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Archived Message:

New version 4.20 / beta

EBookCompiler This is a final list of major features (not bug fixes) that are included in the new version (4.20), and replaces the "Pre-Announcement" thread that was previously in this forum.

Contrary to what I said earlier this will go out as 4.20 (not 4.10).  The reason for this is simply I think it is way too confusing to have 4.01 and 4.10!

You are welcome to comment and ask questions.

I expect the Beta to go out this week (week beginning 11th March).   I am already using the software myself, and it is simply a question of clearing up administrative issues such as placing a backup copy off-site etc., making a download site

If you would like to help beta test, please post your name, and email to this thread, or email me at webmaster@ebookcompiler.com with BETA in the subject line, please include which version of Windows and IE you have on your system.  

The ideal beta tester would be somebody who can test the new version hard, is a reasonably PC/HTML aware (or even an expert), can report any problems clearly and concisely (e..g. exact steps to reproduce the problem), and is not going to be crushed if they find a problem in the beta (which is possible -that's the point!).  Beta testers can keep the old version on your PC as well.

If beta testing, please do NOT pass on any ebooks you make with the beta, wait for the official release, or compile ebooks for distribution with the old version.

For those waiting for the new version who aren't interested in beta testing... I don't expect your wait to be too long. I won't give even an approximate time frame though, as the time frame will depend on the results of the beta testing.  Once the beta testing is complete, the official release which will either be 4.20 or 4.21 will be available to download from ebookcompiler.com and will also be announced in our email newsletter

Posted on: 2:50 am on March 12, 2002
EBookCompiler New in 4.20

This list omits most minor features/changes and bug fixes for the sake of brevity... (you can read these all in the Readme file)

Sorry about the formatting....


* The number of files allowed in e-books created with the trial version is now increased to 25 (previously 10).


* PrintScreen and ALT+PrintScreen are disabled if Allow Users To Copy is not set

* Added Advanced options dialog box this allows setting the File Protection for HTML Files and Cache Protection, as well as insertion of 4 X 8 digit Security Codes.


* New option to set the extra delay for the splash screen.  0.0 to 9.9 seconds, in 0.1 second steps.

* New option to set whether a percentage bar is shown the splash screen.

* The Start Up tab has been reorganized for a neater layout.

* File Protection for HTML Files can be set to Low Security or High Security. In general, High Security is recommended.  In this case, HTML files are


* Options of 3 new Toolbar buttons: Next, Previous, Exit
- Next/Previous step through pages in the same order as Table Of Contents
- Exit, exits the ebook

* New option to show/hide link destinations in Status Bar text.

* New option to display or hide link destinations in Next/Previous Tooltips.

* New option to enable Balloon Tooltips.

* New option to determine if Tooltips display long or short descriptions.

* New option to hide scroll bars.

* New options for selecting + editing "language files".  This allows translation/customization of menus, toolbars, message boxes with your own text. Should work 8-bit Latin Alphabet languages (Example: French, Spanish, German), sorry not other languages with different alphabets etc. (Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, etc).


* The color selection combo/pop-up boxes have been redone, they also show you the hex color codes.


*  Move Up + Down is much now faster. This is not very noticeable for small e-books, but is very noticeable for e-books containing a large number of HTML files.


* Support for local processing of FORMs on the client using Activ Script. Set METHOD=POST and ACTION= to an Activ Link (to run the script).  A new Activ Script command, FSET, allows you to retrieve values from the last form submitted into Activ Variables.


* Much faster, especially on larger ebooks

* Startup displays much earlier in the Startup process


* New feature: The printing headers and footers are now generated from information in language file.

* By default, the footer shows the e-book's copyright message on the left, and the short date (formatted according to Control Panel settings) on the right.


* New feature: Invoke Activ Links using the FORM METHOD=POST

* New statement: FSET - retrieves form variables entered from the last form that triggered an Activ Link.

* New statement: NEXT - equivalent to pressing next button

* New statement: PREVIOUS - equivalent to pressing previous button

* New statement: NAVIGATEEXT - this statement will navigate to an arbitrary local file, whereas NAVIGATE will assume local files are part of the e-book.

* New statement: CLEARCACHE - this statement will clear the cache of any pages e-book from this e-book. Normally it should not be necessary to call this statement.

* New feature: Activ Script and Activ Variables can now be accessed from JScript and VBScript code on the page.  


* Recompile your ebook with 4.20, e-book is typically about 80K less that 4.01

* Rebrander is smaller too

Posted on: 3:10 am on March 12, 2002
EBookCompiler Version 4.20 of Activ E-Book Compiler is now in the archive, and ready to go for beta testing.

