Maximum Of Objects / Layers In Design? Follow

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I am setting up a master design so that for specific groups of items from our ERP database different designs are created. Each group of items, mostly customer related, has its own label design.

 

These designs are created on layers, each design on its own layer. Layers are being printed dependant on settings from the item file.

 

This works fine currently, but as I am expanding this setup I wonder if Bartender has a limitation in the number of layers that can be used, or objects which can be defined? I might end up with a master file consisting of over 50 layers with hundreds of objects.

 

The reason I would like this setup is that the end user in de production environment only will use a print station and just will choose an item code and label quantity. The correct design will be defined in Bartender and the ERP system. There will be just one .btw file, so never a wrong label can be chosen by the end user.

 

Alex

31 comments

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Ian Einman

There is no practical limit to either the number of layers or the number of objects.

 

If the layers are not using any layer effects like Transparency or Display as Monochrome, having a large number shouldn't hurt anything.  If you use those effects, a large number of layers can result in slow performance.

 

You're probably not doing that for typical labels, so lots of layers is OK.  However, if the designs are completely different from one another, using separate templates (the tabs at the bottom of the screen) may work better, and have somewhat better performance.  You can add conditions to templates from the Page Setup dialog.  Layers are more effective when the designs you are printing are similar to one another, and only part of the label differs between designs.

 

There is, however, have a limit of 255 templates in a single BTW file at present.  If you find that is a problem we can look at increasing it at some point.

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Thank you Ian,

 

It is good to know there is now programmed limit in the number of layers. Currently I have 16 layers with just over 150 objects overall, 19 named data sources and a few unnamed sources. I am starting to see some performance decrease when swithing layers on and off, of about 2 seconds. 

 

In production use, so when printing, the design works very fast. The .btw file is around 250kb which is not bad.

 

I will have look at  seperate templates as I expect to end up with about 70 layers. 70 templates would be well within the limit of 255. If I can gain a performance by choosing a different design road I can better do it up front when the design is not so big yet.

 

I'll get back into this forum thread with the performance result when using templates. Just for the record.

 

Alex

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The design has been changed to use templates rather than layers. It does seem that the performance is better, although I did encounter program instabilities during the conversion process. It did not like copying resized images... :)

 

I have used Bartender for 6 days now as a trial. It does look that it will fulfill our requirements, but I will put it under some other functionality tests.

 

Tnx,

Alex

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Ian Cummings
Moderator

Hello Alex,

 

Out of interest...

 

Would you be able to tell us about the sort of application that requires you to design such a complex document?  Are the templates mostly under a template selector, or is your intention to also print a multi-page document per copy?

 

It's always good for us to get such feedback from customers who push the limits of the software,

 

Cheers!

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Hi Ian,

 

 

 

We are planning to use BT for manual Itemcode entry in a production environment. The end result will be:

 

 

There is only one '.btw' file to open by the end user

 

 

 

1 End user types in Itemcode or selects one from a drop down list

 

2 End user types number of labels to print

 

3 End user hits 'print' and print program returns to itemcode select screen.

 

A lot of our products are marketed under private label so an end customer gets his own label on the box. In order to store the knowledge of 'which customer gets which design?' in the system, rather than in the end user's mind, I have setup a multi-template design.

 

As soon as the end user has selected an itemcode, BT retrieves a code from the item database where it determines which of the templates to print and prevent the others. The correct template is then further filled with variables from the item database like diameter and length, barcode number, customer specific product descriptions and in some cases network path to find the customers logo picture.

 

Currently I am in the process in setting up all the customer templates. Most designs are available within our currently used version of the old Label Matrix program where the setup was similar.

 

 

As soon as we have this up and running as a live environment, we will probably connect more printers, each with their own label colours. Specific item families are printed on specific coloured labels. The end user does not need to switch label rolls or select different printers, upon the start of the print the correct printer is selected based on the item data. I have tested this already with two printers and it works, but we will need to expand that to the amount of colours which are used.

 

Ending up my story with the answer to your question, yes, template are selected based on the item chosen. This keeps the design clean, although it might sound complex to some. Some templates do have more layers in order to switch on or off print design within a customer's product range.

 

The btw file has currently 19 name datasources, about the same number of unnamed datasources, 35 templates and in total over 300 objects. Currently I cover about 77% of the total of 15000 items with this design, so these figures are still growing. I do experience some performance degradation, but not to the extend it bothers me yet.

 

If you are interested, I'll keep you updated where it all ends up to.  :rolleyes:

 

Saludos,

Alex

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Ian Cummings
Moderator

Outstanding job!  Yes please keep us updated.

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HI Alex -- we are looking to do something similar.  The user will enter a delivery number and we will look up the customer id and template to use. 

 

Do your templates prompt for anything other than label qty?  The labels we are printing currently have a variety of prompts and using this method all the prompted fields for all the labels will appear on the Data Entry screen, whether needed or not for that template.

 

Also, we'll end up with around 200 templates.  I see that the limit is currently 255, but I'm wondering about the performance degradation at that point.

 

Thanks!

