The Timestone Administrator - An introduction

Applies to: tsAdministrator


The Timestone Administrator (also referred to as tsAdmin, tsAdministrator or just Administrator) is used to create, update and interact with the Timestone Software Version 4 MySQL database.

Installing Timestone Administrator

sAdministrator is automatically installed by all Timestone Software Version 4 programs that interact with the SQL database. At time of writing these include:

  • The "Neo" applications - NeoPack/Professional, NeoComposite, NeoGroup and NeoPack/Plus
  • The "Builder" programs - PackBuilder, CompositeBuilder and GroupBuilder
  • OutPost
  • DataPost
  • Collate

The Administrator installs an exe file - tsAdmin.exe - into C:\Program Files\Timestone Software.

The role of Timestone Administrator

Broadly speaking tsAdminstrator performs the following functions

  • Creates the timestone schema (database) when first installing Version 4
  • Updates the timestone database as required
  • Centralises many functions that were previously job or computer specific such as workspaces, fields, tags and paths
  • Entry of new (Version 4) parameters such as seasons, accounts, products, packages, offers and pricing

Who should use the Timestone Administrator

Although there are no licensing restrictions to tsAdministrator and it can be freely installed on all computers, it is strongly recommended only the main Timestone Software operator (the "Administrator") uses tsAdmin. Using Timestone Administrator involves interacting directly with the central database and this important function should not be performed by all Timestone operators.

Launching Timestone Administrator

tsAdminstrator can be launched by any of the conventional methods of launching Windows applications. After launching Timestone Administrator the user is presented with the following Login window

Figure 1: Connecting tsAdmin to the database

Enter the IP address of the MySQL server where the Timestone database is installed together with a username and password created on the MySQL server. (See Adding MySQL users)

When running tsAdministrator the first time, the timestone database is created - a process that requires full MySQL privileges. For this reason the 'root' user should be used the first time tsAdmin is launched. A different user (with less privileges) can be used to subsequently run tsAdmin.

Creating and updating the Timestone database

The first time tsAdministrator is launched and connects to the MySQL Server it will not find the Timestone database and will therefore ask to create it. Once the Timestone database is created this step is omitted when launching tsAdmin in the future.

As the software is upgraded in the future the database will be automatically modified as needed by running updated versions of Timestone Administrator.

Timestone Administrator objects

The Administrator presents the user with several objects each of which allows the user to create, modify and delete various parameters.

The discussion below presents a brief introduction to the Timestone Administrator objects. A more detailed explanation is provided in related knowledge base articles.

Figure 2: The tsAdmin objects

The Timestone Administrator objects listed along the left side of the Administrator window. Select each object to work with the parameters for each object in the main part of the window.

Many of the Administrator objects such as Seasons. Workspaces and Accounts are optional. Others such as paths and fields are required attributes that were previously set at the workstation level but have now been centralized.

Seasons

Seasons represent a grouping of like jobs usually, but not always, over a period of time. Aspect Ratios, Fields, Paths and Offers/Packages can all be associated to a Season

Workspaces

In Version 3 and earlier Workspaces were defined locally on each computer. With Version 4 Workspaces are now part of the database and are created and assigned by the Timestone Administrator. As in Version 3, Workspaces can be associated with their own set of Aspect Ratios, Fields and Paths.

Accounts

Version 4 introduces the concept of Accounts. It is anticipated Accounts will be used by labs; creating an Account for each of their photographers. Accounts can be assigned a specific price list. Paths and Offers/Packages can be assigned to a particular Account.

Aspect Ratios and Head Guides

In Version 4 Aspect Ratios and Head Guides become part of the database and are defined by the Timestone Administrator. Aspect Ratios and Head Guides can be associated to a particular Season or Workspace.

Fields and As Tags

Like Workspaces and Aspect Ratios, Fields are now defined in Timestone Administrator and are stored in the database. Four groups of Fields exist. Subject and Folder fields are exactly as per their Version 3 equivalents. File fields are now more correctly known as Job fields. Image fields refer to fields in the 'non-subject' programs OutPost and NeoPack/Plus.

Fields can be defined for any combination of Season and Workspace.

Paths

All paths are now controlled by the Timestone Administrator. Paths can be defined for Images, Graphics, Templates, Backgrounds and Auxiliary Files and can be set for any combination of Season, Workspace and Account.

See also: Setting template paths in tsAdministrator

Printers

Version 4 allows the Timestone Administrator to define Printers and Printer Families which can then be associated to products. At the time of writing this definition results in print queues being formed for each printer. Future versions of the software will make use of this definition in automated printing solutions.

See also:Product attributes

Products

All products offered for sale to customers are entered into the Timestone Administrator and become part of the database. Products are often directly related to a Timestone Software pack layout template and are defined with various attributes. Products are grouped into Packages in Offers.

See also:

Offers/Packages

One or more products are grouped into Packages and 'offered' to the customer via an Offer. Offers are created in Timestone Administrator for any combination of Season and Account.

See also:

Subsamples

The Version 4 database only stores a very small thumbnail of each image. In tsAdministrator the user can define several sets of previews and switch to the most appropriate size preview as needed. For example a 512K set (the default) can be used for general viewing and editing while a larger 1024K set used for Chroma Key work.

Subsamples can be defined for both individual and group images and are stored in the auxiliary files.

End of article