Setting up a CD Catalogue - PC, Mac or Hybrid?

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The Catalogue you've produced is cross-platform but each OS (Mac & Windows) needs different software to read it. The Browser is free so you can create the OS in Win and provide the Win & Mac browsers on what is called a Hybrid CD. In effect it is a CD with separate partitions for the PC and Mac programs and data. The more sophisticated CD production programs can create Hybrid CDs where only the programs are in the OS-specific programs are in the OS partition and data, such as images and the Catalogue, are in a shared partition which both OS's read.

Note that authoring Hybrid CDs on a PC needs more pay-for extra utilities than a Mac. If you have access to CD creation on both platforms, you'll probably find it easier using a Mac and Roxio's "Toast" (Roxio used to be part of Adaptec). If you have access to a friendly Mac owner with a CD-R or a not over-priced bureau you can still author the catalogue and the Windows partition of the CD on your PC and then do the Mac partition on the Mac before authoring in Adaptec's "Toast (Mac-only s/w).

Things have recently got better for entirely PC-based authors, with the arrival of two similar applications that allow you to create virtual Mac partitions on your PC. This is done as part of creating an ISO for your (separate) CD creation software to use to burn a CD. The two programs are:

Both products (claim) to allow a PC user to download Mac archives (Binhex, Mac Binary) and 'unpack' them correctly to the virtual Mac partition for use. They both support autorun but cannot produce a Mac folder to show on CD mount as is the norm for Mac CDs. As at July 2001, both products claimed this feature will be added soon. PC users will need a CD creation program such as Nero or Easy CD Creator to actually make a Hybrid CD from the Windows and (virtual) Mac data.

If you are doing a different CD for each OS things are slightly easier. The Mac browser is best installed/downloaded directly to a Mac. That leaves the Catalogue file(s) - and the source images if they are going on the CD. So how do you go about creating a Mac CD if you are Windows based?

If you have access to a Mac, check if it can read Windows media - what it can read will depend on the age of the Mac OS and the extensions loaded. If it can't read Windows long filename media, make your Catalogue and images with 8.3 filenames and folders and burn to a ISO Level 1 format. If you want more on the limitations and cross-platform aspects of CDs download my PDF about running Acrobat Reader from CD (right-click link and 'Save as' to just download the file). Although Reader is a different program the underlying principles are the same.

If the Mac does not have Portfolio, install the Mac Portfolio Browser so the OS recognises Portfolio Catalogue files. The disk/CD you use to transfer data to the Mac should have the Catalogue's FDB and ADM files (one of each with the same filename for each Catalogue). If you are including images as well, then these want to be on the CD in the folder layout you used when adding them to the Catalogue, otherwise you won't be able to link to them directly from the Browser.

Alternatively, if you can get someone to set up the Mac media for you, you can then author the Mac CD on a PC but you will need two additional items:

Windows authors may also need to check the Mac Creator and Type properties for Portfolio.

Question: Setting up a CD Catalogue - PC, Mac or Hybrid? [FAQ00064.htm]
Last Update:- 01 June 2006

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