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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know that a few of these type of applications have existed over the years in many forms, including web apps, excel templates and Java apps. Unfortunately, the majority of those projects are either outdated and unmaintained or they are no longer available. So, I set off to create my own ticket generator. The result is not only an automated ticket maker, but also a full ticket layout editor. It might (probably, almost certainly) contains bugs, but I think it’s to a point where others should be able to make use of it. Below is an example of a ticket created with the app:




The GDC TicketMaker uses a layout file to define how the ticket should look, as well as what data should be bound to certain fields, so ticket layouts can be easily reused. I have created and included one layout, which you can use as-is or modify to your liking. If you’re feeling creative, you can even create an all new layout from scratch. A ticket layout is composed of TicketElements, each of which have properties that define their data binding and appearance. Everything on a layout can be edited including text, images, transparency, etc. Select an element for editing from the element list or by clicking on the element in the preview panel.


The TicketMaker includes integration with web services to retrieve cover art, backdrops, logos, runtimes, mpaa ratings, etc. Just search for the movie you want, select your showtime, and click ‘Make Ticket’. The app then downloads all the data it needs and applies it to the current ticket layout. You can print the layout, export to a png image, or save the layout file for future use.

User configurable settings define several global options, including the name of your theater, some default values for data bound TicketElements, print options, and the ability to create color schemes. The color schemes can then be applied to any existing ticket layout in one action, without manually modifying the layout template itself.

The app is written in c# and requires the .Net framework version 4.5 or later. It should run fine on any PC running Windows Vista or later. Obviously, an internet connection is required for downloading movie data. For the tech curious, the .ticx file format that layouts are saved as are really just zip files containing an xml file defining the layout, and a folder with the images.

Version 1.2.0.2 is available for download here:
movieposterapp.com/Downloads/TicketMaker/TicketMaker_1.2.0.2_Setup.msi

Some sample templates:
movieposterapp.com/Downloads/TicketMaker/Sample_Layouts.zip

A brief demo video:


The original 1.0 beta release is still available here: http://movieposterapp.com/Downloads/TicketMaker/GDC_TicketMaker_1.0_Beta.zip

All questions, comments, suggestions and bug reports are welcome.
If you're feeling generous, donations to support enhancements and fixes are greatly appreciated, but not required.
 

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Ticket Maker app comments...

I know that a few of these type of applications have existed over the years in many forms, including web apps, excel templates and Java apps. Unfortunately, the majority of those projects are either outdated and unmaintained or they are no longer available. So, I set off to create my own ticket generator. The result is not only an automated ticket maker, but also a full ticket layout editor. It might (probably, almost certainly) contains bugs, but I think it’s to a point where others should be able to make use of it. Below is an example of a ticket created with the app:





The GDC TicketMaker uses a layout file to define how the ticket should look, as well as what data should be bound to certain fields, so ticket layouts can be easily reused. I have created and included one layout, which you can use as-is or modify to your liking. If you’re feeling creative, you can even create an all new layout from scratch. A ticket layout is composed of TicketElements, each of which have properties that define their data binding and appearance. Everything on a layout can be edited including text, images, transparency, etc. Select an element for editing from the element list or by clicking on the element in the preview panel.



The TicketMaker includes integration with web services to retrieve cover art, backdrops, logos, runtimes, mpaa ratings, etc. Just search for the movie you want, select your showtime, and click ‘Make Ticket’. The app then downloads all the data it needs and applies it to the current ticket layout. You can print the layout, export to a png image, or save the layout file for future use.

User configurable settings define several global options, including the name of your theater, some default values for data bound TicketElements, print options, and the ability to create color schemes. The color schemes can then be applied to any existing ticket layout in one action, without manually modifying the layout template itself.

The app is written in c# and requires the .Net framework version 4.5 or later. It should run fine on any PC running Windows Vista or later. Obviously, an internet connection is required for downloading movie data. For the tech curious, the .ticx file format that layouts are saved as are really just zip files containing an xml file defining the layout, and a folder with the images.

Download Here: http://movieposterapp.com/Downloads/TicketMaker/GDC_TicketMaker_1.0_Beta.zip

All questions, comments, suggestions and bug reports are welcome.
If you're feeling generous, donations to support enhancements and fixes are greatly appreciated, but not required.




Brent,
Your ticket maker app is fantastic!
I've been looking for something like this for a very very long time.
Thank you for taking the time and effort to put out something like this to the community.


I've cobbled together tickets in the past using the old outdated/unsupported excel version, and have to tell you that my family and friends just love getting a ticket in their hands. They are actually requesting tickets from me before they come for a movie. Your app will now make it 10x easier and 1000x better looking.
You had said that all questions, comments, suggestions and bug reports are welcome, so I will throw my two cents in as I have been playing with this extensively since it came out.

Things I've noticed in using the application: (not sure if some of these are by design or not...)
- When clicking on Make Ticket, the Theater Name defaults back to Great Dane Cinema even if you have a theater name defined in the Settings. You have to go back in the Edit menu and reapply "Apply Theater Info" again.
- The QR code does not get generated correctly when Make Ticket is clicked. You have to go down to the Layout Editor and click the QR button under Selected Element Details in order for the QR code to update correctly.
- The Movie Title on the Preview does not fill in or populate under some movie searches. ie. searching for The League of Frightened Men brings up the graphic correctly and the Movie Title Right, but not in the Movie Title. I've noticed this on a number of different movie searches.
- the Text for the Movie title does not update correctly in the Layout editor when doing a search on a new title. ie... Search for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, brings up all the correct information in the preview (except the QR code) but it does not update the text content in the Layout Editor under Selected Element Details. If you click on the Movie Title Right in the Preview window, then the Layout editor text content window will update correctly.
- If you move content around in the Preview window, the layout editor position X Y coordinates do not update. (Not sure if this is supposed to do that or not.)
- You cannot click the Showtime-time in the Preview window. Clicking it selects the Runtime element
- You cannot click the Date-Day or Date-Month in the Preview window. Clicking it selects only the Date-Year element
- You cannot click the Theater Name in the Preview window. Clicking it selects the presents ticket element
- Is the ticket number supposed to be unique on every ticket printed? If I print 4 tickets on a page, they all have the same number of 123457.

(wish list item...) Can you provide a Ctrl-Z to undo the last change?
(wish list item...) Can you provide a Print Preview?
(wish list item...) Would you be able to add the ability to format printing for Avery® Tickets with Tear-Away Stubs 16154?
(wish list item...) Will there be, at some point, the ability to run this with parameters from the command line. I currently have a touch screen kiosk outside my theater where I can have anyone choose a movie by perusing a database using Movie Collector by Collectorz.com. What would be really cool would be to select the movie from there and have the selected movie information prepopulate your application so that tickets could be printed right from the kiosk. (just like a real movie theater)


Again... Fantastic job!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you. That's just the type of feed back I was hoping to get. Much appreciated.

- When clicking on Make Ticket, the Theater Name defaults back to Great Dane Cinema even if you have a theater name defined in the Settings. You have to go back in the Edit menu and reapply "Apply Theater Info" again.
- The QR code does not get generated correctly when Make Ticket is clicked. You have to go down to the Layout Editor and click the QR button under Selected Element Details in order for the QR code to update correctly.
- The Movie Title on the Preview does not fill in or populate under some movie searches. ie. searching for The League of Frightened Men brings up the graphic correctly and the Movie Title Right, but not in the Movie Title. I've noticed this on a number of different movie searches.
- the Text for the Movie title does not update correctly in the Layout editor when doing a search on a new title. ie... Search for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, brings up all the correct information in the preview (except the QR code) but it does not update the text content in the Layout Editor under Selected Element Details. If you click on the Movie Title Right in the Preview window, then the Layout editor text content window will update correctly.
- If you move content around in the Preview window, the layout editor position X Y coordinates do not update. (Not sure if this is supposed to do that or not.)
I'll be looking into all these issues, thanks for the thorough testing and great descriptions of the behaviors. It really helps a lot.

- You cannot click the Showtime-time in the Preview window. Clicking it selects the Runtime element
- You cannot click the Date-Day or Date-Month in the Preview window. Clicking it selects only the Date-Year element
- You cannot click the Theater Name in the Preview window. Clicking it selects the presents ticket element
Actually, it is selecting the element you clicked on. The reason it might be the one you wanted is that there are several overlapping elements. When you click on the preview, it will select the top most element at that location. The date area is actually 3 overlapping elements with different text alignments, for example. in those cases, its usually best to select the one you want from the Element List instead. I have some ideas on how to improve this though.

