July 22, 2010

CP5 “Project Cache”: Behind the scenes

It is very common to have many assets or resources, for example, audios, videos, SWFs, and images in Captivate projects. While such resources enhance your projects and make them effective, they also introduce more disk I/O. Because of this additional disk I/O, the performance of Captivate may get affected and even simple operations like opening and saving projects may take longer time.

‘Project Cache’ in Adobe Captivate 5 is an attempt to address this performance issue by reducing the disk I/O to a large extent.

A project cache contains uncompressed forms of assets (bitmaps, audio, etc) used in the project and a few other files. The Cp projects or the CPTX files contain an internal reference to their unique cache folders.

Captivate needs to uncompress data while opening the projects or during editing of data. Whenever you try to open the project, Captivate locates the Project Cache folder and checks its consistency with the assets and files in the CPTX file. If the contents are the same as they were when the project was last saved, Captivate does not extract and uncompress data from the CPTX file. This way, the project is opened faster with the ‘readily available’ latest assets in the Project Cache, thus saving time and enhancing performance.

As soon as a project is created in Cp, a corresponding ‘project cache’ folder also gets created automatically in the ‘Adobe Captivate Cached Projects’ folder (root cache folder). This project cache folder is temporary until you save the project; if you close the project without saving, the cache folder is deleted and will not be available for future use. If the project is saved, then the project cache folder becomes available permanently for the project (until you choose to clear the cache or delete the folder).

You can change the default root cache folder, where the individual project cache folders must be created, using the Preferences dialog box (Edit (Windows)/Adobe Captivate (Mac) > Preferences > Global > General Settings > Project Cache). Because, the folder gets populated rapidly with considerable amount of data (roughly around 200 MB for a 100 slide recording (640x 480) project), it is recommended that you put this folder on a drive that has lot of disk space.

What happens if the ‘Cp Project’ is renamed?

The Cp project continues to use its Project Cache folder. This is because, the first time the project was saved, it was linked internally to the cache folder and this linking does not change when the project is renamed.

Now, consider this scenario: A project “P” is created on “computer A” and is modified on “computer B” and renamed to “P1″. The project is then brought back to “computer A”. Will the cache be re-used?

No, in this case, project P1 on Computer A does not use the previously created cache. When you open and save P1 on Computer A, a new cache folder gets created. However, if you open project P on Computer A, the cache created previously is used.

What happens if the Cp project is copied?

The file — the original or the copy — that gets opened first uses the existing cache folder. When the other file opens, a new cache folder is created (and is saved when the project is saved).

What happens if the root cache folder is renamed?

The root cache folder that you mention in the Preferences is the folder within which unique project cache folders for every Cp project are created. So, even if you rename the root cache folder, the internal link between the project and its cache remains intact. Hence, when you open the project, it continues to use its unique cache folder.

However, when you save the project, Cp checks if the root cache folder specified in Preferences exists on the system. If a folder with the specified name does not exist, a new root cache folder is created (with the specified name), and then the project cache folder is saved within that folder.

What happens if the Project Cache folder is deleted?

Deleting the “Adobe Captivate Cached Projects” is safe as long as Captivate is not running. While opening a project, if Captivate does not find a corresponding Cache folder, it will create a new one.

If you want to free up some disk space while Captivate is running, you can use the Clear Cache button in Preferences (Edit (Windows)/Adobe Captivate (Mac) > Preferences > Global > General Settings). When you do so, only those sub folders in the root cache folder that are not being used by any running Captivate instance presently get deleted.

Posted by Rahul Sharma6:50 PM
  • http://dannyhouk.com Danny

    Rahul,

    I believe I’ve wrapped my head around this concept, but one more scenario for you… if all my Captivate projects are stored on a shared network drive, I understand that the cached files are created on my local drive when I open the .cptx project file. After saving the project file, another user in my office opens the same project file from the network drive, so on the fly a new cached folder is created on their local machine, correct? If that is true, then at that point each of us has a similar (though not identically named?) cached folder on our local machines for the same assets in the project file stored on the network, correct?

    Basically, we have a lot of hand-off between project files in my department, so I want to make sure that assets or paths to assets are not lost in this process. Do you have any feedback on this?

    Thanks.

  • Rahul Sharma

    Hi Danny,

    Your understanding is absolutely correct.

    The assets or paths to assets are not lost in this process. The captivate project continue to refer the assets from the original location (from where you imported them into the project). The paths are also kept intact in the .cptx project file no matter how many users view, open or save the project on their local computers.
    The project cache folder just keeps a copy of all the assets for reducing project open time.

    Regards
    Rahul

  • K. M. Trainor

    One big caveat… Be sure to point the Cache to a separate folder that doesn’t hold any other folders or files. I inadvertently changed the Cache location field in Preferences to point to my Desktop. I was later prompted to clear the cache (during Publish if I remember correctly), which I did. When I closed Captivate, I found that all of the folders on my Desktop were gone! I searched my Recycle Bin and my entire PC, to no avail. Fortunately, I was able to do a System Restore to a point earlier the same day and get all my folders back. (Using Wndows XP.)

  • regina

    From above article…”it is recommended that you put this folder on a drive that has lot of disk space.” However if i am correct Captivate doesn’t allow me to put it on an external drive…so i am out of luck. Also adobe sets up captivate to look at My Docs folder whcih for me is a networked drive so i cannot work offline with Captivate – another issue never addressed for corporate users. I am trying to find out if Adobe provides account reps to our company to discuss and deal with issues such as these, and help us find reasonable solutions, and so far the answer is no. Articulate and other products are starting to look like better options for me and maybe our company.

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