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Walk through - Repeat Signage database custom templates

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Custom templates

Repeat Signage custom templates Repeat Signage database picture template

With Repeat Signage V5, our Banner control supports the combining of templates with databases.   This is a quick overview of how this works.  

The starting point is using a database.  A database can be either a CSV file, XML file, Microsoft Access database, ODBC database or Microsoft SQL Server database.  We are going to use a Banner RSS feed as an example, which is effectively a list of titles, descriptions and pictures.   There can be created and hosted free of change at www.repeatserver.com.   The address of our feed is:

https://www.repeatserver.com/Users/RepeatSamples/museum.xml

This contains just 4 records.

Walk through:

1.  The first thing we have to do is to add this as a data source to Repeat Signage.  The easiest way is on the main Repeat Signage screen using the Data connection manager:

Repeat Signage data connection manager

and then use the 'Add' button on the screen that appears to add the data source.  In this case our data source is an XML file, which is on a website:

Repeat Signage data connection record

Click the 'Website' option, then type in/ copy and paste in:

https://www.repeatserver.com/Users/RepeatSamples/museum.xml

and put in a friendly name of 'Museum' and then click on 'Test connection' (which you will need an active Internet connection for) and then  click on 'OK' to save the data connection.

You can then use the Connect button to use the Database Viewer.  Look at the 'Item' table and preview the data:

Repeat Signage database fields

So the Item table contains a number of database fields:

title
description
pubDate
Image
Transition

The Image field contains a full website address of the image files, such as:

https://www.repeatserver.com/Users/RepeatSamples/Pictures/Museum0004-1024x768.JPG

The above picture looks like:

Example Repeat Signage picture

So we now have a database ready to use.  

2.  Close the Data connection manager and return to the Repeat Signage main screen.  Database custom templates are a feature of the CORPORATE and MEDIA WALL editions, so you will need to change the 'Select trial version' combo to the CORPORATE EDITION TRIAL:

Repeat Signage Corporate trial

3.  Next, go to the Presentations tab and then click on 'Create new presentation'
.
4.  Click on 'Next', 'Next' and 'Create' to create a new blank presentation.

5.  The designer screen will load.  Then on the menu, click on 'Insert' then 'Insert Banner'.

6.  Change to the 'Location choice' tab and select 'Collect play list from a database and use a custom template:

Repeat Signage file location

7.  Go to the 'Select database' tab and click on the 'Add' button and then select 'Select data collection from this systems data connections':

New data connection example

and choose the 'Museum' one we set up in the first step and click on 'Select'.

8.  Now use the 'SQL Wizard' button to launch the wizard:

Choose data to display screen

9.  Keep the 'Choose a table from the database ...' option and click on Next.

10.  Click on the 'Item' table and click on Next.

11.  Use the 'Add all' button to add all the fields in this database table to the list:

Repeat Signage select transition

12.  Click on Next and then Finished on the final screen.  This will then return you to the 'Select database' tab and an SQL statement will have been generated for you:

Repeat Signage database location

We have now told Repeat Signage which database information we want.  Next job is to set up a custom template to display this information with.

13.  Click on the 'Custom template' tab which will tell us that our template is blank.  We are going to choose a template using the template wizard to get started quickly.   Click on the template wizard button.

14.  Select 'Adverts' then 'Advert03-43':

Repeat Signage advert templates

and then click on 'Next'.

15.  You can now select the number of pixels for your template.  For this demonstration we will use the 1024x768 pixels that this template defaults to and then click on the 'Create' button.

16.  Your template will be returned to the Custom template tab:

Repeat Signage custom template

17.  Look at the above image.  It says 'Previewing record 1 of 4' in the corner.  Click on the Previous and Next buttons to move between the 4 records in this database.  You will notice that nothing changes.  We just have this template but we don't have any links to our database inside it.  What we need to do now is to edit the template and instead of the picture, we need to point this as the 'Image' field in our database, so that the image for each record is collected.  We also need to change the 'YOUR LOGO' text to point at the 'title' field in the database and the 'Your message to your visitors here' to the 'description' field. 

So click on the 'Edit' button to option the customer template designer:

Repeat Signage custom designer

18.  Double click on the picture control to open it's properties:

Repeat Signage picture control screen

19.  Click on the 'Select database field' button and then select the 'Image' field:

Select database field screen

which is the one that contains the location of the pictures.  Then click on 'Select' or double click the Image field to return to the previous screen:

Example image field

The field name <IMAGE> has now been inserted for you and you just need to click on the OK button to save:

20.   Now double click on the 'YOUR LOGO' text to open it's properties. 

21.  Use the 'Select database field' button to select the 'title' field:

Repeat Signage image field screen

and click on OK to save.

22.  Now double click on the 'Your message to your visitors here' text to open it's properties and select the 'description' field this time and then click on OK. 

Your final template should look like:

Repeat Signage picture database template

You can see that the picture now tells you it is a 'Database PICTURE field' called <IMAGE>.   You also have the field name <TITLE> and <DESCRIPTION> in the text fields.

23.  Click on 'File' then 'Exit' and save your changes to return to the previous screen:

Repeat Signage database template

You will see that the first record has changed to display the database contents and you can use the Next button to look at the other records.  If you go to record 0, then this displays the raw template.

24.  All finished.  Now click on the 'OK' button to insert your  Banner control into the presentation. 

Repeat Signage database finished template

25.  You can resize this as necessary within your presentation.  Just remember to keep the same shape as the template, i.e. 4 parts wide to 3 parts high like:

Resizing Repeat Signage database template

We were on the BANNER 01 (now BANNER 02) option of the Banner control so you will see it defaulting to the CUBE ROTATE RIGHT transitions between the 4 records.

26.  Double click your control to open the properties again and we will just look at a few options.

27.  Click on the 'Template media' tab:

Template media tab

In our database, the Image field contained full addresses to the picture files, such as:

https://www.repeatserver.com/Users/RepeatSamples/Pictures/Museum0004-1024x768.JPG

If your database only had the names of the pictures, such as 'Museum0004-1024x768.jpg' then Repeat Signage wouldn't know where to find the pictures.  You can use this tab to tell Repeat Signage where to look for Pictures, PDF's, or other media referenced in your database

Template media screen

28.  The 'Transitions' tab (which just appears if you are on the BANNER 01 option) allows you to select the transition or transitions you want to use with your records.

29.  You have  2 options with the Banner control: BANNER 02 and FADER 01.  We have already seen the BANNER 01 and FADER 01 just has a fade transition for large screen use. 

Help and support

We are happy to help you connect your database to Repeat Signage and create custom templates.  Please email us as support@repeatsoftware.com if you require any help.