Ordering in Version 4

Applies to: Version 4

In general terms ordering in Timestone Software can be achieved by the following methods. The first two methods add products directly into a print queue whereas the next four methods all enter order information as data.

  • Simple 'Point and Click' method
  • Importing a text file in Form Packs Mode
  • Scanning an order barcode in CapturePost
  • Scanning an order barcode in Details Mode or Orders Mode
  • Importing a text file into Details Mode

Beginning with Version 4.3 Form Packs Mode has been renamed Point n Click Mode. Pages added in Point n Click Mode are not 'orders' as such. An order is not entered into the database

All of the above methods continue to be supported in Version 4 and apart from the first method (point and click) all make use of template codes (or keys). Moreover the advent of tsAdministrator and centralization of data into an SQL database has greatly simplified the complexity of order barcodes and order codes in text files.

At this point it is strongly suggested the user be familiar with the principles and procedures in the following knowledge base articles relating to ordering in Version 3
Order barcodes
Ordering packages via a text file

The Package Code

As explained in the artcile "Offers, products, packages and units - an overview" all ordering in Version 4 (with the exception of simple point and click) is acomplished by ordering a package.

The package is defined in tsAdminstrator and can comprise one or more products where products are the "things" you sell - prints, groups, mugs etc. Packages themselves belong to an offer where an offer can be considered a scan sheet or order sheet ("Here are the packages I offer you"). Each job is associated with one offer.

Packages are given a code and a description and it is the package code that is used in barcodes and text files. Herein lies the essential difference between ordering in Version 3 and ordering in Version 4.....

In Version 3, barcodes and text files were required to list each template key. in Version 4 barcodes and text files need only list the package code. The package code orders all the products defined for a package in a given offer

As noted, packages belong to offers and a package can belong to several offers. Moreover the same package code can be used in different offers (and therefore different jobs) but order a completely different set of products.

For example package code PK1 in one offer could order products A,B and C whereas the same package code in another offer could order products B,F and G. This eliminates the need to have different scan sheets for different jobs for example.

Order barcodes in Version 4

In Version 3 the full order barcode format can be described as...


where each element in the barcode is described as:

  • {package-code} - an optional descriptor given to a combination of products and used for reporting purposes only
  • /P{layout-key} - the required component for ordering a pack layout in DataPost, PackBuilder or NeoPack/Professional
  • %{item-key} - optionally adds an item design to the pack layout
  • .copies - optionally orders a specific number of copies (one is assumed if omitted)
  • /C and /G - optionally orders a composite group or traditional group photo in NeoComposite (or CompositeBuilder) or NeoGroup (or GroupBuilder) respectively

The barcode could therefore be summarized into the following simplified format:


where {components} represents all the other elements of the barcode after the package code.

In Version 4 the {package-code} element becomes compulsory and relates directly to the package code entered for a particular package in a particular offer.

Consider the following example:

You offer a package for High School Photography - "Package 1" - with a package descriptor of PK1 which includes the following products

  1. A set of package prints whose template key is GV1
  2. A different set of package prints whose template key is GV2
  3. A set of 8 wallets whose template key is 8Wal
  4. A composite group photograph

In Version 3 the order barcode to order these products in one barcode would be:


In Version 4 the order barcode to order the same products is simplified to:


where PK1 is a package code as defined in tsAdministrator and will resolve to the products for that package in the job's offer.

Adding copies, items and poses to the barcode

Additional components such as number of copies, item designs and pose specification are supported in the same manner as Version 3. To add an item design whose template key is XY to the above order and order 2 copies for pose 1 the barcode would be:


where XY, 1 and 2 are the item design template key, the pose number and the number of copies respectively.

Same barcode - different products

With Version 4 the same barcode can be used to order a completely different set of products when used with a different offer. This means the same set of order barcodes can be used between jobs where the products ordered by the barcode is defined by the job's offer.

Consider an extension of the example above:

You offer a package for elementary schools - "Package 1". In tsAdministrator you have created an offer for elementary schools . Within that offer you have created a package, PK1, with the following products.

  1. A set of package prints whose template key is MC1
  2. An 8"x10" portrait whose template key is 810
  3. A set of 16 wallets whose template key is 16Wal

The barcode to order this set of products is again


Order codes in text files

The package code as defined in tsAdminstrator is also used when ordering with a text file.

In Version 3 the text file needed to contain the template key of each product ordered for a particular subject. In the second example to order the three products for say John Smith (unique ID 1111) the text file entry would look something like;

John,Smith,1111,MC1 810 16Wal

In Version 4, once the package has been defined for an offer, the text file would be:


Additonal components such as number of copies, pose and item design are still supported in the same manner as in Version 3. To add an item design with template key XY to the above order and order 2 copies for Pose 1 the text file would become:


where XY, 1 and 2 are the item design template key, the pose number and the number of copies respectively

Understanding RAW orders and RAW order processing

Beginning with Version 4.3 RAW orders are defunct. Orders entered into the software are immediately 'processed' and the resulting pages added to Queue Mode. Orders may be re-processed, against a different Offer for example, in Orders Mode.

Version 4 considers orders entered into Details Mode or Orders Mode as preliminary or RAW orders rather than orders. This is because the software needs to read from the database what the offer is for the particular job and therefore what products the package codes resolve to. Since it is possible for a photogrpaher to be entering (raw)orders away from the database it is not until the raw orders are "processed" that they can be resolved into orders for the various products.

Once RAW orders have been entered the next step is to process the RAW orders in Orders Mode. The user is then asked whether print queues are to be formed in the same step.