Local Variable Interface Asset


#1

I’m hoping this is an easy IA to create, and it could be a very strategic way to build Xp’s.

We’d like a way for the local machine to have a variable that the local XP can read. All it needs to be is a number within a text file. (When the IA is created in the XP, it will look for the text file in a specific folder in the IF files and read the variable within it. Since text doesn’t require any special software for any windows machine to open, the user could simply open the local machine files and change the variable if ever needed)

The point is to build ONE XP that can change based on what machine it is loaded onto. I can think of many examples of how this would be useful. It could save a lot of time and make deployment of many machines highly efficient, especially if there’s only minor content differences between the local xp’s.

Here’s a simple example of how this is powerful:

  • Create an XP for hotels that all show the same basic branded info. However, certain items may change by location - for example the hotel name, it’s location, and maybe a picture gallery. A user could preset - these items to show based on the local variable. The hotel info for california may be referenced with the variable is 5, while different data is referenced when the local variable is 28. However, one XP is deployed to all locations, but the local variable determines the content.

One important thing about this - it would need to be GLOBAL as well. So all scenes could reference it…and the xp could switch to a scene based on the local variable as well.

I’m hoping this idea gets voted up. If there’s any other digital signage users out there that deal with many location deployments - please throw in your 2 cents! Thanks!


#2

If I may add one more piece to this - I’m building a project right now that this would be VERY helpful for. And there’s others we are quoting that would benefit greatly in the future :smile:


#3

Alex! I think this is a good idea. I’m not aware of a way for IF to read a simple text file. While we could accomplish something similar with Excel, it assumes that Office is being installed on every PC.


#4

I know it’s not like a persistent variable, but, Alex, have you looked at the System IA. For your use case, you can get screen/kiosk local location info and trig whatever you want based on that (either by using Excel as a routing table or with conditional triggers). Another trick would be to well name the PC running the experience (“Device Name” property) to act as a local persistent (read-only) variable.


#5

Thanks Paolo, that’s the main thing is that Excel would require software on the device to make any updates if needed, and it’s IA properties don’t allow a straight binding.

Vincent, that’s a great idea actually. I had been playing around with the System Info IA yesterday, I think that may work. I’ll give it a try and report back. It may be a good solution for the time being!

Much appreciated.


#6

Just to be clear, Excel does NOT need to be on the PC for the Excel IA to work. You only need to install Excel if you want to modify the spreadsheet directly.


#7

I’ve pushed so hard on the Product Team to build this System IA that I would love some of our users like you being creative with it. I’m on the spot for this one :wink:


#8

Thanks Vincent - I think this is going to work well. It’s going to save me a LOT of time in the long run. With six similar, but different displays to build, I just need to set a comparison value to manipulate the experience according to the machine name.

Geoff is right, the main thing with Excel is that our players won’t have software to open the xlsx file and change it. But at this point, binding to the machine name should work just fine. I can’t really see any need to change the local variable on the fly anyways.

Kind of a neat ability to deploy one XP to many machines, where the XP changes based on where it is playing. Love it!


#9

About using excel file, I think it is not the good solution.
In fact the excel file is included in the XP, so when you deploy a new version of the XP, the excel file will be updated and your XP will not work as expected anymore, until someone manually modify the excel file (which by the way is hidden in some no so easy to find folder in case of a deployment)

The issue would be the same if using another text file included in the XP (except that you could change the content of this text file without the excel application).

So Vincent idea seems the better for the moment :wink:

Christophe


#10

Just following up - I’m setting up an interactive gallery for a college with 6 touch screens tomorrow. I used Vincent’s suggestion and created a director scene that checks the computer name, and enters into the proper scene.

Worked really well! 6 screens with 6 different scenes of information, but one presentation gets published that customizes accordingly. Very efficient.


#11

HI Alex,

I’m glad System Information IA found its first fan :wink: .

For my information, what content changes between the 6 scenes ?


#12

HI Alban, apologies for the delayed response.

I created a ‘director scene’, which has comparison values for the computer name, based on System Info IA. The director scene tells the XP which of the 6 scenes to enter.

Each scene also has comparison values to sort the student list by whichever program is being represented. For example when the creative advertising scene is entered, then the student list that shows at the home page is only creative advertising students.

