Blue Iris Tools Help File

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  1. Mike

    Mike Staff Member

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  2. Mike

    Mike Staff Member

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    Introduction
    Thanks for choosing Blue Iris Tools created by me, Mike. This guide is to help you properly utilize Blue Iris Tools (BI Tools), to understand how it can help you and hopefully answer any questions you may have.

    Blue Iris Tools was created to serve as a companion to Perspective Software's Blue Iris. There are some core features of Blue Iris Tools, they are easily adding weather conditions to your camera feeds (weather overlay), keeping an eye on Blue Iris to make sure it remains open (watchdog) and easily modifying / adding Google analytics to the Blue Iris web server files. Although these are not the only features, they are the core features.

    If you have any questions, please post on the forum at here. This thread will only be for the FAQ's.
    * Blue Iris Tools is in not affiliated with Perspective Software. Permission was granted to use 'Blue Iris' in the name of Blue Iris Tools.

    What's New
    Please see this thread for a list of what's new and the changelog.​
    Installation
    Simply unzip all contents of the zip file into the folder you would like to store the program. Double click Blue Iris Tools.exe and you're done. There is no installation.

    *NOTE* If you are experiencing permission based issues (can't edit web server files, can't download / update, etc.), try running the program as administrator by right clicking on "Blue Iris Tools.exe" and click "Run as administrator". If you are having other issues, please post here.​
    Updating
    If you on version 1.0.0 and are updating to a new version, close BIT, unzip the contents of the zip into the same directory as the previous installation, overwriting all files. Your settings and stations will not be lost. Starting with version 1.0.1, BIT will be able to download and install the update for you.​
    Getting Help
    If the FAQ (this thread) and searching the forums hasn't answered your question, you are more than welcome to post here.
    Weather Overlay
    Blue Iris Tools can easily add weather information to your video feeds (weather overlay). The weather will be updated every X amount of minutes (set by you) without you having to worry about scheduling tasks, running scripts, etc. This section will explain what weather overlays are, how it works and how to use them.

    There are many different combinations of weather conditions you can display. Here are just a few.
    weather-ss-1.0.1.png weatherss1.png weatherss.png weatherss3.png
    How It Works
    Blue Iris Tools uses wunderground.com's free API to look up weather information from specific weather stations. There are thousands of stations throughout the world. You can find the closest station here - Weather Stations | Weather Underground.

    In order to display the weather on your cameras in Blue Iris, a text file (or multiple text files) with the weather information must be saved, updated, linked to macros in Blue Iris and added to the camera feed itself. It may sound like a lot, but Blue Iris Tools makes it very easy for you. BI Tools will gather the weather information that you select for the station you provide, save it to text files (or all of the information to one text file), and will allow you to easily create macros in Blue Iris, linking to the text files.

    This section will explain how to use the weather overlay system and how to display the weather in Blue Iris.​
    Picking A Station
    First, you have to pick a wunderground.com weather station that is close to you. There are thousands of stations around the world that are available for use. You can find the closest station here.
    Saving To Text File
    Every time BI Tools gathers the weather conditions it will save the conditions to specified text files. You can change the location in the "Weather Overlay" tab on BI Tools. You must specify a directory that is writable and make sure to specify a filename with a .txt extension.

    *HINT* You can double click the text boxes with the directories to load the easy folder selector.
    weather-text.png sel-dir.png
    Macros
    In order to display weather details on your video feeds in Blue Iris, you must have Macros set up. Macros are basically text based overlays which pull the weather conditions from a text file on your computer. Blue Iris Tools saves the weather conditions into text files and allows you to easily create macros.​
    Creating Macros
    You can easily create Macros for Blue Iris pointing to the text files containing the weather conditions which Blue Iris Tools creates. To do this follow these instructions:​
    • Click the "BI Macros" on the first tab in BI Tools called "Weather Overlay".
      weather-macros.png
    • A screen will appear that says "Blue Iris Macros" and it will show your current Macros that are setup (will be blank if there aren't any). Click on the "Assign Weather Overlay To Macros" button
      assign-overlays.png
    • When you see the "Weather Overlays" screen, click on the weather condition that you would like to link (or click 'Everything to link all weather conditions to 1 macro)
      assign-overlay-buttons.png
    • Then, in the "Blue Iris Macros" window, click on the textbox or %# of the Macro that you would like to assign the weather condition to. Remember the # of the macro you assigned, you will need it later.
      assign-overlay-click.png
    • That's it! The macro will be automatically saved after you assign the weather condition to it (in the previous step). Now it's time to move onto the "Adding Macros to Video Feeds" section.
    Adding Macros to Video Feeds

