Posts

Using Table Row and Column Conditions in StyleVision 2013


The ability to conditionally hide table rows or columns has been a popular feature request from StyleVision users. StyleVision 2013 adds the capability in the form of conditional expressions on table rows and columns. Conditional processing can be set on individual columns and rows of static and dynamic tables, as well as on column and row headers, to display or hide the column, row, or header depending on the truth of the condition. The conditions are specified using StyleVision’s XPath Expression editor. If a condition evaluates to true, the column, row, or header is displayed; otherwise it is not (i.e., is hidden).

StyleVision 2013 Edit XPath Expression dialog

Let’s take a look at some scenarios for which this new feature is exceptionally useful.

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Watermarks in StyleVision 2013


Watermark support has been added in StyleVision 2013, in response to customer requests. A watermark is text or an image that is displayed on the background of each page of a document section. Watermarks are often used in draft and confidential documents in order to emphasize a document’s status or security constraints.

In StyleVision 2013, watermarks may be used for print-oriented output formats, including PDF, RTF, and Word (Open XML). In keeping with StyleVision’s overall design model, with a single layout design used for multiple output types, you only need to define watermarks once, and they are applied to all print-output views.

Here’s an example of a StyleVision design containing a watermark:

StyleVision 2013 Word watermark example

Let’s take a look at the steps involved in using watermarks in StyleVision 2013 by modifying the QuickStart example (quickstart.sps) included in the Tutorials folder (installed with StyleVision), in order to produce the design shown in the image above.
In the Design view, if you select “Edit Properties” in the Initial Document Section, you’ll see a new “Watermark…” button. Clicking the button presents the Edit Watermark dialog:

StyleVision 2013 edit image watermark dialog

StyleVision supports both image and text watermarks. For both types of watermarks, the general idea is to specify:
· A condition used to determine when the watermark should be included (which can simply be “true()” in order to include the watermark on all pages)
· The watermark content (image or text, with related attribute setting preferences)
· Watermark size and position settings

For our example scenario, let’s assume we want to place a red “CONFIDENTIAL” text watermark across printed pages. To do so, we click the Text tab in the Edit Watermark dialog and:
· Enter “true()” for the condition
· Enter “CONFIDENTIAL” for the watermark text
· Select red for the watermark color

StyleVision 2013 edit text watermark dialog

StyleVision’s support for watermarks is powerful and flexible. You can include both text and image watermarks, for example, with different XPath conditional expressions used to specify what should appear when. You can also specify different watermarks (or pairs of image and text watermarks) for each document section in a StyleVision design.

Check out watermark options and the other new features in StyleVision 2013 by downloading a free 30-day trial version today!

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Web Service as a Look-Up Table to Refine GPS Data


Elevation data recorded by GPS devices is notoriously inaccurate, especially in hilly terrain like the Russian River Valley example from our earlier post.

The final elevation track plotted from the Russian River Valley GPX file is suspicious for several reasons. First, the graph shows we descended almost 50 feet below sea level. That’s hard to believe, since we were travelling along the bank of the river, only about 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Altova StyleVision ChartSecondly, we were headed mostly west, following the river downstream, but the track shows a predominantly uphill trend.

We can evaluate the recorded GPS elevation data by comparing it to information available from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS operates a Web service that accepts latitude and longitude coordinates, and returns elevation data measured by NASA and assessed for accuracy based on over 13,000 control points in the continental United States.

Using the elevation Web service in an Altova MapForce mapping will let us extract each point from the GPX file, send the coordinates to the USGS Web service, and build a new GPX file with corrected elevation data.

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Resist Data Integration Redundancy


The Internet makes massive amounts of data available for lots of interesting applications. But whenever you design a unique analysis and presentation of information you don’t privately control, you risk that the owner will offer the same view at some point in the future, instantly making your application redundant.

That’s exactly what happened to the Groupon API data-mining project we originally wrote about in August, 2011. Fortunately, the core of our project is a MapForce graphical data mapping. We can quickly and easily tweak the mapping and repurpose it to present an entirely different data set that provides new value.

HTML output from MapForce and StyleVision

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XPath Enhances XML Reports


In our previous post on Creating Elegant Reports for GPS XML Data we used an XPath expression to select nodes from an XML document for an elevation line chart. You can also use XPath to compute values. Altova StyleVision includes strong support for XPath, and we can write XPath expressions to add interesting information to our GPS XML reports. For instance, we can process the elevation data stored by the GPS device in meters to plot a chart showing the elevation in feet above sea level instead.

Altova StyleVision line chart

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Creating Elegant Reports for GPS XML Data


In our earlier post on XML for Global Positioning Systems, we mentioned that adventurers and athletes might want to use XML data from their devices to keep a record of their trips, or even training sessions leading up a marathon or other special event. Several colleagues responded by offering example files!

Looking through all this data, we realized that plotting elevation changes over time would show interesting results for many activities. We used XMLSpy to create this customized line graph directly from the XML data to show elevation vs. time for an afternoon of bicycling through California wine country. We even applied the vineyard photo as a background image right from the XMLSpy chart settings dialog.

Line chart generated by XMLSpy

Whenever you want to elegantly present data from multiple XML data files based on the same XML Schema, Altova StyleVision is the tool that lets you design a richly featured stylesheet for repeatable output in HTML, RTF, PDF, or Microsoft Word formats. Here’s how we did It for our GPS XML data:

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Building Web Pages – HTML Design with StyleVision


The rapid pace of today’s business environment means that information – along with the format in which it is required – changes often. Although some Web pages contain content that doesn’t often change (e.g., About Us and directions pages), the majority of today’s corporate Websites are continually updated with new data.
For this reason, many organizations choose to store Web content in XML. This allows organizations to develop content in a highly efficient manner because information in the XML file can be used for multiple purposes and in multiple output formats – the XML Schema associated with the XML file describes the content model.
StyleVision is a powerful stylesheet and report designer that can help you leverage XML. StyleVision will allow you to build Web pages with sophisticated formatting in a template-based, drag and drop design window. StyleVision auto-generates XSLT stylesheets so that you can integrate your design into a new or existing site – you can even generate ASPX Web applications right from the File menu.
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In this post we’ll design a Web page that will show off some of StyleVision’s HTML formatting capabilities. Although StyleVision’s built in formatting capabilities allow you to create sophisticated designs via simple drag-and-drop, for this example we’ll use CSS3, images, and other standard design elements to create a Web page that doesn’t need to be reformatted when content changes.

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