NeoBook - Rapid Application Builder

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NeoBook - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maximum number of pages that can be added to a single NeoBook publication?

The theoretical limit for the size of a NeoBook publication is about 30,000 pages, but it probably wouldn't be practical (or even possible) to create a publication that large. NeoBook is certainly capable of creating publications with several hundred pages. Text, pictures, sounds and videos contained within the publication will not all be loaded into memory at the same time, but rather cached into and out of memory as they are needed. This intelligent memory management provides the capability to create very large publications that can run on just about any Windows-based PC.

I'm using NeoBook to create an interface for a kiosk. How can I prevent users from accessing Windows?

One method is to replace the default Windows shell with your application exe. The following article from Microsoft explains how to make the necessary modifications: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555463

Another option is to use a utility like Windows SteadyState to secure the kiosk PC.

Can I distribute applications created with NeoBook via email?

While it is technically possible to send NeoBook-created applications by email, many email providers do not allow exe files to be sent as attachments. The solution to this problem is to simply compress exe files with a zip utility like WinZip before sending them by email. The resulting zip file is perfectly acceptable to the majority of email providers. The down side is that someone receiving a zip file must first extract the exe before it can be run. For this reason, it's unusual to distribute exe files to a large audience via email. Typically, most people who create exe files place them on their website. Then instead of sending the entire exe file by email, they send a simple link that the user can click on to download the exe file directly to their PC. Links can also be placed on the website if desired. This is how software developers usually distribute their work in exe format.

How do I create an auto-loading CD so that my NeoBook app starts automatically?

You can create an auto-loading NeoBook application by placing an plain text file called "autorun.inf" in the root directory of your CD. The file can be created using Windows Notepad or any ASCII text editor. The file should contain the following text (replace "MYPUB.EXE" with the name of your NeoBook program):

[autorun]
OPEN=MYPUB.EXE
ICON=MYPUB.EXE,0

Is it possible to protect a NeoBook application to prevent unauthorized copying?

Unfortunately, there are no 100% effective copy protection methods that will stop someone who is skilled and motivated from copying any software application. Even Microsoft with all of its resources hasn't come up with an iron clad method of preventing software piracy. Sadly, someone who really wants to steal your work can usually figure a way to do it. However, there are some simple things that you can do to discourage copying of your work:

1. Create two versions of your application. One is limited in some way - missing pages, time/usage limits, etc. Potential customers can download and examine the limited version. If they want the full version, they can buy a copy. Someone who has paid for a product will be less likely to make copies for others.

2. Require customers to enter an unlock code or password before they can view all of part of your application. NeoBook includes a simple password feature and you can do more advanced things by using the scripting language. You could simply disallow access to certain pages until the user enters a special access code provided by you.

3. If you really want to secure your application, you can use third party copy protection software.

Can I pass the name of a file to my application via the Windows command line?

Yes. Here's a simple script that parses the [CommandLine] variable and separates the different parameters into an array of variables [Param1], [Param2], [Param3], etc. The first variable ([Param1]) will always contain the path and file name of the executing publication. Parameters after that ([Param2],[Param3], etc.) will contain any other items placed on the command line when launching the compiled publication. The [ParamCount] variable will contain the total number of parameters.

StrParse "[CommandLine]" "[#13]" "[Params]" "[ParamCount]"

I'm having trouble playing certain types of videos within my NeoBook application. What do you suggest?

Most types of AVI and MPEG videos generally work well with NeoBook's built-in media player. However, there are numerous video sub formats (or codecs) not all of which are installed on every Windows PC. Usually, if you stick to the codecs and drivers that are installed as part of Windows, your video should work on a wide variety of PCs. Some compression codecs that are known to work well are: Cinepak, Indeo R31/R32, RLE, and uncompressed. You can see which codecs are installed on your system from the Multimedia section of the Windows Control Panel.

Another option if you plan on using lots of sound and video in your publications would be to try our NeoBookDX plug-in. NeoBookDX uses DirectX which is the same technology as the latest version of Windows Media Player.

