Speed problems with Database & Preview

Issues related to label design (working with databases, data processing, RFID encoding etc.) and printing (from NiceLabel Express, NiceLabel Pro, NiceForm and NicePrint)

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C.C.
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Speed problems with Database & Preview

Post by C.C. » Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:19 am

NICEFORM
We have a problem with the Preview in Niceform, if preview activated, then we have a slow scrolling through the table. If Preivew on manuel, then is it not really better.

NICELABEL 4.1
Excel 2003 Database (XLS)
ca. 100 Data records

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dado
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Post by dado » Fri Oct 13, 2006 3:00 pm

Unfortunately I cannot reproduce this problem :(

Could you answer some questions, that could help us resolve this: How many variables do you have in your label? How powerfull your computer is? Do you click in the table, press a key or do you scrool with the mouse wheel? Have you installed on your computer a graphics driver from your graphics card vendor, or are you using a default Windows driver?

Regards

Damjan Koporec
NiceLabel Development
Last edited by dado on Mon Oct 23, 2006 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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C.C.

Post by dkaho » Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:42 pm

I have seen this issue in the past. The reason it is slower is because the preview is costantly updating every time a new record is chosen from the database. Even if you scroll through the database, NiceForm will continually try to give you the most recent view of your label format so it will constantly refresh the preview as best as it can. Also a good understanding of how the preview is generated might shed some light on the subject as well.

Have you ever noticed that when you open up a form your label will open up as well? When you have a form that is created with a label preview, any time you enter in data, NiceForm will open the label file in the background. This way, when data is entered into the form, it is passed into NiceLabel, then passed back into NiceForm to update the preview.

Dado also made a good point as well. To process all of this, NiceForm will utilize machine resources to update the preview as fast as it can.

Hope this helps!
Dan Kaho
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Harley77
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Post by Harley77 » Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:10 pm

Yeah, I have to concur on the slowness. I'm currently running Niceform for our production area. Its a 1.7Ghz P4 and it's atrociously slow at rendering previews. I had to disable the preview on the label select screen and have it only on the actual form for the label, and even then I can wait as long as 10 seconds before I can do anything because its waiting for the label to render. Small labels with static data seem to load up quicker, but the 4x6 labels take forever. That to me would be an area NiceLabel could definitely improve.

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Saso
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Post by Saso » Thu Oct 26, 2006 1:44 pm

NiceForm is a front-end application that you use for easier&straightforward label printing. The label is designed in NiceLabel Pro.

The main problem here is the amount of data that need to be transferred from NiceForm to NiceLabel Pro. If you have large database tables and need to transfer a lot of variables from NiceForm to NiceLabel Pro, you can wait a while until all the data is sent.

The speed of processing also depends on the setup of your labels. You can have a dummy label with prompted variables only, where NiceForm links the database fields to prompted variables on the label. Or you can have a smart label that has a connection to the database itself. There are no prompted variables on the label, but only database variables.

You can try to use a smart label and see if the preview speed is any better. The idea for a workflow is the following:
  1. The user selects the record in the table on the form.
  2. NiceForm sends only one variable to the label in NiceLabel Pro, not values for all fields for the record. Usually some sort of ID number is sent to NiceLabel.
  3. NiceLabel Pro receives this ID number. Because a link to the same database is available also on the label, NiceLabel Pro can use it. Using the provided ID number NiceLabel Pro will acquire the values for the selected record on it own.
  4. Once the NiceLabel Pro has all the values from the database, the preview is created so NiceForm can display it.
  5. NiceForm will send only one variable so the communication between NiceForm and NiceLabel Pro is quicker and the preview should update faster because of it.
For NiceLabel Pro to know which record from the database to obtain, you need to define a filter in the database connection in NiceLabel Pro. The value for the filter will provide NiceForm (that one ID variable).

