Automate your workflow with Enfocus Switch

Posted by Scott Tully on Tue, Jul 05, 2016 @ 04:23 PM

Tags: workflow, Enfocus Switch, automation


 

If you didn't know already, NAPC has added Enfocus Switch, PitStop and Connect to its production-enhancing toolbox. While most everyone has heard of or used PitStop to verify and repair PDF files, let me introduce you to Switch and share with you some of its wicked-cool features.

 

Switch is a modular and 'open' workflow automation solution that's, 'just right'. By that I mean, it fits. It fits right in between Xinet's Triggers & Actions and Dalim Software's TWiST when comparing features, capabilities and cost of ownership.

 

First off, Switch can do anything Triggers & Actions can do. And when it comes to 'set-up' or 'configuration', it's no contest -- there's a rudimentary interface for Triggers and Actions and an intuitive, interactive one for Switch.

Switch_Flow_Example.png

In Switch, you simply drag-n-drop the Flow Elements on the canvas and join them with Connectors. When done assembling and configuring, save the workflow (Flow) and activate it.

 

Switch is highly modular; you only purchase the modules you need. Starting with the Core Engine, Switch's capabilities are expanded with the optional modules: Configurator, Metadata, Database, Scripting, Performance, Switch Client, Web Services and Switch Proxy.

 

Switch is based on the popular programming language: JavaScript. In being 'open', Switch can be extended with custom scripting written in JavaScript, AppleScript (Mac) or Visual Basic (Windows). The input-processing-output capabilities are based on standards such as: XML, XMP, XSLT, X-Path, SQL, HTML, HTTP, FTP to name a few.

 

As you would expect, Switch seamlessly integrates with PitStop Server and Connect to form a dynamic, end-to-end workflow. If this isn't enough to get you thinking about seeing, or better yet, owning Switch, there are three things that make Switch peerless.

 

First, Switch is always 'current' as its processing power comes from the applications you already own. As those apps are updated, new Configurators are made available via the Pack Manager. Since Switch automatically checks for new Configurators each time it is launched (or you can check for updates manually) the production environment is perpetually kept up to date.

 

Second is the Enfocus Appstore. Like Apple's App Store, the Enfocus Appstore serves as a co-creation platform where you can buy custom Flow Elements (tools) that extend your Switch Flows. Need a special gadget? Check the Appstore. Better yet, if you solve a particular workflow problem/need with a custom script, you can package it and post it for sale!

 

Lastly, there is Enfocus Forum, a vibrant, international community of contributors for exchanging tips, tricks and opinion.

 

Watch Switch in action Julty 11th, during Enfocus' annual online webinar series:

Register Here

Dalim Software Elevator Pitch

Posted by Scott Tully on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 @ 05:01 PM

Tags: TWiST, workflow, ES, Dalim ES, Dalim TWiST, Dalim Software

Join me in a first person, inner monologue based on the concept of an "Elevator Pitch"...

"I'm a proven, passionate practitioner of process control" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Green belt, black belt, yellow belt? Yeah I earned one, but no one but a 'lean' peer gives a '_______', so forget that. Administrator, Project Manager, Team Leader, Evangelist, Catalyst, Guru -- did someone just holler "BINGO!" ?

[as in the conference call or on-line presentation game Bulls#%t Bingo]

Heck, I don't even have a NAPC business card. I do have a title though: Solutions Architect. It's certainly applicable, but too broad. There is, however, a nickname, actually two words, with which I got tagged with a decade ago and have long since embraced: Dalim Dude.

Go ahead, tell 'em. You're the Dude...


Turning to you, I declare:

"I've been a Dalim Software user, administrator and advocate since 2002. I even served a two-year term (2005-07) as President of the [North American] Dalim Software Users Organization (DUO). Since joining NAPC in 2012, I've relished the opportunity of fulfilling an amalgam of technical, sales and ombudsman support roles for our Dalim Software offerings: Dalim TWiST and Dalim ES."

You nod, and I continue, in staccato cadence:

"TWiST is my [favorite] toolset."

