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How to Create Store Catelogue w/pictures?

Posted on 2000-03-23
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Last Modified: 2010-04-06
I would like to know what would be the best way to go about creating a Store catelogue (Items and Pictures) on a CD for multi media or at least visual viewing?  Are there any development tools that are made for this?
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Question by:tga243
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by:weed
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Use iView. It scans any folder dropped on it, including entire volumes like CDs, for multimedia, pictures, etc and displays them in slide format. You can get it from http://www.iview-multimedia.com/ ...Ive found it quite handy for keeping track of what is on a CD when that CD isnt in the drive.
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by:tga243
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weed -
1. I need this for Windows environment
2. What I am trying to do is take a store's inventory and make a catelog on a CD to give to Customers.
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by:mark2150
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My suggestion would be Adobe Acrobat. You install the program on your PC and it shows up as a printer. Then you can use ANY program that prints under windows to build the .PDF files. You can use the Exchange tool to add thumbnails, hot links, audio, video, notations and bookmarks. The resulting file is compact, can be placed on a LAN, CD or web without modification and the reader is FREE.

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by:forester
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tga243

A critical question is how much information needs to accompany your pictures.  Here's why --

First of all, you need a program, such as Adaptec's Easy CD Creator Deluxe for actually making the CD.  This program retails for $99.00, although it can often be found for $69.00, on sale in places like Fry's in California. This is the best available program for cutting CDs.

The Easy CD Creator Deluxe edition includes some programs like "Picture CD", but these only put certain kinds of picture file formats on the CD, and they put only a limited amount of text along with the picture.

Weed has a good idea, in that you could build a catalogue with iView, and then load both the iView program and the iView catalogue on the CD along with the pictures. iView is quite a good program, and it has the advantage of being freeware, so it could be distributed along with your CD. (Might be good to send the freeware author a few bucks if you're going to distribute his program in this way.) This is probably the best way to do it yourself.

But, the iView program won't support a lot of text.  And, there is very little good software out there in the shareware world that will do a good or semi-professional job. (I scanned the web last month looking for something like this for my firm, and didn't find much that was really good.)

I am aware that there are very few commercial programs that will do what you want. So, if you need a reasonable catalogue which includes things like text description, prices, quantities, and so forth, one way to do it is to contract out the job to someone who has a developer's edition of the Microsoft Access database program and let him or her build you a professional catalogue. Access can build a database to support pictures an any other fields of textual information you want. You could expect to pay around $250-750 for a one-time copy of the finished CD along with the simple, but attractive database program that would let the viewer see the catalogue.

Your best bet would be to contract with someone who is an Access programmer and who has a copy of the developer's edition of Access, and ask that person to build you a generic Catalogue program for you. (For example, I'd charge you about $250 for this kind of job because it's pretty simple.) If you had the generic program, you could fill it with pictures and any text of your own choosing, and UPDATE your catalogue whenever you wished. You could build any catalogue you like, whenever you liked.  Then you'd cut a copy of the catalogue and the pictures to the CD whenever you wished. That is, I've not found a good type of program of the kind that you're looking for, but it wouldn't cost you much to have one made. This is what I ended up doing for myself.

Lots of Access programmers besides myself haunt this web site, so you might give this a try.  If you want, I can build you a quick demo version and show you what you might expect to get.
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by:tga243
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forster -

thanks for your very informative reply. I didn't accept this as an anser as I still have questions about this as you'll see.

First with Iview - it's for the Mac and I need something for PC/Windows based systems.

What I'm trying to do is to take a catalog of a store, say with 500 Items, and make a catalog of the stores products on a CD, give the CD to potential customers.

I am somewhat familier with Access, and I have the developers eddition, but  the reason I was wary about Access is:

1. I though Access only supports 16 or 256 colors for the picture
2. It would need to be installed on each computer that wants to see the catalog, and the installation of the runtime is about 140 meg
3. Peoples screen sizes vary. Some are using 640 X 480, others 1200 X 1024, etc. And with Access don't u have to build it for a particular screen size?

If I were to go this route, wouldn't VB 6 be a better choice?


What I was hoping for, hoping that this would exist, was some product that was build specificaly for this type of taks, and would therefore handle all of my troubling issues.

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by:forester
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First of all, iView is for Windows, not the Mac.  Here's the site --

http://stud1.tuwien.ac.at/~e9227474/ (or at least this is where I got mine).  
You really should try this: it may be just what you need, and if it works for you, it will be the simplest solution.

Re questions about Access --

Access (at least my two last copies of Access 97 and Access 2000) support colors of 24 and 32 bit depth.  After all, you are just loading the images into a single column as OLE objects.  In fact, you want 24-bit color because this is what most people have their machines set to today.

