Usage: Making and Editing Projects

To make the best use of ABCD it helps to have a basic understanding of the program organization. A project consists of a directory tree of Folders and a list of files. Folders can contain child Folders and References to files. Each object (Folders, files, file References) can have optional data associated with it. This data includes things like short text, longer description, date, and anything else a user might want to add. This data is easily accessible in the template files, and so can be used to customize a project.

Each time you upload photos from your camera you can run ABCD to classify them. When you are ready to make a CD you can then create a new project, merge in the project data from as many existing projects as you want, edit the results if desired, and then generate web pages from the data.

The general process to follow in making the database is:

This is just a general outline, of course more Folders can be added at any time.


ABCD Editor

The first step in using ABCD is running the database editor, which is used to enter and edit ABCD databases. When it starts up, you will see 3 main sections to the screen.


The box on the left is for building the directory tree. It shows existing Folders in a tree display.

The Folders in the tree are displayed, and can be selected. The number following each Folder name gives the number of References currently in the Folder. The red arrows show Links, which point to other Folders.


New Folders are added by using the ADD operation. You can call this either by selecting an existing Folder and using the ADD button on the Tree panel, or right-clicking on the Folder you want to add to.


Sometimes it might be convenient to have more than one way of getting to a Folder. For instance, in a family photo album, a Folder for me might belong both in one for my parent's family and one for my family. In this case it is possible to create a Link, giving more than one way to get to a folder. A Link simply points to a Folder somewhere else on the tree.


The order of child Folders within the parent can be changed by selecting a Folder and then either Move Up or Move Down, repeatedly until it is in the desired position.


A Folder and its subtrees can be removed by selecting it and clicking the REMOVE button on the left-hand side. A confirmation box will pop up to avoid accidental deletions.


Folders can contain 2 types of objects: other Folders and References. To avoid making it too large, the tree only shows the Folders. References are displayed in the Reference panel on the right. The Reference list shows all the References in the context Folder. The context Folder can be any Folder on the tree, or one of 2 special Folders, All and Unprocessed. The All Folder contains every file which has been loaded into the project. The Unprocessed Folder contains all files which have not yet been added to a Folder in the tree. These Folders can be selected as context by clicking their buttons under the "Set Context " section on the left.

Folders on the tree can also be used as context. This lets you examine and change the References in any Folder. To set a Folder as context, either right-click on it in the tree and select "Set as context" from the popup menu, or click on it and then use the "Folder" button under "Set Context" on the right side.

The current context is displayed above the file List.


The right side of the screen is the Reference list. This lists all the References in the current context and lets you operate on them. The number following each Item name is the number of References it currently has in different Folders.


The most important thing a project needs is input files. These are loaded by using the "Load" button on the buttons on the right-hand side. Click on the "Load" button, and you will be prompted for files to load. In the file dialog that opens up, you can select multiple files by using ctrl-click. If you choose a directory all files in that directory will be loaded.


Once files have been loaded in the project, the next task is to add them to the tree. This is done simply by selecting a file in the Reference List, selecting one or more Folders on the Folder tree, and clicking the "Add" button on the right side. This will add one Reference to the currently selected file into each of the selected Folders (unless a Reference to that file is already in the Folder).


If a Reference has already been added to a Folder but you decide that it does not belong, you can remove the Reference by selecting the File in the Reference List, selecting the Folder(s) you do not want it in, and clicking the "Remove" button on the right side. The Reference to the file will be removed from each of the selected Folders where it appears. Other, non-selected Folders with References to it will not be affected, and selected Folders where it does not appear also will not be affected. If you are not sure where the References to a file are, you can find out by selecting the file and then clicking the "Show" button on the right. This will select all the Folders in the tree which contain References to the file. To remove all References, just click "Show" and "Remove". To remove only some of the References click "Show", then deselect the desired Folders, and click "Remove"


The order of the References within a Folder can be changed. Like child Folders, one way is to select one and move it manually with the "Move Up" and "Move Down" buttons on the right. All References within a given context can also be sorted in several different ways by using the remaining buttons on the right-side panel. The supplied sorting orders are: - Sort by Date: Sort by the contents of the Date attribute for each file - Sort by Name: Sort alphabetically by the name of the file - Sort by Count: Sort in order by the total number of References for each Reference on the list. This is a way to see which files have few References.


Putting References into Folders is one way of assigning data to them. Attributes are another, much more flexible way, by which data can be associated with References, files, Folders, or the entire project.

An attribute is a key/value pair which can be attached to an object so that the value can be retrieved if you know the key. This allows simple lookups once you have an item. Some attributes, such as Date for References, are special, and used by Abcd. Others can be added by users, and all attribute information is easily accessible by the templates to generate custom web pages.

Keys are case-independent: Caption matches caption.

If a Reference is checked for an attribute and has no value, it checks to see if its associated Item has a value, and uses that. In this way, the data for an Item serves as default values for all associated References. Assigning a value for an attribute to a Reference overrides the default. This way a Reference can have a default value for an attribute but override it in a special case - for instance, a Photo can have a short text attached, but be given a longer text for a particular Folder.


Popping up the window to change attributes is OK for less commonly used ones, but some data needs to be filled in practically every time a Reference is added. To make this easier, a few of the common attributes can also be filled in on the bottom of the screen. These attributes are caption, text, and date

Usage: Project Editing
Usage: templates
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