Can NeoBook be used to create a website, web applications or Flash content?

NeoBook does not currently have the ability to export content to HTML or Flash. NeoBook's flexible layout capabilities, action commands and support for plug-ins tend to create publications that are incompatible with standard HTML and Flash. Flash comes closer to NeoBook's capabilities than HTML, but there are still some features, such as support for external data files and plug-ins, that could not be exported to Flash. Although it will be challenging, we are seriously considering some type of web output for a future edition of NeoBook. 

Is it possible to run NeoBook applications on Macintosh or Linux-based computers?

NeoBook is designed to create Windows-based applications. Unfortunately, Windows applications are not normally compatible with the Macintosh or Linux. However, we've had several customers report good results running NeoBook apps on Mac and Linux systems using software-based emulators like Crossover and Wine. Also many newer Macs now use the same Intel processors as Windows PCs and can actually be configured to run Windows along side the Mac operating system.

I've written a (novel/memoir/manifesto) that consists primarily of pages and pages of text, which I would like to publish as an e-book. Can I use NeoBook for this purpose?

You could, but NeoBook is primarily intended to create interactive applications. While NeoBook can import many types of text, it's not a word processor. If you're goal is to reproduce a printed book in digital form, then you may want to use something designed specifically for that purpose. For example, Adobe Acrobat does an excellent job of converting printed books to digital format. NeoBook, on the other hand, provides tools geared towards the creation of interactive rather than static presentations. Most NeoBook projects tend to resemble software programs more than printed books. Some examples of products that would be difficult to do with the word processor model include custom business calculators, interactive product demos, slide shows, databases, training tools, etc.

I'm a software developer interested in creating a NeoBook plug-in. How can I get started?

First, download the NeoBook Plug-In Software Developer's Kit (SDK). The SDK includes a detailed help file and examples written in Delphi, C++ and PowerBasic. If you want to share your completed plug-in with the rest of the NeoBook community, you can list it at the NeoBook Resource Center.

Why does it take so long for NeoBook to run my publications in test mode?

This is almost certainly caused by your anti-virus software. Each time you test run a publication NeoBook creates an exe file. Before allowing you to run this exe your anti-virus software thinks it needs to be scanned for viruses. This scan is the source of the long delay. Because this is a common problem for software developers, most anti-virus software include an option to exclude certain folders from their real-time scan feature. Each anti-virus app handles this differently, so you will need to consult with your anti-virus app's manual or help file to determine how to exclude your pub folder from scanning. Once you do this, test running your publications should be almost instantaneous.

When I try to run or compile my publication, I receive an "unable to access compiler resource..." error message. What does this mean?

This error is usually caused by an invalid path in the Compiler's "File name and folder for compiled publication" field. To fix the problem, select "Compile/Publish" from NeoBook's "Book" menu, then make sure that the above field contains a valid path and file name.

Can NeoBook be used to create a DVD that can be viewed on a television?

Unfortunately, it's not possible for NeoBook applications to be played on television DVD players. NeoBook creates Windows-based applications that require a Windows compatible PC in order to function. DVD players are generally limited to displaying pictures and movies with some basic navigation tools, and are not capable of running Windows applications.

What is the best way to distribute an eBook or application created with NeoBook?

It is possible to send an exe by email. However, some email providers do not allow exe files to be sent as attachments. The solution to this problem is to simply compress exe files with a zip utility like WinZip before sending them by email. The resulting zip file is perfectly acceptable to the majority of email providers. The down side is that someone receiving a zip file must first extract the exe before it can be run.

For this reason, it's unusual to distribute exe files to a large audience via email. Typically, most people who create exe files place them on the web server where their other web site files are located. Then, instead of sending the entire exe file by email, they send a simple link that the user can click on to download the file directly to their PC. Links can also be placed on the web site if desired. This is how software developers usually distribute their work in exe format.

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