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AncientOne
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Old July 17th, 2012, 11:00 AM
(I'll keep the first few entries of this thread updated with the latest information for easy reference. Everything after that is open for ongoing discussion/issues/etc. Thanks!)

OVERVIEW

=== Version ===
The current version of AncientOne's Customizable Pathfinder Sheet is 4.14. The latest version is always delivered through the Hero Lab auto-update mechanism.

You can see which version you have installed in Hero Lab by clicking "File -> Save Custom Output". The dialog box that appears will list all of your custom output types.


=== Known Issues In This Version ===
  • None.


=== Changes in the latest versions ===
Version 4.14 contains these changes and fixes:
  • Fixed problem with spell lists and spellbooks not displaying for specialist wizards and unchained summoners.

=== Goals ===
Here are the things I'm trying to accomplish:
  • Offer a character sheet that is very customizable. We all have different preferences for our character sheets, but most people don't have the time or the technical background to create their own Hero Lab custom sheet from scratch. Even if they did, many of those sheets would be just slightly different from each other. This is an attempt to support a wide range of popular character sheet styles in a single tool. (Note that there's a difference between a "customizable" character sheet and a full-blown sheet design tool... I'm not trying to recreate Adobe PageMaker or Microsoft Publisher. )
  • Offer a character sheet that is very simple to use. After you've created your character in Hero Lab, you shouldn't be *required* to do additional work to use the character sheet. You should immediately get a good, usable sheet. If there is something you *want* to change, it should be quick and easy to do. Where possible, the sheet should "remember" your choices so you don't have to make them every time you update your character.

Last edited by AncientOne; November 7th, 2017 at 04:50 PM.
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AncientOne
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Posts: 213

Old July 17th, 2012, 11:01 AM
TIPS & FAQs

How do I get my character sheet as a PDF?
You can 'print' your character sheet from your web browser into a PDF document. If you do a web search for "free pdf printer driver", you will find a number of free printer drivers that allow you to print to PDF. (I use this one: http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp)


My character sheet looks fine on the screen, but the printed output is wrong. How do I fix it?
This is a broad topic because the various browsers have widely different printing capabilities. Here are some of the common things to try:
  • Use your browser's "Print Preview" feature. You may need to do some combination of
    • Disable the On-Sheet Controls, and hide the Control Panel and Information Panel.
    • Make sure your portrait vs landscape printing matches what you selected in the Control Panel.
    • Adjust your margins. This sheet is designed for 1/2-inch margins on all sides, but that means very little to your browser.
    • Instruct your browser not to print headers and/or footers.
    • Instruct your browser to print background colors (if this option exists).
  • Try printing to PDF.
  • If all else fails, try a different browser. [There are times when I want to catch the authors of browser print-engines in a back alley and express my frustration with a +2 Mace of Get-A-Clue. ]

I've put my gear into containers in Hero Lab but, on the sheet, nothing is in a container. What's wrong?
Hero Lab knows what container you've put each piece of gear into but, unfortunately, it doesn't make that information available to custom sheets at this time. You can sort gear into containers on the sheet by enabling "On-Sheet Controls" in the Control Panel; then just drag/drop gear items within a container or between containers.

How do I make a 'Touch Attack' or 'Ranged Touch Attack' appear on the sheet in the Weapons section?
See this post by ShadowChemosh for instructions.

How do I make weapon adjustments (e.g., bonus fire damage) appear on the sheet in the Weapons section?
See this post by ShadowChemosh for instructions.

Last edited by AncientOne; August 3rd, 2012 at 10:19 AM.
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AncientOne
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Posts: 213

Old July 17th, 2012, 11:02 AM
THE "WISH LIST"
This is a list of features that are not currently implemented, but that are being considered. Some of these are requests, and others are just ideas that I've come up with. This list is not in any particular order.
  • None at this time...

Last edited by AncientOne; November 7th, 2017 at 04:52 PM.
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AncientOne
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Old July 17th, 2012, 11:03 AM
TECHNICAL/IMPLEMENTATION INFORMATION
Want to know how this character sheet works? Then this section is for you. You don't need to know any of this if you're just using the sheet, but this information might help if you're trying to create your own.


