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zLaunch Box Shot zLaunch Capabilities FUQ

(Last substantive change to this page made June 9, 1997)
Copyright © 1996-1997. Zeus Productions. All Rights Reserved.

Please consult the following list for answers to the most common pre-sales questions regarding zLaunch, as well as additional technical information not covered on the zLaunch Summary Page. Refer to our Needs Analysis FAQ to determine if zLaunch or some other tool is right for you.

Details on zLaunch's Capabilities

Q. Can zLaunch locate a document to open?

A. You must generally specify the path to the document you wish to open, even if you may not know the location of the application with which to open it (see below). You will need to know either the absolute path or the relative path (relative to the location of the Projector or the root of the current drive).

Q. How can I determine the path to a file on a CD?

A. On a Macintosh, the CD will have a name (that you specify when you create the CD), like any other Macintosh drive. Simply include the CD name in the path specification, such as "DemoCD:blah:blah:blah"

Under Windows there are two possibilities: WDIR1 = \mydemo\mystuff

zLaunch will automatically insert the current drive letter, resulting in something equivalent to:

WDIR1 = d:\mydemo\mystuff

Q. Can zLaunch determine the name and/or location of the application to launch?

A. If you do not know the name and location of the application you wish to launch, there are several solutions.

On the Macintosh, you can launch an application via its Creator Code without knowing the application's exact location. If the application is installed on the user's system, zLaunch will find it and launch it. Refer to the TechNote, "File Types, Creator Codes and Extensions". In some cases, zScript for Macintosh can open an application without knowing its location.

zLaunch for Windows requires that you specify the complete path to the application. Under Windows, you can determine the application associated with a file extension by reading the WIN.INI file. (Zeus Productions offers a utility to accomplish this as well). You can then pass that path on to zLaunch.

zOpen for Windows will locate the executable associated with a given extension, such as .HTML. Using zOpen, you do not need to know the application's name, so long as it is associated with a file type.

You can also ask the user to locate the application using a file browser dialog as described in the TechNote "File Browser Dialog Boxes". You can then pass that path on to zLaunch.

By the time you read this, additional functionality may have been added to zLaunch or another product, so please contact Zeus.

Q. Can zLaunch return the path to an application?

A. zLaunch does not directly return the path to an application. You can open an application without knowing its exact location, as described above.

zOpen for Windows will return the path to an application, so long as it is associated with a particular document type. zWinOS utilities will also return such a path based on the association in the WIN.INI file.

By the time you read this, additional functionality may have been added to zLaunch or another product, so please contact Zeus.

Q. Does zLaunch cover the desktop of a large monitor while the launched application is active? What about multiple monitors?

A. zLaunch optionally covers the desktop around the launched application's window on large monitors. On the Macintosh it covers the desktop on both the primary and secondary monitors, but Director itself will only fill the primary monitor. Xtras such as Rear Window or Finder Hider may be of assistance.

When the launched application terminates and the projector is restarted, the window will be dismissed.

Q. Does zLaunch always cover the desktop in black?

A. On the Macintosh the color of the cover window is set via a resource. You can edit the resource to create whatever color background you prefer. Under Windows, the latest version of zLaunch allows you to specify the color of the background as an RGB value. Although you ordinarily would want the background covered, you can also turn this feature off.

It is often a good idea to use a black screen during transitions between applications. Black can be used to ensure that any palette changes go unnoticed, because black is constant in all palettes.

Q. Will zLaunch perform a visual transition when it launches the external application?

A. zLaunch itself does not perform transitions. You would generally perform the transition in Director before launching the external application, and/or in the external application, such as PowerPoint. It is usually most seamless to transition to a black screen in Director before launching the external application. If necessary, you can perform a palette switch while the screen is black, to prevent a palette flash.

