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A blindingly easy question, I'm sure.. (Read 5568 times)
Alastair
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A blindingly easy question, I'm sure..
Jun 13th, 2010, 8:04pm
 
Hello all.

I'm new to Tinderbox, but serious about making it work for me, and I was wondering if I could beg your help with something fairly straightforward.

I'm an Architect, and keen to use Tinderbox to produce and manage programmes and drawing lists, monitor and report progress etc. I have a suitable drawing list created, in a tree structure which looks great in chart view - but this is of absolutely no use if I can't export it.

Each drawing has an attribute for JobNo, DrawingNo, revision, scale, progress and so on.  Each note in the drawing list is a drawing, unless it has children, in which case it becomes a drawing package. I would like to export the full outline as a simple list in the format

<package>
<JobNo-DrawingNo-title Revision    Progress%>
<JobNo-DrawingNo-title Revision    Progress%>

<next package>
etc


This appears to be entirely beyond me. I've been through the Cookbook, manual and wiki, but with little success - could somebody please explain (simply) how to do this?

Thanks for your time.
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« Last Edit: Jun 13th, 2010, 8:05pm by Alastair »  
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: A blindingly easy question, I'm sure..
Reply #1 - Jun 14th, 2010, 12:14am
 
Step one: write a template that takes one note, and exports one entry in your list

      <JobNo-DrawingNo-title Revision    Progress%>

This should be straightforward -- a one line template.

Now, the container or agent that holds all the drawings needs its own template.

    <package>
    ^children(/template/from/step/one)
   </package>

And you're done!
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Alastair
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Re: A blindingly easy question, I'm sure..
Reply #2 - Jun 15th, 2010, 4:54am
 
Thanks, I'm sure I'll be able to work it out - html incompetence notwithstanding..
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Mark Anderson
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Re: A blindingly easy question, I'm sure..
Reply #3 - Jun 15th, 2010, 7:10am
 
How do you want to do this, in terms for the HTML page.  Are you looking to make a table of drawings and their attributes. Or, are you trying to make some sort of an outline, where a sense of the chart/outline hierarchy is still seen in the HTML page.  I ask as how you're trying to show things may have some bearing on how best to apply the above ideas.  I notice you're not familiar with HTML, but I'm assuming there's something you've seen which made you think you'd like similar; if so a screen grab would help us help you as I know HTML can be intimidating at outset.
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Alastair
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Re: A blindingly easy question, I'm sure..
Reply #4 - Jun 16th, 2010, 2:18am
 
I'm not sure I've seen anything similar to what I'm trying to do.

The context of this is that I run a small architectural practice, doing my own jobs while also providing architectural services as a consultant to larger companies, and occasional construction adjudication work. There's an awful lot of information to keep track of - against several competing programmes.

The uses of Tinderbox in analysing the mountains of information involved in an adjudication are fairly clear - this is the major reason I invested in it. However, I'm also keen to use TB to organise the other side of my business - track drawing progress, package release dates and links between drawings (A change to this drawing will also affect this one, and so on). This could then inform a to-do list, or generate a report for each project and produce the result in a form that could be accessible offsite, via the internet.

While a simply formatted text list would be useful, in an ideal world I would also be able to render something along the lines of the chart view or Edward Tufte's Gantt chart replacement - Architects being visual people (and able to print at A0) this would be a definite bonus.

I realise the complexity of this, but you've got to have ambition!
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Mark Anderson
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Re: A blindingly easy question, I'm sure..
Reply #5 - Jun 16th, 2010, 7:16am
 
A chart view and an outline are similar in underlying structure. In visual terms the chart is an outline with fancier layout.  The observation is made not to undervalue the chart view but to hint at how to think about exporting it. In other words, you're looking to export an HTML outline that - with some fancy CSS - can be made to look like a TB chart and fill your A0 paper prints. Note the chart won't fit well on most screens, given the generous use of white space but if you'll only ever open the HTML page just to print it that doesn't matter so much.

You mention that a note that has children is a 'package'. So, if you have a drawing note that acquires children, does the former become a child of the package note or are some notes both a package and a drawing?  The export logic is easier if all package notes are either just a package note (a container lacking drawing data).

Noting the observation about being visual, this is one of the few instances where I'd suggest you make some sort of mock-up - even a hand-drawn sketch. This will help inform the design of the export. Why?  The export will likely involve a number of different templates, note all of which export whole pages. Why? Because your exported HTML code (needed for the on-screen visualisation) data will not necessarily mirror the source TB note hierarchy. By way of visual example, contrast this page with this page. Both use the same basic page template but the latter uses an extra template to make a key-attributes-like table at the top of the page. The example is not the visual styling but the fact the second example needs the extra template to define the data table (or whatever format you insert there).

Looking at this a different way, consider this page. It looks like a bullet list outline. But, change the CSS, put boxes around each item add connecting lines parent-child ... and its a chart.

I hope that helps give a few ideas.
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: A blindingly easy question, I'm sure..
Reply #6 - Jun 17th, 2010, 10:33am
 
This looks like a nice example of an interesting export question.  And from looking over the notes above, I think this reminds us of a step that's too easy to overlook:

   1) step back, and reflect on exactly what you'd like to export,
      and what the people (or programs) that will use the exported
      information really want and need.

What I'd suggest is that you send along (or post here) a little more overview of the problem, and perhaps a some sample Tinderbox data.  I think this might make a good case study.
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