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Need help exporting to BeeDocs Timeline (Read 24246 times)
Mark Bernstein
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Re: Need help exporting to BeeDocs Timeline
Reply #15 - Jan 17th, 2011, 11:32pm
 
The text colors in HTML view help distinguish the template from thisnote, and from materialin included or childnotes.

Can you send a copy of your document to info@Eastgate.com?  We can forward to markA, and perhaps that's the easiest way to see the sticking point.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Need help exporting to BeeDocs Timeline
Reply #16 - Jan 18th, 2011, 8:07am
 
The missing dates are most likely because you''re not storing your dates in the same attributes as the template uses. The template is looking for start dates in a StartTime attribute and end dates in an EndTime attribute. I'd assumed you'd use the latter as you didn't specify any particular attribute names at outset. The actual attribute names themselves don't matter as long as you use the same for both source data and the template. My hunch is you're using different attributes - possibly $StartDate and $EndDate, because they're already there? If so, simply change either the attribute names used in the beedocs-item template or use date attributes for your TB data that are the same as those used in the template.

I've emailed you a functional demo file. I think you may find it quicker/easier to get to a working result. In checking the demo, I notice the Beedocs notes had changed from a few years back when the demo (on which my notes above were based) has changed slightly.  As I had the hood up I also re-worked the export code to avoid some working but now deprecated usage. Note: my Beedocs demo has expired so I can't test the actual input (it worked back when first tried some while back!).
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Re: Need help exporting to BeeDocs Timeline
Reply #17 - Jan 18th, 2011, 8:43am
 
Quote:
My hunch is you're using different attributes - possibly $StartDate and $EndDate, because they're already there?


Bingo -- at least for this step (see below)!  I changed the body of the beedocs-item note to:

^if(Name(,))^"^title^"^else^^title^^endIf^TAB^if(StartDate!="never")^^get(StartDate,"D/M/Y")^^endIf^TAB^if(EndDate!="never")^^get(EndDate,"D/M/Y")^^endIf^

Upon export I now get a file with the table of data expected.  Smiley  

Unfortunately this file will NOT import into BeeDocs (ugh!).  And I'm overextended on time available to devote to learning to fit TBx into my workflow.  So, will commence manual transfer of data out of TBx (copy & paste), today, and put further work in TBx on hold indefinitely.  Sad

Thanks for your generous attention and support.  
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Need help exporting to BeeDocs Timeline
Reply #18 - Jan 18th, 2011, 8:55am
 
No problem - do let me know if the file I send (via email) works or not; the output to text should work but I'm now less certain about the Beedocs end. I don't have Beedocs with which to test (I've a system full of expired demos as it is!). However, this moring I have emailed the app's author pointing out the lack of clarity in his import FAQ page. There's no indication as to the d/m date order required and bizzarely- all examples are for '1/1' (I Jan) so don't help. Also, it seems that any text field (Label from $Name, Notes from $Text) must be double-quote enclosed if it contains a comma. Implicit in that is that a double-quote in the field (attribute) value is either not allowed or must somehow be escaped (the doc doesn't mention how to escape anything).

Anyway, Beedocs lack of text sophistication isn't TB's fault; in fairness I think iBeedocs is more for screen eye candy than something trying to support data heavy-lift (it's very good at what it does do).  If Beedocs can correctly - unambiguously - define its format it should be possible to import data to it - I was certainly able to test data when I originally looked at this in 2009. If you use Beedocs a lot, it might be worth dropping a line to them pointing out the problems their lack of documentation is causing you.
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Need help exporting to BeeDocs Timeline
Reply #19 - Jan 18th, 2011, 12:45pm
 
It is often very helpful, when exporting to a program with complex data needs, to hand-code an example file and import it into that program. This both confirms that you understand its input requirements and gives you a base template which then becomes your export target.

Then, set up a Tinderbox experiment to export a replica of that hand-coded test file.  This can usually be done in a minute or two, and that, too, builds confidence.

Finally, try the "real" data. This might work first time. If it doesn't, you might receive partial data or an error message to help locate the discrepancy. If the failure is silent, edit the exported data and try importing just the first few lines.  Does that work? If so, divide and conquer will quickly locate the problem.