Q. Will zLaunch trap mouse clicks outside the application's window?

A. Yes, if you use a desktop cover, zLaunch will trap mouse clicks. This prevents another application, such as Director, the Finder or the Program Manager from accidentally being brought to the foreground.

Q. Can I pass command line parameters to the launched executable?

A. zLaunch allows you to pass parameters to the executable that it launches, as you could from the Windows command line.

Zeus's zOpen Xtra also allows you to pass parameters to a running executable as you could from the command line. This can be used to tell Acrobat to open another PDF file, for example.

Q. Does zLaunch allow Director to control or communicate with other applications? Does zLaunch support OLE? Does zLaunch allow me to start an external program from inside Director and return the results?

A. zLaunch's primarily purpose is to conserve RAM while running an external application, not inter-application communication. Because zLaunch ordinarily quits Director before launching the other application, Director is not available to control, nor to receive information back from the other application.

Applications themselves generally do not return results other than a simple flag indicating success or failure. However, if an application writes a text file, Director can retrieve that information using the FileIO Xtra.

zLaunch does not support OLE, but, two other Zeus Xtras will communicate with external applications to some extent if you have sufficient RAM to keep both Director and the secondary application open:

Q. What happens if the launched application is already running? Will zLaunch kill other applications that are running?

A. zLaunch does not quit other external applications. Instead, it launches an external application and then waits for the user to quit the specified application. Other applications that may be running are unaffected, although they may prevent you from having sufficient RAM available.

It is best to alert the user in the setup instructions or Read Me file to quit all other running applications prior to starting your Projector.

You can use Lingo's the memorysize to determine whether Director has sufficient RAM to run. If not, you can use an alert box to tell the user to quit other running applications. Consult Macromedia's web site for Xtras that may quit other applications.

When you use zLaunch to open an application on the Macintosh, if the application is already running, zLaunch will bring it to the foreground. When the user quits the application, the projector will restart, and the external application will no longer be running.

Under Windows, if an application is already running and you attempt to launch it again, a second copy of the application may be started. In general, this is application-specific. Some applications check to make sure other copies of themselves are not running, but other simply launch a second copy. The behavior may also vary under Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. You should test your particular application using the demo version of zLaunch available in the Download Center.

Q. Can zLaunch launch a second projector from the primary projector?

A. Because Director projectors attempt to install temporary drivers into the Windows directory, the two projectors will conflict when you attempt to start a second projector using Lingo's open command. zLaunch can be used to launch one projector from another, but it is strongly discouraged. Instead, use Lingo's "go movie" or "play movie" command to branch to a different DXR or DIR file.

If you only have access to the DXR files, you can still open the movie with the "play movie" command. An implicit "play done" will be issued at the end of the movie.

If it is impossible to obtain DIR or DXR files, you can launch one projector from another with zLaunch. This is because zLaunch allows the first projector to quit before launching the second projector, reducing potential conflicts. Again, however, this is not the preferred method.

If you are using Projectors from earlier versions of Director, you should instead try to update the DIR files to the most recent version and link to them as described above.

Q. Can zLaunch set the working directory for an application?

A. Yes, you can set the Windows working director for the launched application and then reset it when returning to Director.

Q. Will zLaunch solve "Protection violation" or "Files in use" errors (error -49 or -51)?

A. You do not need zLaunch to solve this problem. Refer to the TechNote, "Solving Protection Violation Errors".

Q. Will zLaunch resolve palette conflicts?

A. Yes, zLaunch will resolve most if not all palette conflicts between Director and other applications. Refer to the TechNote, "Resolving Director Palette Conflicts". Palette problems within Director itself are discussed in the TechNote, "Using Palettes in Director".

Q. Is zLaunch supported when running over a network?

A. Whereas it may work in certain situations, running zLaunch over a network is not a supported configuration.

Don't Stop Now! There are many more questions addressed in these additional FAQs:

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Copyright © 1996-1997. Zeus Productions. All Rights Reserved.

(This page last revised June 19, 1997)