CA - Stored Msgs - Part C

See the Chat Assistant links in the left hand column

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    Chat Assistant
       What is it
       Getting Started
       Input Bar
       Kb Shortcuts
       Stored Msgs
         Part A
         Part B
         Part C
         Part D
       Conv & Dict

Part C - Saving and Loading Sets

Save THIS Set

The 'Save THIS Set' button creates a .txt file that can later be loaded into ChatAssistant using the 'Load a Set' or the 'W' button.

The file will have a title of the form
    <Set Name>__yyyy-mm-dd__hh-mm-ss
and will be saved in the 'SavedSets' folder.

So clicking the button in the above example would create a file with the name like

Example Msgs__2008-12-07__17-44-30.txt

Checkbox after button

In the above image you can see a checkbox to the right of the 'Save THIS Set' button. When this is checked any saves have additional blank lines added between every stored message in the file. This can make reading and editing the file much easier. For the format of the Save file see the end of this section.

Letter 'S' (mouse over) button

Just in front of the 'Save THIS Set' button is the (mouse over) button 'S'. When you click this ChatAssistant launches a 'file view' showing the saved sets folder called 'SavedSet_txt' which is where the file is always created. See the previous section for the description of exactly where to find this folder.

Remove THIS Set button

The 'Remove THIS Set' button needs to be enabled before it will operate. You do this by clicking on the checkbox positioned just to the left of it. When clicked the button always does a save as if you had picked the 'Save THIS Set' button. This automatic save cannot be prevented. Once the save is complete the set is removed from display and discarded.

Load a Set

Clicking this button opens the standard Windows dialog that lets you select a set to be loaded from the 'SavedSets' folder.

Letter 'W' (mouse over) button

This has the same function as the 'Load a Set' button except that you are shown the WorkingSets folder OR the last folder from which you loaded a set that was not the 'SavedSets' folder.


Suggested - Method of Working

  • Use the Save THIS Set button to create a save of a set
  • Use the Letter 'S' (mouse over) button to open the folder
  • Copy that set to the WorkingSets folder WorkingSets_txt
  • Edit the name of the copy to remove the date and time
  • Edit the message set file (as described below)
  • Use the Letter 'W' (mouse over) button to Load the set

This way you keep a copy of the "saved" file in the SavedSets folder and can work on the master in the Working Sets Folder.

Editing a saved message .txt file

One reason for saving a set of messages as an easy-to-edit text file is to allow the user to easily edit long messages and to merge sets of messages or move messages from one set to another.

The best type of editor to use to edit messages is one that will not add any hidden formatting commands. The editor needs to be one that will add only the characters you type into the file. Microsoft's Notepad can be used for this. Microsoft Word is not recommended as it is too easy to add the unwanted formatting characters. Note that the default editor for .txt files in Windows is Notepad so all you need to do to edit them is to double click the file name. Also in Notepad, it is easy to set a larger font temporarily to make the text easier to read when editing.


Format of a message text file

The easiest way to see the simple format is to first look at an example. This image is from earlier with the contents of the saved set (the lines have been trimmed and 'spaces' added to make it look as the real file looks)

`ChatAssistant 3.1.1710.101 SavedSet
  Original file created on 2009-12-07__17-44
`Title:            Example Msgs
`WidthIdCol:       42
`  s..........sM.sgc `-     `Example set of---
`  sRCLTK..P..sMhsgc `ex    `Hello all this---
`  s.....OI..AsM.sgc `2D    `Multi - strong---
`  s..........sM.sgc `-     `-
`  sRC..K.....sMhsgc `Sm01  `Shifted 6^ sta---
`  sRC..K.....sM.sgc `Sm02  `Or you can ent---

Note the ` character commonly seen above is the grave character - top left hand key on the keyboard (ASCII value 96) - it is not the single quote character ' ( ASCII value 49). (For techie types, the file is a standard plain ASCII file, not Unicode because BBO is not Unicode.)

In the following description <ws> is (white space) one or more spaces or tab characters. <any> is any characters (including none) EXCEPT space or tab. <eol> is end of line

The first line is special it must have the following format


'n' is any integer up to 4 digits long. If the first line does not match this format, ChatAssistant will stop reading the file and warn you.

all other lines will be examined and will match one of the following types -

`T<any><ws>Set Title Text
`W<any><ws>n ....numeric width of the Msg ID
`V<any><ws><Button_desc_str> ... (button Visibility)
`Msg ID Text<ws>` Message Text

Any line that does not exactly match one of the above formats is treated as a comment and skipped. This includes any other lines that start with a ` (grave). So the 'Date and Time' line in the above example is just a comment.

Note that this means if you use a 'wrapping' editor like Notepad and inadvertently add a new line into the middle of your message, then when ChatAssistant processes the second part of the message, being on a line of its own means it will be treated as a comment and discarded. So the effect of adding spurious new line characters into the file will be to cause your messages to be truncated.

Leading and trailing spaces of the 'Set Title Text' and 'Msg ID' Text are discarded. Spaces at the front of 'Message Text' are preserved, trailing spaces are discarded. Note - the circumflex character ^ (which is changed into a new line when being sent to BBO) is also allowed to have spaces after it, at what is the start of a 'logical new line'.


    sRCLTK..P..sMhsg ff0000         example

The one part of the above description that has not yet been specified is <Button_desc_str> This, despite looking complex, is actually very simple. It is used in two places, for both column and button visibility. It consists of an ordered set of exactly 17 characters followed by at least one space and an optional six hex digit color ref. (for example, red = > ff0000). If the value of the color is 'black' zero (000000)then spaces will appear instead.

When being read the rule is very simple - if the character being read is a '.' period (UK full-stop) OR space then that value is treated as being OFF. Any other character at that location is treated as being ON. The different letters that ChatAssistant uses when it saves a set are just a courtesy to you, the human reader. You do not have to use these characters.

The 16 characters are one for each of the columns in the order in which you, the user, see them in the button row EXCEPT the final two are G (grid of button) and C (ButtonColor) as they were added in later releases.

The list of coloumns includes the three 'selection' columns, Msg ID column and the 'hold' column. A character is always present to make up the set of 17 even if it is not actually needed. For example lowercase 's' can be seen in all of the three selection columns in a message definition, but of course a value here has no meaning. This approach allows the two uses of the button description string to match up.

If there are fewer that 17 character between the two ` characters that does not matter ChatAssistant will fill in any missing colums with spaces.

Minimum blank line

It is expected that large files message will mainly be edited in an external editor like notepad or notepad++ (a good free text editor - google for it) and only ocasionaly in ChatAssistant. The minmum that you need to insert to make a line acceptable to ChatAssistant are the three characters -

` `

or to put it more formaly



Stored Messages help continues in Part D or scroll back up the page to see the other links in the left hand column.


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