREE if you use
one of the many FREE PHP Bulletin Boards. Unlike the SumTotal ToolBook Knowledge
base, this one is more for end users. From what I understand,
this knowledge base has significantly reduced call into Tech Support
for help with the QualityTrainingPortal. Robin McDermott tells
me that it is easy to maintain by adding items as new support issues
Check out my ToolBook add-ons. They will save you time and
money. Most of my products are under $150 for a developer
license and can be used on multiple projects. On average I
spend a week to two weeks developing and testing my products.
However, because I am selling many copies of them, I can offer them
to you at a price that is very affordable and far less than you
would pay for comparable custom-developed tools.
Bookmark this page as I will be adding to
it as the spirit moves me!!