=== General Introduction to Custom Sheets ===
  • The Hero Lab user manual includes an introduction to creating custom sheets. Please read that section!
  • Hero Lab generates an XML file that contains the character data. What you have to do is provide an XSL stylesheet which Hero Lab will use to convert that XML file into an HTML file that is suitable for display in a web browser. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XSL and http://www.w3schools.com/xsl)
    • But I want to use Java/C#/etc! You don't have to use XSL; you could write a program in any language and have Hero Lab invoke it to create any output you want. However, you should stick to XSL if you intend to distribute your custom sheet to others, since it is highly portable and doesn't have the security risks and installation issues that go along with executable programs.
    • But I want PDF output! See the "Tips & FAQs" section, above. It is very common for users to want a PDF version of their character sheet. The easiest way to support this is to create HTML output and then have your users 'print' the character sheet into a PDF file.
    • What other technologies do I need to know? The bare minimum you need to know is XML (the format Hero Lab generates), HTML (the format you're generating) and XSL (to do the conversion from one to the other). You will almost certainly want to know CSS (commonly used to style the HTML). If you want to make your custom sheet configurable at all, you will probably need to know JavaScript. You can use any tool you're comfortable with to work with these languages, ranging from a simple text editor to a full-blown IDE (Integrated Development Environment... I use this one: http://netbeans.org/).
  • Create an output.xml file, put it in the right folder, along with your XSL file. On Windows 10, this folder is \ProgramData\Hero Lab\customoutput\pathfinder\your-custom-output-folder.
  • If you want to distribute your custom sheet, click "Tools -> Launch HLExport". In the dialog box that appears, click "File -> Create Custom Output Export". Select your custom output folder. This process will create an *.hl file that you can give to anyone with Hero Lab.

=== Introduction to THIS Custom Sheet ===
From a technical perspective, the thing that makes this custom sheet different [at the time of this writing] is its extensive use of JavaScript. Although the XSL parses the Hero Lab XML, it does *not* create the formatted HTML output that you see when you look at your character sheet. This is a big change from previous sheets, including previous versions of this sheet.

Instead, the XSL copies entire sections of XML into the HTML, embedding the XML within <script> blocks. When the sheet is loaded, JavaScript parses the XML to populate Objects with character data when the sheet is loaded into your web browser. More JavaScript then does all of the actual formatting.

Why is it done this way? Well, XSL is a good tool for some uses, but it can be cumbersome -- JavaScript is far more powerful. Also, differences in XSL "engines" can cause problems, and the XSL engine is embedded in Hero Lab (out of the control of the custom sheet author).

The JavaScript libraries used by this sheet are:
=== The Single-File "Requirement" ===
If you're going to distribute your custom sheet, you will probably want everything (images, scripts, css styles) to be contained in the XSL file. This isn't a strict requirement, but it will make life much easier on your users and will make your custom sheet much more reliable.
  • Why does this matter? If you don't put everything in the XSL file, then these resources either need to be put into the right place on the users hard drive (an installation issue that's easy to get wrong) or they have to be reachable via the internet (which means that the sheet becomes unusable if the person looses connectivity).
  • How do I embed images, scripts and css styles in my XSL file? Through the use of the "data URI" feature (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_URI_scheme). You will need to convert these resources to base 64; do a web search for "base64 converter online" to find sites that will do this for you.
  • Isn't it confusing to work with a file that has all of these things in it? It would be. Instead, consider keeping all of these things in separate files while you're working on your sheet. Combine them into a single file right before your final round of testing, and then release the combined file.
  • I want to see the source code. Can I get a copy that doesn't have everything encoded in base 64 and jammed into one file? Sure. Here you go: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10349201/shared_src48.zip

=== Cross-Browser, Cross-OS Support ===
This is an impossibly large topic to cover in detail, so here are just a few key points:
  • If you distribute your custom sheet, you have no control over the browser/OS combination your users will have.
  • Base your sheet on HTML5. This limits your sheet to the current/modern browser versions, but that isn't much of a limitation.
  • Be absolutely strict in your use of correct HTML/CSS syntax. Browsers will often tolerate limited incorrect syntax, but each browser tolerates *different* incorrect syntax.
  • Use fonts that are commonly available across operating systems (see http://www.ampsoft.net/webdesign-l/WindowsMacFonts.html).
  • Test on as many combinations of browser/OS as you possibly can. You'll be amazed at the seemingly simple things that don't work on one combination or the other.

