Starting from version 9.0 RapidAuthor allows for creating publications that do not require browser plugins. These publications can be viewed with the help of Cortona3D Solo which is based on asm.js and WebGL/HTML5 technologies. Cortona3D Solo works in most modern web browsers on different OS (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS).
You can integrate the Cortona3D Solo library into your own web applications and view technical publications in your corporate design. To do it, you will need Cortona3D Solo API.
How to create publications that do not require browser plugins
You will need to select the publishing option “Use Browser Plugins” and choose "No" to create a new type of publication.
For non-plugin publications of complex projects, containing a lot of geometry, you may need to increase the size of allocated memory using the publishing option “3D Viewer Memory (MB)”.
By default, 128 MB of memory is allocated. If it is insufficient, an error message appears when viewing a publication. The option is effective only if the "Use Browser Plugins" option is set to "No".
Distribution of Cortona3D Solo
The users of RapidAuthor are granted the right to distribute the Cortona3D Solo library along with RapidAuthor publications.
By default, the Cortona3D Solo library is placed into the resource folder of the RapidAuthor publication. Alternatively, you can upload the Cortona3D Solo library to a dedicated URL on a web server. This URL should be specified in the RapidAuthor publishing option “3D Viewer URL”. In this case, the Cortona3D Solo files will be cached in the web browser on the first load, thus saving place and time on subsequent loads.
Your web server may need to be configured to return files with the extension “.mem”. This is not a standard extension and your server may block it and return an error 404 when such a file is requested by a client. Also, your web server needs to allow Cross-origin resource sharing (CORS).
Republishing existing RapidAuthor content
Existing content created with previous versions of RapidAuthor should be republished to be compatible with Cortona3D Solo.
There are two different tools that can do this in the batch mode:
- Republish.exe – republishes all projects in the current working space. This tool loads all projects one by one from the current working space of RapidCatalog/RapidManual and publishes them using publishing options defined in RapidCatalog/RapidManual. It is a batch mode equivalent of opening and publishing individual projects in RapidCatalog/RapidManual. Republish.exe is supplied along with RapidAuthor.
- RepublishLite.exe – republishes existing published content, located in a specified folder. This tool does not need source projects, it needs just VRML, 2D graphics, and interactivity.xml files as a source. RepublishLite just re-generates HTML, CSV, PDF, and other files, defined by the installed version of specification from these source files. In the case of non-plugin publication, it will convert CGM graphics to SVG format. To speed up republishing, the generation of some files may be skipped, e.g. CVS and PDF files. RepublishLite.exe is not included in RapidAuthor, it can be provided on demand. For further information regarding republishlite.exe please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some older versions of library objects used in the existing projects should be replaced with their new versions from the Object Gallery. This includes the following objects:
- Label (replaced by Callout), Tighten Label (updated), Dimension (updated);
- PanelIMG (updated), PanelHTML (replaced with PanelText). These two objects should be replaced only if they were inserted into the project in RapidManual/RapidCatalog v. 5.1 or earlier versions.
Restriction of Cortona3D Solo
There are several restrictions regarding the non-plugin publications:
- In the IPC publications, the rotation center is set to the bounding box center of the picked item, not the picked point.
- In the IPC publications, the Callout mode is unavailable.
- In the RapidManual publication, the zoomIn and zoomOut parameters of the ‘Set Viewpoint’ action are ignored (zoom is not restricted).
- There is no support for audio in the Procedure publication (3D illustration of technical procedure) running in Microsoft Internet Explorer.*
- Technical publications can be viewed via HTTP. Viewing local files may require extra settings.*
- Some VRML nodes are not supported. The list of unsupported nodes is provided in the knowledge base. The list is the same for Cortona3D Solo and Cortona3D Viewer for iOS.
* These limitations are related to web browser restrictions or technology limitations.
- Maintenance and support
|Parameters of comparison
|Publications that require plugins
(support is discontinued in Q3, 2021)
|Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
(support is discontinued in Q3, 2021)
|Edge, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari
|Plugins, viewers, readers, or other files required to display parts catalogs, manuals, etc.
|Cortona3D Viewer, Cortona2D Viewer
(plugins for Internet Explorer)
|No plugins should be installed.
Required files will be automatically loaded into the cache of the web browser
|Content of publications
|Set of files: HTML, XML, VRML, CGM, GIF, PNG, JPG, TIFF, HTML resources such as scripts, stylesheets, etc.
|Set of files: HTML, XML, VRML, GIF, PNG, JPG, TIFF, HTML resources such as scripts, stylesheets, etc. CGM is converted to SVG while publishing. SVG is natively supported by most browsers
WebGL compatibility test
You can check your web browser if it's suitable for viewing plugin-free publications of RapidAuthor. Just click the bottom below: