Meeting Schedule Assistant v18.1.9 is now available


Meeting Schedule Assistant Logo with white background

I am pleased to announce that there is a new version of Meeting Schedule Assistant available. This edition has some minor bug fixes, updates and new features.

Brother Exclusions

The Exclusions feature which is available in the Assignments Editor has been updated. You use this window to specify which duties a name is to be excluded from when populating a schedule. Many congregations have a limited number of brothers available to be assigned the various duties.The Brother Exclusions feature allows you to create a schedule that spreads the assignments fairly between these few brothers. Properly defined default exclusions are a great aid in accurate scheduling.

Exclude Brothers Window
(Click to enlarge)

You can now click on a date or an assignment for that row or column to be selected. If you use the CTRL key you can select multiple rows and columns. When you have more than one cell selected the Apply to selection check box becomes enabled. Check that box if you want the Check all / Uncheck all buttons to be restricted to only those cells. This is useful for situations such as when a brother has a platform assignment and becomes unavailable for most of the assignments on that date. With one click all the assignments can be toggled excluded and vice versa.

Menu Item Bitmaps

More menu item bitmaps have been added! This time, to the Assignments Editor. For example:

Assignments Editor File Menu

Sing Out Joyfully To Jehovah

Song titles have been updated for the following languages:

 Aukan (#67 corrected)
 Hindi
 Srarantongo (#32 corrected)
 Tamil

In addition, songs #80 and #123 were corrected for the Japanese language. But this language is using the Sing To Jehovah publication at this time.

Latest Download

Meeting Schedule Assistant

Supported operating systems:

Windows 7 (Service Pack 1)
Windows 8.1
Windows 10
Size: 15.6 MB
Version: 18.2.3
Published: 17/09/2018
(Or use the Check for Update feature available from the Help menu)

Displaying Study Points on the S-140 Schedule

Is there a way to display the counsel number of the item on the Workbook page as the Worksheet page ?Abel

This is a good question. The S-38 instructions state:

7. Counsel: Following each of the four student assignments, the Life and Ministry Meeting chairman has approximately one minute to provide commendation and counsel based on the Ministry School book. When the chairman introduces a student’s assignment, he will not announce the point of counsel that the student is working on.

As a result the software does not show the counsel numbers on the schedule by default since it is my understanding that this information should not be public. However, if you have a valid reason for including this information then it can be done by making a modification to the S-140 template.

Getting Started

Please look through the Video Tutorials where you will see several that explain what is involved with customizing scripts and how to do it. The following summary is based on the S-140 Workbook template:

Summary
Use the File Explorer and navigate to the %appdata%\Meeting Schedule Assistant folder.

Locate the S-140 Workbook.XSL document and copy it. Call the new file something like S-140 Workbook – Counsel Numbers.XSL.

(Don’t edit the original file as it will be replaced if you upgrade the program. Also, please make sure your file name begins with “S-140 Workbook”)

Right-click the copied file, select Properties and untick Read-only.

Understanding The Schedule Data

The underlaying schedule data is in XML format. Here is an example from the schedule for the student items:

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<AYFM NumberClasses="1">
    <StudentItem IsTalk="0" IsSampleVideo="1">
        <Type>Initial Call Video</Type>
        <Material>Play and discuss the video</Material>
        <Time StartTime12="7:47" StartTime24="19:47" EndTime12="7:51" EndTime24="19:51">4 min.</Time>
        <Students ChairmanHandleSampleVideo="1" Class="1"/>
    </StudentItem>
    <StudentItem IsTalk="0" IsSampleVideo="0">
        <Type>First Return Visit</Type>
        <Material>Use the sample conversation</Material>
        <Time StartTime12="7:51" StartTime24="19:51" EndTime12="7:54" EndTime24="19:54">3 min. or less</Time>
        <Students Class="1">
            <Student StudyPoint="39" StudyPointDescription="Effective Conclusion">Sister 1</Student>
            <Assistant>Sister 2</Assistant>
        </Students>
    </StudentItem>
    <StudentItem IsTalk="0" IsSampleVideo="0">
        <Type>Bible Study</Type>
        <Material>bhs 197-198 ¶4-5</Material>
        <Time StartTime12="7:55" StartTime24="19:55" EndTime12="8:01" EndTime24="20:01">6 min. or less</Time>
        <Students Class="1">
            <Student StudyPoint="27" StudyPointDescription="Extemporaneous Delivery" Duplicate="1">Brother 1</Student>
            <Assistant>Brother 2</Assistant>
        </Students>
    </StudentItem>
</AYFM>

Customizing the XSL Template

There is not much room available on the S-140 Schedule for showing extra details. Let us assume that you want to show the counsel number after the students name. Then you would change this bit in the script by using a text editor. I suggest NotePad++.