To set up filter in the database connection on the label, do the following:
  1. Start NiceLabel Pro and open your label.
  2. Create a link to your database, you can use the Database Wizard.
  3. Create a new prompted variable, let's call it filter_variable.
  4. Select Data -> Database Access.
  5. Select your database connection, click on Edit.
  6. Go to Filter tab.
  7. Enable the option Use filter.
  8. Click Add button.
  9. In the Table field combo box select the appropriate field from the database you want to link with the filter_variable. Usually it is some ID field. Make sure you select the same field as in NiceForm (more about this step below).
  10. Set Relation to equal (=).
  11. In the Variable combo box select the filter_variable.
  12. Click on Apply button. Do not forget this step!
  13. Click OK.
Important steps for form design:
  • When you create your form make sure your see the variable filter_variable from the label. If not, import the variables from the label again (Design -> Get variables).
  • Put the table object on the form and double click it to open its properties. Go to Columns tab. Make sure the field ID from the table is linked with the variable filter_variable from the label. This link assures that the label will get the ID of a selected record.
Other optimization suggestion:

Do not use the action Close Label in NiceForm. This action will close the label, usually at the end of printing. But if the same label is needed in the near future, NiceForm will instruct NiceLabel Pro to open the label in the background again. The opening procedure might take a few seconds, it depends on the label size, number of object, access to your network locations etc. Just leave the label opened. NiceLabel Pro can cope with several opened labels (the limitation is set beyond 100 concurrently opened labels).
Saso Fleiser
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Harley77
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Post by Harley77 » Mon Oct 30, 2006 4:56 pm

Well, currently I have a couple of labels that use a lookup, the rest all use prompted variables if anything at all. I currently have about 70-80 labels, each with their own form. I utilize a Main Menu with a list box that lists each label. When you click one and click a NEXT button, it will issue the open form command and load the corresponding form for the selected label. There are two problems introduced, One, there isn't a function to open a form WITHOUT closing the previous. While this is a desired behavior for simplicity of use, the extra wait time when going back to the main menu makes it frustrating. Second, since we have so many forms, it isn't practical to to keep forms open in the event they would be reused. Right now we have a quit button on each form that issues an Open Previous Form command to reload the main menu. The only way I know of to reduce load times is to kill the label preview, which just isn't possible. The only thing I know of to help is to upgrade to the fastest possible computer we can get (which Isn't happening for a while).

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Re: Speed problems with Database & Preview

Post by JOH » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:06 pm

Hi,

I have a fundamental question related to Preview, not necessary related to speed...

I have a Form that fetch data from an ERP. Based on data in the ERP a label (designed in NiceLabel Pro) will be previewed. Works very well. The customer have also requested a "Refresh" button since sometimes they add / change data to the label database in the ERP and want this to be shown. Works very well.

But...it seems they also would like to change the label in terms of adjusting position of some of the data and then save the lbl file. It seems a change to the lbl file will not be shown in the Preview, not even after "Refresh previews".

I have tried to convince the customer to prove / test the changes to the labels using Preview from NiceLabel, but they are reluctant. Is there a way to either work around this or to give a good explanation?

Thanks!

Miso
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Re: Speed problems with Database & Preview

Post by Miso » Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:14 am

Hello,

If I understand correctly your "Refresh" button only refreshes the data fetched from the ERP. Try adding also "Refresh Previews" NiceForm action to the list of actions executed on this button click (see attached image) and I believe it should do exactly what you require - reload label designs.
refreshpreview.jpg
refreshpreview.jpg (129.02 KiB) Viewed 7600 times
Hope this helps,
Regards,
Miso

JOH
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Re: Speed problems with Database & Preview

Post by JOH » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:29 am

Hi Miso,

Thanks for your reply.

I do have "Refresh previews" as an action on my Refresh button. I also have the preview attribute set to "Automatically" in the properties for the preview.

But I can't get this to work when the lbl file is changed, for example the location (for example the location of the article number) is changed. When the lbl file is saved and I press "Refresh" (including refresh preview), the preview does not reflect the change made to the lbl file.

Thx,
JOH

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Saso
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Re: Speed problems with Database & Preview

Post by Saso » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:53 am

I would say that NiceForm keeps the old label template open and does not "see" that the .lbl has changed.

Two suggestions:
  1. In the Refresh preview button use the actions:

    Code: Select all

    - Open Label
        - Close label
    - Open label
    The Close label action (and subsequent Open label) will force NiceForm to reload the label template.
  2. In the Refresh preview button use the action Open document/program and let the form to reload itself. The existing open labels should be closed and then reloaded with the form.
Saso Fleiser
Senior Technical Product Specialist

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