Month: April 2012

Grid (Table) Control

One of the most common things we have heard from our customers is the need for a data-entry Grid /Table. It’s possible to create this today using a repeat control and some fancy layouts but it’s cumbersome. We’ve been working on that and it’s close to complete.

Using it is simple: there’s a new control in the palette called Table. Drag and drop a Table into your form. By default, it has three columns. You can edit the table name, column names, drag and drop new controls from the palette, and set the widths of the columns. You can control the min/max number of rows in the table – Add/Remove icons will automatically appear to the left. You can also use business rules as usual for computed values, enabling/disabling fields, showing/hiding fields etc.

The image below shows an Expense Report created using the Table. Users pick the date and specify their expenses by category with a description. Additional rows can be easily added by clicking the + button. The form contains rules to compute the mileage expense based on the miles traveled and the Total expenses. In this example, the Table is placed in a Section which the user can digitally sign and lock so that it cannot be modified.

Expense Report using Table Control
Expense Report using Table Control

The Table control can also be used for static grids where the number of rows is fixed. The image below shows a time sheet with one row for each day of the week. Obviously, the user cannot add more rows or remove existing rows but simply fills in data into the grid according to the number of hours worked in a given week.

Time sheet using Table Control
Time sheet using Table Control

The Table control provides an easy way for customers to create data-entry grids that are common in forms. As with all frevvo controls, it is fully internationalized and supports input in all languages worldwide including right-to-left languages such as Hebrew and Arabic.

Development on the Table is almost complete and we expect to release it soon.

Merging workflow data with your existing PDF documents

With frevvo, you can already generate a PDF when your workflow is submitted. The PDF looks like the form on the screen. But customers want to use the data to fill in their own PDFs or government PDFs like the US W-4 form. We’re working on this and it’ll be available in the next release. Together with electronic wet signatures, it’ll be easy to fully automate workflows like Employee On-boarding where you can collect employee information and a signature electronically and generate all the required documents.

We’re still working out a detailed design but one possibility is to drop a PDF activity into your workflow at the end. After you upload your PDF, frevvo will send you back a modified PDF as shown below for a US W-4 form.

Notice that all the fields on the PDF have been replaced by pick lists. Each pick list contains the currently defined fields in your workflow and you can map the fields from the workflow to the PDF. Once you are done, upload the mapped PDF back to frevvo and it will take care of the rest.

Now, when your workflow is submitted, the document set will contain the original PDF that you uploaded with the fields filled in from the workflow. You can save it to your back end system, send it via email or use any of the standard actions available with a frevvo workflow. Coming soon …

Electronic wet signatures

frevvo Live Forms already supports digital signatures so any authenticated user can digitally sign a section, lock it down and prevent tampering with the data. That’s an incredibly powerful feature but many customers still want the ability to add a wet signature via signature pads like Topaz devices, touchscreen computers and mobile devices. We’re working on that and expect that it’ll be available in the next release.

As usual with frevvo, we’ll make sure this is extremely easy to use. How will it work? You’ll be able to drag and drop a new Signature control from the palette anywhere into the form. You can make it required, add a tool tip, style it etc. like any other control. To sign, simply click or touch a signature control, and frevvo will present an entry dialog. Sign using a touchscreen, track pad, stylus or just using your mouse.

Signature Entry Dialog
Signature Entry Dialog

Click Done and the signature is displayed in the form scaled down into the signature control as shown below.

Signed Form
Signed Form

Easy as that. This signature functionality will require no special hardware; all you need is a smartphone or a computer with a relatively modern browser that supports HTML5. Coming soon …

frevvo plugin for Confluence 4

Confluence 4 has been out for 6+ months now and we have been slow to release an updated plugin. We’re finally almost there. The plugin has been updated and is now in final QA and we expect to release it very shortly.

The good news [for us] is that the delay is due to some large customer wins. We’ve signed a large OEM deal with one of the biggest software companies in the world, and we’re also almost at the end of a production deployment at one of a global telecoms company. Together with normal customer activity, these projects have literally overwhelmed us with work.

Look for the Confluence 4 plugin coming soon.