Label Me Impressed

October 4, 2019 Josiah Feuerbacher

Welcome back! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year! And, if you’re a Scrooge like me, I hope that you at least got a lot of work done while everyone else was out of the office! :)

If you’re an FWI regular (or just an astute observer), you may have seen a new “Label” field popping up throughout Content Manager Desktop. This field can be found in the Properties window for templates, regions and all content types. It can also be found in the Layout Editor of Live Data, Control Pad, Date/Time and Weather content items when a field is selected. But what does this “Label” do?

Before we get there, let’s look at a tricky problem. Let’s say you run a large Visual Communications network. Let’s say you’ve got 2,000 screens spread across the United States. You have a Weather item on your template, which shows the local weather, by zip code. However, you don’t want to create a new content item for EVERY possible location. You want to use the same content item, just change the zip code for each endpoint.

To accommodate for the use case above, FWI started adding “Variable” fields to various content items. For instance, in the Weather content item, there is a field named “Zip Code Variable.” This field can contain the name of a variable (as defined anywhere in the network tree), and that variable can contain a unique zip code value for each location.

It seems simple enough, right? But what if you also need to adjust the duration of a content item, or the color of a frame, or the font of a text item—or even the data format to use for a particular live data item. There are too many options to add variable fields for everything. We need a different method for systematically assigning values across a network.

Enter the “Label” field. The generic Label allows a user to assign a unique name to an object, be it a template, region, content item, etc. Then, using that label as the name of a variable, you can change various properties of that object. The syntax looks something like this:

So for instance, to change the zip code in our example above, you would add this variable somewhere in the network tree:

Whatever value you gave that variable would be applied to the weather content item with the label of “MyWeatherItem”:

The Label is actually optional for content items, regions, or anything else with a name. In the weather example above, notice that the content item has both a Label and a name. If the content item had no Label, then the name can be used instead:

However, the value (name or label) can only contain letters, numbers and underscores. Because content names often contain spaces or other special characters, it is often convenient to use a Label instead.

Finally, unlike the previous variable fields, the Label can be multipurpose. So, to change both the Title and Location of a “You Are Here” beacon in Wayfinding, you could use the same label:

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Property Variable Reference for a list of the various properties you can change using labels. This list will continue to expand as we open up more and more options.

That’s it for today. See you in a couple of weeks!  #DoYouFWI?

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