Next, I use the System IA with comparison values to trigger philips hue lights. I use an if-then statement for when a student name is touched. If the name’s kiosk value matches the computer name, it will bring them to the profile of that student. If it doesn’t match, then it will change the color of the specific bulb above the kiosk where that student is located in the room.

The 6 different scenes have some changing graphics and other elements based on the program that is showing. I thought about having 1 scene for all 6 and setting triggers to only show the elements that matter to a specific program…but it started to get messy. 6 scenes makes it a bit more clean for now.

Hope that helps clarify! It’s been a lot of fun!

Alex


#13

A variable that I could assign to an asset and I could bind to, would be really great to handle dynamic content. At the moment I am thinking of using a transparent textfield, but its quite hacky.
For a use-case where I create an image button collection that can have different filtering actions connected to it. If the button has a title than its easier, but in case it doesn’t a variable would be the best.


#14

@gnagy
What type of filtering do you need the buttons to do?

There are times when I use text fields as a temporary storage of a value, I think that’s pretty common. Or I’ll use the Global Variable Interface Asset…or the comparison interface asset if two values need to be compared.

Also, it may not be necessary to make the text transparent…you could simply move the text outside of the viewable screen. I often do this with toggle buttons if I need several assets to perform similar actions stored in a toggle.

For my brief understanding of your situation, I assume you could store the image links in an excel file, then create an image button collection out of that. It should make it much easier for your filtering.

Just some ideas. Good luck!


#15

@AlexB
Thanks for the ideas.
Good trick to move the textfield outside of the area. Will do this definitely.

Well the “big thing” I’d like is a menu hierarchy where touching one element show others and so forth until getting to the pdf, video, image, contents.
Basically a sort of folder structure for categorized product presentation. In this case a search feature would be nice as well to get direct visual content upon keywords.
I had an idea using multiple sheet excel where each level of content would be in one sheet so using “local variables” I might be able to filter the data when pushing one button.


#16

@gnagy
Sounds fun. I think Intuiface was built exactly for what you’re trying to do. It sounds like there are lots of ways to accomplish your needs, depending on your specific situation.

For keywords, don’t forget about the comparsion interface asset, or the fact that you can set IF-Then triggers for your buttons. (For example, when button is pressed IF Value A = Value B, only then…do the action) I use that quite often as well when working with Excel.

One other quick thing - don’t forget that you don’t always need to filter Excel to match up data from different spreadsheets. Filtering an Excel collection will cause some or all of your items to disappear…and in some cases you want all items to show at all times.

So If your info is not dynamic withing those collections…meaning it will stay the same for this purpose, you could simply match up the Item in Focus variable between multiple collections. So when Collection A reaches the 12th item, it opens the 12th item of another collection…or creates an action like showing a group of buttons, go to a new scene, open a PDF, etc.

My post for this topic is regarding a LOCAL variable. Which means you could put the same experience on multiple computers/tablets, but one computer will keep a variable of A, while another has a value of B. Then your XP has triggers and actions to change based on the local variable for each computer. Vincent brought up the idea that the System Info tab allows you to create actions/bindings based on the computer name itself. Effectively accomplishing what I originally wanted. Good stuff all around.


#17

Great info thanks.
I am just looking into the conditionals, because according to asset type I’d like to show an image container or a youtube container in a data template of an asset grid. The asset type is defined for each row as image or video. Have you done something like that before?
At the moment I cannot see how to hook into a condition that verifies for each row if its an image then set opacity for image container to 1 and if video set opacity for youtube container to 1.


Is it possible to put a project within a project?
#18

Hi @gnagy,

As I answered you on support about the data hierarchy, you should check this video : https://youtu.be/bkLF_wAFU5o?t=39m40s

Regarding your second question, what I usually do when I have an Excel file with heterogeneous content, I add an “Is Image” and “Is Video” column with true/false values, then I bind the visibility of the Image / Video assets to these columns.


#19

@Seb
Yes thanks very much. I just watched that webinar and it answers my question.
And thanks for the heterogeneous content idea. Now I understand how to get this done too. :thumbsup:


#20

Hello Paolo,

I’ve just seen your video on Intuiface’s showcase, “Future of interactive storytelling using multi-touch devices”.
I really love the visual effect and the way you slide from one page to another.
I would like to have the same effect on a project I am working on.
Can you please give me some tips about the way you did it?

Thanks in advance for your kind reply.

Best regards,

Lionel