This interface allows users with consultant expertise to set up application prototypes (mock-ups) to be presented to their clients. Such applications can be handed over to developers to provide a basis for the development of the final system.
This screen showcases the structural design of the application, that is, the main menu items, the associated screens, as well as the content displayed on the screens. These can be edited by clicking on the "Pencil" icons provided. The cards display various pictograms depending on the view type (grid view, card view, graph, editor screen, calendar, external website.)
Screens listed under an individual main menu item comprise a group.
- generating new screens, editing existing screens
- adding help
- copying screens
- deleting screens
- menu editing
- loading XML files into database
- managing restore points
- saving and publishing XML files in the file system
- (moving screens to another main menu item)
Generating a new screen
By clicking on the "New screen" button or on the cards marked with a "+" sign in the individual main menu groups, a new screen may be generated using two different sources:
- screen-level application block import
- generating/displaying content on a predefined screen layout
Screen-level application block import
By clicking on the "New screen" button and selecting the "Import application block" option in the pop-up window, the available screen-level application blocks will appear. After selecting the block to be imported and clicking on the "Import" button, the block"s XML file will appear among the other XML files in the database.
A block can be imported only once; when it is reattempted, the "Import" button turns inactive.
Generating a screen
By clicking on the "New screen" button and selecting the blank screen option in the pop-up window, an array of predefined screen layouts will appear.
In case of predefined screens, the connections between individual panels are set as follows:
- 2 panels (horizontal): the left-hand panel filters the components of the right-hand panel
- 2 panels (vertical): the upper panel filters the components of the lower panel
- 3 panels (horizontal): the upper panel filters the components of the two lower panels
- 3 panels (vertical): the left-hand panel filters the components of the two right-hand panels
NOTE: the predefined connection does not mean that filtering between panels automatically happens, rather, if the filters of individual panels are set correctly, the connection is established, and the filtering takes place.
After selecting the desired screen layout and pressing the "Next" button (or double-clicking on the selected layout), the design tool will be loaded.
By default, the name of the new screen is "Untitled", which can be modified on the interface.
- generating new main menu items
- renaming main menu items
- changing the order of main menu items using drag&drop
- changing screen name
- changing the place of the screen within the main menu using drag&drop
- moving the screen under a different (unprotected) main menu item
- adding new panel tabs
- changing the name of panel tabs
- By ticking the "Pop-up window" checkbox, a screen inaccessible from the main menu (that is, a pop-up window) can be generated, after which the pop-up window has to be named.
If there is no (unprotected) main menu item in the system, one should be generated, and the screen should be dragged under it.
By clicking on the "Save" button, a sample screen is created.
By drag&drop, content can be added to the individual panels from various sources:
- panel-level application block accessible in the block storage
- new views/views included in XML-package
- views generated during Excel import
The "Existing screen" tab features grid views, forms, graphs and calendar type views included in the XML-package.
Generating a new view by using the "New view" button
If an existing database table is selected, an existing table"s name has to be entered. When the "Create editor screen" checkbox is ticked, an editor form is also created for the view of the given table with an option to add new items.
After clicking on "Save", the grid view and the related form are created.
When a new table is generated, a name not yet existing has to be given. The columns of the table can be added by clicking on the "New field" button. The name and type (SQL field types) of the column has to be specified. In case of VARCHAR-type field, the length of the field can also be determined: the system accepts values between 1 and 8000 or the value "MAX".
A unique identifier and a "Deleted" field is automatically generated for the table.
Generating an editor form is also possible here, again by ticking the checkbox.
Note: When an existing or new table is specified, and the form generation option is ticked, the system will aim at matching the form"s individual fields with the field types, that is, in case of a BIT type of field, the associated entry field will be a checkbox, while with a DATE/DATETIME type of field, the entry field will have a date/date+time value, in any other case, it will be a textbox.
A view can also be created by using an SQL statement, and the SQL statement can be modified to create a stored procedure by ticking a checkbox.
A stored procedure may also be chosen from the database; in this case a dynamic view is generated as the system does not know what the result of the stored procedure will be.
The "Excel import" tab allows users to import data into the system from Excel files.
- maximum upload file size: 50 MB
- supported file format: XLSX
- items in the first rows of the individual tabs will be the column names of the table created
- data must start from the first column of the first row
- empty tabs will be omitted by the system
After selecting the file and hitting the "Upload file" button, the tab names (under which names the XML files will be generated), as well as the items in the first rows of the individual tabs (as table headers) will be loaded. The data content of the individual tabs will be loaded into related text boxes in tables with corresponding names, however, these can be renamed. If an existing table name occurs in the text box, the system issues a warning that only a nonexistent table name may be given.