Last edited by AncientOne; November 7th, 2017 at 04:54 PM.
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AncientOne
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Posts: 213

Old July 19th, 2012, 08:04 AM
Version 4.0 is now available through the auto-update mechanism.

If you made a request that hasn't been addressed, don't give up hope... I haven't made it through the entire list yet. This is a critical update because it lays the technical foundation that will make a lot of other things possible.
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Maidhc O Casain
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Jonesboro, AR (USA)
Posts: 702

Old July 19th, 2012, 09:21 AM
I'm loving this sheet - the previous version was excellent; this one is even better! Thanks for putting in the work on it.

I've got a custom archetype generated to make a Gestalt character. It's based on the Oracle class, and for some reason I can't get the sheet to pick up her spells. It prints the number she can cast per day, but won't print the actual spell names or descriptions.

I think I've tried everything in the way of turning options on and off, and have tried it both in IE and Chrome.

I'm attaching a copy of the portfolio and the custom files I used to make the character.

Not sure how to find/attach the generated XML file. I tried to attach the .html file but it's not an allowed attachment type.
Attached Files
File Type: email MCP Classes.user (280.2 KB, 16 views)
File Type: email MCP Feats & Traits.user (8.9 KB, 9 views)
File Type: email Jeyanah Asasehn.por (177.0 KB, 6 views)
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AncientOne
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 213

Old July 19th, 2012, 10:00 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mowgli View Post
I'm loving this sheet - the previous version was excellent; this one is even better! Thanks for putting in the work on it.

I've got a custom archetype generated to make a Gestalt character. It's based on the Oracle class, and for some reason I can't get the sheet to pick up her spells. It prints the number she can cast per day, but won't print the actual spell names or descriptions.

I think I've tried everything in the way of turning options on and off, and have tried it both in IE and Chrome.

I'm attaching a copy of the portfolio and the custom files I used to make the character.

Not sure how to find/attach the generated XML file. I tried to attach the .html file but it's not an allowed attachment type.
Thanks!

BTW, to get the generated XML file, just go to "File -> Save Custom Output" and select the "Generate XML file" option. The XML that gets generated is the same XML that custom sheets are built from. This is easier to debug sheets from than .por files, because the .por file may depend on Hero Lab packages that I don't have.

BTW #2... my response time will slow way down this coming week, because I'm getting on a plane for Iceland this afternoon.
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AncientOne
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 213

Old July 19th, 2012, 10:25 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mowgli View Post
I've got a custom archetype generated to make a Gestalt character. It's based on the Oracle class, and for some reason I can't get the sheet to pick up her spells. It prints the number she can cast per day, but won't print the actual spell names or descriptions.
The reason your spells don't show up is that all of your spells have the class of "Oracle", but your actual class name is "Martial Oracle". The standard archetypes all have names like "Oracle (Martial)", and the sheet knows to look for that pattern, and extract the part before the archetype to use for matching against spell classes.

If you can, I suggest changing your custom archetype to follow the standard naming pattern; then it should work.

Roger
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Maidhc O Casain
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Location: Jonesboro, AR (USA)
Posts: 702

Old July 19th, 2012, 10:53 AM
And that worked - thanks! (I'd wondered about the naming convention, but couldn't figure out why it would make a difference. Now I know.)
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Narl
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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Old July 19th, 2012, 12:26 PM
I just get a grey background with a link to this thread on the new version of the sheet. Running OS X 10.7.4. I tried both the latest versions of Safari and Firefox.
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