I'd love to share it with you. Never seen it? Allow me to demonstrate it. Own it? Let me help you [your organization] optimize your workflows. Administrate it? Let me show a tip or two.

"In my view, no agency, printer or premedia department should be without TWiST."

I follow with:

I'm passionate about ES [Enterprise Solution] too. Project Management, Softproofing, Digital Asset Management with TWiST 'under the hood'. Smart Views, metadata, taxonomy and Custom Job Tickets...its all I could ever ask for.

Reaching our floor, I close:

I call ES the "shop in a box". It's everything an organization [like yours] needs to facilitate all aspects of visual communications production, in one package."


Before you dial or write, be aware there are two Scotts at NAPC: Scott Creamer, Director of Support Operations and me. So, when you call and Kelly responds, "which Scott?" all you have to say is, "the Dude, I wanna talk with the Dalim Dude". If writing, all you need to remember is NAPC is passionate about Dalim Software, so put 'em together and you're there: dalim@napc.com.

 

Or, click the button below:

Talk to the Dude

 

5 Things: DALiM TWiST Video Series

Posted by NAPC Marketing on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 @ 09:16 AM

Tags: creative, creative workflow, video, digital assets, TWiST, Dalim, DAM Systems, digital asset management, DAM, workflow, graphics, production

 

twist-designed-black

School is in session with our very own Solutions Architect and TWiST Expert, Scott Tully. It is time to get out of Spring Break mode and get ready to learn 5 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do In DALiM TWiST

This is 5-part video series, aims to educate and enlighten users and administrators of Dalim TWiST by illustrating the capabilities of the TWiST software as pertains to workflow engineering and graphic arts production. As the theme implies, the TWiST toolbox is so intuitive, users quickly achieve their workflow objectives and stop, never realizing all the workflow automation and intelligence that TWiST has to offer.

Episode One: "Stick a FORK in it" contrasts the methodolgy of building TWiST workflows with multiple branches versus a linear workflow featuring the TWiST Basic Tool: Fork.

Episode Two: "Hidden in Plain Sight" illuminates the documented, yet overlooked PDF concatenation feature of the FilterGroup tool, providing the fundamentals of the tool's configuration and demonstrating its unique feature.

Episode Three: "All Good Things" introduces TWiST's capability of providing for 'conditional pauses' based on logic as expressed within the WaitOn tool.

Episode Four: "Six Ways To Sunday" : "Six ways to Sunday" moves away from the tool-based example and conclusion model, revealing a unconventional approach to TWiST's input methodology.

Episode Five: "X Marks The Start": Turns conventional usage of TWiST on it's head, introducing SetParamFromXML's ability to translate a spreadsheet into a "run list" as well as some additional, helpful programmatic "X's".

Tully has produced this video blog series to share both his passion for, and intimate knowledge of, all things TWiST, knowing you would appreciate the timely tips or insightful reminders about this specific tool or a underlying feature.

We are confident that the 5 Things series will ignite your imagination and fuel your pursuit of ever more efficient, effective TWiST workflows.

Each video in the 5 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do In DALiM TWiST series is a run time of less than three minutes, and each episode is sure to enlighten or remind users that there is always more than one way to get things done.

Watch Video 1: Stick a FORK in it RIGHT HERE

Watch Video 2: Hidden in Plain Sight RIGHT HERE

Watch Video 3: All Good Things RIGHT HERE

Watch Video 4: Six Ways To Sunday RIGHT HERE

Watch Video 5: X Marks The Start RIGHT HERE

You can see all episodes on the DALiM TWiST Channel at Flathead U

Learn More About DALiM TWiST   

ProofHQ: When you see it, you’ll believe it (and get it, on the spot)

Posted by NAPC Marketing on Tue, Mar 10, 2015 @ 08:46 AM

Tags: approve, creative, efficient, digital, paper, proofing, organize, ProofHQ, workflow, marketing, productivity, collaboration, operations, technology, review, design, GCG, Ken Madsen, print, layout

                           describe the image

You’ve heard people say “seeing is believing.” It’s one of those catch phrases that’s been done to death, yet it’s exactly the right phrase to describe ProofHQ. So we’ll say it again, and this time with gusto; SEEING PROOFHQ IS BELIEVING.

