WebLibrary is a very simple tool that allows the creation of documentation that can be:
- read on screen
- copied on CD
- used as a slide show in a classroom
Furthermore, WebLibrary can support the following components:
- traditional written text
- images and animations
- external html files (for example packet traces in case of networking documentation)
WebLibrary wants to reach its goals in a very simple way, i.e. the teacher does not have to cope with all these multiple output. It has just to create an HTML file containing the text of the lesson and a PowerPoint file containing the slide show. The creation of the HTML is done by WebLibrary, so that any modification to the "sources" can be easily applied to the documentation. WebLibrary solves the really nasty problem of updating the documentation (what about a book containing an error?), allowing fast and easy updates.
A paper which describes WebLibrary and it presents a project that uses it (NetLibrary) has been published in CATE 02 (Fulvio Risso, An Alternative Approach to E-Teaching) and it can be found here.
WebLibrary belongs to the open-source paradigm (please, don't check at the elegance of the coding...) and it adopts a BSD-style licence.
You can find an example of a web site created with WebLibrary here. This includes a network trace and a PDF file showing how WebLibrary files look like when printed.
Additionally, you can see also a book, i.e. a set of documents created with WebLibrary, which have been appended one to another in order to create a big, printable document (which looks like a book when printed).
Here you can find more information about using WebLibrary. Before reading these pages, I strongly suggest to understand how WebLibrary works. For that, you should read the paper An Alternative Approach to E-Teaching, presented at CATE '02, which can be found here.
- Guidelines for creating an HTML file
- Guidelines for creating a PowerPoint file
- A guide to WebLibrary
- How to create a book
- How to print a module generated by WebLibrary
- How to customize the WebLibrary output
- Suggestions for organizing the content with WebLibrary
WebLibrary allows the creation of several output formats at the same time, although none of them is optimised (no sophisticated layout in the printed version, for example). This is a necessary limitation in order to keep things simple and to allow fast and easy updating.
Since WebLibrary accepts HTML and PowerPoint files as input, it works better with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Using that browser you can see not only slides show but also animations, like in Microsoft PowerPoint.
However Microsoft Internet Explorer does not support Cascading Style Sheets (version 2) very well. This does not affects the online browsing, but it affects the printed version of the WebLibrary output. For that, the best browser is Opera (http://www.opera.com/) that is really a fantastic tool. Unfortunately, slide animations are not visible in Opera because of the (proprietary) way Microsoft PowerPoint creates HTML files.
Why WebLibrary does not work on my machine?
- WebLibrary accepts only the following input files:
- Pure and well formed HTML files. You should have a title, and heading section, have a body, and the text must contains only standard HTML tags. For instance, Microsoft Word creates very dirty HTML files. Please avoid using Word-generated files with WebLibrary.
- Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 in the English and Italian versions (I have not tested other languages; please read the "WebLibrary language-dependent settings" into the A guide to WebLibrary and let me know if it works). I do not use Office XP. Although I have not tested WebLibrary and PowerPoint XP, I am pretty sure that it does not work
- Maybe a parameter in WebLibrary is incorrect. I don't think this is the best web site I can create. So, please drop me an email telling me what has not been explained well. I will check for it and I will improve the documentation.
Which platforms are supported by WebLibrary?
- Unfortunately WebLibrary works only on Win32 machines. However the output is more compatible, and it ca be seen on multiple platforms.
- Version 1.0, 10 June 2001
- Just a proof of concept
- Version 2.0alpha, 13 July 2001
- First public "working" version
- Version 2.0, 20 May 2002
- Improved error handling (although not all the error conditions are managed)
- Improved web site with more instructions and a more complete example
You can download the WebLibrary software here. You can find an example, the WebLibrary executable for Win32 and the source code.
...please contact Fulvio Risso at Politecnico di Torino, fulvio.risso[at]polito.it.