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Job Spec Sheet attached to PDF Review Mail Send

Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 4:54 pm
by RunDontStop
I have set up PDF Review module flows and they are working well. But I have requests from our project managers handling job production. With our previous MIS, job spec sheets (PDFs) were sent to the customer along with the proof. When the proof was manually attached in the old system the spec sheet PDFs were generated automatically and included with the proof; links to both PDFs (proof and specs) were in the sent email.

Now with PDF Review module you do not have that, it's just the job proof that the customer sees. We don't have to manually attach proofs anymore, we just drop it in a folder (much faster), which is great, but Switch is not including job spec information.

So for now, in cases where the customer needs this spec sheet, the proof email goes to the project manager. They use Crystal Reports to make the spec sheet PDF and then they attach that to the email and forward to the customer.

That works but it's a little time consuming. I have been trying to think of a solution where Switch can attach the spec sheet to the email. The first problem, I don't have the spec sheet to attach it. I have the job XML, and the proof. The XML unfortunately does not have all of the information that this spec sheet has.

I discovered that they can instead generate an XML from Crystal Reports, not a PDF. I think I can come up wit a flow that successfully joins this XML with the job. So to illustrate:

1. Proof and job XML are in folder. Prepress drops this into hotfolder.

2. Project Manager creates spec sheet XML and writes that to a Switch monitored location. This gets married with the proof and job XML. (So yes, 2 XMLs, crazy as it sounds)

3. The spec sheet XML needs to be a PDF attached. I think I can use XLST transform to somehow rework this spec sheet into a PDF format. The reason I can't just have them generate a PDF to begin with – when they make the PDF out of Crystal Reports, there is no metadata in that PDF. I need that so Switch can link it up with the correct job proof.

4. Once I have that spec sheet PDF I feel fairly confident I can get that attached to the PDF Review email (we don't actually attach the proof, but I am sure there is a way to swap that out with the spec sheet, and then set the email to "Attach file"

I hope this makes sense. This is a convoluted solution. The project managers are still having to make these spec sheets manually out of Crystal Reports, but at least they would not have to attach them and forward the email. I just want to know: is there some obvious, much easier solution? The last thing I want to do is build this flow and find out later there is a more efficient workaround.

Re: Job Spec Sheet attached to PDF Review Mail Send

Posted: Mon Oct 11, 2021 1:17 pm
by abailescollins
You could always make the Spec sheet page one of the approval PDF.
That would be relatively easy using insert pages, you could then take it off after approval by using an Action List to delete page one of the PDF.
Obviously you would need some logic to only delete page one on files that had a spec sheet.

What you could also do, which would take a bit of time would be to make spec sheet PDF, and then add the values and information to it using PitStop variables and the add text action.
It's a bit limited as it does not support multi-line (yet), but I know people that use that approach successfully.

Re: Job Spec Sheet attached to PDF Review Mail Send

Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:11 pm
by RunDontStop
Thank you. I was a able to get XML into HTML format using XSLT Transform, but not to PDF. I know there is a way but I ran out of time.

Now I have Switch sending out emails with a path for the spec sheet.They write out the spec PDFs, put them in this correct place so it is associated with the correct job. Then I have Switch attaching the specs to the PDF Review module email when the proof is submitted. That actually works, I used inject job, I read another post that explained that.

Thank you for the advice about using PitStop variables to fill out values in a PDF with values from an incoming XML. That will be useful whenever I try to figure it out. It would be great to use XMLs that have all of the relevant info and no one having to write out the PDFs manually.