Here, the difficulty may well lie (as Mark Anderson speculated) in escaping quote marks, commas, or perhaps in character encoding.  Wikipedia appears to have the answer to the problem of escaping quotation marks, incidentally.
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Re: Need help exporting to BeeDocs Timeline
Reply #20 - Jan 18th, 2011, 1:20pm
 
Re Mark's wikipedia link, where the solution seems to be the old-school double-the-quotes trick (takes me back to Visual Basic - remembrance of the Dark Side <shiver>), the sort of method below might work. An agent might:

Query:   $Text.contains('\"')
Action:   $BeedocsText=$Text.replace('\"','\"\"')

Then export something like this for the export file's "Notes" field:

  ^if($BeedocsText)^^value($BeedocsText)^^else^^text(plain)^^endIf^

... assuming of course that inline double quotes are (one of) the issue(s) Beedocs is having.
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Alex Strick van Linschoten
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Re: Need help exporting to BeeDocs Timeline
Reply #21 - Aug 18th, 2011, 3:12am
 
Any idea if the Beedocs export (as part of the Simile timeline template) is no longer working? I haven't used for a while, but some strange events seem to be created...
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Re: Need help exporting to BeeDocs Timeline
Reply #22 - Aug 18th, 2011, 3:22am
 
Seems unlikely. In the scenario cited, I'd look at the data that's mis-translating in BBEdit and see if you spot anything odd.  I know you work with quite complex text (Roman/Cyrillc/Arabic text, etc.) so there's scope for odd construct creeping in.

In fairness to TB, the issue is more likely weaknesses in Beedocs data import abilities than TB's export.  TB ends up in the frame over it being used to manipulate export form to work around BeeDocs limitations - presumably because the latter can't/won't improve their import (the fact it's a rather hidden feature is somewhat telling). If you haven't asked them, it might be worth it. If BeeDocs had more capable import you might not need edge case export template stuff in TB. After all, it's 'just' text we're passing!

Drop me a line direct if needs be - it might help to see the 'bad' data.
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Re: Need help exporting to BeeDocs Timeline
Reply #23 - Aug 18th, 2011, 6:24am
 
[Later after chat off-forum with Alex]

BeeDocs has moved along a bit but their FAQ page on import is a bit vague. So far we've figured that:
  • BeeDocs uses the user's current OS locale for dates. Thus for Alex & I, using UK locale, the dates want to export like ^value($StartDate.format("D/M0/y"))^ rather than in month/day order.
  • Text file import is only possible via drag/drop - into the app and not a current project. This is not necessarily self-evident, and bypasses some BeeDocs project set-up steps that my subsequently not be possible to apply.
  • It is not clear if text import is restricted to ASCII, basic ASCII or is Unicode capable (or at least UTF-8 capable).
  • Line breaks (in $Text data and such) definitely break BeeDocs import
Alex (as a BeeDocs user) is going to follow up with BeeDocs support and see what they say and will add anything of use here if it turns up.
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Re: Need help exporting to BeeDocs Timeline
Reply #24 - Aug 18th, 2011, 8:46am
 
With the help of good old BBEdit (or use the free sibling app TextWrangler) I've figured the conundrum.

BeeDocs uses tab-delimited import. the only valid delimiter for field start end is a Tab Character.  Any quotes single/double/curly/straight are treated as literal text characters. Any line return is a record (line) delimiter. So, $Text, or any attribute with line breaks needs to encode its line (paragraph) breaks. A literal '\n' or '\r' in a string is read by BeeDocs as a line break. From experiment, for each TB paragraph break, you want 2 in BeeDocs.  You do this via:

^value($Text.replace("\n","\\n\\n"))^

BeeDocs will also accept '\t' and insert a tab stop, e.g. for an indented paragraph start or indented list items.

It appears Beedocs will accept any valid unicode character (in UTF-8 encoding as output via TB). I had no problem with accented letters and various characters off the Mac character viewer. For non-Roman alphabets (Cyrillic, Arabic, etc.) you might need to test but apart from left-right vs right-left display issue I think you should be fine.

Alex's ex-TB data looks sweet in BeeDocs' 3D display on a large monitor!
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