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November 14, 2015


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Here's the thing....and believe me - I am no Adobe fanboy....but Storyline DOES NOT do HTML5* worth a damn. They say they do, but the reality is otherwise.

They currently support HTML5 output on Windows only in Chrome browser. That's ridiculous.

The fact is, they got caught with their pants down when they built Storyline as they relied on Flash Player. Same as the ZebraZapps guys. Great tools, bad timing.

Captivate's HTML5 output works very well, across browsers and devices. The problem with it is there is a much steeper learning curve, and there is a lack of community as compared to what Articulate provides.

* requiring users to install an app that simply 'transcodes' a SWF so it works on iOS is pretty ridiculous in this day and age.

Until Articulate steps up and supports HTML5, they are not really an option, IMO.


I agree overall, but let's add a little perspective. Adobe Captivate began as a rather simple screen casting tool that made flash based movies. Current versions include that core plus a whole lot more. Building Captivate modules by converting PPT decks only uses 10% of the CP tools. CP is like a BMW to me.

Articulate and thus Storyline emerged from a PPT addon. For scenario based eLearning as in soft skills, Articulate is easier to work with in my opinion. As a general eLearning and mLearning development tool CP is my 1st choice as I prefer BMWs to Chevys. ;)


While I have both, I have to agree with Mark on all counts. Adobe has seen the proverbial "writing on the wall" in terms of HTML5 and the eventual demise of Flash, this is why Adobe has created so many complimentary HTML5-based products while still maintaining Air and Flash CC Pro. Yes, the learning curve for Captivate is longer, and there are some features within Storyline 2 that I really like, people fail to see the advantages of interactive PDF, particularly in its ability to use 3D objects in authoring tools such as Sim Labs Composer and output to PDF. PDF is a native file format in the Windows 10 browser and I would anticipate other browsers will also make this a native file format, doing away with the Acrobat reader entirely, just as the Flash Player will no longer be supported - ActiveX and plugins are just too much of a security risk, and the sooner we make the jump to xAPI and let go of SCORM the better, but Captivate's SCORM support is equal to Storyline for I believe they both use the Rustici SCORM Engine. I am using Captivate 9 as a subscription, and seem to be using it much more than Storyline, although the more Advanced use of custom actions can be somewhat daunting at first.


BTW it's Tacoma, but i fully agree with the analogy!


Am I wrong, or does Storyline still not have:
1. Good HTML5 output
2. Responsive output
3. Anything equal to or better than Advanced Actions, Conditional Actions, and variables in Captivate
4. Ability to use Javascript

(Correct me if I'm wrong!)

So until it has these... what's the point? Pay four figures just to import a PowerPoint? We need to stop pretending instructional designers and learning developers are all imbeciles who need lowest common denominator software.

Such a bummer too because Captivate could be so much better, but Adobe doesn't give a damn about it. I WANT to embrace Storyline, but functionality trumps my feelings about the company behind it.

Kevin Siegel

Hi SJ,

Storyline does support Javascript (we have samples in our advanced storyline book). You are correct that Storyline does not support Responsive Output. As for good HTML5 output, I have heard that Captivate's is better but I'm not an expert there. It seems to me that it's just code... I don't know how one HTML5 code could be better than another.


Nice, thanks for letting me know about Javascript.

Not all code is the same. Think of it as a language:

"Please grab that plate for me."
"For me; grab please the plates."

"I wrote that last sentence in English" is a technically true statement, just as "Storyline can publish to HTML5" may be technically true. However, we want compliance, optimization, readability, high browser compatibility, graceful fallbacks, etc.

So here's me crossing my fingers that Storyline 3 is awesome...

Scott Winstead

I agree being simple and 'just like Microsoft PowerPoint' is a flimsy argument. I'd like to look at this issue from another angle, though. Let's face it: Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate are just conceptually different. That's why many of us choose to keep both for various tasks.

Storyline is surprisingly easy to use, I mean my three-year-old grandson could probably use it. Captivate requires a certain learning curve, even specified training might be an option here. Captivate’s got some great animations and effects, Articulate is pretty basic from this perspective. Looks like it's just a copy of the PowerPoint effects. On the other hand, Storyline outruns Adobe in quizzing functionality, it offers more questions types and options.

Besides, it's important to understand which version we are talking about. For instance, Captivate 9 is a totally different story than ver. 8. As far as I'm concerned, Captivate 8 didn't have any decent 'import from PowerPoint' feature, for one. It's something that Articulate has been really good at for quite a long time. Conversion quality is disputable, but that's a common problem.