    After you have created macros / assigned the text files containing the weather information to macros (previous section), it's time to add them to your video feeds. To do this, in Blue Iris, you must access the properties of the camera you would like to display the weather conditions on. Here is how:
    • Click on the camera feed in Blue Iris that you would like to add the weather to, then click on the Camera Properties icon in the Blue Iris toolbar on the top of the window. It looks like this:
      bi-camsettings.png
    • Once the camera properties windows appears, click on the "Video Tab", then on the bottom under the "Text and Graphic Overlays" section, click the "Edit" button.
      video-tab.png
    • At the next screen, click the "Add text/time" button on the right.
      add-text-time.png
    • On the next screen, on the top row type in a percent sign % and the # of the macro that you assigned the weather condition to earlier, then push OK. You can add more text besides the %#. Ex: Temperature: %1
      add-macro.png
    • After you click OK you will see the weather overlay has been added to the video feed. You can drag/drop it to different locations of the video feed to move it and also re-size it using the 8 black squares around the weather information.
      resize-overlays.png
    • Click OK, then on the Camera Properties screen click OK again and you're done! The weather on the screen will be automatically updated as Blue Iris Tools updates the weather. You can set the update interval in Blue Iris Tools in the "Weather Overlay" tab.
    Updating Weather
    Blue Iris Tools can automatically update the weather that is displayed on your camera feeds. All you have to do is set an update interval ("Update Every") on the "Weather Overlay" tab and click the "Update Weather / Save" button on the bottom.

    *TIP*
    It is a good idea to set BI Tools to "Automatically Start Weather Updates on Load" and to "Start when Windows Boots" via the "Options" tab. This way BI Tools will automatically start gathering weather details when it starts.
    weather-update.png options-start-with-win-update.png
    Retry Time
    If for some reason BI Tools cannot gather the weather conditions it will retry without having to wait for the weather update total time to expire. In other words if the weather info cannot be obtained and your update interval is set to 15 minutes, instead of waiting another 15 minuets to try to get the weather, BI Tools will retry in X amount of seconds after a failed attempt. It will continue trying every X seconds until the weather is obtained. This time is specified in seconds and can be set in the "Options" tab.
    options-retry-time.png
    Watchdog
    BI Tools has several built in 'watchdog' systems which will monitor Blue Iris in case it crashes / closes or cannot be reached. You can also monitor your CPU usage here with much more coming

    How It Works
    If Blue Iris does crash or close, BI Tools Watchdog will open it back up, regardless if you run Blue Iris as a service or not. The Watchdog will also detect if Blue Iris is updating in which case it will not attempt to launch until the update is complete. In order to make sure Watchdog works properly, please review the following topics.​
    How To Use
    In order to use the Watchdog feature, all you have to do is select the "Blue Iris Path" in the "Options" tab. You can push the "Detect Blue Iris Directory" button to help find the path to Blue Iris. If it does not find the right path, please set the path manually.
    options-bi-path.png

    After selecting the directory you must enable any or all of the three Watchdog features via the "Watchdog" tab.

    Program Monitor
    The program monitor will look for the Blue Iris program / process / service. If it does not detect it as running, it will launch BI and your Watchdog alerts.
    watchdog-program-enable.png watchdog-program-running.png watchdog-program-launch.png
    Web Server Monitor
    The web server monitor uses Winsock to connect to your Blue Iris web server. If BIT cannot connect or loses connection to the web server, it will attempt to reconnect for the specified amount of times. If it cannot connect, it will launch BI and activate your watchdog alerts, then will continue to try to connect. You must specify the IP address and port of your Blue Iris web server. If you do not know this, you can select "Auto IP/PORT" which means BIT will automatically grab the IP and port of the web server, even if it changes. You can also click the green refresh arrow next to the IP address. You must also specify the "Max. Attempts" which is the # of times BIT will try to connect to the IP address before launching BI and activating the alerts.
    watchdog-webserver-enable.png watchdog-webserver-on.png watchdog-webserver-failed.png
    CPU Monitor
    Blue Iris Tools can monitor the CPU level and trigger your watchdog alerts if above a certain level. By checking the 'Active alert(s) option', you may activate the Watchdog alerts if the CPU load exceeds the level you specify, for the amount of time you specify. Keep in mind that the cpu load will refresh at your specified refresh rate so if you are using this option it is best to set the refresh rate to 1.
    watchdog-cpu-activate.png watchdog-cpu-alert.png
    Folder Monitor
    This will monitor the folders associated with Blue Iris (New clips, storage, alerts and db). The Clips Max and Storage Max labels will turn green when the folder size is 69-79% full, orange when between 80-89% full and red when between 90%+ full. Please note that the first time you activate this feature, it may lag if the folders are very large.
    watchdog-folder-starting.png watchdog-folder-stats.png watchdog-program-enable.png
    Alerts
    Watchdog can trigger certain alerts if BI is not open, the web server cannot be reached or the CPU load spikes and hangs. The following notifications methods have been set up, with more coming.