Using drag&drop, the individual tabs can be linked through the fields below them, the relationship between the tabs can be thus defined. In this case the XML files are generated with filters already set. The relationship between fields is indicated by identical coloring and each relationship is marked with a different color. The number of fields linked to the relationship"s initial field is shown by a number following its name.
- This relationship is not a database level connection (it does not define foreign keys), rather it sets relevant filters in the XML files which create the parent-child hierarchy in case of multi-panel screens.
By clicking on the "Load data into database" button, the content of the Excel file is loaded into the database (unique identifiers and "Deleted" columns are automatically generated in the tables), and the relevant XML files are also created. The system will also generate the relevant forms to modify or enter new data. These will appear on the "Excel import" tab, with pictograms indicating the type of the views.
By dragging the tabs connected in the above example onto the three panels and clicking on the gear icon in the bottom right corner of any of the panels, the details of the given panel"s view will appear:
Related XML files (view, data source): upon clicking, the XML description of the given file will open to be edited locally, validated against an XSD and saved
Related forms (pop-up forms attached to a link or button): by clicking on the name, the form editor opens (for further details, see "Form editor")
Fields: here grid view columns can be rearranged using drag&drop, and their visibility can be modified by clicking on the eye icon (the green eye indicates that a column is visible in the grid, while in case of the red one, the column remains hidden). Upon clicking on the "Delete column" button, the column will be deleted from the view only, it will remain unchanged in the data source (as well as in the database).
Control panel: here new filter fields and action buttons can be added to the view
When adding a new filter field, users have to enter the label and type of the filter (date filter, date range filter, free text filter, checkbox), as well as the field to be filtered.
When adding a new action button, users have to enter the label and type of the button (PRS – running a stored procedure, a link opening a window, Excel export button, "Delete" button). In case of a PRS the following should be specified:
- name of the stored procedure to be run
- screen area to be refreshed following the action (screen, panel)
- whether the window be closed following the action, if the button is on a pop-up window
- whether the procedure be run to return a complete result set or selected rows only
Data filters: the field by which a given data source will be filtered is specified here
Data fields: SQL query fields are displayed here along with information on the column whose value is to be used as a filter (including name and type)
By clicking on the "Save" button, a three-panel screen will be generated, and its card will appear under the chosen main menu item.
By clicking on the "XML" label on the card, the file describing the screen itself will open in an XML editor, while by clicking on the pencil icon, the screen designer of the specific screen may be accessed.
When clicking on the ""Save XML files" button, the files will be saved into the file system. After reloading the page, the modifications will appear in the system:
"Add new item" button on the left-hand side: all fields on the "Employee" tab of the Excel file, as well as the assigned ID fields will be shown (since the latter is read only, its configuration will be discussed in detail – among others – under the "Form editor" section).
In the Component XML file, you can specify a help for tabs, which is a URL.
The following parameters are handled in the URL:
<Caption>Grid Toolbar (all items)</Caption>
When help is configured for a tab, a question mark icon will appear in the top right corner of the tab, clicking on it will open the help.
The Screen designer can be used to enter help content. To do this, select "Add / Edit Help" in the context menu of that tab. The HTML editor will open and the help can be configured.
After save the formatted text is stored in the
FSYS_Help table. The table has the screen/component/tab ID attached to that record so that they can be easily retrieved, as in the example above.
Any selected screen can be copied. In such cases, the system copies the XML files of the chosen screen, but only those on the first level, that is, the view and data source level, it does not copy the windows popping up from the views (or the files related thereto). A postfix is added to the copied files" names to indicate where a given file stands in a row of files under the same name.
By clicking on the "Edit menu" button, the following options are available:
- Add new main menu item
- Rearrange menu items using drag&drop
- Rename main menu items
- Rename screens
- Rearrange screens within the main menu item using drag&drop
- Drang screens under a different main menu item using drag&drop
- Screens under a protected main menu item do not appear and cannot be edited
- Screens cannot be dragged under a protected main menu item
Read XML files
Upon clicking on the "Read XML files" button (and following confirmation), XML files stored in the file system are loaded into the database. The structure of the Effector system described by the files appears on the screen. User specific files stored hitherto in the database will be overwritten.
Save XML files
By clicking on the "Save XML files" button (and following confirmation), user specific XML files stored in the database will be saved in the file system. Older files already stored in the file system will be overwritten.
