TagBot™ Designer Customization

Designer Private Labeling

TagBot is available for download as a minimal installation or as a complete package that includes sample templates. Designers may wish to distribute the leaner version of TagBot with their own templates, particularly when offering CD delivery. Although individual templates can carry basic menu customization, described elsewhere, free private labeling is also available, as described here.

Designer Customization Options

  • Custom splash screen image
  • Lockout/hide Markup code
  • Specify default template for startup
  • Add Custom Menu links

Designer customization requires careful planning and construction of two files. One file will contain the default configuration information that the program will use at each new start, and the other will provide one-time-only program instructions to copy files. The private labeling process is controlled entirely by you and does not require intervention on our part.

1. The  INI  Configuration file

Below is an example of a typical tagbot.ini configuration file. Make your own copy of this file, and change the settings to the name of your splash screen graphic and your default template, if desired. Those files must be within the TagBot folder, and file names added to the file must not contain complete paths. If you don't want to set an item, then remove the entire field or remove everything after the equal-sign.

// Remove parameters below, or replace all these settings with your own.

    // Optional startup template must be ascii text format 
    // (txt, tpl, html, htm, etc) and relative to local directory.

    // Optional Logo to appear in Markup screen. 
    // Size is 540x340 at startup (gif, jpg, bmp, ico) 
    // and is relative to local directory.

    // Disable the Markup screen (true/false)

    // Add custom items to the help menu.
    // HelpMenu is the name to print in the menu and
    // HelpLink is the link to process when menu item is clicked 
    // (http:, mailto:, txt, htm, html, doc, pdf). 
    // The link will open user's browser or text editor application
    // based on file associations registered on user's machine.

HelpMenu1="Visit My Website" 

HelpMenu2="How to upload photos"

StartupTemplate=  The specified template will load at each new start. The normal value is empty. The value should be just the file name, without a path, and the file must be in the TagBot folder. However, a partial path can be included if the file will be found in a subfolder in the TagBot folder, such as designer\basic.tpl

SplashLogo=  Your custom graphic must be in GIF, JPG, or BMP format (PNG is not supported) and will display in the upper left of the Markup screen on a white background. While the graphic can be any size, the startup view area displays 540x340 of the image. If created or modified in a graphics program, be sure the image is saved in RGB format and not CMYK format.

The normal value is the TagBotSplash.gif image. The value should be just the file name, without a path, and the file must be in the TagBot folder. However, a partial path can be included if the graphic will be found in a subfolder in the TagBot folder, such as designer\splash.jpg

PreventMarkup=  If a splash screen is present, it hides the markup area. The user may click the graphic to expose the markup code. If you wish to prevent the user from accessing the markup (and from changing color chips and option-text on the Edit tab), change the value of this lockout field from false to true. This will also eliminate the Designer Settings option on the help menu that is available to designers.

HelpMenu1=  These numbered settings are used as pairs.
HelpLink1=    The first value is the phrase or caption that will appear in the help menu. The second value is the link that will be followed when the menu item is clicked. Web links are valid and will launch a browser window. Local files will launch the appropriate application based on the file extension. Files must be within the TagBot folder or in a subfolder in TagBot, such as designer\help\photos.doc. The usage and functionality are identical to the $-tagbots within a template. Using single hyphens, as both a HelpMenu caption and as a HelpLink, will add a divider to the menu. You may add your name to the title bar of the program by placing it in a HelpMenu field, while leaving the corresponding HelpFile field empty.

You can use any name for your new INI configuration file, as the values will simply be picked out of a file you designate and will be copied over to the actual program INI configuration file.

The above configuration file values can also be set from within the program, using the Advanced Help Menu option for Designer Settings. The fields can be populated and the results viewed by clicking the Save/Reload button. This method makes it easier to set up and preview your values, and the values will be saved in your local TagBot.ini configuration file. While the data from the input fields on the Designer Settings screen can be saved to the configuration file, the function buttons on the same screen produce immediate results that are not saved to the file.

Note: If you save the Designer Settings with the lock feature checkmarked, you will lock yourself out of the Designer Settings screen. You can only unlock by editing the TagBot.ini file directly and setting "prevent markup" to false.

2. The Action file

TagBot templates are designated with the .TPL file extension. Supply an Action file that ends with TPL (perhaps start_here.tpl), and include it with the files you want copied to the TagBot directory. When the file is loaded into TagBot, it acts as a pointer back to the folder that contains it, which creates the link between the location of your files and the location of TagBot, since neither is known in advance.

That Action file will contain instructions to TagBot to copy files and folders to the TagBot folder, and to set up the designer customization of TagBot.

The Action file implementation uses an extension of the Menu-TagBot (TagBot$) .

A menu link embedded in a template is formed this way:

    [TagBot$Visit My Site=http://www.mysite.com]
    [TagBot$Template Help=template_help.doc]

The automation for private labeling is nearly the same, but uses two consecutive "$$" style symbols, and has a fixed set of prompts that are interpreted by TagBot as actions. They are described below:

Contact information for error messages can be displayed if the files to be copied are not found. If you wish to add this feature, you may add your email address, phone number, or other contact methods. The contact information should be first in your Action list. (Missing files can occur if folders are not preserved when unzipping, or if there are typos in paths or filenames.)


