Using Amazon S3 Service as a Course Platform

Help! Anyone...

I have read Tom K.'s blog post on using Amazon S3 (as well as Dropbox, Google, etc) and Ashley T.'s reply to a forum thread on the use of S3 with another Articulate product (not SL2). I downloaded Cloudberry and installed it, set up an Amazon S3 account, created a bucket, and uploaded a test course to S3 and tried to run it using the web link from Cloudberry-- nothing happened.

FYI, I published the course to Web and checked the "Include HTML5 Output", "Use AMP for Android/iOS" and "Allow downloading for off-line viewing" boxes.

I used Cloudberry to upload the entire Story Output file (mobile and story_content folders plus the 7 environment files). I selected the "story.html" file as the launch point and obtained the URL with Cloudberry.

I tried running the program with that URL and only get a blank screen on my browser (Firefox). (But I get the same behavior with Internet Explorer.)

Although Tom's instructions in his blog post were good, there were apparently a lot of missing steps as when I tried to replicate his instructions, I found options arising that were not mentioned in his blog.

I don't know whether my problem is with permissions (I set Amazon S3 Anyone for reading and for the story.html file set permissions to Everyone Open/Download).

Any ideas, team?

47 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Richard,

Thanks for reaching out here - I know that this thread a few users shared some other ideas and troubleshooting steps. Is that the thread you were thinking of?  Perhaps reaching out there to specific users who utilize S3 may also shed some light on other settings. Just for others, here is the link to Tom's blog where he shared the steps to go through. 

Richard Harshaw

Hi, Ashley. Thanks for the reply.

I have read both of the links you provided, but still have more questions than answers. I have tried renaming story.html to index.html, but that did not work any better. I have a suspicion that the issue is one of permissions, but figuring out which of Amazon's 173 permissions to use is a bit of a challenge for this non-programmer!

Richard Harshaw

I just spent an hour with my computer tech and he found that the story.html file has a command to WriteSwfObject without defining SwfObject in the variables declaration area. (This is all hyper-Greek to me...) Ergo, the story.html file crashes when it tries to run off S3. (It does NOT crash when I run it off my local hard drive; we also copied the published file to my tech's computer via a remote connection and it worked fine on his computer too. Maybe S3 has an issue with Articulate's html file structure?)

Anyway, I sent a note to the tech support team at Articulate with screen shots to show the issue and will see what they recommend. Hopefully, we are an exchange of emails away from getting my courses to run on S3.

Richard Harshaw

Hi, Ashley. It looks like Ryan and I got it figured out. What the blog posts Articulate provided did not mention was that, like Google drive, I had to set the folders (buckets) to Public so somebody other than me could view the courses. I did that and have since uploaded 19 courses, with 32 more to go. Works like a charm. Just be sure to make the bucket Public when done with it.

Thanks for checking in about this!

Elizabeth Dennis

For anyone else trying to figure this out, this is what I did:

1. Sign up for an Amazon S3 account. You'll have to give a credit card, but it's free for a year.

2. From your Console, click on S3 under storage and content delivery.  

3. Click Create a Bucket. (This is basically your root file.)

4. Give your bucket a name. You can't use underscores and it has to be all lower case. 

5. Choose a region. (Oregon always works when I try it.)

6. You should be now on the All Buckets screen. 

7. Click Properties for your new folder. 

8. Select Permissions > Add more permissions > Everyone 

9. Select List and click Save.

Your 25% of the way there..... You now need a way to get your files in the bucket. If you've ever used an FTP, it's the same thing. 

I downloaded Cloudberry Freeware and like it. If you have a Mac, here's the Mac version.

Here are tutorials on using Cloudberry if you need it. Make sure you add the Amazon S3 keys. 

Once you have Cloudberry or another FTP-type software setup:

10. Drag your published Storyline files to the bucket you just set up. (It should be showing in Cloudberry.)

11. Rename the story.html file to story.index.html 

12. Go back to your browser, all of your files should be in the bucket. 

13. Select all the files in the bucket.

14. Select the Actions button. 

15. Select Make Public. (It will ask you if you're sure.)

16. When it's done, go to the story.index.html file and select the Properties button on the top right of your screen. 

17. Copy the url given here. 

That's it. 

I hope this is helpful, like I said I spent two days figuring this out. The roadblock for me was that you need to make all files public, not just the root file. Thanks to Richard's post I finally came across that solution. 

Here are some other resources I found helpful: 

http://aws.amazon.com/s3/

Streaming video from Amazon S3

Host Presenter Courses

Easy ways to share elearning courses

Security Info

Russell Still

I'm glad to see this thread in the list. I was just getting ready to reopen this topic.

I've noted for some time that HTML5 output, at least on an iPad, isn't very robust. Especially with slower DSL speeds, graphics sometimes don't display in slides, videos sometimes don't work, and there are glitches when audio starts during an animation.

Download speed seems to be an issue. I've been hosting on GoDaddy servers for ten years and have been wrestling with this problem ever since the iPad appeared. 

Do Amazon's high speed S3 servers really help on the user end of things? Does anyone have any experience seeing an improvement after hosting their presentations and stories on S3?

Richard Harshaw

Russ, I have not had any big issues with playback on S3. I normally start my programs with an animated screen of my logo and a short (6-8 sec) sound clip. I noticed that this slide would often start halfway through, so I added a blank (and black) slide before it and set the timeline for 1.5 seconds, and everything works smoothly now.

Russell Still

Hey there, Richard. Yes, I wasn't expecting any problems with S3. Just wondering if people had noticed an improvement after moving to them from somewhere else. 

I used to have some issues like you stated and also tried the blank slides prior to overcome it. I think that was when I was doing most of my work with Presenter. It would preload 3 slides at a time so this would sometimes help with the buffering. I'm not sure that SL works the same way and in HTML5 I get the impression that it doesn't buffer anything, i.e. it seems to stream each slide as it occurs. All in all, I'm very disappointed in HTML5. Wish everyone had just stayed with Flash It works so much better where Articulate is concerned.

 

Jo Murphy

Hi!

I've followed these steps exactly.  I have also followed video tutorials on other blogs... I am at a loss.  I can't figure out what I am missing.  Any chance you have an available video or step by step from what to do while you are still in articulate to it published on the web.

 

Thank you so much for any extra info

Elizabeth Dennis

Hi,

I'm still using Amazon S3 and it works great. I'm not bothering with Cloudberry though. I just upload directly to the bucket. Also I found a policy you can assign to the bucket so all files are public. 

Here's the policy: 

{
"Version": "2008-10-17",
"Statement": [
{
"Sid": "Allow Public Access to All Objects",
"Effect": "Allow",
"Principal": {
"AWS": "*"
},
"Action": "s3:GetObject",
"Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::PUT IN THE NAME OF YOUR FILE/*"
}
]
}

I don't save the files in any special way, but they are saved to publish to the web.

This weekend I'll create a video and post it to this thread.