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How to setup Smart Preflight in the Switch PitStop Server configurator and PitStop Server standalone?
Background Creating Action Lists and Preflight Profiles with variables for usage in Switch and PitStop Server can be complex. This step by step guide will show how you can do this and avoid the most common pitfalls.
1 Preparing the Preflight Profile or Action List in PitStop Pro It is preferred to first create the Preflight Profile or Action List in PitStop Pro for testing. This way you will have immediate result when you run some tests and you can make quick and easy fixes to the settings when necessary. It is also the only place where you can create Action Lists.
Open the PitStop Pro preferences on the Variable Set category
Right click on the Local Category and create a new Variable Set
Give the set a name and optionally add a description
Add a new variable and give it a name and a user readable name
The first name is best kept just short enough to be descriptive for the designer of the smart preflight, the user readable name can be used to be readable for everyone.
The first drop-down next to 'type' sets the source type:
Constant: Use this for all variables you want to be constant and all variables you want to receive from an external source. We will link to the external source later in the process.
Rule Based: Use this for all variables you want to calculate on other variables.
The next drop-down list next to 'type' sets the data type.
Number: Use this for all numbers who are not lengths (nr of pages, nr of separations, ...)
Length: Use this for all numbers who are length units (trim box height, trim box width, ...)
Text: Use this for all text variables (slug line to be added, ...)
Boolean: Use this for all functions that need to be enabled or disabled
Give the Constant variables a value. This will be a default value for all variables who will receive their values from an external source in a later stadium.
Setup the rules for the rule based values. Do this for all variables you want to create
Test the rule based values in the Variable Set tester which you can open with the Magnifying glass icon
Click "Ok" when you have setup all variables
Select the variable set you just created and click the Apply button to make it active in PitStop Pro.
Close the PitStop Pro preferences
Create a new Preflight Profile or Action List
Add a preflight check to your Preflight Profile or an action to your Action List
Click on the Action menu and choose 'Enable Variable Names' for all steps you want to make variable.
Link to a variable from your variable set by clicking on the "" symbol next to the setting
You can now choose the variable you want to use from the presented list
Repeat this for all steps you want to assign a variable to
Test the Action List or Preflight Profile on some test files before using in production
TIP: use different values for the Constant variables that will be defined by an external location in the finished project as that makes it easier to fix errors in this stage.
2a Adjusting the Variable set for usage in PitStop Server
In this stage we will adjust the variable set so it uses values from a job ticket in PitStop Server
Open PitStop Server
Open the Variable Sets Panel (menu Window/Variable Sets...)
Right click your variable set and choose Edit
Change the source type of the Variable to Job Ticket by following these steps:
Click the browse button
Click the new browse button and browse to a sample XML based job ticket
Select the xml node where the variable is used in the job ticket to create an XPath expression to the right value
(Optionally do some text manipulations to get a better result)
Repeat this for all variables you want to use
Make a new hotfolder
Setup the Preflight Profile or Action List you prepared
Setup the Variable set and the Job Ticket file matching in the Smart Preflight category
Finish the other hotfolder settings
Run some tests to make sure everything works as expected before using in production.
2b Adjusting the Variable set for usage in the Switch PitStop Server configurator
In this stage we will adjust the variable set so it uses values from a job ticket in the Switch PitStop Server configurator
Add a new flow with a PitStop Server configurator
Setup the Preflight Profile or Action List you want to use
Setup a Variable Set (don't close the "Select Variable Set Panel" yet!)
Right click the Variable Set you want to use and choose Edit
Change the source type of the Variable to 'Text with variables' or 'Script Expression'
Choose the Switch variable (Database variable, XML/XMP Metadata, ...) or Script Expression you want to map to the Variable
Click ok to close the "Select Variable Set" Panel
Finish up the flow and run some tests to make sure everything works as expected.