    E-Mail
    You can set up e-mail alerts if watchdog is triggered. You must specify the e-mail server information in the "Options" tab of BI Tools. Gmail is default.
    watchdog-email-settings.png

    Next, click the "Watchdog" tab and enable the e-mail notifications.
    View attachment 603
    Launch / Ping URL
    Watchdog can ping / launch a URL if Blue Iris closes. The URL will not be visible on the screen, it will be launched invisibly. In the "Watchdog" tab, check the "Launch URL" checkbox if you would like to enable this feature. In the textbox below, specify the URL to launch.
    watchdog-launch-url.png
    Play Sound
    Watchdog can also play a sound if Blue Iris is not detected. In the "Watchdog" tab, check the "Play Sound" checkbox and specify the path to the music file you would like to play (mp3, wav). You can double click the textbox to activate the folder selector.
    watchdog-play-sound.png
    Close BI before opening it
    This option, if triggered, will first kill / close Blue Iris, then will open it if you are using the Program Monitor or Web Server Monitor and Blue Iris needs to be re-launched. If you do not use this option, BI will be opened only (in the event of a trigger).
    watchdog-close-open.png

    Web Server Tools
    BI Tools has built in features to assist you to modify Blue Iris' web server files easily. Everytime you update Blue Iris, the web server files are saved over. These tools will help you to easily make the customizations and modifications without having to open each file individually.

    Blue Iris Web Server Path
    The web server files are located in the Blue Iris Web Server path. In order to modify the web server files, you must specify the "Blue Iris Web Server Path" on the "Web Server Tools" tab. BI Tools can try to locate the path for you via the "Detect BI Web Server Directory" button. If the path is not found or is incorrect, please manually locate the directory.
    bi-webserver-path.png
    Google Analytics
    If you are like me, you like to track all traffic and monitor analytics via Google analytics. In fact that is the main reason why I started building BI Tools. Us Blue Iris users are lucky to have a devoted developer (Ken @ Perspective Software) that cares about their software and releases updates regularly. I figured instead of manually adding my Google Analytics tracking info into each file, I would build a tool that will do it in a few clicks.

    Under the "Web Server Tools" tab (assuming you have already specified your BI Web Server Path", you will see the web server files on the left hand side. From here you can select which files you would like to modify by clicking a single file, by clicking and dragging over multiple file, or by holding down the 'Ctrl' or 'Shift' key on the keyboard and clicking.

    Once you have all of the files selected that you would like to insert your Google Analytics tracking ID into, you must specify the tracking ID.
    insetanalytics.png

    Next, click the "Insert Tracking ID In Selected Files" button and BI Tools will insert the Google Analytics tracking information before the </html> tag in each file (unless the analytics code is already in the file, in which case it will not be injected again).

    *NOTE* Cliplist.htm (and if you have bp's files installed, cliplist2.htm) are skipped. Google Analytics code is not injected into these files because they are loaded within files that already have the code in them.​
    Find & Replace
    The "Find & Replace in files" feature under "Web Server Tools" is meant to be used to find certain strings within each file and replace them with something else. For example, you can replace "Blue Iris" with "My Cameras", or whatever else you like. Input what you would like to find, what you would like to replace it with, then click "Find & Replace". It is not case sensitive.

    *IMPORTANT* Only use this if you know what you are doing! You can break things like this.
    find-replace.png
    Download & Install bp2008's Web Server Files
    A fellow member of IP Cam Talk, @bp2008, has customized the default web server files a bit. Some of the customizations include a "Remember Me" option on the login page, a "Stay Logged In" option on the login page, some style changes and more. You can see full details of @bp2008's web server files here. BI Tools enables you to easily download and install his custom web server files in 1 click. In the "Web Server Tools" tab, click "Download & Install bp2008's Web Server Files". The index.htm file that is located in the default Blue Iris web server folder will be backed up into the /backup folder located in the BI Tools directory. I recommend renaming the backup of login.htm to login-original.htm if it is your first time installing bp's files or you are re-installing them after a BI update. This way you always have the original login.htm will not be saved over.

    *NOTE* If you have question regarding bp2008's files, please post them in the thread located here.
    bp-webserver.png
    Options
    BI Tools has different options that enable you to tailor the software to suite your needs. You can find the options in the 'Options' tab on BI Tools.

