Network Sender Component
The Network Sender component is used to send network messages to devices in your network. Of course, also other applications can be controlled, e.g. other instances of Touch Player or Presenter Player, if they are designed and configured accordingly. The following image shows how the Network Sender component basically works.
The Network Sender component works in conjunction with Network Message actions to control external devices such as lighting systems and sound controllers. Basically, any device able to process network messages can be addressed. Learn more about Actions in this section. Learn more about Network Message actions in this section.
Working with network messages in Touch Creator is similar to how they are used in OS X Terminal or other command line interpreters. We recommend learning about network messages and the use of the Terminal application. Also, understanding the character of TCP connections might be useful to be more efficient with using network messages.
Creating Network Sender Components
Drag and drop the Network Sender component from the Library onto the Stage, and the corresponding component will be created in the Scene Manager. Place the Network Sender component at its place within the hierarchy and then adjust any properties as required.
The Network Sender component is very useful any time you need to control external devices from your scenario. For instance, network messaging has been successfully used at many trade fairs to control ambience lighting or audio. It also was employed for shows or stage setups. The underlying network messaging is also expedient for the coordination of different devices and applications.
Note: The working of Network Sender and Network Receiver components look quite similar. The difference lies in the fact, that the Network Sender is being triggered by actions of other components, while the Network Receiver itself triggers other components.
The following example describes a simple scenario: you want to give your audience the option to control the ambient sound volume in a showroom from within your multi-touch project. To do this, you need an AV controller that can be connected to the network and that is able to process network commands.
Provided the AV controller and your Player Mac are appropriately configured and connected to the network, here are the steps required in Touch Creator to achieve the set goal.
- Add a Network Sender component to your project by dragging the component onto the Stage. Its location on the Stage is of no relevance. Within the Scene Manager, we recommend locating the Network Sender on top level right below a Scene.
- Consult the network settings of the AV controller and note its IP address and port number. Go the Properties tab of the Network Sender component and set the Server IP and the Server Port parameters accordingly. This is where this component will send the network command to.
- Select a component (e.g. "Button 1") that should trigger the sending of the network message to the AV controller. Go to the Actions tab of this component.
- Add a new action to the button. Choose the Network Message action. Now set the following parameters:
- Event: Which event will trigger the action. e.g. Clicked.
- Receiver: Name of the Network Sender component. You need to choose the right component, for each Network Sender can control only one device.
- Parameter: Usually not required.
- Network Message: The exact command that will be sent to the AV controller, i.e. a command that will cause the controller to increase or decrease the sound volume.
- Publish the project to Touch Player
When "Button 1" is touched in Touch Player, the specified command is sent to the defined IP address and port. If configured appropriately, the AV controller will receive the command and execute it.
You can include multiple components with Network Message actions in order to send different messages to one particular device, e.g. a "Volume up" button and a "Volume down" button to turn the sound up or down on your AV controller.
Also, you can use multiple Network Sender components to control multiple external devices, e.g. two additional "Lights on" and "Lights off" buttons to also control the lighting via another network device.
Testing Network Messaging On the Same Mac
It is useful sometimes to test the working of Network Sender and Network Receiver components on one Mac. Please carry out the following steps to do that.
- Add both a Network Sender and a Network Receiver component to the project.
- Set the Server IP property for the Network Sender to "127.0.0.1".
- Make sure both Network Sender and Network Receiver components use the same port number.
- Make sure the message strings for both Network Sender and Network Receiver components are identical.
- Create a component, e.g. a Button, with an action to trigger the sending of a network command by the Network Sender.
- Create a component, e.g. a Media Player to receive the corresponding action from the Network Receiver.
- Create an action for Network Receiver triggered by the command from Network Sender that starts the Media Player.
If done properly, the clicking of the button should trigger the Network Sender to send the message. In turn, the Network Receiver on the same Mac (thus the 127.0.0.1 IP address) receives this messages and carries out the action that starts the Media Player.