Day 3 – looking at and sharing your slides with our software
So far, we’ve let you look mostly at our own carefully pre-selected slides. Did you think that was going to fail? Of course not. Because it all works in demo mode, always.
But we digress…
Today you’re going to be looking at your own slides however, with our software. Exciting!
When we set up our demo environment for you, we outfit it with a standard set of sample slides, but we also prepare your own drop space where you can upload material of your own. This can be done because Pathomation’s PMA.core supports a concept we call “root-directories”, which are various locations that we can point to where slides can be found. Our demo slides are in a central location and shared among all of test-users, whereas a separate root-directory is defined for your own personal use.
Important: when you purchase our software for on-site installation on your end, you won’t need to go through any of these steps. You then simply setup your own root-directories, and drop your virtual slides and other image material in said folders, without any extra hassle or pre- or post-processing. Similarly, if you don’t feel like going through the manual workflow described in today’s tutorial, but you do want to test our software with your own material, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll work you in a one-on-one manner.
Whole slide images are large and can consist of complex file structures. In order to handle their transfer sufficiently, we created separate software to make the transfer as smooth as possible. The steps you’ll go through in this tutorial are:
- Install local software on your computer to prepare for transfer (PMA.start and PMA.transfer)
- Inspect slides locally before transfer (PMA.start)
- Transfer the slides and verify everything went correct (PMA.transfer)
- Share your slides with others (PMA.view)
Installing the components
At Pathomation we pride ourselves providing zero-footprint software for end-users, but in order to upload slides from your hard disk to our infrastructure, we need to install something on your end to read the data and make sure these are correctly structures slides before transfer takes place.
As you scroll down your sandbox landing page, you’ll find the transfer section.
If you don’t already have it, go ahead and install PMA.start for the operating system that you’re running. You can install PMA.transfer as part of this installation procedure, or you can download PMA.transfer separately through your sandbox portal (in case you already have PMA.start and don’t want to re-install it).
PMA.transfer is written in Java and therefore platform-independent.
PMA.start is our free viewer software and you can keep using it forever, with or without participating in any of Pathomation’s on-premise server components.
If you installed both programs through the integrated setup provided on our website, you can launch PMA.start and PMA.transfer through the Windows start menu.
Don’t worry about the order in which you start these. PMA.transfer depends on PMA.start, but will tell you if it can’t find it running.
If you downloaded PMA.transfer separately through your sandbox, you can launch it through your file explorer:
When you start PMA.transfer, your screen should look like this:
If the host-field is blank, you’ll need to fill it in yourself. The Host-field refers to where your PMA.core installation installed. The value of the field is equal to “your landing page URL” + “/core”.
So just like PMA.view yesterday, PMA.transfer connects to your PMA.core installation. The Username and password fields are self-explanatory; enter the same values and credentials as you did yesterday to get access through PMA.view (use our handy password reminder feature if you lost your password).
Once connected, you should see two folders in the right-hand panel. You can also go ahead and navigate to a location on your local hard disk where you have some slides located.
PMA.transfer figures out what slides are on your local hard disk by asking PMA.start. So in principle all slides that you see on the left-hand side should be ok to transfer. If you have any doubts though, or want to make sure you have the right slide, you can use the context-menu to inspect your slide before uploading it.
In the panel on the right-hand side, you see the root-directories in PMA.core. You can’t upload directly into this space, because you need to tell PMA.core which root-directory to post your slide into at least. So double-click on your “slides” root-directory folder, and then choose the “Upload slide to remote site” option from the context-menu on the left.
Your first upload to PMA.core is underway and you can monitor its progress in the lower panel of the PMA.transfer user interface.
Preserving data integrity while transferring slides is important. Upon completion, a dialog shows to confirm that the origin (still on your local hard disk) and the target are indeed identical.
PMA.transfer has many more options, and you’re welcome to experiment with these on your own, as well as let us know what you would like to see added (this is a beta-program after all).
Sharing slides with PMA.view
There’s one more thing we would like to show you today.
You can go back to PMA.view and explore the different that you can share your slides with others.
After logging into PMA.view, you can can navigate to the folder where you uploaded your slides:
Once you open a slide for viewing, different options in the Share group in the ribbon become available to you:
Shortcut buttons are offered to share various aspects from a slide right away, but for first-time users it’s worth starting out with the Advanced button, because it helps explain what the different options are.
You can share folders:
You can share individual slides:
You can share selective regions of interest (ROIs):
When you’re looking at a grid, you can also share this combination of slides next to each other via a single URL.
Each of these sharing mechanisms has a couple of configurable parameters. You can password-protect a shared URL and give them an expiration date.
Finally, you can have any URL converted into a QR code. This is particularly useful for print media and presentation purposes. You can still keep a relatively obscure URL around, but it’s now easy to people that you have a QR code to scan at least and reach the content that you intend for them.
Use the QR code feature e.g. during live presentations in your Powerpoint presentations:
Today, we showed you how you can transfer any slide of any format to your own sandboxed Pathomation platform environment using a combination of PMA.start and PMA.transfer. You took the following steps:
- Install local software on your computer (PMA.start + PMA.transfer)
- Inspect local slides with PMA.start
- Transfer slides to your sandbox with PMA.transfer
- Share online slides using PMA.view
But what if you have many slides to share? That you want to share over and over? Perhaps you want to organize a website for a conference? Tomorrow, we’ll have a look at PMA.slidebox for that.