So why are we on the mountain tops shouting our love for this solution? Because it’s just so obvious, so effective, and so simple.

It’s keeping online what was created there in the first place. Why do we still print and pass around paper layouts? Why do we still use ink and sticky notes? If you haven’t asked these “whys,” it’s probably because you’re too preoccupied with the deadline you missed when someone didn’t notice your stack of “to be approved” papers on their desk, and went on vacation.

ProofHQ is the answer; a smart, simple way to organize your proofing process by putting everything in one place, where everyone can access it, at anytime, from anywhere. It’s eliminating all that old-school printing-out-layouts/stuck-in-a-paper-jam stuff, and greasing the gears with digital lightning.

BUT EVEN BETTER; it’s a cinch to get up and running, and everyone onboard. Just hear what Ken Madsen, President, GSG has to say about ProofHQ.

           

You’re smart. You’ll see and you’ll believe. And when you do, we’ll help you go from “must get” to “got it” as quickly as you can say ProofHQ.

 

                                                            See it in action!

Why you won't lose 35lbs, or switch to online collaboration, overnight

Posted by NAPC Marketing on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 @ 03:47 PM

Tags: marketing agile, project management, designers, share, approve, resolutions, creative, online collaboration, digital, proofing, streamline, proofing software, workflow, assets, change, productivity, transition, Shawn Herring, Proof HQ


proofhq

 

 

 

CHANGE THE WAY YOU WORK  CLICK FOR FREE DEMO

 

92% of New Year’s resolutions have already failed...and, sadly, that’s the norm year, after year. But these failed attempts aren’t due to lack of good intent, rather from a need for speed. You are not going to shed 35 pounds and become a shining icon of good health in one week. To achieve your goal requires a lifestyle change that begins with small steps. First comes the acknowledgement that change must happen, followed by careful meal and exercise planning. But nothing will make any difference if you don’t have the stamina to stick with it past the end of the month.


Likewise, if you walk into work on a Monday in January and say “let’s make our marketing department more productive,” it’s not going to happen overnight (or maybe not even by the end of the month). To achieve your goal takes a workstyle change. First comes the acknowledgement that a certain process must change. Then comes careful examination of your options; what will cut your costs, save you time and eliminate rounds of confusing comments? Which solution frees you up so you can put more focus on your end product? Most of all, which is easy to implement and use?  The transition must be accepted, and the process learned. Above all else, you and your team must have the stamina to stick with it for the long haul.


Over time, with patience, you will see a remarkable difference in how your clothes fit and the way you feel about yourself. Over time, with patience, you will see the remarkable end results of online collaboration, due to a more effective project management tool. For more on the topic of change in business read what our guest blogger, Shawn Herring, VP of Marketing, Proof HQ says in his piece about changing the way you work to become more marketing agile.


If you want a quick fix, then hurry off and organize your file cabinet (go on, git!). But if you want to make some really good change, sloooooow down and investigate our link below.


 

CHANGE THE WAY YOU WORK  CLICK FOR FREE DEMO

Give your office the gift of a digital approval process, because you know #PaperProofingSucks

Posted by NAPC Marketing on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 @ 11:10 AM

Tags: efficient, holiday, digital, approval, paper, switch, options, magic, card, office, gift, budgets, deadlines, project, proofing, online, ditch, resolution, solution, workflow, process, productivity, streamlined

Christmas

 

The holiday season is here and with it begins the cheerful trickling in of holiday cards. You might already have a pile forming on your entryway table.

 They’re a little like presents, you might say. Open them and inside is a photo of family and friends, or friends’ kids (my how they’ve grown!), who you haven’t seen in the longest of times. Or at the very least there’s a warm greeting with an update on “things.”

