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John Dirks Jr

boiler plate

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I've been at this gig long enough that I think I'm ok at writing boiler plate that suits my style and gives good information to clients.

I'm using auto text in word to build the database. One thing that always gets me hesitating is designing comments that can be easily edited to fit specifics. One set of specifics that comes up more often is plural or singular.

How would you suggest writing boiler in a way that it can easily be adapted to either singular or plural applications? The goal is to change as few words as possible to make it fit either way.

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I've been at this gig long enough that I think I'm ok at writing boiler plate that suits my style and gives good information to clients.

I'm using auto text in word to build the database. One thing that always gets me hesitating is designing comments that can be easily edited to fit specifics. One set of specifics that comes up more often is plural or singular.

How would you suggest writing boiler in a way that it can easily be adapted to either singular or plural applications? The goal is to change as few words as possible to make it fit either way.

I just do this: door(s), etc for ones that I know could very easily be either.

So, it would go something like: adjust the door(s) to properly close and latch, at the following locations: X, Y and Z

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Thanks Mike. I'll give that a try and see how it looks.

I've found the more boiler I use, the fewer words I'm using to describe problems. When designing a comment to be more broad in its use, it seems to make one stick directly to the point.

Anyone noticed this and do you think it's a good thing?

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I've been at this gig long enough that I think I'm ok at writing boiler plate that suits my style and gives good information to clients.

I'm using auto text in word to build the database. One thing that always gets me hesitating is designing comments that can be easily edited to fit specifics. One set of specifics that comes up more often is plural or singular.

How would you suggest writing boiler in a way that it can easily be adapted to either singular or plural applications? The goal is to change as few words as possible to make it fit either way.

Write multiple sets of boilerplate. One for singular and one for plural.

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Write multiple sets of boilerplate. One for singular and one for plural.

[:-thumbu]

I do the same. I go as far as to build canned comments to reflect one or two sinks in a bathroom and the variables for the defects I commonly find.

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John, which software is this that uses a database to maintain boilerplate?

Marc

Bruce is correct. I use MS Word 2002. The Auto Text feature is my database. I always copy the Normal.dot file and store it in multiple places in case one of the putors crashes I dont loose everything.

I also have a long Word doc with all the comments stored in multiple places.

The paper checklists I print and use while inspecting have the Auto Text prompts on them in highlighted text. At the inspection I might circle the prompt and jot a note. When I sit to write the report I just type the prompt and hit enter and the comment drops in.

The only trouble I have with Auto Text is sometimes I make two similar prompts which causes a glitch. I havn't figured out the limitation. Maybe someone here knows and can explain. Here's an example;

washing machine hoses

washing machine pan

These two examples will cause issues. It seems that the number of characters out from the start are limited.

I could create;

wash hose

wash pan

..and that will work.

Anyone know why this is?

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I used to try and change the text to singular to plural but finally gave in and wrote the multiple boiler plate. The multiples have been better as well as quicker for me.

I found it most needed at HVAC equipment and the garage doors and openers.

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John,

It's simply a matter of how you store/name your text. You could easily call them W1 and W2 if you wanted to. If recalling it is clunky, it's simply because you gave them clunky names.

I write and maintain the boilerplate in the plural for multi-family units and separately for single family units as well. Otherwise, editing for syntax is too complex for me.

Jim

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The only trouble I have with Auto Text is sometimes I make two similar prompts which causes a glitch. I havn't figured out the limitation. Maybe someone here knows and can explain. Here's an example;

washing machine hoses

washing machine pan

These two examples will cause issues. It seems that the number of characters out from the start are limited.

I could create;

wash hose

wash pan

..and that will work.

Anyone know why this is?

For whatever reason Word limits its autotext titles to only 35 characters. I think this might be what you're referring to?

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For whatever reason Word limits its autotext titles to only 35 characters. I think this might be what you're referring to?

I believe the limit is 32, and that Word will simply chop off the extra characters if you try to use a longer name.

My report system also relies heavily on autotext. I've used Word 97, 2003 & 2010 and have never experienced the problem John describes.

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I use almost as much auto-correct as I do auto-text. For example, my field notes might read wpcav, which means I will insert a caveat in the report about the need to run an anti-bacterial rinse through the whirlpool jets every now and then. Or, I might write moldcav, where I include a boilerplate mold statement in the report.

I create the boilerplate, then save it as an auto-correct item in MS Word, and I tag such wpcav, moldcav, etc. So, when I simply type wpcav, then a space in the report, the auto-correct feature replaces wpcav with my entire, formatted boilerplate comment.

