RB: Public displays

Jan 23, 2018

The public display of room and resource booking information is dynamic and time appropriate.  You can use this, for example, outside a library or at the entrance to a number of computer labs or meeting rooms can be found.  The purpose is to show time critical information about what bookings exist for these shared areas, and therefore direct students and staff to the correct location.

Accessing the Public Display option

The Public Display option is not a separate Sobs application.  It is a sub-feature or a number of different applications and is, as such, included free of charge with those subscriptions.  Currently it is considered to be part of two applications, the Room and Resource Booking app and the School Notices app.  Other applications may utilise this feature in the future, in particular we are thinking of the School Calendar.

Overview of the Display configuration and setup

Each monitor can be configured independently, however we anticipate there maybe some monitors that share the same details.  Therefore we have defined ‘Locations’ so that you can group some displays together, however if you wish you may specify every display as an independent location.

For a location you can then add ‘Pages’.  A ‘Page’ is a single display screen with some content.

You can split a page into several regions.  Each region defines a rectangular portion of the page into which some content will be displayed.

A region can contain: text, an image, a display of room and resource booking information, or a display of school notices information.

The large screen display is simply a computer monitor, so you will need a computer somewhere to drive the monitor.  The computer will require a web browser as this is software we use to display the information on the monitor.  The web browser should have an option (that can be configured on the command line) to place the browser into a full screen (or kiosk) mode.  This will remove any menus or tool bars that would normally be visible on the screen.

Each ‘Page’ is configured to remain on the screen for a specified number of seconds, after which it will be replaced by the next defined page for this location.  This loop will continue through to the end of the defined pages and then loop back to the beginning.  This process allows you to display a series of different pages, so the information can be constantly updating and changing.

If there is only a single page defined for a location, it will remain on the screen for the defined time and then automatically refresh.  In the case of Room and Resource Booking this means that updated booking information will appear on the screen automatically.

Creating a public display page

  1. Click the ‘Public display’ link in the Configuration menu
  2. Click the ‘Add-page’ link to create a page
  3. Enter a description for this page – this value is not displayed, it’s for your information
  4. Enter a duration for this page to be on the screen (before the next page displays, or if there is only one page between updates)  A minimum value of 60 seconds is required
  5. Enter an HTML colour code or select a background image to use on the page.  Often the text displayed is by default black so use a lighter colour / image as opposed to a darker one.
  6. Click the ‘Save’ button
  7. Click the ‘Add-location’ link to create a location.  You must define a location
  8. Click the ‘Add a new location’ button to define a new location
  9. Enter the date range for this page to appear at this location
  10. Click the ‘Save’ button
  11. You are now back at the list of pages – click the ‘Content’ link for the page
  12. If you selected a background image you should now see a sample of the screen with the image displayed.  If the background image is all that is required then you have finished, click the ‘Return to list pages’
  13. If you now want to define some content click the ‘Add region’ button
  14. Enter the offset co-ordinates as percentages.  0,0 would be the top left corner of the screen, and 100,100 would be the bottom right corner of the screen
  15. Enter the size (width and height) as percentages also.  100,100 would be the entire screen, 100,10 would be the top 10% of the screen and may be suitable as a title area for example
  16. Select the content type as Text, Image, Timetable (room and resource bookings) or Notices (for school notices).  Select ‘Text’ for this example
  17. Click the ‘Save’ button
  18. You should now have a preview of the page with the region area marked in a solid tan colour and the text “ID# 1” as a region identifier.  The preview only shows the regions as solid blocks, it does not attempt to include content
  19. If you selected ‘Text’ as the content type then you should now have a ‘Text’ button beside the definition of this region – click the ‘Text’ button
  20. Enter some text as you would like it to appear on the display, for example: Library Bookings
  21. Enter a font size.  You can enter the font size as a percentage or as a specific point size.  Percentage should include the percentage character, for example 120%. If specifying a point size then include ‘px’ after the value, as in 24px.
  22. Select a font to use
  23. You can also enter an HTML colour code for this font
  24. Click the ‘Save’ button
  25. Finally click the ‘View’ link below the preview to see how this rendered page will appear

You can define additional regions using different content types to complete your pages.

Publishing your page

To publish the defined pages, click the ‘Locations’ button.  This will display each location, including the attached pages (a page can be attached to multiple locations) along with the URL that you need to start your public display running. (The URL will change once the public display begins refreshing).

A particular display may be situated in such a way that it will match multiple locations – therefore the URL can be modified to include all of those locations: replace ‘…location=17’ with ‘…locations=17,21,29’.

Internet Explorer: To run kiosk mode start the program with the -k option: iexplore.exe -k url
Firefox: You will need to load the add-on ‘Full Fullscreen’. This add-on has a ‘Startup in fullscreen’ option