Author Topic: [Split] Xdata's learning curve  (Read 3292 times)

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Offline larsen67

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[Split] Xdata's learning curve
« on: May 10, 2007, 08:34:33 AM »
Emma, what is the learning curve like for Xtags? I have been handed a major project 400 page product catalogue wanted by year end. xData and FMP are out of the question I could not learn enough in time to make use of either of these for this. (client has wasted 4-5 months from when I should have started this) I have 3 existing catalogues that I need to combine text and image resources . Im currently trying to work out the quickest/easiest method to stylize this to my new master documents formatting. A very large portion of text is tabbed like this example:

A1058   Table Knife   12   £3.00   £2.40
A1059   Table Fork   12   £1.92   £1.54
A1060   Serving Spoon   12   £1.92   £1.54
A1061   Dessert Knife   12   £2.88   £2.30
A1062   Dessert Fork   12   £1.44   £1.15
A1063   Dessert Spoon   12   £1.44   £1.15
A1064   Soup Spoon   12   £1.44   £1.15
A1065   Fish Knife   12   £2.52   £2.02
A1066   Fish Fork   12   £2.52   £2.02
A1067   Tea Spoon   12   £0.84   £0.67
A1068   Coffee Spoon   12   £1.32   £1.06
A1069   Soda Spoon   12   £3.24   £2.60

All of this has one paragraph style sheet but each tab column is a different character style (the variants are fonts, weights & colours) I hope my attempt at bbcode works here. Will Xtags be able to deal with this? otherwise do you know if script apply this? text wrangling is really not my thing.

Not bad for me just the one bracket missing… now corrected
« Last Edit: May 18, 2007, 10:19:49 AM by Publi-Script »

Offline Emma

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Xdata's learning curve
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2007, 08:39:55 AM »
Do you mean XPress Tags? If you want to use them, you have to get them into the text somehow - either in FMP or in Excel.

XData is EASY to learn, especially for a job like this. In fact it's crying out for XData.

If you can email me a sample of your data and your Quark file (in 6.5, please! and single language if poss) I will try and show you just how easy it is. You'd have to download the XData demo. It would take less than 30 minutes to set up the XData prototype for this, and thousands of lines could be formatted in a couple of minutes.

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Offline larsen67

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Xdata's learning curve
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2007, 10:01:55 AM »
Thank you for prompt reply & yes I meant "XPress Tags" doh. I will try and find the xData demo now (while bosses are out it's races day here in Chester… rain please!!) proving something is worth its expense is always my problem here. I have a few pages as bare bones just for testing purposes. Will get back shortly.
Posted on: May 10, 2007, 07:01:24 AM
I have no direct access to Excel myself and no FMP to format text so XPress Tags looks out. I wasn't sure how much could be achieved with these. I have the demo so I'll now direct any questions to the right forum place. Thanks again.

Offline Emma

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Xdata's learning curve
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2007, 10:10:22 AM »
OK, just to see if I can do this....

If an image appears below, it is an example of the sort of XData prototype you would write - as easy as that. The '£' signs are literal text, and could be omitted if they are in the data already. The prototype can be put into a text box off to the side of your first page. Click in it and go to menu XData->Use story as prototype. Then click in your destination text box and either 'import from file' or, if easier, copy all the data and use 'import from clipboard'.


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Offline Publi-Script

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Xdata's learning curve
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2007, 09:28:34 AM »
Hi larsen,

Maybe this will cklear things up for you.

You example does not need to specify any XPress Tags. What you need to do is to apply your already created style sheet to your prototype story.
This will ensure that when XData substitute the fields with actual data, that data will also be styled acoordingly.

The best way to do this is to start with actual of dummy data for one record. Next you lay out this example as you would like it to look when your work is done. That means applying paragraph style sheet, character style sheet, extra needed text (spaces, tabs, soft returns, words, etc.). Once you have achieved the final result, you need to idendtify the parts that comes form the database and replace them with their field name.

for example:

Given the following data:
Quote
FirstLast Position CompanyPhone
Michel     Lemieux     Forum Admin     Publi-Script    1234567890
Steve Jobs CEO Apple inc.2345678901
Bill Gates CEO Microsoft3456789012
...

Quote
Lemieux, Michel
Forum Admin
Publi-Script
1234567890

will become (after aslo adding the fields declaration info):

Quote
«fields First, Last, Position, Company, Phone»«Last», «First»
«Position»
«Company»
«Phone»

One limitation of XData is that it has to apply a constant style to the whole field or variable. In that regard and using Xdata's ability to operate on the given fields. In the previous example, the phone number could use a little help but as luck would have it the data did not come in styled the way we wanted:

Quote
(123) 456-7890

 Like I said, Xdata allows you to operate on the data itself before it is laid out on the page. So, in order to displaya better format for our phone number let break that value into smaller pieces:

Quote
«put char 1 to 3 of Phone into AreaCode»«put char 4 to 6 of Phone into Exchange»«put char 7 to 10 of Phone into Number»

This assigns specific part of the original phone number to smaller manageable variable, we can now use those variable as if they were fields coming out of our database:

Quote
(«AreaCode») «Exchange»-«Number»

We could further enhance the display by bolding both the exchange and the number bits (juts for show):

Quote
(«AreaCode») «put styled "<b>«Exchange»-«Number»<b>»

So your final prototype would be:

Quote
«fields First, Last, Position, Company, Phone»«put char 1 to 3 of Phone into AreaCode»«put char 4 to 6 of Phone into Exchange»«put char 7 to 10 of Phone into Number»«Last», «First»
«Position»
«Company»
(«AreaCode») «put styled "<b>«Exchange»-«Number»<b>»

Giving you this final result:

Quote
Lemieux, Michel
Forum Admin
Publi-Script
(123) 456-7890
Michel Lemieux
Forum Administrator
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Offline Emma

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Re: [Split] Xdata's learning curve
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2007, 10:21:17 AM »
That's a great tutorial, Michel - just about covers 90% of it. Now everyone will know how easy it is...
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Offline Publi-Script

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Re: [Split] Xdata's learning curve
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2007, 10:30:40 AM »
That's a great tutorial, Michel - just about covers 90% of it. Now everyone will know how easy it is...

Thank you for the kind comments.

But just to reinforce your point, I have NEVER used Xdata before last week. I am a die hard user of Xtags but needed to learn about Xdata for a job I am currently working on. At first it was just a matter of automating the building process (the prototype was already in the Quark template so my job was basically more or less a "filing" one, i.e. open the template, flow the data in and svae the document in a specific location. But of course, these were the "original" requirements. It was soon made clear that more "massaging" of the incoming data was necessary so I had the teach myself Xdata in a hurry.

Things are very well explaned in the User Manual so once again Em Software did a stellar job of putting this Xtensions together.
Michel Lemieux
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Offline larsen67

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Re: [Split] Xdata's learning curve
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2007, 06:30:37 AM »
I have not had the time to get stuck into the manual yet. But Im very impressed which what I've seen I can do so far. I am just using code similar to Emma's example then setting by style sheets to each of the individual elements with an overall paragraph style applied to the lot for the formatting indents, tabs, rule below and space after. It's working like a dream at the moment. The only thing I need to do after importing is apply some soft returns where product descriptions run to more than 1 line this is where the space after comes in. I only have one complaint and that is why did I not know of this earlier?