Previous versions of XML files can be restored. A restore point called "FACTORY" is automatically generated upon the first reading of the XML files. This is the default version. In addition, a restore point saving the most resent version of the XML files can be created at any time. This is also user specific and is relevant only to the files loaded by the user. It is important to note, that no database status is linked to the restore points, that is, if a previous version is restored, database modifications made between the two versions (e.g. added table or field, data entry) will not roll back. Unneeded restore points can be deleted at any time.
Note: the XML files related to the restore points exist in the database only (assigned to the current user). After using a restore point, the files can be saved to the file system by clinking on the "Save XML files" button.
A selected screen can be deleted by clicking on the "Delete" button. In such cases, the files describing the screen itself will not be deleted (due to possible references elsewhere), only the reference made to it will be erased from the main menu file.
On the Pop-up window screen, screens inaccessible from the menu system may be created or edited. Screens thus generated may be added to select list type of fields on forms, while in other cases (such as windows pupping up on a grid view at the click of a button), currently these can be added manually at the preferred location. The generation and editing of screens are carried out the same way as in the screen designer.
With Effector Studio it is possible to generate database and Effector objects from an existing xlsx file. Upon clicking on the "Upload" button, the same window pops up as the one on the screen designer"s "Excel import" tab. After clicking on the "Load data into database" button, the data on the Excel tabs gets loaded into the Effector database. The names of the loaded Excel tabs are shown on the "Document tabs" panel, and by clicking on them, the data on the tabs will appear as database records.
On this interface, users can edit or generate new maintenance screens (forms) stored in the system. The form"s label (if there is any), its name and the number of its entry fields appear on the cards.
Generate new form
When clicking on the "New form" button, the following window pops up:
The name of the form can be entered in this window. It is also possible to enter control groups for the form, which, by default, consist of a label and an entry field of selected type. By clicking on the "+" icon on the group, further controls can be added to the group. The individual groups may be rearranged using drag&drop.
The following types of controls may be added to the individual groups:
- select list
- drop-down list
- horizontal rule
- buttons: save, delete, back, other action buttons
- text box
Controls may be deleted from the group by clicking on the Recycle bin icon appearing in their top right corner. By deleting all the controls, the group itself gets deleted. Labels can be renamed. The type of entry field cannot be modified. New groups will be identified by a GUID, such as "923ad59f-a699-4800-a988-e2bbe96e96b7".
You can explicitly define the field name on the "Field Settings" tab in the "Binding name" input field. If you specify an existing database field name here, the input field will be bound to it, otherwise a new field will be added to the table. If this is not specified, then the database equivalent (BindingName) of the new input field will be generated from the label if any. Without label it will be the type of the field (ddeaccent, remove whitespace characters). If a field with this name is already exists, it will postfix "_x" (where x = 1,2, ...).
Database field type based on selected input field:
- Text input field: VARCHAR (1000)
- Checkbox: BIT
- ComboBox, QueryTextBox: INT
- Date: DATE
- Date + time: DATETIME
Upon saving, the system automatically completes both the form and the associated database table with the following fields:
- Unique identifier (generated from the form"s name)
- Created by
Furthermore, the system automatically generates the Save/Delete/Back buttons onto the form. After opening a saved blank form (by clicking on the Pencil icon next to its name), it looks like this:
It is possible to define rules for both the groups and the items (controls) within the group. It can be done on the "Rule values" tab on the right-hand side of the interface. After selecting a group or a control on the left-hand side (the selected item has a dashed frame) and clicking on the "New rule" button on the right-hand side, the list of rule values appears:
- SessionValue (value attributable to a workflow, such as the ID of a signed-in user)
Upon selecting a rule, its type (Constant, Simple, SQL) return type (Integer, Boolean, String, DateTime, Double), optionally its default value (for when an error occurs during the evaluation of the rule) and the expression to be evaluated must be specified.
One rule can be added to a chosen item once only, after that it disappears from the list of optional values. A rule can be deleted by clicking on the Recycle bin icon in its top right corner.
In case of a drop-down list type of entry field, the data source from which the value set of the list to be obtained should be specified under the "Field settings" tab on the screen"s right-hand side. If a source is chosen where further filtering in the value set is possible (e.g. only the items belonging to a given group are to be displayed from the Lookup values), then such a group should be defined.
If there is no such group in the database yet, then, by clicking on the "New values" button, groups and group items can be added or renamed in the pop-up window:
In case of a Query TextBox type of entry field, users can specify, under the "Field settings" tab on the right-hand side, the screen that opens when clicked on the control, the item of the selected row on the view of the given screen to be used as a key (the value of which is to be saved in the database), and the item to be displayed as a value in the select list.