Variable Sets

You can use variables for small pieces of content that you want to change for different scenarios. For example, you could have a variable for a product name, so that the product name is different depending on which user guide you are publishing. You define the variables in a variable set, which is a collection of variables and their possible values. You can use a variable set to:

  • Name the variables

  • Add the term that Paligo will use for a variable in a particular scenario. For example, you could have "ACME 100X" for a product name variable when publishing the ACME 100X user guide, but use "ACME 200X" when publishing the ACME 200X user guide. Each set of terms or values is a "variant".

The following image shows a simple variable set.

variable-set.png

The first column contains the variables, which are the placeholders that you add to your topics. In this column, you can enter the name each type of variable. In this case, there is a variable for city and a variable for currency.

The second, third, and fourth columns contain variants. Each variant column represents a different scenario, and contains the terms or values that will be used for the variables, for example, the France column has Paris for the city value and Euro for the currency value.

When you publish with this variable set, you can choose which variant is used. If you choose France, the variables will be set to Paris and Euro, if you choose Sweden, they will be set to Stockholm and Krona, etc.

Some common examples of variables are:

  • Product model, using the model names as variants

  • Market, depending on where you sell your products (Europe, Asia, Us, etc.)

  • Company name, branded company name, etc., for creating global variables.

The following sections explain how to create a variable set. When you have created one or more variable sets, you can use them to insert variables in your content.

To find out how to create a variable set, watch the following video or read the instructions below.

  1. In the Content Manager, select the options menu ( ... ) for Variable sets and then select Create variable set.

  2. Give the variable set a name.

  3. Select the new variable set to open it in the Variable Editor.

    variableset.png
  4. Select Add Variable and choose the type of variable you want to create.

    CreateVariable.png
    • Text: for plain text that does not need to be translated, such as product names, number values, etc.

    • Text (translatable): this variable type will let you enter translations of each variable value (for the languages you have selected). If you use this type of variable, remember that different languages can have very different grammars. Translated variables can read badly if the grammar, gender, etc., of each language has not been considered.

    • Image: these variables allow you to swap out images. They are useful when you have topics that contain images that need to be changed for different variants or publications. It is often more convenient to have a variable for the image, rather than many images with filtering.

    • XML: these variables are similar to plain text variables, but allow you to add XML tags too, so you can include inline tags if needed.

    Tip

    If you create a text variable and later realise that you need it to be a translatable variable, you can convert it by using the Convert Variable Type option. Similarly, you can convert a translatable variable into a text variable.

  5. Repeat step 4 to create as many new variable types as you need for this variable set.

  6. Select Add variant and enter a name. The variant is going to be one set of values that can be used for the variables.

    Add the variants. For instance, you might want different values for depending on the product model you are publishing for, so add product models as the variant columns.

  7. In the column for the variant that you have just added, enter the values for each variable. These values will only be used if this particular variant is selected when publishing.

    AddVariableValue.png
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 to create as many variants and variant values as you need.

    Variableset

If you need to reorganize your variables, you can move them from one variable set to another.

  1. In the Content Manager, browse to the variable set that contains the variable you want to move. Select the variable set to display it in the Variables Editor.

  2. In the variables set, select the options menu ( ... ) for the variable that you want to move, and then select Move variable.

    variables-context-menu.png
  3. Choose the variable set that will receive the variable you are moving and select OK.

    move-variable.png

    Paligo moves the variable to your chosen variable set.

You can convert an existing text variable into a translatable text variable by using the Convert Variable Type option. This is useful when you have added text variables but later realise that they need to be translated and so have to be translatable text variables instead.

You can also convert a translatable variable into a text variable.

To convert a variable:

  1. In the Content Manager, browse to the variable set that contains the variables you want to convert. Select the variable set to open it.

  2. Find the variable you want to convert and select its options menu ( ... ) to display a menu. Select the Convert Variable Type option.

    convert-variable-type.jpg

    Note

    You do not need to choose the type of variable for conversion. Paligo automatically detects the type of variable you have selected and will convert it into the other type.

  3. Paligo will ask you to confirm that you want to convert the variable. Select Confirm to convert the variable. If you have made a mistake, you can always do another conversion to change the variable back to its previous type.

You can copy an existing variable set to use as a starting point for a new set. This is sometimes quicker than creating a new variable set from scratch.

  1. In the Content Manager, expand Variable sets and then browse to the variable set you want to copy.

  2. Select the options menu ( ...) for the variable set and then select Copy.

    copyvariableset.png

Paligo makes a copy of the variable set and adds it to the list of variable sets. It has the same name as the original version, but is appended with a number.

Note

For performance reasons, we recommend that your variable sets have less than 2,000 entries. For example 100 variables x 20 variants = 2,000. In most cases it's better to divide your variables into a number of smaller sets in different categories.

When you have created variable sets for changeable pieces of content, such as product names, terminology and image variants, you can insert them into your topics. For this, edit the topic and select Insert > Variable, and then choose the appropriate variable set and variable. You will then need to choose the variants to use when you publish.

For more detailed instructions, see Use Variables in your Topics.