Edit/Add Source Dialog

The Edit/Add Source dialog sets up all the parameters for monitoring and processing a file or data source. The delivery of the Source to the Imagestore is discussed later.

Before describing these in detail, it is useful to run through the processes that ET-Updater performs, to understand how these options affect its behaviour.

For every source to be monitored, ET-Updater performs the following steps:

  • It accesses the source to determine if the contents have changed
  • If so, then it will retrieve the entire file contents from the source
  • It then processes the contents according to the file format options
  • The processed contents are then held in an intermediate location for subsequent delivery to Imagestores

Text Source

The Access option selects the type of source. When you select a different Access method, its Options dialog is automatically shown. You can also modify the options by pressing the Options button.


File access is used for files on the local PC or anything directly available as a file on your local network.

Enter the full path to the file, or select it using the Browse button to locate and choose the file.

[Timebase Only]

Timebase has an enhanced version of this dialog allowing filenames to derived from the current date. See page 40 for more information.

HTTP [ET-Updater Pro Only]

HTTP access is used to retrieve files from web servers. Note that this does not allow you to process HTML files, merely to retrieve text files from web servers. You can enter the URL, or use Browse to navigate to a file. HTTP query parameters can be included in the URL if necessary. For URLs requiring username and passwords, these can also be entered here. Note that HTTPS protocol is not supported.

Note that if your PC is connected to the Internet via a proxy server, you will need to set up details of this in the “Proxy Options” dialog.

FTP [ET-Updater Pro Only]

Use FTP access to retrieve files from FTP servers. You must enter the hostname of the FTP server, and a valid username and password to allow you access.

POP3 [ET-Updater Pro Only]

POP3 access allows ET-Updater to receive text sent as an email to the specified username. You should create a special email account on your mail server, and enter the hostname of your mail server, along with the username and password to access it in this dialog. Whenever new mail is sent to that address, its body will be used as the source.

ODBC [ET-Updater Pro Only]

ODBC Access allows you to retrieve text data from any ODBC or ADO compatible database, either local or remote. Any SQL query can be used to retrieve a specific set of data from tables on that database. SQL queries and ODBC database configuration are beyond the scope of this manual. Use the Wizard… button to select your database.

The Test button allows you to check the effect of your query. The returned data will be shown in the grid below.

File ‘change detection’

Files are only fully retrieved and processed when ET-Updater determines that they have changed.

For local files, they are determined to have changed when either their size or ‘last modified’ date is altered.

For files accessed by HTTP, the HTTP header field ‘Last-Modified’ is used to determine a change.

File “Source Formats” and Processing

Once the file has been retrieved, the next stage is the processing of the file, which is performed according to the Source Format. A dropdown menu allows you to select different source formats

Text Source Format

In most cases, the Automatic encoding will be correct. This will detect and accept most flavours of Unicode text (UTF8, UTF-16) as well as ANSI files in the current system codepage. In cases where the file is encoded using a non-standard code page, this can be manually selected from all of the installed windows Code Pages.

Text files normally have the extension “.txt”, and can be easily created and viewed using the Windows Notepad tool or Microsoft Word.

Multi-Column Text

If your file contains columns separated by tab or other characters, ET-Updater can pick out the separate columns and deliver them into individual datasources within the Easytext system. This is an easy way of getting text ‘grids’ into Easytext without using the Excel or XML formats.

Replacing Newlines

When delivering text into Easytext for a ‘text crawl’, it is important that the delivered data is only a single line; otherwise the crawl will contain multiple lines of text.

But editing a file with a single long line is difficult with most text editors. To solve this, Easytext provides an End-of-line replacement option for use with crawls. If EOL replacement is enabled, then every EOL is replaced with the specified string. This also allows automatic ‘breaks’ to be inserted in the crawl, by setting the replacement to a suitable string such as “+++”. You can also include space characters in the string to adjust the break spacing.

XML files [ET-Updater Pro Only]

ET-Updater Pro’s support for XML files allows almost any XML file to be imported, processed and the relevant sections delivered as text into the Easytext system.

If the XML file is already in a compatible form with ET-Updater’s internal format described on page 42, then no further processing is necessary. Alternatively, the file can be fed through an XSL translator, which will extract the relevant data from almost any XML file.

There are no options associated with XML format.

Excel (XLS) files [ET-Updater Pro Only]

ET-Updater Pro supports text extraction from Excel spreadsheet files (.XLS files). The entire spreadsheet is extracted as a text grid.

The contents of the first row of the spreadsheet can be interpreted as column titles. They are used to construct the full datasource name for the grid when it is delivered to an Imagestore. If this option is not selected, default column names are used instead.

XSL Translators can be used to perform selection or sorting operations on the spreadsheet data if required.

Omnibus OSC files [Timebase Only]

Timebase can read Omnibus .OSC schedule files directly, allowing schedule information from automation and traffic systems to be used directly with Timebase.

OSC options allows filtering of specified items, and an option to replace the scheduled time with a time entered in the file’s User Data field.

The OSC “Notes” field can be treated as multiple items separated by vertical bar characters. If the item is a valid filename in the ‘lookup path’, then the contents of that file will also be inserted automatically.

Louth/Harris ADC-100 lists [Timebase Only]

Timebase can directly read .RCV files created by Air Client systems. This can be used with the Air Client “auto-save list” option to create a dynamic link between the two systems, with Timebase following every change made to the Air Client Schedule.

Note that a limitation in the Air Client “list save” mechanism means that the list will not be auto-saved until the first completed event is purged from the list.

XSL Translation (XSLT) [ET-Updater Pro Only]

After the ‘raw’ data has been extracted from the source location, it is converted into an internal XML form, which is described in detail later. XML source files are assumed to be in the correct internal form already.

The ability to perform an XSLT translation on the data at this stage is incredibly powerful. It allows non-standard data formats to be converted into the correct internal form, with optional selection, sorting and other text processing performed if required.

XSLT translators are powerful but not always easy to debug. Rascular can construct custom XSLT translators to solve specific requirements. Rascular provides sample translators, including one for extracting News headlines and items from RSS Syndication files – an important XML-based standard for Internet News ticker sources.

Text Picker [ET-Updater Pro Only]

The Text Picker allows lines in a file to be automatically sequenced through or picked at random. This option will operate with all file formats, for example picking text a row at a time from a spreadsheet.

Secondary Database Lookup [Timebase Only]

Timebase can be configured to use any field from the primary data source as a “key” to look up additional data from any ODBC or ADO compliant database.

For example, assume you have a schedule spreadsheet with two columns – the program start time, and a program ID. Timebase can “look up” the program ID in a secondary database to retrieve program name, description, ratings and other information which can then be combined with the primary data before sending to the Imagestore or Iconstation system.

Other options

Update Interval

The Update Interval specifies (in seconds) how often ET-Updater checks the source location for changes. For HTTP-based sources, this should be set relatively high.


The ‘Active’ flag determines whether the source is being monitored by ET-Updater. Inactive sources are shown in grey on the upper pane of the main window.

You can make sources temporarily inactive if there is a problem with a specific Imagestore or source location.

Timebase Options

These are described in detail on page 42