Frequently Asked Questions

How to Import Program Logs

Concepts of Log Importation


All scheduling software exports either a character delimited or position dependent text file regardless of the three-character filename extension. Simian simply reads these files to find the columns and then re-orders them.
Text Files
Text files are very simple containers that hold characters. Characters are letters, numbers, punctuation marks, Symbols, etc. Basically, characters are anything that takes up one “placeholder” in a text file such as “A” “8” “#” “+” “.

So, we’ve got our text file with a bunch of characters all in rows.
Now it’s time to talk about a couple other terms; Records and Columns. For our use records are individual horizontal lines in the text file. Columns, however are a little more complicated. In it’s simplest form, column means information in a stack, but how do we split up groups of records into columns?
There are two different ways; Character Delimitation and Position Dependence. We’ll examine each one individually.

In a character delimited text file, the individual record has a particular character inserted into it to delimit it into columns. Here’s an example of a comma delimited text File:

Column1,Column2,Column3,Column4
Column1,Column2,Column3,Column4

In a position dependent text file, the records are split into columns based on the number of character placeholders (counted from the left). Any information in that falls within the number of placeholders belongs in that column. Here’s an example of a position dependent text file where each column is ten characters wide:

Column1   Column2   Column3   Column4
Column1   Column2   Column3   Column4
[4 Columns = 40 placeholders]


In a position dependent text file each column can be a different length or number of characters. Here’s an example of four columns that have lengths of 3, 5, 7, and 9 characters:


+ info name address
[3][ 5 ][  7  ][    9    ]




Determine Type of Log:

Now that we understand the difference between a character delimited and position dependent text files, let’s look at the process for setting up the import filters for each type of text file. The first thing that we need to find out is what kind of text file your individual scheduling software creates. There are two ways to do this. You can call up the manufacturer of the scheduling software and ask (if you do, and if it’s character delimited, make sure that you find out the delimiting character as well) or you can simply open the file in a text editor such as Microsoft®
Word and use your newfound knowledge to discern the nature of the file yourself! Once you know, you can move down to the appropriate section of this article and continue from there…

Character Delimited:

Let’s say you have figured out the nature of your text file and it’s Pipe Delimited. Now we can go about setting up the filter appropriately.
When you open the Log Import tab under Tools/Program Options in Simian, it looks similar to this:
image
  1. Import Format: These three radio buttons allow you to choose between three completely different import formats. All of the other import settings change based on which format you choose here
  2. This section allows you to set up the import filter to accept either a Position Dependent or character Delimited text file. If you choose Delimited, it will also allow you to choose the delimiting character.
  3. This is where the rubber meets the road. If we look at the Simian interface, then at your text file, it will become very apparent that our columns are probably not in the same order. Let’s look at an example of a “real life” log:

00:03:00|+|1460|FORTUNATE SON|CREEDENCE|AUDIO|00:00

00:06:00|+|1266|TAKE IT EASY|EAGLES|AUDIO|03:25

00:09:00|+|8030|JUST LIKE STARTING OVER|JOHN LENNON|AUDIO|04:50

00:12:00|+|1083|BROWN SUGAR|ROLLING STON|AUDIO|03:44

00:15:00|+|1172|I SHOT THE SHERIFF|ERIC CLAPTON|AUDIO|00:00

00:18:00|+|1318|AINT THAT PECULIAR|MARVIN GAYE|AUDIO|03:57

00:21:00|+|1634|BOOGIE SHOES|K C AND THE|AUDIO| 02:09

00:24:00|+|1213|SUPERSTITION|STEVIE WONDE|AUDIO|04:22

00:27:00|+|1015|SON OF A SON OF A SA|JIMMY BUFFET|AUDIO|03:17



Looks like the Cue information is in the second column. In this case, we’d put a “2” in the Cue text box. It’s that simple! If there’s information in the text file that Simian doesn’t ask for, feel free to omit it. If there’s information that Simian asks for, but the text file doesn’t have it, don’t worry, Simian doesn’t always need all of the information that it asks for. Here are a couple common examples:

The log doesn’t include information for the Category for all or some of the records. If the information in the Category field is missing, Simian will automatically assume that the Category is “Audio”

Length is used only for log verification, and is unimportant during actual playback

Description is optional for all events other than Macros

Time is only important for sorting and for Timed Events

  1. This is there to keep you from having to go back and forth between the main Simian interface and the Log Import tab. You’ll notice that the columns correspond to those in the main Simian interface. The reason for this is that you use this area to open and test a text file to make sure that the settings in section 3 are correct. Once they line up properly here, you’ll never need to use this section again. Simply use the Set Test File button to open the text file, and then use the Test button to test the file as you make changes to section 3.
  2. Section Five will, just as it says, put a “+” in the cue column for every event. This is used mostly by music-on-disk stations.
  3. The Save Changes button simply saves the changes that you’ve made to this particular Import Format.

Position Dependent

Let’s say you have figured out the nature of your text file and it’s Position Dependant.
In this case, when you go to Tools/Program Options and select the Log Import tab, you’ll want to select Position Dependent (in box 2) right away. Once you have, the interface will look like this:

image
Let’s look at each section of the Log Import tab one at a time:

  1. Import Format: These three radio buttons allow you to choose between three completely different import formats. All of the other import settings change based on which format you choose here
  2. This section allows you to set up the import filter to accept either a Position Dependent or character Delimited text file. If you choose Delimited, it will also allow you to choose the delimiting character.
  3. Here’s the heart of this dialog box. If we look at the Simian interface, then at your text file, it will become apparent that our columns are probably not in the same order. Let’s look at an example of a “real life” log:

    image

    It looks like the cue starts on placeholder 9 and is one character long. Therefore, we enter a 9 and a 1 (respectively) in the boxes after Cue. If there’s information in the text file that Simian doesn’t ask for, feel free to omit it. If there’s information that Simian asks for, but the text file doesn’t have it, don’t worry, Simian doesn’t always need all of the information that it asks for. Here are a couple common examples:
    1. The log doesn’t include information for the Category for all or some of the records. If the information in the Category field is missing, Simian will automatically assume that the Category is “Audio”
    2. Length is used only for log verification, and is unimportant during actual playback
    3. Description is optional for all events other than Macros
    4. Time is only important for sorting and for Timed Events
  4. This area is there to keep you from having to go back and forth between the main Simian interface and the Log Import tab. You’ll notice that the columns correspond to those in the main Wave Station interface. The reason for this is that you use this area to open and test a text file to make sure that the settings in section 3 are correct. Once they line up properly here, you’ll never need to use this section again. Simply use the Set Test File button to open the text file, and then use the Test button to test the file as you make changes to section 3.
  5. Section Five will, just as it says, put a “+” in the cue column for every event. This is used mostly by music-on-disk stations.
  6. The Save Changes button simply saves the changes that you’ve made to this particular Import Format.

     

Implementation:

  • Once you’ve got your filters set up, how do you use them? Just go under the File menu in the main Simian interface and select Import, then select the format that you want to use.
  • Where’d the file go? For Simian to see the files, they need to be put in the folder that you designate under Tools/Program Options/Paths.
image



You can see here that you can designate the location for the Log Import folder (the folder where the “raw” text files go) and the Program logs folder (the folder where the .bsi logs are created when you import your log)
  • So, Why the two folders? When you import your file, Simian reads the “raw” text file, from the Log import folder and uses that information to create the .bsi file in the Program Logs folder.


 Last updated Thu, Jul 10 2014 1:25pm

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