Emails are being prepared now, and will be sent within the next 24 hours.

There is also a new version of the Advanced Multimedia Extension (www.ebookpower.com) also version 4.20.  This one updates/enhances the documentation, plus adds a nice program for maving recordings of screen activities - very handy for making tutorial type ebooks.  Again email will go out inside the next 24 hours.

Posted on: 5:05 pm on March 18, 2002
EBookCompiler Email is being prepared now,

If you are not already a subscriber, subscribe to our opt-in list at


If you are a subscriber, check your inbox in an hour or two

If you missed the email for some reason, email me at webmaster@ebookcompiler.com with BETA in the subject line

Posted on: 3:44 pm on March 19, 2002
justjeni This is - to me anyway, so exciting!  I'm also so glad to be back in the forum - I crashed about a month ago and although I did back everything up, whatever was wrong with my computer caused the back ups to be - well, in short, not backed up!  I could find the forum!  

Anyway, I'm in the process of making quite a big e-book rght now and will am downloading the beta version right now as I type this.  I will be happy to let you know how it goes, Sunil and promise I will re-compile it in 4.01 before I put it on my site for sale!  

I am just about finished - just have to make the index and contents now but have my newsletter to finish up as well but hopefully I'll know how it went by the weekend.  Wish me well!  I'm sure it's going to be great.  

Thanks so much for keeping us up on all the info, too.

Posted on: 2:21 am on March 21, 2002
EBookCompiler Hi there

4.20 is looking reasonably good so far, and a lot of people have downloaded it.  Some good feedback already, more will be appreciated

There are some bugs in the 4.20 beta that have been found (finding them is the point of having a beta, so even though I wish there weren't and am kicking myself for the 2 definite ones found so far, I'm not too unhappy).

Here is the list of 4.20 bugs/issues so far

1. There is a problem with unlocking password protected ebooks if security on HTML files is set to high.  This seems to be intermittent.

Solution: Pretty sure (90%+?) I found the fix, need to confirm it, and then will be included in the "official release"

2. If you enter a password in a ebook made using 4.01, then recompile the using 4.20, and then set my password status to not entered, it stays as correct password entered.

Solution: I found the fix, need to confirm it, and then will be included in the "official release"

3. One person reports the install program did not set up the icons on his start menu in Win XP.  Other people are not getting this problem (no other reports, and doesn't happen on my XP systems).   This user was clever, and worked round it by adding the icons to his start menu manually.

Solution: Further investigation needed.  We use a standard setup program (InnoSetup) so I'll try and find out if this is aknown problem, an oddity on this particular PC etc.

4.  One person has a problem part way through compiling.    On this person's system it apparently worked until he got a glitch when norton updated itself.

Solution: More investigation needed.  Some other info he sent suggests it might be a problem on his system

5. One person has a problem with ebook crashing while running.

Solution: More investigation need.  I think this is most likely that something went wrong during the download.

Based on this, my plan is to investigate and close out the above, plus anything else that comes out during the beta, and then release 4.21 as the official version.   Currently you should expect 4.21 in approx early April.

Posted on: 4:40 am on March 21, 2002
EBookCompiler Update:

#4 turns out to be a problem on the customer's computer/environment.  This issue seems closed + resolved.

Item #3 and #5 still are investigation.

Posted on: 3:59 pm on March 21, 2002
EBookCompiler Update

I found an intermittent problem [actually two] that corrupts the text in the status bar.  I believe this is the cause of #5

Allthough I have not been able to replicate the crash, (I have good reason to believe that this problem could have cause random crashes while navigating).  

In most cases this bug would cause purely cosmetic problem (if the Hide Status Links option is not checked (the default), you would get corrupted text in the status bar, but as I say I think this can cause random GPFs while reading the e-book.

I have the fix for this bug now.

ISSUE #3 remains open.

Posted on: 6:27 pm on March 22, 2002
EBookCompiler Update

2 new issues

#6 One user reports a speed problem on Windows ME on a very large ebook.  Needs investigation

#7 One user reports a possible problem with Next/Previous on his ebook which uses Frames.  Again, needs investigation

Open issues are now #3, #6, #7, plus to verify fixes for the others.

Posted on: 4:07 am on March 23, 2002
Jeff K Re: #3

Is it possible the icons were created in the "All Users" start menu, and not in the "Current" start menu? This happens to me sometimes when I install a new program. I then have to copy and paste the icons.

