Lessons Learned from importing data for Parts with xClassification data and a thumbnail image

With the attached document, I just want to share my experiences and struggles with the hope that it helps someone else trying to do similar things.

It follows on from my posts

https://community.aras.com/f/getting-started/35943/script-for-importing-items-with-xproperties-from-excel-using-batch-loader

https://community.aras.com/f/getting-started/35979/how-to-import-thumbnail-images-for-parts-using-batch-loader

I eventually worked out for myself how to import thumbnails, but - unless I've missed a trick somewhere - it isn't as straightforward as one would hope.

Should you be able to provide feedback / improvements / information about useful reference documents or if you have any questions I'd be happy to hear from you!

Tim

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This is just a record of my experience (as a non-programmer) trying to work out how to import the data for a demo system just using AML and Batch Loader. A lot of it was picking clues out from various sources plus a lot of educated guesses. The documentation is insufficient. What I did find was as below:

  • A nice introduction, but just an introduction by Christopher Gillis on the Aras Forum
  • The Programmer’s Guide in the Innovator Documentation. This includes a three-page reference, which feels a bit short.
  • The documentation for Batch Loader includes some examples at the end

I would love to see further documentation and references, in particular:

  • The full extent of what AML can and can’t do. Specifically:
    • Can it include logic such as IF statements that depend on the content of the file being imported (i.e. an SQL where condition doesn’t help here)
    • Can one concatenate input data. See below where this would have been useful for loading the thumbnail images.
    • Can one import files (e.g. image files) along with the data by using pointers to the file locations with the import sheet?
  • A full description of the error messages returned within Batch Loader. These are mostly very obscure and singularly unhelpful.

Software used

  • Excel for
    • Data
    • Lookup for GUIDs to enable importing of Thumbnails
    • Generating AML for Batch Loader
  • Batch Loader. I assume that the reader has a basic understanding of using this program. If not
  • MS SQL Studio. Other options also available. Used to get a list of files in the vault along with their GUID

...

Please see attached file for the rest of the document:

Lessons Learned, xClass import with thumbnail images, forum.pdf

  • You bring up a couple of interesting points:

    • Can it include logic such as IF statements that depend on the content of the file being imported (i.e. an SQL where condition doesn’t help here)
    • Can one concatenate input data. See below where this would have been useful for loading the thumbnail images.
    • Can one import files (e.g. image files) along with the data by using pointers to the file locations with the import sheet?

    I really like the first idea. You can use some and/or/where statements, but the BatchLoader has it´s limits. It´s not uncommon to split the imports for this purpose and make multiple imports.

    Regard 2nd one: Without having tested it, maybe this one would work: <thumbnail>vault://@1</thumbnail>
    More easy approach: Already use correct format in your excel import file

    Regard 3rd one:You can upload a local file in combination with an add/edit AML query. There are a couple of samples around in this forum.

    Some tip: Watch your performance, cause vaulted images in Innovator often cause trouble, e.g. when you display the thumbnail column in the Pstz grid. When you have a lot of identical images and users shall be able to reuse them, use codetree images. You mentioned that you had trouble with the internal image picker where it doesn´t allow you do pick images in your customer folder. This is a minor bug in a few Innovator versions but easy to fix. 

    Otherwise, thank you for your effort!