Second, I wasn't aware that the Jet Engine requirements would be 140 MB. I've built and distributed a CD such as you're talking about, and I don't remember the Jet Engine load being quite this large. But, you could be right.

Third, Access has the ability to have it's forms AutoSize and AutoCenter. These are the default settings for forms.  I don't think the AutoSize works as well as it should, but it does do it. Personally, I generally build out applications such as yours at 800 x 600.  This covers almost all user machines today. If a user has a machine set to 640 x 480, it's likely the machine is a very old one, and may not support most of what you're trying to accomplish anyhow. (For example, it would be rare to find a machine set to 640 x 480 and be working at 24-bit color depth.

tga243, I also almost always use Corel PhotoPaint to take my 24-bit color images and convert them to 8-bit images (256 colors) anyhow, when I know I'm going to load them into an Access application. Photopaint does a remarkably good job of color conversion going downhill. But iView also does a good job, and so do many other programs less expensive than CorelDraw.

Your notion of Visual Basic also is a good one.  The project you're proposing is not a complex project for either VB or Access. Basically, you're just talking about a single table, and making as attractive a set of forms as you can.

This is pretty much all I know.  The only thing else I can tell you is there aren't many good ready-made programs out there. I really did look for an easy way out for myself, and ended up writing the Access application in the end.

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by:weed
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Aparrently there are 2 iViews. One for Mac and IrfanView for PC. So yes it is for Mac.
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by:mark2150
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Look at the Adobe solution. Prepare your catalog on Word or any other desktop program. Print it to a .PDF and then index and thumbnail. Fin. No fancy software above or beyond Adobe reader. You can have video clips, audios, links to web pages, links to programs. You can even write a *tiny* piece of VB and have it drive the Acrobat reader for you.

Makes short work of projects and you can get Adobe Reader for a variety of platforms.

You can even build an order form into the suite that will send to your web server - all without *ANY* programming!

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by:tga243
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forester

No, not 140 meg for the Jet engine, but the Access Runtime. Also there seems to to be a problem with installing the runtime on a machine that has an earlier version of access insatlled. BTW, the reason it takes 140 meg is that it insists on installing IE 5. I did see a runtime on the web somewhere that was cut trimmed down, I don't remember how much that took up.

I had no clue that Access can resize its forms automaticaly. I have to try this out.

Actualy I find that many companies even with 17" monitors and new computers are still using 640 X 480.

I will check iView, but since I know Access fairly well I might go the Access route.
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by:tga243
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mark2150

using the Adobe solution would I be able to search, navigate, sort, and add new items to the cataloge?

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by:mark2150
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Yes.

The reader has a word search button, You can add buttons of your own (that do or don't print) that can navigate/print/etc. The Sorting is easily done with the thumbnails so that the index doesn't have to be in the same order as the pages. You can also cross link different pages so that someone can click on text or a picture and see related items.

Adding new items is simply a matter of slipping the new item's .PDF "page" in the middle of your existing document. Updates work the same way, you can replace a single page (or a group) in the middle of the document without distrubing the links/buttons, etc.

You can also do neat tricks like having an illustration of, say, a help desk person and when they click on it have it "come to life" and play a video or audio as part of the document.

You can fire off external programs, put down "sticky notes", and link to external web pages (including [Submit] functionality). The .PDF file runs unchanged on your local HD, LAN, or Web.

Any program that can print under windows can be used to add pages to your document. You can combine output from word processing, CAD, databases, spreadsheets, etc., etc., etc., etc., into a uniform whole. No matter what program was used to create the pages, only the *free* Adobe reader is needed to view the content.

Best of all - it's "tamper proof", like a printed catalog the reader cannot make *any* modifications to the document. You can even lock it down so that they can't edit it even if *they* have a copy of Adobe or so they can't cut-n-paste or print.

M
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by:s1ng
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Use Adobe Acrobat...It's excellent...many companies has used it
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by:forester
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tga243 - Do you understand that these folks are referring to the Adobe Acrobat "maker", a program you need to purchase?  Version 4.0 is quite good - it lists for $229.95, altho I see that Computability is showing it for $218.99 (1-800-554-9928)
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gyrax earned 50 total points
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macromedia flash - go 4 it!
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by:mark2150
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gyrax,

First, welcome to E-E!

2nd, a word about netiquette here at E-E. It's considered bad form to post an "answer" like you have done in this case. It moves the Q from "Awaiting Answers" to "Locked for grading" and reduces the number of experts that will view it.

It's considered "point grabby" esp when a Q is starting to show it's age (10 days w/o any inputs)

The Questioner can use the "Accept Comment as Answer" option at any time so you really resih nothing if you only post comments.

It would be considered courtious if you were to change your Answer to a Comment (esp. when it's a subjective call like "what is best")

M
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