The Webbase Module:
Internet / Intranet / CD based display of specifications.
(Covers: Introduction; Creating Webbase files; Displaying the Webbase; Technical - file creation; Technical - index file; Deleting specifications , Creating a CD based Webbase)
Reader Note: The features described in this Section generate files on your computer which may subsequently need to be copied to other computer systems. The discussion in Sections 5.1 to 5.4 describe the features from a SLIPSHEET MANAGER user perspective, whilst later sections are more oriented towards the needs of your technical support team.
If using Explorer 6/7 you may find that the report image is initially displayed in miniature with a button to 'enlarge to normal size'. This problem can easily overcome by making a change to the Explorer configuration. From the Tools menu select Internet Options and the Advanced section. Then ensure that the entry under Multimedia - Enable automatic image resize - is NOT ticked. Then select Apply. This will ensure that Explorer does NOT take over the re-sizing of reports displayed on screen. This is illustrated overleaf.
The Webbase Module is designed to meet the needs of users who wish to make their slipsheet / container specifications available to others in electronic format.
The Webbase module provides a set of powerful features designed to make it easy for users to place some or all of their specifications on an Internet / Intranet server or onto a CD for access / use by colleagues, suppliers or customers. Specifications can then be accessed by others using just their standard web browser (e.g. Explorer, Netscape).
The steps in using Webbase are:
You select those report(s) they wish to add to the Webbase from the same screens from where you print / view specifications.
To display these specifications on your computer you then select the Webbase Module from the Opening SLIPSHEET MANAGER screen.
Having done this the files held on your computer can be copied (usually by your technical support team) to an Intranet / Internet server (or they can be written to a CD) for others to access using a web browser.
5.2 Advantages of Webbase/JPG format:
Anyone with a web browser can view your specifications, print them out or forward the reference for the specification to others with access to the datafiles.
Specifications held in this way cannot be modified (e.g. the language of the report is fixed).
The person viewing the specifications does not require a SLIPSHEET MANAGER license.
5.3 The Creation of Webbase Files.
From the same screen where you select SLIPSHEET MANAGER screen and printer reports, you can also select to save the same reports in JPG format to the Webbase. This is shown below:
If the user wishes to add the current specification to those held in the Webbase Database then the button(s) associated with the required report(s) are selected. An on-screen message indicates that files are being saved, and when the action is complete the button text will change to 'Done'.
Thus any of the reports which might otherwise be viewed or printed from this page can be saved to this Webbase database.
If you are re-calculating a specification for a product already held in the Webbase database then on arriving at the Print / View screen the text adjacent to the Webbase/JPG button will indicate that a file already exists - as shown below. It will be automatically replaced with the new version if JPG File save is selected.
5.4 Displaying the Webbase Files.
The Webbase Option is available from the Opening SLIPSHEET MANAGER screen.
When the Webbase option is selected the files previously saved into the Webbase are examined and an index file is created which contains full product information for each of these (index.htm). The default web browser is then automatically launched and the index file is displayed. An example of such a display is shown below.
The left hand column shows the Product Code (as entered by the user into SLIPSHEET MANAGER), with the other two columns showing the Product Description and the date on which the report was created / saved. The entries are sorted in alphabetic order based on product code.
The Product Code entries are hyperlinked and selecting any of these using the mouse will display the appropriate report - which can then be printed if required.
If a user is unsure of the product code they can hold down the Ctrl key and press F which will bring up a 'Find' dialog box allowing users to search the index page for any code / description / date.
Adjacent to the Product Code will be displayed text describing the type of report (Container Plan, Slipsheet Plan etc).
These files are stored in a folder of their own (jpgfiles) beneath that in which SLIPSHEET MANAGER is installed, and are suitable for copying (usually by your IT staff) from your computer to an Intranet / Internet server (or to a CD) where they can be accessed by others. These users can use their web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer) to view the index file and the specifications, and make printouts of the same.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The size of the Webbase images has been selected so as to be suitable for display (and printing) on displays of 800*600 or 1024*768. If using Explorer 6 you may find that the report image is initially displayed in miniature. This can easily be corrected using the instructions given on screen at the top of the Index file.
Reader Note: As described at the beginning, Sections 5.5 onwards are of a slightly more technical nature, as appropriate for those who may be involved with the transfer of Webbase files to other systems.
5.5 Technical Issues - File Creation.
Each report saved to the Webbase uses the .JPG format and is at a resolution suitable for display and printing using 800*600 or 1024*768 screen modes. The JPG report file would (ideally) be given a name which would be identical to the product code of the product. However the file naming conventions of different operating systems means that some characters used as product codes would not be valid within filenames. Thus SLIPSHEET MANAGER adapts the product code (if required) to ensure files created should be valid on whatever computer systems they may later be held. However short filename support (e.g. an 8 character limit for filenames) is not available.
Filenames based on the product code are terminated with extensions which reflect the report type. These extensions are listed below:
Container 2D Plan (Stacks in Container): -PalCON.jpg
Container 3D (Stacks in Container): -SatCON.jpg
Slipsheet Make Up (2D): -PalSTK.jpg
Slipsheet Make Up (3D): -PalCON.jpg
All the files produced are stored in the folder JPGFILES which will be found as a sub-folder to that in which SLIPSHEET MANAGER is installed. For each .JPG file created a small file (.inf) is created holding basic information on product description, date etc. These files are used when creating the index.htm file. All files held in the JPGFILES folder - both .JPG and .INF - must be backed up securely.
5.6 Technical Issues - INDEX.HTM
This file is produced by SLIPSHEET MANAGER and uses a basic HTML format which can be edited by a user using any suitable web development tool before being placed on an Intranet / Internet. After the .JPG files are created an HTML index file (sorted in alphanumeric order) is produced in the JPGFILES folder (replacing any previous version) referencing all the .JPG files. This file will be created when the user selects Webbase (from the opening menu). In operation all the .JPG files (and their associated .INF information files) are accessed and a suitable index file created.
You should note that every time a new product is added to the Webbase (and the Webbase is accessed from the opening SLIPSHEET MANAGER screen) a complete new file index file is created. So that the file loads and formats quickly, if there are more than 250 entries, then each block of 250 entries forms its own HTML table. Naturally all the product information is held in the single index file. A technical limit of 20,000 specification entries has been catered for - far more (one trusts) than will ever be used! Tests suggest that around 3000 entries are the upper limit for fast loading of the index file.
5.7 Deletion of Specifications.
As described earlier, all the .JPG (and .INF) files created are named according to the product code. In this release, if you wish to delete specifications from the Webbase Database, Windows Explorer should be used to view and delete the .JPG files which are not required. On the next occasion when the Webbase is accessed a new (updated) index file will be created leaving out the files which have been deleted. Ideally (but not necessarily) the .INF files associated with deleted .JPG files should also be deleted. It should be stressed that for products held in the Webbase, not only the .JPG files but also the .INF files are vital for ongoing indexing. Appropriate security backup of all these files is required.
5.8 Creating a CD based set of Specifications.
It is clearly possible to copy all the files found in the JPGFILES folder to an Intranet / Internet server and for users to access the specifications using their web browser via the index.htm file created by SLIPSHEET MANAGER. Likewise the same set of files could be copied to a CD and the same access method used.
Technically it is not necessary to copy the .INF files found in the JPGFILES folder to the Internet / CD. However these files are vital to the ongoing indexing of the database (they contain product information etc), and given their small size it is strongly recommended that all files in the JPGFILES folder be copied to whatever media is being used.