Here's a common problem: I need a template for 3 different locations, each of them slightly differentiated by their location. The obvious solution would be to create 3 separate templates, copies of one another with slight modifications. In this topic we cover another option which saves time and reduces overhead, that is 'variables'.
Variables are simple to construct and can simplify managing a large signage network tremendously.
Variables are created by adding the proper text to ANY tag field. This includes device, playlist, schedule, or even source tags. The variable must follow the following format: NAME=VALUE, for example, to create a variable named Location you need to add Location=Fargo, ND to a tag field.
Let's go through a simple example for our test case. In this example, I want to create a playlist of templates which displays the weather for 3 different locations in sequence.
Create our generic template
This is a very simple template which will display the location name along with the current weather.
Since we want the text and whether to utilize our variable we use the variable merge tag in all the relevant template fields. The merge tag for our variable looks like this:
It follows the format:
Create a playlist for our template(s)
Now we need to construct a playlist using our generic template. Create a new Template Playlist then add three template sources to the playlist. Make sure you select the template we just created for each source.
When adding the playlist source we need to provide the value for our variable. For each source use a different location. You can see how we specified the location for one our sources to be Jackson Hole, WY.
Remember that variables can be specified in ANY tag field including playlists, schedules, templates, and even the device.
Schedule and test our new playlist
Now schedule your playlist to any of your devices. As the playlist loops through you'll see the location name and weather match the location of the variable assigned to each individual playlist source.
As you can see, variables can be a powerful tool when organizing large deployments. For any questions please don't hesitate to just ask us!