Using line breaks will display a block of information.

      im, skype, etc]

Copy a folder to the TagBot directory

    [TagBot$$folder=Spring Templates]

Copy a file to the TagBot directory

    [TagBot$$file=Spring Templates\template.htm]

Notice that the named files and folders are relative, without drive information. They may include partial paths, based on their relationship to the location of the Action file and to TagBot. The folder structure that you copy from will be mirrored in TagBot, using the same folder names and file names. TagBot will create new folders in its own directory as necessary.

The Action file can only point to files and folders that are in the same directory or downstream from the Action file. It can't copy files upstream, so it can't be inside a folder that you want copied. Similarly, the results can only be copied to the TagBot folder or its included downstream folders.

The files and folders will be copied, but not moved. That means your original files and folders will remain where they are. This is appropriate for CD delivery, but you may want to include additional cleanup instructions if the files are downloaded or delivered to the desktop instead.

Load a new INI configuration file, which will be read to extract the default template, splash screen, markup lock, and menu items. Notice that the file can have any name. These settings will be copied over to TagBot's (tagbot.ini) configuration file, and will be used every time the program is run. If this instruction is used, only one is allowed, and it should appear after all the copy functions. Examples:


Popup Messages can be displayed at the end of the process or anywhere in between. The message can be up to 1000 characters long (a couple of paragraphs) and will be formatted the way it appears in the Action file. You may use normally typed linebreaks, spaces, and tabs to format the text. You can not use any extended or unicode characters, but you can use the © symbol. You can include as many messages as necessary to convey instructions.

      Your installation is now complete.

      You may close the TagBot program and remove the CD.
      When you restart TagBot, your template will automatically
      load. If you have any problems, please contact me at:


Careful planning is required.

The TagBots will be processed in the order that they are encountered in the Action file. Your optional contact information should appear first. Then folders and files should be copied. Keep in mind that some unzip tools may not maintain folder structure, and your customer may receive all your files in one flat space, instead of structured into folders. Self extracting zip files can be set up to maintain folder structure. Anticipate this when deciding to copy folders.

The INI configuration file should be set near the end. The values from your INI file will be copied into TagBot's INI file, and will point to file names relative to the TagBot program. That means the files referenced in the INI file should already have been copied to the TagBot folder. After the configuration values have been set, they will be applied to the program, and your splash screen, menus, or other settings will appear. It may be helpful to include a popup completion message at this point.

Example Action file:
Action file to copy files and folders and set up TagBot.


If you have any questions or difficulty running this file, 
please contact me at Jane.Q.Designer@ABCDEF.com 

Example Action file:
Action file to copy a folder and set up TagBot.


If you have any questions or difficulty running this file, 
please contact me at Jane.Q.Designer@ABCDEF.com 

Example Action file:
Action file to copy files and set up TagBot.


[TagBot$$message=If installation completed successfully, 
you are ready to use your newly loaded template. If you
received any error messages, please contact me.]

If you have any questions or difficulty running this file, 
please contact me at Jane.Q.Designer@ABCDEF.com 

Distributing TagBot

The TagBot program is provided as a self-installer that you can rename as necessary, and the user should be instructed to install it first. When the installer icon is clicked, the program will run and install itself in the appropriate location and will register itself with the operating system. TagBot will invisibly launch to associate the .TPL file extension with itself, and will silently unload.

After the program is installed, the Action file (which will have the .TPL file extension) can be invoked by clicking on its icon or by dropping it on the TagBot icon (or on the Template slot at the top, if TagBot is already open). That will launch the program and begin the file-copying that is specified in the Action file. (The template icon may not appear until a reboot, but the functionality exists.)

When complete, your default template will load, your splash screen will appear, and the user can follow any instructions you have placed on that screen or in the popup messages.

Installation Scenarios

The easiest scenario is CD distribution because the location and structure of the source folders are well defined. When installation is over, the CD is removed and the source files are not in the way.

A self-extracting zip file (an exe file) also maintains folder structure and can be downloaded or detached from an email to the desktop. It can be zet to unzip to a single folder that contains the TagBot installer, the Action file, and other files and folders as needed. After the files are copied, the user can be instructed to delete the zip file and the interim folder it created.

If more than a few individual files are transmitted or downloaded, the user should be instructed to create a folder and move the loose files into that folder. That will provide some containment so that they aren't scattered all over the desktop. You can decide whether to include the Action file in that folder and copy the individual files to TagBot, or whether to keep the Action file external to that folder and copy the entire folder to TagBot.

Two more features are added to assist designers.

  1. The Advanced Settings screen has a button to disassociate and reassociate TPL files with the program, in the event an installation of another program removed that association or if you would like to test the installation and association process. The associated icon might not appear until the next reboot.
  2. The TagBot folder can be found from the main File menu. The popup window displays the actual path to the program so that users can provide that information to the designer for troubleshooting installations and file locations - or so that designers can create a custom installer that addresses that location without using the Action file.

A note about Vista. Vista users may find that their program and files are duplicated and redirected to the Virtual Store folder in their user space. This is a hidden folder. If so, an uninstall may only uninstall the admin installation of the program and not the Virtual Store version, and new installations may not overwrite the default program settings that may be duplicated in the Virtual Store.

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