Posted on: 9:16 pm on March 23, 2002
EBookCompiler Thanks Jeff, yes I think it could be that.  A light went off in my head when I read your idea.  So you have given me something to research.  Thanks

After a marathon session debugging, #6 is tracked down and have a fix for it.  It is actually three problems

(a) 4.20 (only) is slow if a file compresses to > 256K.  This would mostly likely occur on e-books containing large binary files, such as AVI, WAV, JPEG, GIF, EXE, etc. which are at least 256K in size
(b) There is extra passing thru the cache (does it twice on start) in 4.20 (only).  This is most noticeable on some ME and Windows XP systems with a large IE cache setting.
(c) The search thru cache is inefficient in 4.00, 4.01 and 4.20.  Again this is most noticeable on some ME and Windows XP systems with a large IE cache setting.  This also causes another problem, which is slow shut down of the book.

I have fixes for all 3

I found a bug #8, which I also have a fix for.  This has been present since at least 4.00 and probably before. Nobody ever's noticed, so I guess it's rare.  There is a slight memory leak for e source files that are 0 bytes in size.  If you have a lot of 0 byte files - at least dozens, probably hundreds (why you'd want to I don't know, but it's possible it could happen), this *might* cause a problem.  Like I say, this seems never to have happened in the field.

#3 and #7 still open.

Posted on: 5:34 am on March 25, 2002
EBookCompiler #7 appears to be a problem with the design of the e-book

See this thread:http://www.ebookfriends.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard/topic.cgi?forum=1&topic=110

Posted on: 1:21 pm on March 25, 2002
EBookCompiler #9, found and fix for bug which I think has been present since 4.00.  This is to do with nested conditional/loop statements in Activ Script.  The nested condition expressions are still evaluated in 4.00, 4.01 and 4.20 even if the outer condition says not to execute the inner code.  In 4.00 and 4.01, 4.20 there is an easy work round by assigning a default value to variables at the outer most level of nesting.  4.21 fixes it.   If you have never seen this problem, don't worry about it.

Posted on: 2:17 am on March 26, 2002
EBookCompiler 4.21 is complete, and should be made available for download in the next day or two.  I will be sending copies to a couple of people who discovered specific bugs (and agreed to take a look) before making it more widely available.

4.21 will initially also be a beta.  This means it fixes the bugs that were found in the 4.20 beta, but includes no new features beyond those in 4.20

4.21 beta is also a "release candidate".  This means if the beta performance is satisfactory, then it will become the official release.  If it isn't then we repeat the cycle and going to 4.22.

I am hopeful, but not certain, 4.21 will become the official release.

Posted on: 4:01 am on March 27, 2002
EBookCompiler #10 (bug in 4.20, fixed in 4.21) - typo in the message that says PrintScreen is disabled

#11 - possible problem with repainting if real player embedded and resize the ebook.  

Posted on: 3:08 am on March 28, 2002
EBookCompiler #11 - possible (?) fix in 4.21.  Apparently this is not a new problem (occured in versions prior to 4.20), and it may be a problem with a third party application.

#12 - fixed in 4.21.  There was a difference between how API extensions are handled in 4.20 vs 4.01/4.00.  4.21 has been set to  work the old way (like 4.01 or 4.00).  This is not technically a bug, but it could cause problems with some API extensions.  However I think this is so obscure that I doubt anybody except us (Answers 2000) has seen this!

4.21 was held up to fix #10, #11, #12.  These are done now, email announcement being prepared now.

Posted on: 3:17 am on March 29, 2002
Jeff K I just installed the new version, and guess what.  Icons were installed in my "All Users" start menu, but not in my current (default) start menu.  Why did I know that would probably happen!  I easily converted all six of my eBooks without any problems.  Looks real nice.  Thanks,  Jeff.

(Edited by Jeff K at 5:11 am on Mar. 30, 2002)

Posted on: 3:22 am on March 30, 2002
EBookCompiler Thanks Jeff

After 4.21 was ready, I spoke to JRSoftware via email (who make Innosetup which  we use to build our setup programs), and it turns  there is a way round this.

Right now, I think it's fair to consider this an annoyance rather than a showstopper bug.

If any showstopper bugs emerge in 4.21, we'll go to 4.22 and fix this too

If no showstopper bugs emerge in 4.21, we'll officially release 4.21 first, and then address this after.

Posted on: 4:36 am on March 30, 2002
EBookCompiler Discusson continues in this thread:

Please post comments, suggestions, questions there

Posted on: 2:50 am on March 31, 2002

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