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February 2013
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Case Study - Technical Assurance delivers business solution based on Infowise Ultimate Forms

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [0] | Category: General | 2/28/2013

Hello,

We have just released our latest case study that illustrates how Technical Assurance, a leading facilities management vendor, has leveraged our Ultimate Forms to deliver a powerful SharePoint-based enterprise application to their customers, including Penn State University, with an outstanding user experience on time and at a low development cost.


Technical Assurance, Inc. has over 20 years of experience in working with large organizations to improve the management and maintenance of their external structure (“envelope”) of their buildings and other facilities to extend their useful life by proactively preventing damage, minimizing expenditure, and maximizing ROI. By analyzing the current state of the building envelopes and calculating the most cost-effective maintenance, repair and replacement plan, Technical Assurance helps their customers maximize their real estate investments.


Such a data-intensive process required an advanced information system to support it. After spending a long time considering expensive and rigid 3rd party solutions and development options, Technical Assurance chose the Microsoft SharePoint platform to deliver their solution. Technical Assurance then chose Infowise Solutions to fill the gaps between what SharePoint offered and the customer needed and used Ultimate Forms to deliver the essential user experience and functionality required for this critical business system.


Today, Technical Assurance is offering a complete asset management service delivery solution with their ON-PNT product to coordinate their internal business processes with their external service delivery to their customers, which has given them a competitive advantage in the market place and helps them to close business with greater velocity.

The complete case study is available here.

 

New features in Smart Action Pro

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [1] | Category: Products | 2/27/2013

Hello,

We are happy to announce that the latest release of Smart Action Pro includes these new capabilities:

  • Folders - you can now use list/doc lib folders in your actions:
    1. Create items in folders - specify folder ID or URL in Create list item action
    2. Use current item's folder name, URL or ID in conditions (e.g. run the action only if the item is within a certain folder)
    3. Use folder name, URL or ID in filters (e.g. update all items located in a specific folder)
    4. Create new folders
  • Tighter integration with Associated Tasks Field:
    1. Create associated items and link them to the current item
    2. Update/delete all items associated with the current item
    3. Get column value of the parent item

 

Let's look at some examples:

Condition

The action will be executed only for items not located inside folders.

 

Create folder

Create new folder using Create list item action.

 

Update items in folder

Update items located in a specific folder.

 

Create asociated item

Create associated item connected to Associated Items column named ATF.

 

 

 

Enforce status progression through column validation

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [1] | Category: Products | 2/14/2013

Hello,

We received this question from a client and wanted to share the answer with all of you, as many SharePoint users could find it useful.

The customer wanted to set up validation rules on a task list using Smart List Pro in such as way, that users would be allowed to change the task status only in a specific order:

  • Not Started
  • In Progress
  • Completed

So, for instance, a task that is not started cannot be change to Completed without first going through In Progress stage.

To do so, we would need to store the previous value of the status column. This value, hidden from users, will be filled out automatically and used by our validation rules. We will need to install both Smart List Pro and Smart ID Pro for this to work.

  • Add Old Status column to the list (it can be simple single line of text). Do not add it to the default view.
  • Using Advanced column permissions, set the column to be hidden in all forms, users do not need to see it.
  • Using Smart ID Pro set a rule to set Old Status column to the value of Status column

ID settings

Now we are ready to set up our validation rules.

Validation Rules

Number of rules is according to the number of status options, 3 in this case. For instance, rule #1 checks that the status value does not equal Completed when Old Status (the value of Status prior to attempted change) is equal to Not Started. This makes sure you cannot change from Not Started directly to Completed. The other two rules work in the similar way. The second rule makes sure you cannot change from In Progress back to Not Started. The third rule makes sure you cannot change Completed status to anything else.

You can also add rules to exempt your administrator, so you will have the ability to still change the values if a mistake was made. This is not shown here, but can be added just as easily.

When a user attempt to make an illegal change, he/she is blocked and the error message is shown:

Validation Error

 

 

Create many-to-many relationships between lists

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [9] | Category: Products | 2/14/2013

Hello,

Relationships between entities are the basis of any information system. Your customers relate to your products and your projects relate to your tasks. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to set up and use relationships in SharePoint, especially when trying to implement more advanced types of relationships, such as many-to-many.

Actually, it's quite easy, once you have the right tools. Associated Tasks field helps you do just that: easily set up and navigate relationships between multiple different lists, turning your SharePoint into a real application platform.

In our example, we will set up a many-to-many relationship between our customers and our products via support calls: both customers and products can have many support calls. And Using Associated Tasks field, the support calls are easy to create, view and navigate directly from either products or customers.

We will need to set up 3 lists (each can be of any type, the types below are just what we used):

  • Customers - contacts list
  • Products - custom list
  • Support Calls - custom list

In Support Calls add two lookup columns, one for products and another for customer, make both required.

Support Calls

We also set up two additional views, one called Customer Lookup, containing Title and Product columns, the other - Product lookup, containing Title and Customer columns. We will use these view for the Associated Items columns we are about to set up.

 

In Customers, add Associated Items column, pointing to Support Calls list. Actually, all you need to configure is the view (Customer Lookup as explained above) and the option to add new items in Display form, so we can add new support calls directly from the display form of the customer, without having to edit it first.

Associated Tasks Field settings

Do the same for Products list, but select Product Lookup view instead.

You are done, open a product in the display form and add some support calls pointing to some customers. You will see the product lookup field in the entry form, you do not have to select the product name again, it will be filled in automatically, don't worry. You can also add support calls from the Customers list, in the same exact fashion.

Once you are done adding some support calls, you can view them directly both Products and Customers list, giving you a great drill-down capability. Note here both Wooden frame and Hinge products have their support calls subview expanded by user.

 

Product View

Note: the screenshots are from SharePoint 2013, but the same product works for 2007 and 2010 just the same.

 

Setting up multiple cascading lookup levels

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [2] | Category: Products | 2/7/2013

Hello,

In this blog entry I'm going to show you how easy it is to set but multiple levels of cascading lookup field using our Connected Field. In our example, we will set up list of sales, where each sales figure is assigned to country, state and city. Selecting a country filters the available states and selecting a state filters the available cities.

Example

 

First, lets create our Contries, States and Cities lists. For all lists we are going to be using the versatile Custom list type.

  1. Countries - simply create a new list, no need to add any columns.
  2. States - create a new list, then add a lookup column pointing to Countries. You can use the built-in lookup column or our Connected Field, which comes with additional functionality, such as in-line adding of new lookup value. So when you are adding a state and just remembered you forgot to add the country, you can do it directly, without having to switch lists. Make sure Link to parent checkbox is unchecked, as this is a stand-alone lookup.

    States
  3. Cities - create a list. Add regular lookup or Connected Field (without Link to parent) pointing to Countries. Then add Connected Field pointing to States list. Leave Link to parent checked, the field should pre-select Country as the parent field.

    Cities

    State column settings:
    State column settings
  4. Sales - create a list. Add regular lookup or Connected Field (without Link to parent) pointing to Countries. Next add Connected Field pointing to States list. Leave Link to parent checked, the field should pre-select Country as the parent field. then add Connected Field pointing to Cities list. Leave Link to parent checked, switch the parent field to be State. Add a currency field for sales amount.

    Cities

    City column settings:
    City column settings

That's it, add some data to your lists. Now when you create a new sales entry, you can see the cascading functionality in action!