Repeat Signage V4 help

Programming Repeat Signage

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Programming Repeat Signage

Repeat Signage does not have an API but you can use Repeat Signage along side custom programs to change the content displayed on screen.  For example, in a company you may want to display the current sales for that day within a Repeat Signage presentation and update that figure every 5 minutes throughout the day.  Here's how you could do this:

1.  Get your custom program, written in Visual Basic or another programming language, to do an SQL query of your sales database and collect the sales figure.  You then save this figure within a text file on a network drive, for example, n:\TodaysSalesFigure.txt.   You can use a timer in your program to do this every 5 minutes and you set running on a spare computer somewhere on your network, or have this running on your server.

2.  Open and existing Repeat Signage presentation or create a new one. 

3.  Then on the menu click on 'Insert' then 'Insert text label' to add a new Text label control. 

4.  Click on 'In a local/network file' then browse for and select your text file (n:\TodaysSalesFigure.txt).

5.  Now here's the important bit.  Double click your new text label control to show it's properties and click on the 'Refresh' tab.  Put a tick in the 'Check for updated content' tick box and also put a tick in the 'For local/network files - monitor file system for file changes and update ASAP' tick box.  Click on OK.

6.  You can resize this, change the font's colours, change the orientation, etc, you have happy with design and save the presentation when finished.

When the presentation plays, Repeat Signage will monitor your network text file (n:\TodaysSalesFigure.txt).  When you custom program updates this text file every five minutes the presentation reload and displays the new contents of the file within a second or two.

Most controls in Repeat Signage have this refresh option to monitor files for changes and then display the changed file including the Picture control, RTF document control and PDF control.  Generating an image file from your program, depending on your level of experience, is not too difficult.  

The Picture control works the same way with refresh, and reloads changed images.   You could use this with your custom program to display a sales figure graph on screen.  You could possibly do it this way.  In your program, display a graph on screen with the information collected from your database.  Graph controls are available within some programming languages or via purchasing a third party control or downloading and using a free one.  Some will allow you to export direct to an image file.  If not, then you could screen capture just the are of the screen that contains the graph and save it to a network file such as n:\TodaysSalesGraph.png.  You could do this every 5 minutes.  To display this in your Repeat Signage presentation, follow steps 1 to 6 above, but use a Picture control rather than a Text label control.

You can also do this with web archive (.mht) files, which are self contained website pages with images embedded into the HTML text file. 


Databases (Corporate edition and above)

You can display data from existing databases, such as Microsoft SQL Server and ODBC data sources.  You can also collect and process XML files hosted on websites, CSV files, Excel spreadsheets and Microsoft Access databases.  See Database support in Repeat Signage for more information.


RSS feeds

You can manually create RSS feeds from within your program and using the Flash RSS control.  RSS feed files are just XML formatted text file with a number of news items to display.


iCalendar schedule files

Many of the controls within Repeat Signage, such as the Picture control and Text label control, allow you to display information for iCalendar schedule files, and display different information or pictures at different dates and times.   This is useful, for example, to schedule advert images at different periods.   You can generate your own standard iCal files, which are just text files, from your bespoke software and Repeat Signage and automatically monitor these files for changes and update screen information dynamically.  See iCalendar files in Repeat Signage.


Repeat Flash Banner Picture RSS feeds

The Flash Banner control can be controlled by creating a Repeat picture RSS feed (an XML text file), which is similar to a normal RSS feed but also has an 'Image' and 'Transition' field per new items.  Flash Banner control plays these XML files from either local/network folders, HTTP sites and FTP sites.  Just specify a picture file name, such as MyPicture1.jpg, and then Repeat Signage will automatically download and display pictures from the same folder. 


Local variables in the system settings file

You can use variables that can be set for each computer playing Repeat Signage presentations.  See Using local variables for more information.


Command line parameters

See or command line parameters page.  You can programmatically launch presentations and playlists to specific screens.  If you launch Repeat Signage from within an application, you can also keep a note of the process ID which would let you the kill the process later.  This allows you to schedule to display a Repeat Signage presentation above your application when required, and then kill the process when you want to return to your application.


Displaying a Repeat Signage presentation to just an area of the screen

There are command line parameters that allow you to display a Repeat Signage presentation to just part of the screen.  For example, on a 1920x1080 screen, you could display 4 x 1080x540 pixel presentations to each quarter of the screen.  This is done by specifying screen co-ordinates with the command line:

Top left of screen:

C:\Program Files\RepeatSignage\RepeatSignage.exe 0,0,960,540 "C:\data\Presentation1.rsp"                        

Bottom left of screen:

C:\Program Files\RepeatSignage\RepeatSignage.exe 0,540,960,1080 "C:\data\Presentation2.rsp"

Top right of screen:

C:\Program Files\RepeatSignage\RepeatSignage.exe 960,0,1080,540 "C:\data\Presentation3.rsp"

Bottom left of screen:

C:\Program Files\RepeatSignage\RepeatSignage.exe 960,540,1920,1080 "C:\data\Presentation4.rsp"

There is currently no user-interface for doing this with in Repeat Signage.  A batch file could be created it you needed to do this or you can do this programmatically.  The only thing to note is that each presentation is a completely separate process, so to close these down, you either need to right mouse click each presentation and choose exit from the menu, or make a note of the process ID when each is launched and then kill those programmatically.