    Check For Update
    I am always improving, adding and tweaking BI Tools and plan on expanding and improving it long term. When a new version is released, you can be notified, download and install it right in BI Tools. In the 'Options' tab, click on the "Check For Update" button to manually check for an update or you can check the "Check for Update on Start" setting in the 'Options' tab to automatically check for updates when BI Tools loads. Don't worry, nothing will be downloaded or installed without you first approving.
    options-check-update.png options-auto-check-update.png

    If there is an update available, a message will pop up telling you the version information. From there you will be able to view the changelog.
    Check for Update on Start
    BI Tools can check to see if there is an update available automatically when it starts. If there is an update it will not update automatically, it will ask you first. You can do this by checking "Check for Update on Start" in the "Options" tab
    options-auto-check-update.png
    Minimize to Tray
    If you plan on running BI Tools 24/7 (which is it built for), you may want to minimize it to the system tray (next to the clock, usually located on the bottom right hand of your screen).
    options-min-tray.png

    When this option is checked, when you minimize BI Tools, it will be minimized to the system tray and not the taskbar. The BI Tools icon will be added to the system tray. I recommend that you "Show Icons and Notifications" of BI Tools so that the icon will be visible at all times. See the pictures below for details.
    sys-icon.png show-icon-always.png show-icon-and-notification.png

    Start when Windows Boots
    You can have BI Tools automatically start when windows starts by checking the option "Start when Windows Boots" under the "Options" tab. This is a good idea if you always have Blue Iris running on your computer. BI Tools was built to use as little system resources as possible.

    Minimized on Startup
    BI Tools can automatically be minimized when it starts, and if you have the option to "Minimize to tray" checked, it will automatically be minimized to the system tray when windows starts.
    options-min-start.png sys-icon.png

    Automatically Start Weather Updates on load
    BI Tools can can automatically start weather updates as soon as it starts. This is a good idea if you are starting BI Tools when windows boots. If this option is not checked, then the weather will not be updated when you open BI Tools, you will have to update it via the "Weather Overlay" tab. You can do this by checking "Automatically Start Weather Updates on load" in the "Options" tab
    options-auto-start.png

    Remove 'N/A' from 'Everything'
    This option will automatically keep values of 'N/A' out of the results and overlay. This will help keep the character limit for Blue Iris macros down.
    options-remove-na.png

    Remove '0'
    This option will automatically keep values of 0 out of the results and overlay. This will help keep the character limit for Blue Iris macros down.
    options-remove-0.png

    Weather Retry Time
    Please see the description above by clicking HERE.
    Back Up Blue Iris Settings / Cameras
    This will export your Blue Iris settings and cameras from the registry, to a .reg file.
    options-backup-bi.png

    Language / Definitions

    You can create and share language translations in Blue Iris Tools. This will change the weather condition text throughout Blue Iris Tools and also in the overlay text when retreiving 'Everything' (the Macro and results text). There will be more definitions released in future updates. To create, modify and share languages, click on the "Language / Definitions" button in the 'Options' tab.
    language.png

    Next, you will see the language / definition screen with English being the default. From here you can create and import as many new languages as you would like. Language files are located in the /lang folder and have the extension .bitlang. I encourage you to share your language files in the official BIT thread.
    language-screen.png
    To create a new language, click the 'Create New' button.
    language-new.png
    To share the language, click the 'Share' button. That will copy the file path of the language file and open up the BIT thread for you to post on the forum.
    language-share.png

    Email Settings
    If you would like Watchdog e-mail notifications, besides checking "E-mail me" in the "Watchdog" tab as mentioned above, you must specify a working e-mail server under the "Options" tab. I recommend using Gmail, it is stable, free and is set up by default (I have not tested with any other e-mail server). To use Gmail, all you have to do is input who you would like to e-mail if BI goes down, your Gmail username and password. The "Server Address" and "Port" are set to Gmail by default. If you are using another e-mail server you must specify the "Server Address" and "Port" of the mail server. You can push "Send Test Mail" to make sure it is set up correctly.
    watchdog-email-settings.png
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
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  3. Mike

    Mike Staff Member

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    Blue Iris Tools - Tips & Tricks

    Tips & Tricks
    Here are a few tips and tricks to help you use BI Tools a little more efficiently, easier and fast.​
    • Click on the blue question marks icon5.gif throughout the software for help and information.
    • Double click any directory text box for an easy folder picker.
      sel-dir.png
    • You can see the last weather conditions that were retrieved by clicking the "Results" button on the "Weather Overlay" tab. It will auto-refresh as the weather is updated so you may keep it open as long as you want.
      results.png
    • The "Help" button located in the "Options" tab will lead you to this thread.
      help-button.png
    • You can refresh the list of files under the "Web Server Tools" by clicking the green circular arrow.
      refresh.png
    • I recommend unchecking "Always ask before opening this file" when opening Blue Iris Tools if this window appears. Unchecking this option will disable this window from appearing.
      uncheck-ask.png
    • There are various status labels throughout BI Tools to help keep you informed on what is going on, if there are any errors, etc.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
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