It's worth mentioning, Articulate Storyline lacks the video publishing option, whereas Captivate allows you to publish projects as MP4.

To be honest, Lectora has quite an edge over both in some aspects. I like its revamped responsive design approach, and animations are way better than in Captivate. The thing with Lectora is, it may appear prohibitively expensive to individual educators. But than again, tastes and budgets differ.

In case you are interested, I attempted to round up the pros and cons of all three here: http://myelearningworld.com/clash-of-the-titans-articulate-storyline-2-vs-adobe-captivate-9-vs-trivantis-lectora-16/.


Just wanted to answer to SJ that storyline DOES have variables and conditions. It's triggers panel it's actually much more useful and simple because you can add multiple triggers to one object without having to create a tigger bundle (which is how I see advanced actions on captivate). Besides, storyline has the ability to have timeline based triggers and cue points, which prove super useful not only in developing content but in synchronising with the audio.
Variables I also think are far better in storyline than captivate. While the last one only has one basic type of variable (you can insert either text or number), storyline has the true/false variables which are amazing for creating check points and other interesting functionality (besides having text and number variables).
I do admit captivate has those emphasis animations (which are actually available on PowerPoint and not on storyline) which seem super useful.

Ed C.

I have used CP3, 4, and starting last year, CP8.

In between my uses of versions 4 and 8, I worked at a company that used all Articulate products: Studio '09, Studio '13, and Storyline v. 1.

My current company already had a license for CP8, so I tried using it to create e-Learning, and created an effective course (30+ minutes broken up into 7 modules).

However, I requested and was granted a license for Storyline 2 and have used it and will be using it to create a courses moving forward.

It is much better supported, much more intuitive, and much easier and quicker work with, IMHO. There are pros and cons to each, and to Scott's point above, I have not used CP9.

Rachel H.

For what types of projects do you find yourself using Camtasia over Captivate & Storyline?

Kevin Siegel

Hi Rachel,

I await other responses to your question here but for me, I use Camtasia to create video demos (no interactivity or quizzes). Certainly you can create video demos with Captivate and Storyline but videos are a Camtasia strength.

I'd use Storyline or Captivate is you want high-end learner engagement. The development time to create simulations, learner interactions, and learner engagement is significantly better in those tools over Camtasia (or the ability simply does not exist in Camtasia).


I'm a long-time Articulate user currently migrating to Captivate. Why?

1) Mac-native version.
2) Subscription pricing. $30/month is less painful than $1,400 up front.
3) More rapid version releases. Captivate is currently on an annual version release schedule. Storyline is double that.
4) The Articulate character packs just look weird (to me).
5) Adobe is embracing the use of iOS as an extension platform. Sure, Captivate Draft seems a bit gimmicky at this point, but hey, it's something.
6) Adobe is more aggressive about HTML5 support.

I do have my reservations, however:

1) Performance and look/feel of Captivate on Mac is **very** disappointing. Was this written in some sort of weird emulation/cross-platform language? It doesn't look, act or perform like a native Mac app. Dialog boxes look like something from Unix circa 1995. Create a simple rectangle and drag across the slide: S..L..O..W!!! This is on an i7 Mac with 24 gigs of RAM. :(
2) The Articulate community is second-to-none. Great forums. Great customer service. Great community advocates. Articulate takes this aspect of their business very seriously. The Captivate folks just don't seem to care and aren't up on the latest ways to communicate and interact with customers. Don't count on them responding to a question or comment via Twitter. Their so-called forums are weak - nothing like what Articulate has. Tough crowd too - one of my first posts on their forums resulted in a hearty browbeating from a fellow forum member. Um, welcome to the Captivate community?
3) Is Adobe really committed to Captivate long-term? You know Articulate will never drop out of the eLearning dev business - because that **is** their business. As SJ touched on above, Captivate can seem like an afterthought to Adobe - one of those acquisitions they're not entirely sure what to do with. We all know Adobe is more than willing to drop a product like a bad habit if the winds blow in the wrong direction.

As for UI, both Storyline and Captivate are a bit too Fisher-Price for my tastes. It can be hard enough as an instructional designer to be treated as a professional in the corporate world - it doesn't help that our tools look like they were designed for elementary school users. :( In particular, Captivate needs to lose the jumbo ribbon icons in the weird pastel colors. Yuck.

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