Universal AIR XML Generator

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Universal AIR XML Generator Documentation

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With Universal AIR XML Generator you can rapidly and effortlessly create or update the XML, images and texts for your slideshows, galleries and banner rotators. It crops or scales all at once the images for thumbnails, full screen preview or default view, then automatically generates the XML for each image and uploads everything to the production server via FTP.

How does it work?

In this tutorial you will see that the Universal AIR XML Generator does and how it works. To explain in a few works, it resizes images and writes XML files following a template. The resized images and the generated XML should be used to power the slideshows, galleries and banner rotators on your site.

Let's assume you have the Flashgallery.org slideshow installed on your site

Universal AIR XML Generator is intended to eliminate the manual work with resizing images and writing the XML for slideshows.

UAXG workflow

For the purpose of the tutorial, let's assume you have installed the www.flashgallery.org slideshow on your site. The gallery comes with a folder where the images are stored, the HTML image that includes the slideshow the SWF file and the XML file. The Universal AIR XML Generator helps you to add images in the gallery folder and fills in the XML file that is used by the flash gallery in the demo page:

Flash Gallery files
Flash Gallery files

To run the Flash Gallery slideshow you need to (accordingly to this documentation): place the images in the gallery folder, resize the images to create thumbnails at 70x70px and write the XML to include your images, something like this:

<pic>
    <image>gallery/1.jpg</image>
    <thumbnail>gallery/s1.jpg</thumbnail>
    <caption>Some lamp on the ground</caption>
</pic>

(If you look at the XML, then you should be aware of the following: images and thumbnails are saved in the same folder and there is an additional field for the image caption)

All this is done by the Universal AIR XML Generator, following the steps below:

  • creating a new project
  • add images to the Universal AIR XML Generator interface
  • set the resize options to create the thumbnails
  • create the XML template
  • publish the project

Creating a new project

I'm assumming that you have installed the application and you have a basic understanding of the interfaces. When clicking on "New project" in the Intro Screen, the "New Project" interface will pop up. Here you can define the basic settings of the project:

  • project name - Flash Gallery (or anything you like)
  • project path - location on your machine where the project files (images, XML, audio file) will be saved
  • XML template - select custom template
  • slideshow type - Flash

 

UAXG New Project
UAXG New Project

Adding images

Adding images to the interface is very easy - you can add image by image or add an entire folder - (adding images have been described here).

Add the images you would like then click on the Add Parameter button to create the text field for the caption (alternatively you can use the standard Image title field, but to be completely accurate we are going to create and use a custom field called caption):

Adding a custom field
Adding a custom field

The pop-up will show where you should fill in the details for the caption field: the name, the label (for the interface) and the parameter type (text)

Creating the Caption field
Creating the Caption field

The new field will appear in the interface below the other fields:

Caption field
Caption field

With the new field available, click on each image and add the caption text. When you're done, click next to get to the image resize interface.

Image resize for thumbnails

As you could see from the XML that comes with the Flash Gallery, the large images and the thumbnails have to be saved in the same folder. You need to do the following settings:

  • images publish folder - add "gallery" at the end of the default path
  • You only need 2 image sizes, if there are more, delete them
  • enable "Save images in the same folder"
  • optional step: for the first image size (the large images), delete the defatult from "Output image suffix" as set the resize method to "no resize" (if you want to also resize the large images you can set the sizes instead)
  • for the thumbnails (the second image size) set the width and height to 70px, suffix to "s" and the resize to "scale"

Image resize
Caption field

Press next to go to the XML settings tab.

Creating the XML template

If you look at the files that come with the Flash Gallery, the images.xml holds the information about the images, thumbnails and caption texts needed by the slideshow. The XML looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?>
<images>
<pic>
<image>gallery/1.jpg</image>
<thumbnail>gallery/s1.jpg</thumbnail>
<caption>Some lamp on the ground</caption>
</pic>
<pic>
<image>gallery/2.jpg</image>
<thumbnail>gallery/s2.jpg</thumbnail>
<caption>Old communist buildings</caption>
</pic>
</images>

In the XML setting interface we need to create the template that will be used by the Universal AIR XML Generator to create the XML. First thing to note is that this section of code repeats for each image:

<pic>
<image>gallery/1.jpg</image>
<thumbnail>gallery/s1.jpg</thumbnail>
<caption>Some lamp on the ground</caption>
</pic>

and this lines of code are only used once:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?>
<images>

</images>

Let's see how easy is to create the template for this XML:

  • XML publish folder - location where the XML will be saved on your local machine
  • XML file name - images.xml
  • copy the XML code that is only used once:

XML code used once
XML code used once

  • between the <images> tag copy the code that is repeated for each image

Code to be repeated
Code to be repeated

  • now, we need to tell the application wich is the section that needs to be repeated for each image. Click above the <pic>tag and from the right side of the interface double click on "Image repeater - start". Click below the </pic> tag and then double click on the "Image repeater - end" button on the right side

Click on the image repeater
Click on the image repeater

  • this should add the image repeating tags in the XML template and the application will know which section of the code to repeat for each image

Image repeating tags
Image repeating tags

  • let's replace the example images with the right tags. Inside the <image> tag we have gallery/1.jpg which should be deleted. With the cursor there double click on "Image file path name 1" (so it should be: <![CDATA[[IMAGE-SET-1-FILE-PATH]]]>) Do the same with the thumbnail but double click on the "Image file path name 2". The application will replace the code with your image file names:

Image file name tags
Image file name tags

  • for the caption, delete the example text "Some lamp on the ground" and click between the <caption tags> then double click on the "caption" button on the right side

Publish the project

When you're done with the XML template click on preview (abobe the XML window) and check if the XML looks like the XML that comes with the Flash Gallery. If it does, click on Publish. Publish will resize the thumbnails (and the large images if you set them to resize) and fill in the XML with the names of your images and the caption text. The images and XML will be inside the Publish folder that you have set in the New Project screen:

Publish Folder
Publish Folder

Now, you just need to upload to the production server the content of the Publish folder (the images are inside the galery folder and the images.xml):

Publish content
Publish Content