Another example of my field note abbreviations is fft, which stands for furnace flue pipe joints being improperly covered with tape. So when I type fft and then a space, again, auto-correct replaces fft with my entire boilerplate paragraph.

I started this because my field notes are almost all abbrieviated, and I'm sure many of you do that as well. For example, when I simply write 6" on my field notes, it means the garage door eyes are set too high above the garage floor. Again, I'm sure many of you do this as well.

My auto-correct is always a short abbreviation you would never normally type, like fft, else every time you inadvertently type something like 6", you'd get the auto-correct when you don't want it.

You can easily google auto-correct to see how simple it is to set up if you're interested.

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John,

It's simply a matter of how you store/name your text. You could easily call them W1 and W2 if you wanted to. If recalling it is clunky, it's simply because you gave them clunky names.

I write and maintain the boilerplate in the plural for multi-family units and separately for single family units as well. Otherwise, editing for syntax is too complex for me.

Jim

Jim,

You gave me an idea. I'll just put a number in front of the similar AT prompts.

like this;

1washer supply hoses

2washer drain hoses

3washer drain pan

Regardless of the prompts description, the number being the first character will differentiate them so the database can handle many common/similar terms.

Thanks man....

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. . . You gave me an idea. I'll just put a number in front of the similar AT prompts.

like this;

1washer supply hoses

2washer drain hoses

3washer drain pan

Regardless of the prompts description, the number being the first character will differentiate them so the database can handle many common/similar terms.

Thanks man....

I don't know how you store your auto text, but if it's in alpha-numeric order, won't putting numbers in front like that screw up the groupings and make stuff harder to find?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Yup. John, you need to learn some shorthand. When we create product codes at the day job we delete vowels so that codes fit within very tight character limits yet remain decipherable while staying grouped with similar products. Like this:

washer supply hoses = wshr hs sup - I know 'u' is a vowel, but 'sup' makes more sense than 'spply'

washer drain hoses = wshr hs drn

washer drain pan = wshr drn pan

If your database is searchable by command, all of these comments will appear in the exact opposite order they are here (alphabetical), and are further sorted by common part by putting the 'hose' before it's function. By your numerical method all the '1s' will be grouped, then '2s', etc. Editing comments, or finding them for that matter, would totally suck. Also remember that spaces are characters, you can get more descriptive by omitting them.

Jerry, turning your auto correct dictionary into a database is a brilliant idea that I fully intend to steal.

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. . . You gave me an idea. I'll just put a number in front of the similar AT prompts.

like this;

1washer supply hoses

2washer drain hoses

3washer drain pan

Regardless of the prompts description, the number being the first character will differentiate them so the database can handle many common/similar terms.

Thanks man....

I don't know how you store your auto text, but if it's in alpha-numeric order, won't putting numbers in front like that screw up the groupings and make stuff harder to find?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

I do a mix of boiler and custom written comments so my boiler is not too extensive. Putting numbers in front wont be used for every prompt. I'll only use it where a conflict results from similar prompts.

As far as storing is concerned, my check lists have the prompts typed on them in highlighted text. By circling the prompt during the inspection, I'll know exactly what to pull up (type) when I sit down to write.

For the examples I've given, if I need the comment on washer drain pans, by the time I type 3wash, the option to hit enter will pop up. Hit enter, tweak if needed and done.

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After reading all this about wpcav & fft & wshr hs drn, etc, I'm so glad I use HomeGauge with it's smart sentence completer.

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This is just a thought, but it works for me.

Make your comments shorter. Like, really short. It simplifies a lot of things, the main one being, messing around finding boilerplate commentary.

I spend less time typing simple comments than I used to spend fiddling around with boilerplate comment searches, shorthand, naming conventions, etc., etc., etc.....

I'm not against boilerplate comments, I use it all the time, but it's for stuff like smoke detectors, GFCI's, basic maintenance items.....basically, stuff that's generic.

Also, some of this goes to MS Word. Everyone is locked into the Word hairball.

Database systems, like Erby uses, tend to make this stuff less of a hairball.

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After reading all this about wpcav & fft & wshr hs drn, etc, I'm so glad I use HomeGauge with it's smart sentence completer.

I'll second that. If you can dream it, you can make it happen with HG. When I first got the software, I tried it a few different ways, wasting a lot of time and effort going down dead end streets thinking I'd save time. The good news: it all led me to a system that flows well and I can pretty much tap out on a pocket PC - to later merge onto my netbook.

If you can bite the bullet, John and go for HG (or another like it) in the end, you'll never look back.

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