User Data (aka in ACNE as “Back-Annotation”) is
something Ian has been bugging me about for months the process of importing data you have entered into a cable schedule in various columns that tvCAD does not directly address. You import your data into your tvCAD Database from the Cable Schedule (Excel spreadhseet) of your choosing, from the columns of your choosing. Your data will be preserved and appear on all future cable schedules unless you…
- Delete the User Data from the Database
- turn the column(s) off in the settings – the data will be preserved in the tvCAD database but it will not be written to any columns that are not turned on
- turn off User Data altogether – that’s in the Settings page
How does it Work?
These controls are all on the Database Page
Importing Your Data
Importing data has a couple of considerations …
- Where the Data comes from – which cable schedule you choose
- Which Columns you import. Yes, the columns are imported from every sheet in the Excel Workbook so if they are different…well, see “Limitations” below
- Which connections / cables you import data for – simply, if it is not in the cable schedule then it is not imported. This can be a good thing, see Limitations below
How to Import
Choose your columns (see just below) and/or add ones to the list, Click this button, choose a Spreadsheet and say “yes” to the dire warning that pops up. Done
Alternatively, you can choose you columns, then drag and drop the Excel file from Windows Explorer etc. straight onto the button that looks like a Database. Yes, they do actually look like that. Then say “yes” to the dire warning that pops up. Done
Before you do all this, you look at the Database Page – you will see a big green button that will save a snapshot backup of the database for you with one click. Use it often. Backups are good, disk space is cheap. Don’t be “that” guy/gal.
Columns to Import & Write
The Columns specified here have a dual-purpose …
- Importing: only the ones in this list are imported, everything else is untouched.
- Deleting: only the ones in this list are imported, everything else is untouched.
- making a cable Schedule: only the ones in this list are overwritten into the new cable schedule, everything else is untouched. Also, if there is no user data for the row in question, it is untouched. This can make a mess if you are adding User Data to cells that tvCAD also writes to, it will overwrite tvCAD’s info, when (and only when) it has something to write, it won’t overwrite existing data with blanks.
- how is that “dual” think working out so far? These things have a way of escalating.
If a column is not mentioned here then it will be ignored for any operations, except if/when you delete ALL of the User Data from the tvCAD Database.
If there is no User Data for that column then the cell will be untouched.
Columns already Imported
So you don’t have to remember / guess what you have previously imported, this will search the tvCAD Database and tell you what columns it has User Data for aka “Don’t make me think!” This is very handy if you have been selectively writing / deleting / updating User data in specific columns and you want to turn all of them back on again, click this.
Delete some Columns
This will delete ALL the User Data tvCAD has for the column(s) specified in the list above (Columns to Import & Write). It doesn’t involve any spreadsheets, it is a bulk deletion of absolutely everything in that Column, directly in the tvCAD Database.
It could be handy if a column’s data gets out of shape due to things added, changed and deleted – if you have a spreadsheet with a known good state you could wipe the column concerned from the tvCAD Database and re-import it to get things back on track.
If you look at the Database Page you will see a big green button that will save a snapshot backup of the database for you with one click. Use it often.
ItvCAD will warn you before it goes off deleting things but who read those, eh?
Delete All User Data
aka “What could possibly go wrong?” This will delete ALL the User Data tvCAD has. ALL of it. It doesn’t involve any spreadsheets, it is a bulk deletion directly in the tvCAD Database. Did I mention ALL of it?
If you look at the Database Page you will see a big green button that will save a snapshot backup of the database for you with one click. Use it often. Backups are good, disk space is cheap. Don’t be “that” guy/gal.
It will warn you before it goes off deleting things but who read those, eh?
Limitations & Points to Ponder
- If it is not in the cable schedule then it will not imported and it won’t be deleted / overwritten.
- so, You can make a copy of a cable schedule, delete a ton of stuff and just import a few specific things into tvCAD. Yes, that will leave all the other things alone that are not in that Spreadsheet. It will overwrite everything that is in that spreadsheet to the Database, including deleting old data if the User Data cell is blank.
- If the column is not mentioned in the list of enabled columns then it is ignored, it will not be overwritten, added to a new cable schedule of deleted (unless you deleted ALL the User Data).
- If you delete User Data in Columns it will delete everything in that column for all connections, everywhere. Make a one-off spreadsheet with just the rows you want to change if you want to delete just some data, not all of it, then import that spreadsheet.
- This v1 implementation stores your User Data on the Source Connection of a cable. A cable is re-made every time tvCAD makes a cable schedule, the Source and Destination are joined each time.
- SO, if there are duplicate cable numbers then this will blow up, the last one imported will be the User Data for all cables with that number. This means duplicate in a global sense, if you have Video, Audio and Control cables with the same number then they are duplicates and this will blow up.
- Control cables with 2 sources or 2 destinations will work fine as long as the are only 2 ends on the cable, I thought of that.
- It handles Dates and times but the Excel column needs to be formatted as a date / time and tvCAD will re-format them in tvCAD style: 1969-07-21 02:56:15
Rather self-explanatory, this will tell you when and what was your last import of User Data. This becomes relevant when you add new connections etc. to your tvCAD Database and then need to add their User Data.