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Linking your IES files to your product web pages

For years, lighting software users have struggled to correlate photometric file names to the manufacturer's product they represent.  Visual allows any manufacturer to create a link in from their IES files to their online catalogs.  When a photometric file contains a valid link Visual will display a hyperlink button in the Photometric File Dialog Box so that a user may launch the luminaire's associated web page to learn more about the product.


Additonally, once the photometric file is selected Visual provides a link in the Luminaire Schedule so that users may reference the luminaire's associated web page during the design process.


This is an example of one of the Lithonia Lighting product web pages that can be launched from Visual.


Any manufacturer may provide this functionality.  In order to do so, the you must have two things in place:

  • The product web page(s).
  • The address of the appropriate page placed in the header data of your IES file(s).

Most manufacturers already have some form of online catalog.  Thus, the product web pages you need likely already exists.  What remains is placing the appropriate web page addresses in the header of your IES file(s).  The header section of a typical IESNA LM-63 formatted photometric file looks something like this:

IESNA91
[TEST] 12345678
[MANUFAC] ACME Lighting
[LUMCAT] AF 2/26DTT 8AR
[LUMINAIRE] 8" OPEN DOWNLIGHT WITH ALZAK REFLECTOR
[LAMPCAT] PL-C 26W/27K
[LAMP] 26 WATT DOUBLE TWIN TUBE FLUORESCENT
[OTHER]Version: 03/01/1999 - 12:00:00
TILT=NONE

Annex A of the IESNA LM-63 specification for the format of electronic photometric data allows for user defined headings.  Visual uses a [_INFOLINK] header shown below to link the photometric file to the product web page.  If the [_INFOLINK] is not present in the IES file then the hyperlink buttons shown above on the Photometric File Dialog Box and the Luminaire Schedule are not visible.

IESNA91
[TEST] 12345678
[MANUFAC] ACME Lighting
[LUMCAT] AF 2/26DTT 8AR
[LUMINAIRE] 8" OPEN DOWNLIGHT WITH ALZAK REFLECTOR
[LAMPCAT] PL-C 26W/27K
[LAMP] 26 WATT DOUBLE TWIN TUBE FLUORESCENT
[_INFOLINK] www.manufacturer.com/product/product.htm
[OTHER]Version: 03/01/1999 - 12:00:00
TILT=NONE

Programming Note:

This method of connecting to manufacturer information is a more extensible system than the classic inclusion of a compiled database of manufacturer's photometric files, product pictures and product features that is shipped with the lighting software.  Manufacturer's may update and change the information on, and the look of, their web pages at will and the Visual user will see those changes next time he/she uses the product.  However, manufacturer web sites are constantly changing and evolving and with that the addresses of the product pages often change.  It is impractical to send out a new set of photometric files to your customers with updated [_INFOLINK] headers each time this occurs.  Therefore, it is convinient to add a layer of redirection in order to make the system more maintainable.  In order to do so you will need to build two items:

  • A database that will be stored on your server that coordinates the name of each IES file to the appropriate product web page.
  • A forwarding web page that, given the IES file name, can look up the product's web page address from the database and forward the browser to that page.

Currently, the simplest way to do this is to create an ASP page than can accept a query string (the file name).  The ASP page can then look up the appropriate product page address from the database using the file name and forward the browser on to that page.  The specific ASP code to provide this functionality is outside the scope of this document and it is assumed that the manufacturer is capable of producing this code.

The address for the single forwarder page is then included in the header section of ALL your IES files with your query string syntax appended to the end.  An example is shown here:

IESNA91
[TEST] 12345678
[MANUFAC] ACME Lighting
[LUMCAT] AF 2/26DTT 8AR
[LUMINAIRE] 8" OPEN DOWNLIGHT WITH ALZAK REFLECTOR
[LAMPCAT] PL-C 26W/27K
[LAMP] 26 WATT DOUBLE TWIN TUBE FLUORESCENT
[_INFOLINK] www.manufacturer.com/forwarder/forwarder.asp?file=
[OTHER]Version: 03/01/1999 - 12:00:00
TILT=NONE

When either of the links shown above in the Visual interface are clicked the browser is launched to the address provided with the name of the IES file appended to the end of the address.  For example, the Lithonia forwarder page is located at www.lithonia.com/visual/ies/ies.asp.  The query string syntax is ?vfile= .  Therefore, the line added to ALL the Lithonia Lighting IES files is:

[_INFOLINK] www.lithonia.com/visual/ies/ies.asp?vfile=

When the link is clicked Visual appends the photometric file to the address provided in the IES file and launches the browser.  In the Lithonia example:

www.lithonia.com/visual/ies/ies.asp?vfile=12345678

Thus, the only page that needs to remain stationary on your website is the forwarder page.  When the addresses of your product web pages change you need only update the database that is stored on your server and Visual users will be able to link to your new pages without having to have your IES files updated on their computers.