----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2000 5:32
Subject: RE: GEMS 1.16.1 Header
like an elaboration on the purpose of each of the radio buttons as well as
the Soft check box in the Grouping Options group box in the Header
Sigh. That's a
I had a document for
this about 4 years ago (before GEMS was called GEMS), but it has long since
evaporated. The honest answer is that the auto layout grouping options
were overbuilt and no one uses them -- pretend they aren't there and pick
Here is a bit of
history. Since manually laying out a ballot in VTS was basically
impossible for mortals (everything was ASCII), you had to rely on auto layout
to create your artwork. The standard operating procedure at the time was
to (1) guess what auto layout flags would make the ballot lay out right,
(2) batch generate every ballot, (3) print them all out, (4) proof them all to
see which didn't lay out right, and then (1) tweak the flags and
repeat. I think Sophie might be the only one left with the company that
remembers that black art. Suffice to say, when asked what features the
VTS rewrite should have, the first thing support would tell us was
"more auto layout options".
GEMS' graphical "desk
top publishing" layout shifted the paradigm. Better to charge by the
hour to lay it out on screen.
That said, I suppose I
am going to have to answer the damn question...
If you look at the
Ballot Options you will see a field "Layout Count". It allows you to
define more than one ballot layout for an election. You can for example
say that your first choice for ballot layout might be a three column
11 inch ballot. Your second choice might be a 3 column 14 inch
ballot. You would do this if you know most ballots are going
to lay out in 11 inches, but the ones in the city (say) are going to require
14 inches because of some big refendum.
One function of a
header is to organize races into a group. A header proceeds a group of
races linked to it. A good example of this might be "Judicial" races or
"County" races. The Grouping Options are there to keep
that set of races together. If auto layout can't keep the races together
using the first ballot layout (e.g. 11 inch) it will start over with the next
choice (e.g. 14 inch).
the race group to continue into the next column/side/card. Scroll
always succeeds to lay out, because GEMS can always proceed to another card
if there is no room for the current race it is trying to lay
Allow the race group to continue into the next column, but keep
them in the current side. If all races in the group
won't fit in the current
side, start over with the next ballot layout.
One Side. Try
laying out the group in the current side. If that doesn't work,
proceed to the next side, and try laying them out again. If that
doesn't work, start over with the next ballot
Analogous to same side, but for columns. Lay out the group in the
current column. If they don't all fit in the current column, start
over with the next ballot layout.
Analogous to one side, but for columns. Lay out the group in the
current column. Failing that, proceed to the next column, or the first
column of the next side. Failing that, proceed to the next ballot
One Column Same
Side. Same as one column, except that it won't proceed to the first
column of the next side.
Use whatever the previous race group's option was for this group
The "Soft" flag
applies to the One Side, One Column, and One Col Same Side rules. Each
of these rules tries the next side/column if the current side/column
fails. If the group still fails to lay out in the next side/column, then
we start over with the next ballot layout.
The soft flag allows
you to say "forget this rule if you can't do it". If the group can't lay
out in the next side/column, then forget the rule entirely and treat the group
as if it were the Scroll grouping option, which always
Lets never speak of