Valerie

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Hi Valerie,

 

No, the design only asks for itemcode and label qty.

 

I would prefer storing the knowdledge of template data in a database system rather than letting the end user fill all the prompts based on personal knowledge, but it will dependant on the data to be entered if this can be stored in advance or not. 

 

If you making manual measurements on your product and need this info on the label, you will always need a user prompt.

 

Concerning performance degradation, the start and finish of a print job currently takes about 7 seconds. It seems that all objects are loaded at these processes. so also all the objects for templates which are not to be print. Using just the print station it works a bit faster, and the end user realizes that these few seconds wait replaces his work for searching the correct label file and opening it. So far the degredation seems linear with the amount of objects, rather than templates. I expect that when we increase from 300 to 600 objects, the waiting time will more or less double as well. 

 

I am still working in an evaluation version of Bartender on a terminal server environment. Not the best in performance so this should be taken in account with regard to performance

 

Cheers,

Alex

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Hi,

 

Just an update on this. The design has currently about 500 objects defined. These are spread over 48 templates.

 

Since about two weeks our production department has gone live using printstation and this master design. Since all is in one file and the print station print menu re-appears after the previous print job, they are very happy with the current situation. All they need to do is select or type in the item code, select no. of labels and hit print.

 

I do not expect our design to grow much further, It currently covers about 10k of our items which is sufficient.

 

The one thing I will need to look into is the performance. Especially returning to the user input form after having given a print command takes considerable time, about 20  to 30 seconds. CPU usage is relatively low (peaking about 35%) so something else might be happening.

 

Using this forum, I already tried some things but not with any result. As long as the end users are happy, I should be too, but I expect them to get irritated by the waiting time in the current future. Of course the decrease in performance is an expected result of my multi-template setup, but any increase in performance would be convenient.

 

Cheers,

Alex

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Ian Cummings
Moderator

FYI: We will shortly release v10.1 SR2 which might well help as it does address some performance issues amongst other things.

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Great, I will review the difference with SR1 to see if it has an effect.

 

Cheers,

Alex

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Ian Einman

10.1 has a performance decrease relative to 10.0, which has nothing to do with whether you're using multiple layers or templates.  We expect that to be fixed that in SR2, released within 1-2 weeks.

 

If SR2 does not address your performance problem, please send your label to tech support so we can profile it and see if BarTender can be optimized, or there's something that can be done to the label design to make it better.

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Thanks for the offer, we'll see as soon as SR2 is operational.

 

I did encounter a possible cause for perfomance degradation when using mutiple objects in combination with lots of VB scripting. A new user who used our large design file encountered VB script errors on all 48 templates, while other users had no problem using the same file. I looked into the matter and the scripting error was caused by missing "read access" to relevant tables from our SQL database server. It was easily fixed, but pointed me to the next idea:

 

Since the user was only opening the file, not printing yet, and already got the script errors, it seems that upon opening a file, all VB scripts in that file are run once (probably as a validation of correctness). 

 

With this in mind, I wonder if the delay when changing between templates and start and finish of a print job could have the same cause. With a test user, not having access to the SQL database, I opened the file, script errors all over the place. The test user kept the file open, while I was granting him access to the SQL database. Now, after a few seconds, switching between templates did not give a scipt error anymore.

This indicates that not only upon file open, but also during the process of switching between templates all the VBscripts in the file are run again.

 

Now as a last test I revoked the SQL read access again and let the test user open the file, again having script errors. I gave the read access rights back again and let the test user select a simple fixed text object and copied it, no VB script behind this object. Voila, all script errors were gone.

 

Also a simple copy object action seems to cause Bartender to run all VB scripts in the file.  It is likely that executing all the VB scripts across all templates in the file very often does have an impact at the performance. 

 

My option should be to let the program only do a VBscript check when placing a VB-enabled object in the design (as a verification). This is the only situation where scirpting errors should be reported. In case of VB scripting errors during print start, any error, including those caused by VB scripting will be thrown to the user. That is obvious

 

Maybe this is already addressed in 10.1 SR2. If not, maybe it's an idea?

 

Cheers,

Alex

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Ian Cummings
Moderator

Perhaps you could put your VB script inside conditional statements, so that it only runs at print/preview time.  This will be true even if you use print time only events.

 

If Format.IsPrinting or Format.IsPrintPreview Then
 
...
 
End If

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Thanks Ian,

 

I will have a go and see what it does.

 

Alex

 

 

 

P.S. and of course let your know...

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Ian,

 

Got some results both positive and negative.

 

It does severely influence the performance. With the VB script edited this way, switching between templates, loading file etc. is much faster. I don't have the actual figures but I think it's about 30% of the the waiting time. Switching between templates is nearly instantly which took some seconds previously. Of course with these lines all the VBscripts in the file are still run, but due to the "If Then" - statement they are finished immediately. So far so good.

 

Problem is only.... the prints don't work. It seems that the condition "Format.IsPrinting" is not TRUE when starting/preparing the print job. I get a .NET Framework error message 'Unhandled exception' Object reference not set to an instance of an object. A screen appears with a lot of details. Included at the end of this post as a reference.

