Templates: How Many Is Too Many?
As the early adopters get into the swing of the new charts module, we’ve heard a mumble or two about the quantity of templates being created. A big advantage of the new charting system is that it can cut down on duplication; if you wanted to use the same panel design twice, why store (and have to edit it) twice? Now that you can share templates across charts, you don’t need to store so many! But because you can see these templates on-screen, it could appear that you have more, rather than fewer.
How many do you have? Just how many is too many?
The number of templates you need depends entirely on how you work. Having lots of templates is fine… But perhaps you have a template management problem if:
- You can’t find the template you’re looking for
- It’s not obvious what templates do
- You have many templates which are similar and/or unused
These problems are all easily avoided by taking note of a few points.
Finding What You Need: Working with Projects
Using projects is essential for managing charts. You should rarely need to work in the global project! Even if your project only contains one or two wells, you should always create a project and use it for your chart templates.
- It’s easier for this project, because your charts are all in the same place.
- It’s easier for subsequent projects, because the special templates you created last time are hidden from view. You’re also not tempted to use (or edit) your templates in the next project.
You might consider locking ALL global panel templates, and using them as ‘blueprints’ for copying into your project. In your project, choose the global template which is closest to what you want, and either create a project copy of it, or add it to your block and decouple it.
To remove all the global templates from view, go to View > Show global templates.
A note on sub-projects: Wells can belong to more than one project. Templates can’t. It can be useful to create sub-projects containing a subset of the main project’s wells; for example, ‘North Sea 2015’ as a sub-project of ‘North Sea’. Beware though: if all templates which are useful for ‘North Sea’ wells are in the ‘North Sea 2015’ project, then they can’t be used for any new ‘North Sea 2016’ wells. As a rule, keep your templates in the parent project (‘North Sea’).
You can search for all the block and chart templates in a project using the normal ‘Open Template’ dialog – just select the project and press ‘Search’.
Making it Obvious: Naming and Describing Templates
Think carefully about names. Put the most important part of the name first (in case the end is hidden). Remember that the type of template is usually implied by the context or an icon, so you don’t really need to include it – or if you do, put it at the end. For example:
- Bad name: Micropalaeontology
- Better name: Closure diagram
- Even better name: Closure categories (micro)
Remember also that membership of a project (or otherwise) is usually implied by the icon, so it isn’t necessary to include the project name in every template name. You can reuse names as long as the templates are in different projects and the name doesn’t overlap with the global project. Therefore it makes sense to include the word “global” in the global templates, so that you can use the name in each project. For example, you might have a basic well block template called ‘Depth/Age (Global)’. In ‘Example’ project you could call this ‘Depth/Age’ – and the implication is that it’s a depth/age template specifically adapted to ‘Example’ project. You can easily make another copy called ‘Depth/Age’ in the ‘Ormen Lange’ project too.
And if it’s not completely obvious in by the name, you have 255 characters of ‘description’ to make the purpose of your template abundantly clear!
Managing Duplication: Using Tools
When you’re working in a block template you will only be able to see panel templates from the current project. To work with all your panels at once, use the Panel Template manager (File > Manage Panels). Here you can search for all the panels of a particular type, or in a certain project. You can edit the details (name and description), or see the properties. Next (and in order of preference):
- Find usages – lists blocks which reference your panel – if it’s not used then you can delete it!
- Find similar – this means panels which are either exactly the same or have only minor variations in more trivial details (such as panel width or colours). This will help you identify candidates for merges.
- Compare – select two or more panels to see their properties tables side by side. Any properties which differ between panels are shown in bold. Again, this helps to identify where there are strong similarities which perhaps you don’t need to maintain.
It may now be possible to delete or merge some templates.
You can also find usages and similar panels by right-clicking on panel templates in the panel selector tree.
There is a similar ‘find usages’ feature to find charts which reference block templates (Charts > Find Usages while you have a block template tab open). Before you write off a block template as unused, be sure to also use ‘Find tabs’ (same menu) to see which users have a tab open in Samples & Interpretations. This is important, because you can delete a block template even if you or colleagues have it open as a tab.
It’s easy for things to spiral out of control – you can’t find the template, so you make another one, and next time you’ve got more to search though… So it’s worthwhile sorting things out now!
Further reading: best practice guide