Tinderbox Forum

Creating a timetable and exporting to spreadsheet

I am putting together a complex timetable. Its for a year of a postgraduate course in Sound Art, with two cohorts, 2o tutors, various room bookings, various different kinds of payment to tutors, and various other variables.
Because of the new social distancing requirements there are many complexities to do with spaces and timing, and things keep changing (blended learning with synchronous and asynchronous teaching).
I used to do this in filemaker, but just cant visualise what is happening any more!
My hope is to make a grid in TB and have each class (a prototype with all the needed attributes) represented, allowing me to move them around easily.
The different summaries - by tutor, cost, space, time, mode of delivery etc etc can, I hope, be easily summarised (using agents).
I also want to export this to a spreadsheet so I can share it and format it for other people, and have seen the helpful topic ’ What is the simplest way to get Tbox values to a spreadsheet?’. This seems to work on my test version (but not as easily as in the final examples from the thread - I cant copy and paster from the attribute browser, it won’t let me. Need to go through intermediate steps.)

So my question is this -

  1. Is there any advice anyone can give me about how to make a timetable in TB, to avoid nightmares or too much timewasting going in the wrong direction.
  2. The attribute browser export for a spreadsheet is fabulous, Im very glad it works. But is there a reason why I cant copy directly from it?

Thankyou kind people on the forum
Best wishes

No. It is simpley a feature request that hasn’t yet been made. BTW, when using the referenced method importing the resulting TXT file into Excel, it is a good idea to switch the import dialogs proposed encoding of ‘Macintosh’ to ‘UTF-8’ as things like accented names are less likely to get mangled by Excel’s import translator.

That is a very broad question that seems to ask fro some of template or set of steps to follow. But most most Tinderbox files i’ve seen are very customised. So rather than look for an overall model, it is better to look at the component steps in the task. That way, whether fellow users are doing a slightly or very different task they may more easily be able to contribute suggestions. So, the better way to avoid wasted time is to think through:

  • Your style of work. Do you like to work in maps? Some other view? Does view choice trump other choices? (Be honest with yourself here)
  • Constraints. What are the pieces of data your Tinderbox output must produce (e.g. what per-column data must arrive in Excel).
  • Starting data? Numbers of students/teachers/rooms, etc. Every discrete piece of information that needs to end up in a cell in Excel needs a place in your TBX as an attribute of a note. thus you can plan the user attributes needed in addition to system ones, data types needed, etc.
  • Configuration requirements. What aspects of the dataset will change over time. Will this be by changing the existing timetable via inserting new data, or by adding new elements? If the latter, will that scale (or will you end bogged down by old data)?

All these will save you a lot of time. At the same time do you have a picture in your mind’s eye of how you imagine the source table. Even a photo of a paper sketch might help us understand the task. ‘timetable’ covers a host of potential structures and outcomes.

Many thanks for these helpful comments.
My real problem is that I find these timetabling efforts exhausting and difficult to do. Although there are simple bits of information that get produced at the end, the process always feels agonising (although I do know people that enjoy it.) Its the combination of keeping a sense of the overall structure for the year, and also incorporating the 100’s of small details, needs, conflicts, clashes. Which means it is really great to be able to move things around easily, and have a visual overview of what is happening.
What I really want is to use the Map view to see the individual classes, to move them round and have an overview of what is planned.
The dream would be if when I move something into the Column ‘thursday’ (or even the left side of Thursday meaning morning and Right side meaning afternoon) in Row “week of 19th October” it would populate the date and time attribute with the right date.
I think all the other things, using attributes, prototypes, colours for clarity, exporting data=, seem to be possible.
Looking something like the attached picture!

Im open to any suggestions, and am interested to know how other people tackle this.
Best wishes

Thanks for this. I understand the frustration here, but what’s proposed isn’t simple, except in the mind’s eye.

Your helpful screen-grab shows a grid, but constructed of what? I thought for a moment is If it is a gridded adornment, then that is an entirely visual affordance. IOW, no Tinderbox automation can read items placed on top of an adornment grid ‘cell’. Anyway, the bottom line is that to do the things you describe, we need to know how it is ‘on’ day Thursday or on a given date.

But, even if overlain by another adornment, an adornment can apply an OnAdd action. Here is a simple illustrative example:

I’ve deliberately used a very simple experiment with two user attributes just to show the process. But, using the same process by using using two series of non-overlapping vertical and horizontal adornments and then over lapping the two as above, then placing a note in a day ‘cell’ in the grid can set whatever attribute(s) as are pertinent.

The bit here that may be a slight jump in assumption is that if on adornment lies over the top fo another (or server other) adornments, then a note moved onto the top (front-most) adornment fires the OnAdd for all adornment within whose bounds the note (or even part of it) now sits.

Dear Mark,
Thats brilliant, thanks , it works very nicely.
One question, is it possible to use the name of the adornment as the data to put into an attribute of a note placed on it? (so that I can see that date I have written on the adornment and know that is what is being put into the notes placed on it) .
Apologies for the slow reply - a brief holiday. !
Best wishes

Actually, I think its done by (in my case)
$WeekNumber= $Name(adornment)

Many thanks