Any way to format text fields?
HI! What I'm looking for is a way to format text fields in CatDV. Is there any kind of "escape code" or markup language that the CatDV application will interpret? Yes... I know the custom text fields in CatDV are Plain Text fields... Ideally it would be GREAT if when I made an HTML details panel, if any of the clips in that panel contained HTML tags, the tags would be rendered (that's what i assumed the point of an HTML detail panel was, but it doesn't work that way). The goal here is that I want to have CatDV display information in a multiline text field as a read-only TABLE. Understand that I don't want to be able to sort the data, or interact with the table... it's static text, but I would like to format it. I want to display the number of hours billed to a project in a table format, and this field is populated by a SQL query into our accounting server. I've got everything working on the backend - the field populates great, but I can't get the table to look good. The default output my SQL tool is to display the results in a text-based table using pipe characters and dashes as delimiters. It looks fine in a monospace font, but CatDV does not use a monospace font. Also, multiline fields wrap around if they're too long for the window. I solved some of this by changing the detail panel that displays the field to an HTML panel (even though it won't render table tags) but then it condenses all the spaces to one space, like HTML usually does. Is there ANY way to get text to display in a formatted columnized fashion? I also have applications for displaying bold text, underline text, etc. It seems there's just no way to do this but I thought I'd ask.
Thanks for your time everyone.
We usually do these things with an external view by publishing out to a report page in HTML.
Always evaluate if it's better to keep that data in CatDV, an asset management system, or publishing it out into another system such as your billing system. Often there's a better way to present that data in another interface away from the assets.
One note to everyone on this board. You can, in some cases, purchase a feature from Squarebox. I've done this with good results in the past.
bryson "at" northshoreautomation.com
Thanks Bryson, I appreciate your insight. I totally agree with you, and I've thought about this a lot. Let me give you some background. We have no project management tool in our department that will allow us to track project status, billing status, milestones, whether or not masters have been made, whether or not archiving has been done, who worked on what, etc. Those tools exist, but can be expensive, and they would rely on someone manually changing those statuses. Advanced integrations are usually custom and even more expensive. Also , you have different places where data is stored - the accounting database, the project management tool, the media manager... etc. When we used FCSvr, we were able to track a lot of this information using Productions, because FCSvr gave you the ability to customize metadata for Productions and attach automations and notifications to them. The productions encapsulated all the media for a project, so it seemed natural to use the same system to manage the information AND the media. It worked great (even though there was a LOT that FCSvr could not do). I could automate the creation of project folder hierarchies on our SAN, automate archiving of all the assets linked to a FCP project or Production (all of that done via scripting mind you). It really was great to have all the data in one place, and it was even better that the data about the project was in the same place as the data about the media.
So, FCSvr goes away, in comes CatDV. We all love it. It's such a great media manager. But project management? Hmm. To have this kind of functionality with CatDV, I would need to be able to customize catalog metadata (not clip metadata) and attach Worker automations to it. I don't know if the ability to add custom metadata fields to catalogs is something that is realistic to expect for the future of CatDV. The Production Blog is great, but it's not exactly a great place to store structured information. So I came up with a way to do something similar with CatDV using a combination of a catalog of dummy clips and a production group. I have a catalog of "project clips" and a corresponding "Project Info" production group that contains the field definitions, views, and other settings that display the data the way I want. A "project clip" is really a dummy clip in this "Projects" catalog that is just a data placeholder. The fields are things like project code, client, project title, start/end dates, and checkboxes for project milestones (concepting, pre production, production, post, approval, audio, encoding, delivery, mastering, archive). There's also a field for labor and materials submitted agains the project. These are filled in using the Worker CLI with queries into our SQL Server accounting database using a bash script and SQLWorkbench/J in between. I also have fields that reference the actual media (number of clips with the same project code, number of masters, are the clips archived, which tapes in the library contain clips for this project, etc). I fill these in using the CatDV Worker CLI. I had to write a pretty complicated bash script to tie it all together. It's a little clunky because you have to switch into this group to be able to see the data you want to see. But it works pretty well, and I don't have to be a front end developer to see all the data in one place.
We do have a department of dotNET developers that could easily do this, but unfortunately this is an internal initiative, meaning there's no project that this development work can be billed to, and they are BUSY. So I'm on my own here. I can put a SQL query together with the rest of them, but a front end developer I am not (yet anyway) - I'm more of an integrator. An HTML report would be helpful, but I want to be able to sort, group, and filter the data. CatDV does that so well!
So that's the background...
This is an interesting idea.
Thanks Dennis. I hope the Squarebox folks think so too and choose to implement some kind of HTML rendering, even the basic web kit. Another idea along these lines would be a way to add HTML links so that clickable web addresses and mailto addresses could be added which would open in your default browser or mail client. Another idea yet would be a clickable catalog or clip link. You can do this with the Production Blog but it would be nice to also be able to do this in a field.
You are on the right path with the dummy clips. I am working on using that same methodology to track project archive info now.
Updating those from the outside is easily done and people can watch them for status.
I'm a fan of adding clickable links as well. Approval-Q (our review and approval tool) writes back the asset link to CatDV so that you can track the outside view of the asset or email them from the Worker and it's a cut and paste at the moment to view those.
We actually got an early client just due to the fact that we could do a table view of their metadata in HTML so I know this feature is desired.
Project Management is a huge problem in this space. All the options are expensive. It's something that I have an eye towards as well. Sounds like you're in a good direction to tweak you MAM to provide the basics.
bryson "at" northshoreautomation.com
Thanks for this, we're always happy to consider well reasoned and clearly described feature requests for possible inclusion in a future update.