- Is the ticket number supposed to be unique on every ticket printed? If I print 4 tickets on a page, they all have the same number of 123457.
That's the difference between 'Print' and 'Print Batch'. Batch printing will increment any field set as incremental for each ticket. In the sample layout, that would just be the ticket number, but you could also use it for assigned seats if you wanted to.

(wish list item...) Can you provide a Ctrl-Z to undo the last change?
This is pretty high on my 'features to add list'
(wish list item...) Can you provide a Print Preview?
(wish list item...) Would you be able to add the ability to format printing for Avery® Tickets with Tear-Away Stubs 16154?
I will certainly look into it. I was sure some sort of ticket stock existed, but i wasn't sure of who made it. Is there any other tickt stock that would be useful?
(wish list item...) Will there be, at some point, the ability to run this with parameters from the command line. I currently have a touch screen kiosk outside my theater where I can have anyone choose a movie by perusing a database using Movie Collector by Collectorz.com. What would be really cool would be to select the movie from there and have the selected movie information prepopulate your application so that tickets could be printed right from the kiosk. (just like a real movie theater)
it would actually be really easy to make a command line version that takes the imdb id as a parameter and just sends a ticket to the default printer.

thanks again for the feedback!
 

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This is very cool :cool:

Just happen to have a family movie night 2night with the new Bluray release of Aladdin.. just printed it - Awesome, you are the man.. I'll make a lil donation when I get a chance..

One last thing.. I may have noticed a small glitch - no matter what printer I chose it printed out on the default printer 9 which happens to be a inkjet black only printer.. so to get it to go to my color printer I had to make that one my default just temporarily to print the tickets.. just thought others might run across that issue..

thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
So I ordered some of the Avery 16154 Ticket stock and did a little playing around tonight. I made some slight modifications to the default layout dimensions to match the ticket stock and made a function to print 10 per page. As it turns out, my printer doesn't do edge to edge printing. Its also pretty hard to get the tickets to line up EXACTLY on the perforations, so I'll probably just add a bit of a boarder around the tickets to allow for some leeway.

 

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So I ordered some of the Avery 16154 Ticket stock and did a little playing around tonight. I made some slight modifications to the default layout dimensions to match the ticket stock and made a function to print 10 per page. As it turns out, my printer doesn't do edge to edge printing. Its also pretty hard to get the tickets to line up EXACTLY on the perforations, so I'll probably just add a bit of a boarder around the tickets to allow for some leeway.
http://s1206.photobucket.com/user/burgermeyer/media/IMG_0895_zpsizkvuluz.jpg.html
http://s1206.photobucket.com/user/burgermeyer/media/IMG_0895_zpsizkvuluz.jpg.htmlhttp://s1206.photobucket.com/user/burgermeyer/media/IMG_0895_zpsizkvuluz.jpg.html


I've been thinking more about the ticket "printing" piece...
After looking at your printout of the Avery 16154 Ticket stock, I realized that if you only want 2 or 4 tickets, you've wasted the rest of the sheet as it is only set up for a one pass printing per sheet.
The ultimate in printing would be a true "ticket printer". Unfortunately, getting a full color, with cutting blade, ticket printer would cost anywhere from one to five thousand dollars. Way out of the ball park for my budget especially for the small amount of printing that I would do.
What about using a compact photo printer like the Canon SELPHY CP910, or one like it, that could print full color, edge to edge prints? You could use the Avery 16154 Ticket stock and separate the tickets beforehand. You then load them stacked in the photo printer and then you could print one, two, or as many as you wanted. I know the Canon can handle 2" stock.
The only drawback that I can see initially is that you would need a print driver to format for the 2"x5.5" single ticket.
What do you think of the idea? Could you create a print driver for something like that?
I could provide you with the printer for test purposes!!!