Yes, good old-fashioned paper holiday cards are perfect. But have you ever considered sending them online instead? You might have, but you didn’t ever actually do it because of a plethora of challenges we can all relate to:

 -Digital is impersonal, even if you slug in their names and your signature in a script-like font,
-People generally love the traditional acts of opening the mailbox, finding a card, and tearing open the envelope
-You can display paper cards as part of your holiday décor and look at them all season long
-None of your great aunts or grandmas have computers, and they keep great records of who they do and don’t get cards from

So maybe it’s easier to just send paper cards. Fair enough. 

Now (seemingly unrelated, but you’ll see how they are shortly), when you think of your approval process at work, you think of paper too, right? Have you ever considered moving it all online instead? You might have, but you didn’t ever actually do it because of a plethora of challenges we can all relate to:

-Digital, you are told, is impersonal because hand writing comments in red ink makes people feel like everyone’s actually “touched” the project (kumbaya)
-People generally feel safe with the traditional act of moving stacks of paper from desk to desk (what if there’s a computer glitch?!)
-You can’t get anyone to understand that all season long, you’re spending more on reams of paper than you would on this one solution
-None of the higher-ups do well with change, and this would jingle bell rock their worlds in a very bad way (and don’t think they’re not keeping record of that for review time)

So maybe it’s easier to just leave things the way they are. Sure is. But then it’ll be another year of miscommunications, blown budgets and deadlines…and we both know that’s not really what you want.

TO SAY a digital proofing and approval process is more streamlined, efficient and eliminates multiple rounds of back and forth IS EASY. To get everyone on board with this change takes more than a little holiday magic.

Look. You’ve done your research. You know there are better options out there. With the New Year swiftly approaching, now is the time to make the switch. Start clean and fresh…and paper free!

To make everyone happy, you can even send a paper card to make the announcement.

MAKE A RESOLUTION TO DITCH YOUR PAPER APPROVAL PROCESS!

 

START HERE
 

Branding your Notifications in Dalim ES 3

Posted by Scott Tully on Tue, Jan 08, 2013 @ 02:36 PM

Tags: Notifications, review and approval, workflow, Dalim ES 3.0, ES Features, E-mail templates, Softproofing

Friends,

As a member of NAPC's customer-focused, technology-taming Customer Support team I passionately advocate and support our customer's [your] investment in Dalim Software's industry-leading solutions TWiST, DiALOGUE and ES.

Today, I'd like to share with you and perhaps get you thinking about customer-facing 'branding' opportunities within ES.

I would imagine that many of you ES administrators have already achieved some 'branding' knowingly or un-knowingly when you used the Customization-Theme Configuration feature to add your organization's logo to the Login Screen?

Dalim ES login window

 

How about applying your own colors to the ES interface? Sure you have. Since you [may] have created a custom look and feel for your ES users and customers, why not consider applying your custom theme to some new, branded e-Mail templates!

Your ES 3 installation came with (8) e-Mail templates and (11) default Notification templates. For this exercise and introduction, we'll choose the File Event condition as our E-Mail template source and create a new template by modifying it.

First things first.

You don't have to be a programmer or .html wiz to edit the templates, so please, keep reading. If you are a wiz, consider sharing what you've learned with a coworker and helping them along. Regardless, everything you will need can be found in tools you use everyday and the 'know-how', trust me, you already have it.

Ready?

Let's start by identifying some 'parts' you will be adding to the template to achieve some enhancement. Color. You'll need to determine the hexidecimal value of the color you will be applying [ex:#bf2e1a] and a raster version of your logo. Your art or logo file should be in [.png, .gif .jpg] format using the RGB colorspace. Indexed or Greyscale colorspaces will also work.

Login to ES as an Administrator. Select "Administration" mode and then navigate to and open the File Event E-Mail template. In the message body, Select All and Copy to capture the entire message body. Launch your text-editing application and Paste the message body into a blank document. It's a good idea to perform Save As... "File Event" so you have a backup of the E-Mail template [for safekeeping].

