Scripted Solutions

I gotta say... We Love Scripting :-)

Business procedures and workflows can be improved with scripted events.

In a Microsoft environment, scripting in VBScript or even DOS command line can make repetative tasks a breeze.

One such case was the Port Macquarie News who’s only method of searching old print editions was to literally look through their library of printed newspapers which were bound into yearbooks. An extremely time consuming task, and one used often for editors and reporters to look up old news reports, or when Grandma came in because her grandson got his photo in the paper (but couldn’t quite remember when it was).

The solution was to take their PDF library which had been built up over many years and index each page. Although back in the early 2000’s indexing could not read the contents of a PDF.

The solution was to command line script Adobe Acrobat to export the page as a text file that could then be read by the indexing service. At the same time we created an MSSQL database to link each page indexed with a high resolution copy of the PDF, and a smaller thumbnail image to display while searching.

Combined with a custom intranet website we created a system that was fully searchable with fuzzy string and soundex searches (which means you could find something even if you didn’t know the correct spelling), they could easily pull up any page from the library within seconds, and even send it to a high resolution A3 laser printer so grandma could have a full-colour memory of her grandson’s achievement.

This scripted creation called "PORTal" won the 2004 PANPA Newspaper Award in the "Innovation in Technology in a Prepress Environment" category.

Are we proud of that?... Damn right we are.