Samcat
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've been thinking more about the ticket "printing" piece...
After looking at your printout of the Avery 16154 Ticket stock, I realized that if you only want 2 or 4 tickets, you've wasted the rest of the sheet as it is only set up for a one pass printing per sheet.
The ultimate in printing would be a true "ticket printer". Unfortunately, getting a full color, with cutting blade, ticket printer would cost anywhere from one to five thousand dollars. Way out of the ball park for my budget especially for the small amount of printing that I would do.
What about using a compact photo printer like the Canon SELPHY CP910, or one like it, that could print full color, edge to edge prints? You could use the Avery 16154 Ticket stock and separate the tickets beforehand. You then load them stacked in the photo printer and then you could print one, two, or as many as you wanted. I know the Canon can handle 2" stock.
The only drawback that I can see initially is that you would need a print driver to format for the 2"x5.5" single ticket.
What do you think of the idea? Could you create a print driver for something like that?
I could provide you with the printer for test purposes!!!


Samcat
I like the idea. I see the HP personal photo printers at the local goodwill every now and then too. The Avery tickets are actually 1.7 inch width. Will the Canon printer go that narrow? Right now the print layouts are hard coded. But, I do plan to make print templates of some sort so I could accommodate different ticket stock and printers.
 

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I like the idea. I see the HP personal photo printers at the local goodwill every now and then too. The Avery tickets are actually 1.7 inch width. Will the Canon printer go that narrow? Right now the print layouts are hard coded. But, I do plan to make print templates of some sort so I could accommodate different ticket stock and printers.
The Canon printer that I was borrowing from a friend until mine comes in does not appear to go down to 1.7" width.
I'll see what my new one does when I get it on Friday. I'm also looking at true 2"x5.5" ticket stock. I found a supplier that charges around $20 for a stack of 1000. I'll let you know how/if they work in the new printer.
Samcat
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The Canon printer that I was borrowing from a friend until mine comes in does not appear to go down to 1.7" width.
I'll see what my new one does when I get it on Friday. I'm also looking at true 2"x5.5" ticket stock. I found a supplier that charges around $20 for a stack of 1000. I'll let you know how/if they work in the new printer.
Samcat
Where did you find the 2"X5.5" ticket stock? I'm happy to keep working towards a good printing solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, I picked up an HP Photosmart A617 compact photo printer from the local goodwill for 10 bucks. I love this idea of having a small dedicated printer just for ticketing. The printer works great.... as long as you use one of the standard sized photo papers. I did attempt to use the Avery tickets, in both 2 up and 3 up widths... unfortunately, the printer only wants to use 3x5 , 4x6 or 5x7 sized paper. It sort of works, though the printer has trouble feeding the 3 up width, and it complains that the 2 up width is too small and refuses to print most of the time.
I do prefer the print quality form my color laser printer as well. The colors just seem more vivid. So, as much as I love the idea, Im not sure how practical it is, at least with an HP printer. The Canon Selphy might be more forgiving on paper sizes.

The good news, I did find another source for ticket stock that might solve all my problems. http://www.perforatedpaperonline.com/raffle_tickets.html

Specifically, the 5-up, 1 stub paper. It has a 1/2" boarder around it to allow for boarderless printing on any printer. and... the tickets are 2" x 6" so if I really wanted to, I could run them through my new-to-me HP photosmart two at a time and just tell the printer to use the standard 4x6 photo paper size.

https://www.perforatedpaper.com also allows for custom layouts. and actually has the cheapest price per ticket (if I make a 2x6 ticket), at 2.7 cents. unfortunately, you have to buy 2500 tickets. No way I'll go through that many. Maybe we could get a group together and buy a batch?
 

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Well, I picked up an HP Photosmart A617 compact photo printer from the local goodwill for 10 bucks. I love this idea of having a small dedicated printer just for ticketing. The printer works great.... as long as you use one of the standard sized photo papers. I did attempt to use the Avery tickets, in both 2 up and 3 up widths... unfortunately, the printer only wants to use 3x5 , 4x6 or 5x7 sized paper. It sort of works, though the printer has trouble feeding the 3 up width, and it complains that the 2 up width is too small and refuses to print most of the time.
I do prefer the print quality form my color laser printer as well. The colors just seem more vivid. So, as much as I love the idea, Im not sure how practical it is, at least with an HP printer. The Canon Selphy might be more forgiving on paper sizes.

