Hopefully you’ve received an invite to our Pageflex upgrade webinar. If not, the information to attend is here. If you create or manage variable products on Four51, you do not want to miss this demo. There are some amazing new features you will want to take advantage of in your products.
I’m going to supplement that demo with a few additional pieces of information. We’ve created a Four51 App Exchange wiki. I want to answer some expected questions regarding the Four51 Toolbar, and I’ll demonstrate a document action that I believe will be very popular.
First, the wiki. Hopefully you’re aware of wiki’s. Wikipedia is the headliner. I don’t think I know any person that hasn’t at least visited that site. I feel that Pageflex’s Document Actions feature open limitless possibilities for your products. I attempted to identify the most obvious uses and created the Four51 Actions library. That library makes it possible for you to take advantage of this powerful feature without having to write your own code. However, it does not expose all the capabilities of Document Actions. I want to encourage you to examine them. The API reference is installed with your upgraded version of Pageflex Persona. I understand the learning curve involved, so I felt that allowing you to see how we’ve created the Four51 Actions library would be the most helpful jump start in this process. The library is open source and each action is defined in the wiki. Please come join the community. Post comments in the discussion pages, or even contribute new document actions to be included in the official library.
Nothing has been more requested for projects than the ability to customize text in the spec form. Pageflex’s .EDIT feature (I believe they refer to this as Free Edit now) is an impressive and robust offering. However, it is generally not suited to the products you offer to your customers. The need to basically design a layout is far above and beyond most customers needs. I decided to focus on the most requested capability, the text styling needs. The Four51 Document Actions Toolbar allows for bolding, italicizing, underlining, and a few other capabilities within the spec form. I predict two questions to be asked immediately: What about setting the font type, and color? There are limitations with HTML that prevent those features from being applied. The toolbar’s editing feature allows the text to be displayed in the spec form just as it would appear in the rendered template. Because HTML does not allow for more than 7 defined fonts on one page there is no way to produce the “what you see is what you get” aspect. Additionally, for a website to display text in a particular font every individual visiting that page must have the same font installed locally. Based on the 8,000 installed fonts for the rendering servers, not many people would have the fonts installed on their computers. Allowing for color choice is also prevented by a particular limitation of technology. HTML requires RGB color definitions. If you needed the print production output to be CMYK there is no formula for converting RGB to CMYK. The “what you see is what you get” aspect is again broken. Fret not. There are document actions that allow you to customize text properties with all of these options, but they will not work within the “what you see is what you get” functionality of the toolbar.
Along the lines of text styling I have set up a demo product named “Documents Actions Paragraph Styling” that shows the capabilities of the DefineParagraphStyle Four51 Document Action. The open textbox has 4 properties that are definable. Go to the site to see it in action, and also download the project files I created.
I hope you all are as excited about the possibilities these new service offerings bring you. When asked if something can be done now my answer is always “You can do anything with Document Actions”. Let’s all push the limits and see what wonders we can create.