If you're on Twitter or follow the eLearning BLOGS, then you probably already know that the new version of Captivate is expected to be released in June of this year (as in next month). The new version will run on a Macintosh, which would be reason enough to do a jig except that that is not even the coolest of all the enhancements. Over the coming weeks, I'll touch on some of the hottest features that will surely bring a smile to your face (and have you reaching for your credit card in a rush to buy the upgrade).
Goodbye windowshades, hello panels!
The new Captivate has a shiny new interface that more closely matches the other popular Adobe programs. Gone are the dreaded windowshade buttons that were made popular by the late, great Macromedia. (Those of you who don't know the history might be surprised to learn that Captivate was once owned by Macromedia before Macromedia got swallowed up by Adobe.)
I can't tell you how many new developers (and even some vets) clicked the windowshade button for the Timeline to collapse the panel, only to find themselves in a fight with Captivate trying to get the pesky panel to come back. In Captivate 5, so long windowshades, hello panels.
You won't find very many dialog boxes in Captivate 5. The new version relies on panels for just about everything. For instance, in the current version of Captivate, if you right-click an object and choose Properties, you are met with the Properties dialog box. Make your changes there and then click OK. In the new Captivate, you double-click an object to display the Properties panel. Once on the panel, you make your changes and... and... there's no OK button to click. Simply continue working because your settings took. Not having to click an OK button after every change is going to take some getting used to, but just think of all the clicks you are going to save over the coming years!
So there's all these new panels and you are going to love them. I mean hate them. I mean love them. To be honest, you're going to have to get used to the new panels. You'll probably hate them at first but grow to love them. Believe me, the panels are worlds better than the clunky old dialog boxes.
To help you get used to the new panels, Captivate 5 sports a Workspaces feature. Here's how it works... drag your panels anywhere you want within the Captivate window. Group your favorite panels together, collapse them, resize them or close them.
When you've got Captivate window looking the way you want, why take the chance that some rogue colleague of yours is going to start Captivate after you've left for the day and move everything around? Instead, go to the Workspace menu and choose New Workspace.
Name your new workspace and click the OK button (yes, I said click OK... most of the dialog boxes are gone, but not all of them).
Once saved, you can access your new workspace via the Workspace menu where you will find a half dozen default Workspaces including Classic, Widget and Skin Editor. It is worth noting that you can delete or rename a workspace by choosing Manage Workspace via the Workspace menu.