The good news, I did find another source for ticket stock that might solve all my problems. http://www.perforatedpaperonline.com/raffle_tickets.html

Specifically, the 5-up, 1 stub paper. It has a 1/2" boarder around it to allow for boarderless printing on any printer. and... the tickets are 2" x 6" so if I really wanted to, I could run them through my new-to-me HP photosmart two at a time and just tell the printer to use the standard 4x6 photo paper size.

https://www.perforatedpaper.com also allows for custom layouts. and actually has the cheapest price per ticket (if I make a 2x6 ticket), at 2.7 cents. unfortunately, you have to buy 2500 tickets. No way I'll go through that many. Maybe we could get a group together and buy a batch?


The ticket stock I ordered was from: https://onlinestore.worldwideticketcraft.com/product/generic-thermal-tickets-2x55-1-perf
The tickets haven't arrived yet so I don't know how they will work.
I did get my Canon SELPHY CP910 in on Friday. Unfortunately, its going back. I wanted a true inkjet printer. This one uses some sort of an ink paper cartridge. You only get 46 prints per cartridge. I don't want to spend a fortune on consumables so I need to find a different solution.
I did check out the ticket stock from perforatedpaperonline.com in my searching, but I didn't see anything that looked like it would work. I'm glad you found the 5-up paper.
Let me know what you think of the ticket stock from worldwideticketcraft...
I'd still'd like to find a simple small inkjet printer that will print on 2 inch wide stock...
Samcat
 

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The ticket stock I ordered was from: https://onlinestore.worldwideticketcraft.com/product/generic-thermal-tickets-2x55-1-perf
The tickets haven't arrived yet so I don't know how they will work.
I did get my Canon SELPHY CP910 in on Friday. Unfortunately, its going back. I wanted a true inkjet printer. This one uses some sort of an ink paper cartridge. You only get 46 prints per cartridge. I don't want to spend a fortune on consumables so I need to find a different solution.
I did check out the ticket stock from perforatedpaperonline.com in my searching, but I didn't see anything that looked like it would work. I'm glad you found the 5-up paper.
Let me know what you think of the ticket stock from worldwideticketcraft...
I'd still'd like to find a simple small inkjet printer that will print on 2 inch wide stock...
Samcat
Update...
I think I found a printer that will work well with this.
I found an old Canon ip100. It's a very small inkjet printer. We use a bunch of these at work. I was told they are very reliable printers.. The driver will print down to 2.13 x 5.5. That should work for the ticket stock from worldwideticketcraft!

Would it be possible to make a template for that?

Samcat
 

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Update...
I think I found a printer that will work well with this.
I found an old Canon ip100. It's a very small inkjet printer. We use a bunch of these at work. I was told they are very reliable printers.. The driver will print down to 2.13 x 5.5. That should work for the ticket stock from worldwideticketcraft!

Would it be possible to make a template for that?

Samcat
The ticket stock arrived last night so I did some print tests on it this morning.

To be honest, its not working as anticipated. The ticket stock has some kind of finish on the print side that does not allow the ink to print on it. The ink sits on top the paper and does not dry well. Probably has something to do with it being thermal ticket stock. The other side prints ok but it has a black bar across it for positioning and also has numbering on it.

Oh well, you don't know unless you try... as the saying goes. Back to square one.

Hopefully your perforated paper stock works out. If not, using a 4x6 photo sheet and just cutting it in half before printing might be an option.

Samcat
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I just ordered 500 of the the 5-up, 1 stub ticket stock from perforatedpaperonline. I'll let you all know how it works out. I'm working on method to add user definable page layouts to for printing of various types of ticket stock. I'll make up definitions for the most popular layouts, but you'll be able to set up your own if you need to.
 

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Wow. I've used a few of the other versions over the years and though I havent got to look at this yet, I'd still like to say thank you for your hard work and time!
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I received the 5-up, 1 tab ticket stock from perforatedpaperonline last night. It works very well with my laser printer as well as breaking them down to a 2-up sheet with 2 2x6 tickets side by side for running through my HP photosmart. They are a bit more expensive than the Avery labels, but at least I can do edge to edge printing without much difficulty.

I'm in the process of adding support for configurable print layouts to support pretty much any kind of ticket stock you can run through your printer. You'l be able to choose your layout from a list, edit or create new ones as needed. The screenshot below shows some layouts loaded from a file that I've already defined.

 
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