 

Concluding: The idea is right, minimizing VB activity during normal design use makes a huge difference. I just need to find the right statement for the 'If Then' to enable the VB when it needs to print.

 

Alex

 

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MFCM90U
    Assembly Version: 9.0.30729.0
    Win32 Version: 9.00.30729.6161
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/WinSxS/x86_microsoft.vc90.mfc_1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b_9.0.30729.6161_none_4bf7e3e2bf9ada4c/MFCM90U.dll
----------------------------------------
Seagull.Controls.ImageCapture
    Assembly Version: 10.1.1.1
    Win32 Version: 10.1.1.2934
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/assembly/GAC_32/Seagull.Controls.ImageCapture/10.1.1.1__109ff779a1b4cbc7/Seagull.Controls.ImageCapture.dll
----------------------------------------
 
************** JIT Debugging **************
To enable just-in-time (JIT) debugging, the .config file for this
application or computer (machine.config) must have the
jitDebugging value set in the system.windows.forms section.
The application must also be compiled with debugging
enabled.
 
For example:
 
<configuration>
    <system.windows.forms jitDebugging="true" />
</configuration>
 
When JIT debugging is enabled, any unhandled exception
will be sent to the JIT debugger registered on the computer
rather than be handled by this dialog box.
 
 

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Correction on this item. The previously mentioned error message had nothing to do with VB. It is caused by a local installation error at the PC.

 

Please ignore previous post.

 

 

 

I have reviewed the design and found a lot more unnamed VB scripts (with over 500 object it's a bit hard to find them). Currently I am adding the Format.IsPrinting statement at these scripts as well. So far so good and performance is increasing.

 

For example: waiting time from hitting 'cancel' from the user input screen to the main BT program was 13 seconds. It is now 4 seconds.

 

Hope to supply more updates later today.

 

 

Alex

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Well here is the update. Waiting times have reduced dramatically. In print station waiting time between starting print job and appearance of user screen was 25 to 30 seconds, now 5-6 seconds.

 

In design mode, the program works much faster. Switching between templates is always less than a second. The whole handling of BT is much smoother.

 

This VB script addition really makes a huge difference. Thanks Ian!

 

Cheers,

Alex

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Ian Cummings
Moderator

Thanks for the update Alex.  I'm glad to hear that performance has much improved.  I'll feed this information back to development to see if there is anything we can do by default to avoid such performance hits without having to resort to such logic statements all the time.

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Ian Cummings
Moderator

FYI: To all watching this thread.  BarTender v10.1 SR2 has now been released: http://www.bartenderbarcodesoftware.com/label-software/fixes_101.aspx

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Hello, the project Alex describes is the answer to my project. I need to develop the same thing. I am new to the BarTender suite and have a few questions. I have Enterprise 10.0 SR1. Do I have to upgrade to 10.1 SR2 to get the feature of using a query to select a template?

Thanks

Joe

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Hi Joe,

 

I am not sure, the design has been created in 10.1 SR1.  The differences between 10.0 and 10.1 are unknown to me, but it is good to try and you will easily find out. The use of templates is conditional and conditions are retrieved from the ERP database upon starting the print job.

 

Back in October I was also new to Bartender (having used Label Matrix for many years) but I knew exactly what was I needed to build. That helped me a lot.

 

If you need specific help, just let me know.

 

Grtx,

Alex

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Ian Cummings
Moderator

Hello Joe,

 

Templates and template selection is a feature of v10.0, so you should be okay.  I recommend that you get the latest v10.0 service release though.

 

http://www.bartenderbarcodesoftware.com/label-software/fixes_100.aspx

 

One feature that Alex is using that isn't in v10.0 is the use of layers.

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I have found that with 10.1 SR2 our design throws an error code 3628 while trying to print some items, where 10.1 SR1 works fine.

 

Any clue to what error code 3628 indicates?

 

Cheers,

Alex

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Ian Cummings
Moderator

The error code #3628 has the meaning of, "BarTender failed to create any printed items. Please check your setup and try again."  I think we'd need to get a copy of your document, steps to take, and enough information for printing so we can try and reproduce this issue.  If you prefer then send your document by email, for your region, and we can take a look at it.  Once figured out, we can then update the forum for those curious to know what could be the cause.

 

http://www.bartenderbarcodesoftware.com/label-software/contact_us.aspx

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ok, email is sent.

 

Alex

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Ian Cummings
Moderator

Got it.  We'll take a look.

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Any fix from the previous post yet?

 

"


                    Posted 15 January 2014 - 02:46 AM
                    
                


                
                
                    

I have found that with 10.1 SR2 our design throws an error code
3628 while trying to print some items, where 10.1 SR1 works fine.


 


Any clue to what error code 3628 indicates?


 


Cheers,


Alex

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Got it.  We'll take a look.

Hi Ian,

Has there been any fix to Alex question on error code 3628 yet?

Thanks,

Paul-Tien

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Ian Cummings
Moderator

I'm not connected to our system right now to check, but have you tried using v10.1 SR4?

 

http://www.seagullscientific.com/label-software/fixes_101.aspx

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