5 Replies Latest reply: Sep 16, 2009 2:12 PM by 707590 RSS

    Attaching images/webpages to daily reports

      Is there a good solution to attaching work photos to daily reports? Contractors and project managers take many pictures in 1200x1600 which might be needed for printing or zooming on problem areas, but attaching a number of those is time consuming and cumbersome with the final result, which makes the user then click through all the images to find what they might be looking for. I've been working with IMatch to create galleries, but it's so far cumbersome, or I haven't worked out the process enough on the evaluation copy I'm running. I'm just wondering if anyone has struggled with this or come up with a solution/process.
        • 1. Re: Attaching images/webpages to daily reports
          If you are using file attachments heavily in Contract Manager I think the best solution is to utilize an FTP site for attachments and other project documents (like drawings, specs and shop drawings). If you save the files to an FTP site you would use the "attach URL" link under attachments. So what you are doing is attaching a link to the file on the FTP site, when you use the "attach file" button the file is copied into the location specified for attachments.
          If you are taking many photos each day, you can organize the photos into folders in the FTP site, and I think you can link the folder instead of each individual file. This will save time and allow you to add or edit photos in the daily photo folder.
          Finding file attachments in Contract Management is a huge pain, the FTP site will make them easier to find and give you a central location to store all project documents that are not originated in Contract Management.
          • 2. Re: Attaching images/webpages to daily reports

            I have one of my projects routinely attaching photos to their daily reports. I have included the ability to print the pictures as part of their form. One way to quickly be able to view would be to through this report to a PDF and review that way. As for sorting etc. adding additional information to describe the picture in CM would be helpful, no matter where you store the picture. I have been investigating the use of the Drawing Log for this purpose as well.

            • 3. Re: Attaching images/webpages to daily reports
              A similar problem exists in Drawings as the drawing image / PDF files can be large, and the CM attachment process is cumbersome as it only allows for a single attachment at a time.

              In a couple instances I have added a trigger to the CM database that automatically creates a record representing the attachment. This way as long as the files are named in a consistent manner, they can be copied to the server in bulk mode and the automatically created CM attachment links then become active.

              If building in automation to the database is not your thing, then I would suggest for your users to combine the pictures into a single ZIP file, so that the attachment process is much easier. This also will speed up the upload / download process.

              Someone else suggested using FTP which may be option, but there I might suggest creating the CM attachment to the URL of an FTP "folder" rather than to each separate picture. Again, this limits the tedious attachment process. In addition to FTP, a document management system such as SharePoint may be used as well.

              • 4. Re: Attaching images/webpages to daily reports
                Contract Management 13 might have the Jack Rabbit repository, as well as SharePoint support. These may prove beneficial for you.

                In the interim you may wish to add an embedded report to your daily report form. This new embedded report will be used to display attached photos. The new report you create needs to be one using the Label style, if you want to display multiple photos per page. This solution was shown at last year's conference by Bill Schulz. I do not take credit.

                You'll need some SQL (this is for Sybase):

                SELECT dlnk.master_key,
                FROM dlnk
                WHERE dlnk.base_master_key = :master_key and
                               (ucase(right( dlnk.attachment,3)) = 'JPG')

                and a STRING retrieval argument:


                dlnk.attachment is the attached photo

                dlnk.subject is the Subject typed in during the attachment process.

                You can add additional attachment types (like GIF, TIFF, BMP, PNG, etc.) by expanding your WHERE clause.

                In the presentation portion of InfoMaker (where you work on formatting), on the General tab of the dlnk.attachment item, check the box labeled 'Display as Picture.'

                If you want to display multiple pictures on a page then set the page style to a label size that makes sense for you.
                • 5. Re: Attaching images/webpages to daily reports
                  The suggestions are all good, I really want to try the embedded report, but what I would very much like to see is the ability to attach more than one image at a time to a daily report and also a choice to batch process the images down to a smaller resolution. It would surely eliminate several steps that I have to take now and make it easier for users to attach image. I guess that's a feature enhancement! Thanks, Steve