NOTE: This article applies to Player for Windows (and Composer) only. The method explained below will not work with Player for Tablets or Player for Kiosks.
NOTE: With this method, changes to the Excel workbook or to content located in sub-folders will only be recognized after restarting Player for Windows. This can be accomplished either by manually restarting Player or by using the remote deployment feature to redeploy the experience (even if there are no changes to the experience itself) as remote deployment also involves a Player restart.
In this article you will learn how to use shared folders - including synchronized folder solutions like Dropbox - as a data feed source for Intuiface collections. With this trick, you can update content displayed in your running Intuiface experiences simply by changing the source files found in the shared folder.
Step One: Set up your collection in Intuiface
- Create a folder anywhere on the PC running Composer and place at least two images within it. These images do not have to represent the content you eventually intend to use. They are used here as placeholders and will be deleted.
- Next, using Composer, add an ordered collection into your experience. For this example, we'll use the Carousel.
- From File Explorer, drag and drop the image folder prepared above into your Carousel. It should look something like the following:
Under the covers, Intuiface has copied the drag-and-dropped folder and placed it within the Intuiface project you're editing.
- Save and close your experience.
Step Two: Create a dedicated content folder within the shared folder
Create a dedicated folder within the shared folder - such as a Dropbox folder - for storing your content.
For this example, we'll use a Dropbox folder named "SharedImages":
NOTE: The [username] field would be replaced with an actual user name on your PC.
Step Three. Link your collection to the shared folder
- Locate the project folder created by Intuiface when you drag-and-dropped the original folder in Step One. You will find the folder copy in the directory named:
C:\Users\[Username]\Documents\IntuiFace\[ExperienceName]\Files\Collection\[DirectoryName]NOTE: The value for [DirectoryName] will be the name of the original folder you drag-and-dropped.
- Copy the directory path of that image folder and save it for later use.
- Delete the image folder in your project. We're going to replace that freshly deleted folder with a link to your Dropbox folder.
- On Windows, open a Command Prompt as admin, then type the following command to create a link:
mklink /D "C:\Users\[Username]\Documents\IntuiFace\[ExperienceName]\Files\Collection\[DirectoryName]" "C:\Users\[Username]\Dropbox\SharedImages"
In other words, create a folder with the name "[DirectoryName]" that is actually a shortcut to the shared folder you intend to use.
A folder, with a small arrow icon, should have now appeared under your Collection folder. The arrow icon means it is a shortcut. The name of the folder will be the name of the original folder you drag-and-dropped in Step One.
See the image below for an example. The original drag-and-dropped folder was named SampleImages. This shortcut points to a shared folder.
Step Four: Enjoy!
You can now open and play your experience.
As you will see, any image added to/removed from your shared folder will appear/disappear on the fly in your collection.
Addendum: Using the Excel Interface Asset with Shared Folders
This shared folder technique can also be used with the Excel Interface Asset.
When you insert an Excel workbook into a scene, a folder will be inserted within the project hierarchy of your experience. For example, if the Excel workbook is named TestExcel.xlsx, the folder would be located and named as follows:
Now use the same shared folder trick as described above:
- close Composer
- copy the folder created for your Excel workbook - e.g. TestExcel_xlsx - into your shared folder. If using Dropbox, the following could be the resulting folder path:
- delete the original folder in your experience project
- create a link from your experience project to the shared folder using the mklink command:
mklink /D "C:\Users\[Username]\Documents\IntuiFace\[ExperienceName]\Files\InterfaceAssets\TestExcel_xlsx" "C:\Users\[Username]\Dropbox\TestExcel_xlsx"
The result is a shortcut from the original location of the Excel workbook folder to its new location within the shared folder.
You can now modify the Excel worksheets directly in the shared folder, even adding/removing media files from sub-folders.
Warning for Multi-Device Deployment
For every PC on which you wish to run this experience in Player for Windows, you need to either
- Ensure the path to the shared folder is identical across all machines
- Run mklink - in Step Three above - on each device to accommodate different paths to the same shared folder.