Fax Broadcast Generator

FFBC

This program is a feature-rich broadcast generator designed for systems integrators and bureau users. Simpler broadcast applications can be processed using the CopiaFacts Client.

The FFBC program includes the following features:

Unlimited number of list-file variables which are translated to $var_def commands.

Simple selection of records from the list file.

Support for lists with comma-separated fields or tab-separated fields. 'Comma' separation uses the separator defined in Windows regional settings.

Direct, built-in support for list files in DBF or XLS/XLSX format. XLS and XLSX support can optionally also use Excel 2007 or later if installed. See also the Using Excel Files topic for details of worksheet selection options.

Optional phone-number look-up in 'do-not-send' index to avoid generating unnecessary FS files.  For details, see Launch-Time Do-Not-Send Look-up.

Generation of voice and fax-polling broadcasts in addition to fax broadcasts.

Extensive validation cross-checking of list and template specifications.

Preview mode for viewing broadcast FS file contents.

Test mode for sending single items.

High performance: typical generation speed is at least 5000 FS files per minute.

Interactive viewing of the broadcast list, editing the template file, and previewing, testing and launching broadcasts.

Command-line version (FFBCMD) for automated launching.

See the Features section for more details of the use of FFBC for voice broadcasting and email broadcasting.

Running the FFBC program

FFBC takes no command-line parameters.  To launch a prepared broadcast from a batch file or command session, use FFBCMD instead.

To continue working with the last template and list, select File/Load last Template and List.  Otherwise select an existing or new template, and a list.  The file menu also has a history sub-menu to load a recently used template or list.

Because the broadcast list file will usually be derived from a separate master database file, FFBC does not allow editing of this file. The list data can be viewed in a scrollable window, and you can adjust the column widths if required. Lines representing excluded records are grayed.  When the Broadcast List tab is active, the Open button can be used to load a different list.

The Template tab, the Broadcast tab and the E-Mail tab all allow you to edit the template.  The Broadcast tab allows you to select cover sheet, documents, delays, variables, and priority more conveniently than just by editing the template file. Changes you make on the Broadcast tab are reflected on the Template tab, and vice-versa. The Broadcast tab uses the specified or default user profile $image_locn commands to locate documents by image number, or you can specify a particular fax file which need not be in your image catalog. Any fax files included on this tab are analyzed to create a page count which you can use on the cover sheet in the normal way. If your template file contains conditional commands (not recommended) or more than eight fax filenames, the Broadcast tab is disabled.

The Broadcast List tab also allows setting up of the type of broadcast and the columns to be used, by selecting the columns containing phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and recipient names and right-clicking the header row.

When the FS Template tab is active, the FS Template file can be edited, and saved with the same or a different filename. Selecting New brings up a standard template file, which because it has no fax filename or cover sheet filename will have warnings and errors reported. These error reports are intentional, and will go away when you edit the template to include all the necessary data. It is not necessary to save an edited template file before launching a broadcast. Error and warning messages appear on the Log Messages tab, which you should read carefully before and after launching a broadcast. FFBC does not prevent you launching a broadcast when warnings have been noted which could cause the broadcast to fail. Unlike console mode in which only the first record can be previewed or tested, visual mode allows you to preview or test any record. Select the record you wish to use from the Broadcast List tab.

Log and error messages are displayed on the Log Messages tab. If there is a folder and a TEMP folder under USERJOBS for the current user, these messages are also written to a log file in that folder, named FFBCLOG.TXT.

The broadcast list is now only automatically scanned, for purposes of $dns_file and $var_def BCFx filtering, on initial load. This avoids the delay on a large list when switching tabs, when the list was repeatedly checked in case these items had changed.  A new button is provided so that you can manually scan the list if you do make a change that affects these filters, but the list will be filtered again automatically before launch.

The Test and Go! buttons cause FS file(s) to be generated, normally with no further confirmation requested. There is a facility to Stop! a broadcast with the same button that you pressed for Go!, but since FFBC generates FS files at around 100 per second on most Windows systems, you have to be quick. If you press Go! a second time without loading a new broadcast list, you will be asked for confirmation before you generate another broadcast to the original list.

See the sub-topics for more information:

FFBC Template File

FFBC Broadcast List

FFBC File Selection