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  <!--Displays the student and assistant for the current student item-->
  <xsl:template match="Students">
    <td class="cellName">
      <xsl:choose>
        <xsl:when test="../@IsSampleVideo=1">
          <xsl:choose>
            <xsl:when test="@ChairmanHandleSampleVideo=0">
              <xsl:value-of select="//Labels/Counsellor"/>
            </xsl:when>
            <xsl:otherwise>
              <!--Trims the " :" from the end of the chairman label-->
              <xsl:value-of select="normalize-space(translate(//Labels/Chairman,':',''))"/>
            </xsl:otherwise>
          </xsl:choose>
        </xsl:when>
        <xsl:otherwise>
          <xsl:choose>
            <xsl:when test="Student/@Duplicate=1">
              <span class="textDuplicate">
                <xsl:value-of select="Student"/>
                <xsl:text> (#</xsl:text>
                <xsl:value-of select="Student/@StudyPoint"/>
                <xsl:text>)</xsl:text>
              </span>
            </xsl:when>
            <xsl:otherwise>
              <xsl:value-of select="Student"/>
              <xsl:text> (#</xsl:text>
              <xsl:value-of select="Student/@StudyPoint"/>
              <xsl:text>)</xsl:text>
            </xsl:otherwise>
          </xsl:choose>
          <xsl:if test="../@IsTalk=0">
            <br/>
            <xsl:choose>
              <xsl:when test="Assistant/@Duplicate=1">
                <span class="textDuplicate">
                  <xsl:value-of select="Assistant"/>
                </span>
              </xsl:when>
              <xsl:otherwise>
                <xsl:value-of select="Assistant"/>
              </xsl:otherwise>
            </xsl:choose>
          </xsl:if>
        </xsl:otherwise>
      </xsl:choose>
    </td>
  </xsl:template>

Now try to use this modified schedule in the Midweek Editor and you will see the counsel numbers after the students names.

Bible Reading Assignments

As per the request made in the comments, here is the changes required to display the study point for each Bible Reading assignment. The line numbers shown here assume that you have already made the changes described above to your script:

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  <!--Displays all of the bible reading students for each class-->
  <xsl:template match="BibleReadingItem">
    <tr>
      <xsl:apply-templates select="Time" mode="End"/>
      <td class="cellTheme">
        <span class="bulletTFGW">&#8226;</span>
        <span class="textTheme">
          <xsl:value-of select="Type"/>
        </span>
        <xsl:apply-templates select="Time" mode="Duration"/>
        <xsl:apply-templates select="Material"/>
      </td>
      <td class="cellPosition">
        <xsl:value-of select="//Labels/Student"/>
      </td>
      <xsl:for-each select="Readers/Reader">
        <td class="cellName">
          <xsl:choose>
            <xsl:when test="@Duplicate=1">
              <span class="textDuplicate">
                <xsl:value-of select="."/>
                <xsl:text> (#</xsl:text>
                <xsl:value-of select="@StudyPoint"/>
                <xsl:text>)</xsl:text>              
              </span>
            </xsl:when>
            <xsl:otherwise>
              <xsl:value-of select="."/>
              <xsl:text> (#</xsl:text>
              <xsl:value-of select="@StudyPoint"/>
              <xsl:text>)</xsl:text>
            </xsl:otherwise>
          </xsl:choose>
        </td>
      </xsl:for-each>
    </tr>
  </xsl:template>

Meeting Schedule Assistant v18.1.8 is now available

Meeting Schedule Assistant v18.1.8

I am pleased to announce that there is a new version of Meeting Schedule Assistant available.

Publishers Database

It is now possible to resize the Publishers Database window:

Publisher database
(Click to enlarge)

The window state is saved for the next time the window is displayed.

Online Help

I am now using a new software application called HelpNDoc to manage the help topics. I have reviewed all the topics and given them a slight tidyup. As a result all of the topics should be viewable on handheld devices now. The new website location for the online help is here. All legacy online help links should hopefully redirect the the new pages. The new help system has a look and feel somewhat similar to the website:

MSA Online Help
(Click to enlarge)

Online help is particularly handy for supporting users by directing them to the relevant help topics. The application itself continues to be supplied with a local version of the help documentation in CHM format. This is also now created using the same software. In time I will revise the Public Talks help documentation.

Sing Out Joyfully To Jehovah

Some updates have been made for the new songbook as follows:

  • Portuguese Portugal (final phase)

I continue to keep on the watch for updates to the songbook!

Download Pages

A new Downloads section has been added to the website. For Desktop users it will show on the left, just under the search bar. I added this section to make it easier for users to find the downloads they need. It has two sections:

Online Resources

A new Online Resources section has been added to the footer of the website. It includes icons with shocuts to the following resources:

Latest Download

Meeting Schedule Assistant

Supported operating systems:

Windows 7 (Service Pack 1)
Windows 8.1
Windows 10
Size: 15.6 MB
Version: 18.2.3
Published: 17/09/2018
(Or use the Check for Update feature available from the Help menu)