In the message body, Find and Replace "#252525" with your color. Find and Replace "header.png" with the exact name of your logo [ex: my_logo.png]. So far so good? Now perform a Select All, Copy.

Switching back to ES...the File Event E-Mail template...

Click in the message body area and Paste your edited message body into the template. Click OK to close the template editor window, and then click Save to update your File Event template.

That's it, the editing is done.

On your ES 3 server, navigate to the "images" directory:

/symlnks/common/tomcat6.0/webapps/Esprit/images

Copy your logo into the "images" directory. [EOF]

Returning to ES, perform an action in ES that will trigger a File Event Notification condition, and check your E-Mail. There is your newly 'branded' E-Mail message!

Okay, before you get too excited (and waste alot of time designing a masterpiece) allow me to make an important point: ES 3 E-Mail templates must be under 2048 bytes. Yes, that's bytes. To put that number into perspective, this blog message would have ended six sentences ago at the [EOF] marker!

So friends, take care to keep your customization simple. And for you 'clever', self-reliant users who have jumped to the conclusion of overcoming the 2048 hurdle, let me be perfectly clear: I do not advocate 'hacking', so don't even go there...

The upside is, you can get some attractive results and stay under the 2048 limit with a bit of trial and error. So keep at it. I am confident that you'll be successful in adding a little style to your messages, even with the size restriction.

Now, the good news is, we all can also look forward to a better branded future in ES. That's right, the engineers at Dalim Software are aware of [yours, mine and] the marketplace's desire to design and compose attractive, branded E-Mail messages and have taken action to relax the size restriction in the next "dot-oh" release of ES...ES 4.0.

Stay tuned, my friends.

 

Scott

10Gb networking and DAM

Posted by Rob Pelmas on Wed, Jun 03, 2009 @ 09:56 AM

Tags: knowledge, how to, DAM Systems, Portal, workflow

We're a bunch of performance geeks here. We've been tweaking blocksizes, stripe, and interleave settings on disk since SGI first gave you access to 'em. Tuning and re-tuning SWAP size, location, type is in our blood. A few percentage points here, double digit gains there, all without more capex. Gotta love it.

Now, anytime a paradigm shift in technology comes out there's a steep cost differential to it, right? 10Gb networking had only a tiny little blip of time when it was out of reach of the masses, which is a refreshing change. You can kit out most servers with a card, an acceptable managed switch with a 10Gb port or two, for a very reasonably cost.

Why go to 10? Our desktops have had Gb cards for what seems like forever, and very fast CPUs. With just a couple 'power' users you could swamp the networking capabilities of a server. Of course, a handful of years ago disks could only cough up 150Mb/sec or so of sustained data, so network tended to not be the gating factor in server  performance. Modern disk starts at well over 300Mb/sec, and if you stripe or otherwise use some common sense design principles you can achieve multiples of that.

 Xinet and NAPC both use the 1 to 6 rule for users and performance: with 6 retouchers (or 'power' users), you can assume 1 of them will be accessing the server at one time. 12=2, 18=3. It's a rough rule of thumb, but one that seems to stand up over time. 12 heavy hitters can thus drain 120Mb/sec out of a server, which is the better part of 2 1Gb cards bonded together. Add in the other users, doing layout, OPI printing (yep, some folks still use an OPI workflow), and Portal access, you've got a saturated pipe. 10gb gives you a good 800mb/sec of access speed, which will sate all but the most demanding organizations needs for data.

Next of course, we can talk about teaming 10Gb interfaces! (insert evil chortle of delight here).

 


Xinet Automation in the Command Line

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Wed, Apr 15, 2009 @ 09:52 AM

Tags: database, Xinet, how to, workflow

Some people actually prefer to work from the command line in a terminal window.
I know! Can Ya' believe it!
There are somethings that just aren't in the GUI and there are some things you
can just do faster in a terminal window. That is assuming you can type faster
than me.

I had a client call in looking for a way to create a series of "Move Actions"
but wanted to do it as a batch somehow. I couldn't get him a 'batch create' for a
WebNative Venture action, but... command line creation fit the bill.

