Logging from Flash with the CTAT Logging Library

Last updated July 24, 2013

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Table of Contents

This page describes the Flash Logging Library (download), a tool that can be used to log to the PSLC LearnLab server with CTAT tutors or with Flash educational applications built without the CTAT tools.

1. Logging with CTAT Example-tracing Tutors

Logging is natively supported with tutors built with the CTAT Flash components. The CommShell component sends log data to the LearnLab database server or similar server, such as provided by OLI. Along with the Flash components, logging parameters are specified in the HTML file that hosts the flash tutor file (.SWF). The CTAT_FlashPublish template is supplied to provide a starting point for making the HTML file, and the Flash IDE allows you to choose this template when publishing the tutor. Also see CTAT FlashVars documentation for a description of all relevant logging parameters that should be set in the HTML file.

To log from a CTAT Flash tutor:

  1. Download the logging library (FlashLoggingLibrary1.0.zip). This file is also included in the CTAT installation in the Flash subdirectory of your CTAT installation folder.
  2. Extract the logging library SWF (CommLoggingLibrary.swf), located in the /Installation subdirectory of the zip file, to a location where your tutor can access it (such as the same folder as the tutor).
  3. Modify FlashVars in your published HTML document to include values for two variables:
    • log_service_url: the URL of the logging service server; this is the URL to LearnLab's server by default
    • LoggingLibraryPath: the relative path from the HTML document to the logging library SWF, including the name of the logging library file. You may want to place the CommLoggingLibrary.swf file in its own directory. In this case, you would refer to the path and the file (e.g., webContent\CommLoggingLibrary.swf). The logging library path is relative to the HTML file that hosts the tutor SWF when running the tutor in a browser.
      Note that when running from a web environment such as the OLI online course delivery system, it is common practice to put the HTML (learning pages) inside one directory and the media files (e.g., .SWF, .GIF, etc.) inside another directory (e.g., WebContent). You should modify the path accordingly.
  4. Verify that you are logging from your delivery environment. If you are logging to the LearnLab server, verify with Alida Skogsholm (email) that your data is being logged.

2. Logging with Educational Tools Built in Flash

CTAT provides a Flash Logging Library (download) for logging student data from Flash educational applications that don't use the CTAT components. This library supports logging to the LearnLab database server or similar server, such as provided by OLI. The logging library comes in the form of a .SWF file named CommLoggingLibrary.SWF. This library has an open API for sending logging messages. ActionScript calls to this API are necessary to invoke logging. Instructions on using the logging library are shown below.

To log from an educational tool built with Flash:

  1. Download the logging library (FlashLoggingLibrary1.0.zip).
  2. Extract the logging library SWF (CommLoggingLibrary.swf)—located in the Installation subdirectory of the zip file—to a location where your SWF can access it (such as the same folder as the SWF).
  3. Include the CommLoggingLibrary in your Flash movie by using the loadMovie() ActionScript command:
    this.createEmptyMovieClip("CommLoggingLibrary_mc", 999);
    loadMovie("CommLoggingLibrary.swf", CommLoggingLibrary_mc);
  4. Log messages with the logging methods. The library includes several methods for logging. Details on the API can be found on the CTAT site; this documentation is also located in the Documentation folder that comes with the logging library.

3. Sample Application

The CTAT Logging Library comes with a sample Flash application that implements logging with standard Macromedia components. This sample application is named SamplewithCommLoggingLibrary and can be found in the /Sample directory of the logging library ZIP, or the /Flash/Sample subdirectory of the CTAT installation. The ActionScript for this sample is available in Frame 1 of the sample file (.FLA).

A sample application for learning how to call the CTAT Logging Library.