The BRIAN Report Linker creates hyperlinks between BRIAN session reports and index reports. Session reports can link listed issues directly to an entry in an issue index page. Issue indexes can have each issue track link directly back to the creation session in a session report. Song, Personnel, and Composer indexes and have their entries link back directly to the related referenced session in a session report.
BRIAN session and index reports include identification keys that are used as placeholders for hyperlinks and anchor tags. The Report Linker reads the generated reports and substitutes links or anchors, as appropriate, for the placeholders embedded in the reports.
Making this work is a two step process.
- Load target reports (session and issue indexes) into the Linker database.
- Drop generated reports onto the window for updating of links.
The first time using the report linker, a database must be created to store the information about the anchor tags contained in the BRIAN reports. Use the File->New menu to create the database.
Once the database is created, BRIAN session and issue reports can be loaded. Loading the reports will create an inventory of all the session and issue anchor tags that are contained in the reports.
As discographies are updated, it may be necessary to delete and reload the entries for previously loaded rerports.
How it Works
A generated BRIAN session or index report file contains hidden tags identifying the content. The Linker will use these tags to create the links between reports. There are target reports and linking reports – session and issue indexes can be both.
Target reports have their tags stored in the database. Target reports are not altered when used as the target. The target report is what will display when clicking on a link in a linking report. Only session and issue indexes
Linking reports have tags that are used to mark where the Linker program needs to place the link. Linking reports are altered to have the links added.
Summary of Report Types
- Session report
- Links to issue index
- Can be target of issue, personnel, composer, song index
- Issue index
- Can be target of session report
- Links to session report
- Personnel, Composer, and Song indexes
- Links to session reports
The type of website being used will determine how the links should be created. If you are storing your report files on a WordPress site, you will want to use direct linking which requires entering the full URL for the target page in the Target URL field. Standard HTML sites can use relative links. It is up to the user to understand how their website works.
The links created by the report linker will use ids to link directly to the relevant section of the target report. This is all handled by the Linker and the user does not need to do anything to support this.
Target URL vs. Link to File Name
Before uploading linked pages to a website, it is generally best to view them on the local computer first to verify that all is correct. If your website uses PHP for the file type, you cannot view the reports on your local computer without first setting it up to process the PHP files as a web server. This is not convenient for most users, so BRIAN has the Override PHP feature that allows generation of reports as HTML even if they are designated to be generated as PHP files.
The Linker program supports entering a target file name in addition to the target URL for the purpose of previewing reports. Your target URL might be https://example.com/mySessionReport.php. That is what you would enter as the target when loading the report. But, you could change the Target File Name to be mySessionReport.html. Then, you would generate your BRIAN reports using the Override PHP option and click the Link to File Name option when modifying the linking reports. These .HTML reports will be easily viewed on your local computer for proofing. If all looks ok, you can then regenerate the reports without using the override option and drop those reports on the window without checking the Link to File Name box. You can be confident these reports will look the same as the .HTML reports.
Some pointers in using the Linker
Loading the session and index reports into the database only saves the anchor links needed for linking to the reports. To modify the actual reports to contain the links requires that you drop the freshly made report onto the app and make the links.
Anytime a new session report is generated, it will need to be updated using the linker app to get the links to index files inserted. This would be the same for regenerated index reports that need links inserted.
If there are no additions to the number of sessions or issues in the reports, you can continue to use the information that is loaded in the database. The anchor values will never change.
But, if you have added sessions or issues, you need to delete the previously stored report and reload it. There is no facility to update a loaded report. Simply click on the entry for the loaded report and press the delete key. You will get an “are you sure” warning before the report is actually deleted in case you accidentally press delete.
Loading Session Reports
The image below shows the tab for loading session reports.
To load a session report, drag and drop the report file on the list box labeled Dropped Session Report Data. When a report is dropped, the app will parse out the session anchors in the report and display the corresponding session dates and internal ids. Also, the Target File Name field is filled in with the name of the file.
After the session report is parsed and displayed, the user must enter the Target URL for this report. This target URL is what will be embedded into the index report hyperlink placeholders later when creating the links. A report description is optional. The target URL will be the URL used to access the report when located on the website.
Pressing the Add To DB button will add the anchor info for the session report to the database. After adding the session report to the database, the session dates and reference ids will be loaded into the Dropped Session Report Date list box for reference.
Loading Index Reports
Loading an issue report is the same deal as loading a session report. The only difference is that after loading an issue report, the list on the left will display the catalog number, format, label and title of each issue found and loaded on the dropped report.
Linking an index to a session report
Below is the tab to use for linking an index report to a session report.
You can drag any index report file (issues, personnel, composers, or songs) to the listbox labeled Index Report. The file you drag and drop is the file that will be updated and then uploaded to your website. After dropping the index files, the internal id and session date linked to from the index will be displayed in the list.
The list labeled Session Reports contains the entries for any session reports loaded into the database. After the index file is loaded, click on one or more of the session reports on the right depending on which ones you want to link to. Then click the Make Links button to update the dropped index file.
Important note: It is possible that you have 2 or more session reports containing the same session. In this case, the index file will be updated with the link for the first session report encountered with a matching session. A link cannot point to multiple places.
Linking a session report to an issue report
Below is the tab to use for linking a session report to an issue report. Session reports can only be linked to issue reports, not any of the other index reports.
Linking session reports to an issue report works in the same way as linking an index to a session report.