The idea was for remote users to have an Uploader Application and one of the
mandatory data fields was the client name. The Trigger set would do a 'Compare Action'
and then call a Move to-client-name, within the folder structure. So it's going to be
an automated filing system with Triggers for uploaded assets.

In the folder path: /usr/etc/webnative/actions/
are all of the default Venture action categories, (copy, email, move...) and any
custom action categories we can create ourselves. Within each specific category folder
are the scripts for that action and a settings folder that has a config file for each
action we create.

Here is a sample move action called: "Acme Widgets Incoming"

If I look at that setting from the command line it looks like this:
# cat "Acme Widgets Incoming"
[base]
desc=File asset in client folder Acme
[arg0]
value=/Volumes/Raid/Studio/Acme_Widgets/Incoming
[arg1]
value=O
#
It's pretty simple once you compare the GUI to the code settings.
desc is the description of the action
arg0, value, is the destination path we want to move the asset into.
arg1, value=O, is the 'Overwrite' selection.
This value could be 'A' for 'Append Unique Number' or 'F' for Fail
You just need to understand the argument options and the code translation. Now obviously
the different action categories will have other argument options, you just need to review
each one to know the 'value' to assign.

So back to my client's need to create multiple actions quickly. Consistency in the folder
structure and nomenclature is part of the key. All we do is create one 'master' move action
in the WebNative browser window. "Acme Widgets Incoming"
From the command line copy the master to the next client name and then edit the value path.
Done.

In the terminal window navigate to the action settings folder.
   cd /usr/etc/webnative/actions/move/settings
Copy paste the master setting to the new client name.
   cp "Acme Widgets Incoming" "Spacely Sprockets Incoming"
Edit the new setting "Spacely Sprockets Incoming" for the correct path-to-folder.
     value=/Volumes/Raid/Studio/Acme_Widgets/Incoming
becomes:
     value=/Volumes/Raid/Studio/Spacely_Sprockets/Incoming
 
If you need to create a lot of actions that do the same thing to unique paths, this is the
quickest way to go. The command line is not for everybody but for those that know their way
around, its another powerful way to work with the Xinet Venture database. My client now has over
300 move actions, to file uploaded assets into the correct client folder automatically.
All done by lunch time..!
So what's for dessert?

-Sully 

Push the Xinet Envelope

Posted by Robert Sullivan on Mon, Mar 23, 2009 @ 10:08 PM

Tags: database, knowledge, webinar, workflow

So here I go a blogging away. I'm not too sure of how to start because usually I'm following an agenda of some kind, or a question to start with. Someone has a problem or a challenging workflow to configure. Blogging is more free flowing, I guess... We'll see.
 
I do a lot of training for new clients and there is so much information to absorb that they can easily become overwhelmed & overloaded. As they get use to the system they'll Venture further (pun intended) and start looking for cleaner ways to use their new system. But not many will make that leap and really push the limits of what they can get out of it early on. There's way more power under the hood.
 
The problem I find so often is that people have an idea of what the server can do but aren't sure how to get there. And that stops them. At that point, the thing that most often drives them is a client request, or the boss (every one has a boss...) saw a Webinar about some cool widget and wants it created. Is it done yet?
When I was in Printing, I worked for a guy that always said,
"If I wanted it tomorrow, I'd be asking for it then. I want it now!"
 
Then the calls start coming in in earnest. Which is great for me because now I have something to dig into. A new challenge. But I wonder how do we get people to push the envelope before they get the push themselves? It's training, and it's knowledge. NAPC runs Webinars' all the time on different applications, from FullPress, the Venture database, to Dalim Dialogue or the Xinet Uploader. Sharing the knowledge is driving the train here!

Do you have an idea for a Webinar you'd like to see. Tell us. Got an idea for any Trigger automations, let me know. If you can conceive of it, we can build it... well, I'm looking for the stuff we can build out-of-the-box. Custom stuff comes later.

-Sully