V7.3 – Dynamic pick lists & web services

One of the most common features our customers use is dynamic pick lists (or radio/checkbox controls). Examples abound such as a List of products for a Sales Order / PO, Number of available vacation days for a Leave Approval, List of projects for a Time Sheet and many others. With frevvo, you could always setup dynamic options using a business rule written in JavaScript.

/*member productCode, productName, resultSet*/
var x;
if (form.load) {
eval(‘x=’ + http.get(‘http://localhost:18080/database/BIRT/allProducts’));
var opts = [];
for (var i=0; i < x.resultSet.length; i++) {
if (x.resultSet[i]) {
opts[i] = x.resultSet[i].productCode + ‘=’ + x.resultSet[i].productName;
}
}
Products.options = opts;
}

V7.3 – no JavaScript

Products-WS

Selection Control connected to a web service

Starting with V7.3 (late August 2017), you can select an Options Source in the Properties pane for the selection control (drop down, radio or checkbox). By default, the Source is Design Time which simply means the choices are static and the designer specifies the list of options by typing them in at design time. But, you can now select Web Service. If you do that, three additional properties appear below:

 

  • Options URL: This is the end point for the web service. If you’re using the database connector,  it’ll be the same as the URL used in the JavaScript rule above. The assumption is that this call returns either XML or JSON.
  • Value binding: the path in the returned XML or JSON that determines the value of the select control (what’s in the submission).
  • Label binding: the path in the returned XML or JSON that determines the label of the select control (what the user sees).

That’s it. The URL can also be dynamic.

Edmunds

Selection control connected to the Edmunds API

For example, the screenshot at left shows a checkbox control that’s connected to the Edmunds API. The Options URL depends on the Year since that web service API returns Car Makes for a particular year. The URL is set to:

https://api.edmunds.com/api/vehicle/v2/makes?state=new&year={Year}&view=basic&fmt=json&api_key=<key hidden>

When the user types something in Year, the web service is automatically called, the results are refreshed and the choices in the Car Makes checkbox will change based on whatever the web service returned.

V7.3 will be released at the end of August. Visit our website and sign up for a free 30-day trial if you’d like to learn more or contact us for more information.

Announcing frevvo 7.2

form-workflowToday we’re happy to announce the general release of frevvo 7.2. Cloud customers were automatically upgraded on April 29. On-Premise availability is coming up shortly – subscribe to Release Announcements for the precise date. This release also includes upgrades to the Database Connector.

We know that frevvo is powerful software but there’s also a learning curve. frevvo 7.2 is the first in a series of updates this year focused on making it easier to use.

Visual Rule Builder

VRBTopDiagram3

One of the main areas customers tell us about is Rules. They’re really really powerful and many customers love the flexibility of being able to write JavaScript code and create very complex, dynamic behavior. But, they can be hard to use. Enter the Visual Rule Builder. Using it, you can create many rules visually rather than writing JavaScript. Read more in this blog article and find detailed documentation here. We’re excited about this new capability and expect improvements over multiple releases to make it easier and increasingly capable of replacing JavaScript-based rules.

This release also includes some security enhancements – e.g. user ids no longer appear in URLs and are replaced by opaque UUIDs – and other under-the-hood improvements needed for future ease-of-use improvements.

Database Connector

The DB Connector is one of the most widely used connectors – customers have created all kinds of integrations with their SQL databases. Most of the improvements made in this release are fairly technical and we won’t go into details here. See the Release Notes for reasons to upgrade. We’ve also made several under-the-hood improvements so we can make this oft-used connector easier to use and as point-and-click as possible. We’ll detail those in future blog posts.

We’re excited about this release and several upcoming ones. The focus is squarely on updating and making so many of the good things we do easier to use.

 

frevvo 7.1: Submissions Search

We’re always working on improving frevvo based on customer feedback. We have ambitious longer-term plans but we’re tackling some of the most common requests ASAP.

frevvo V7.1 (which will be available later this year) includes one such item: the ability to search for submissions based on form data. There’s also a new Submissions View and Excel export. Let’s take a look using a Contact Form.

searchable-fields

Searchable Fields wizard

First, you have to define your Searchable fields using a wizard. Simply add/remove Searchable fields as desired. Once defined, frevvo can also go back and re-index your existing submissions so you can search them using the same fields. In our Contact Form, we’ve chosen First Name, Last Name and Email Address.

Then, go to the Submissions View for the form. By default, you’ll see the Submissions for the past month with no other filters applied. Searchable Fields appear in the table if they fit.

Expand the Submissions Filter Section. You can filter and search for submissions by a wide variety of criteria. There’s Date Range and Submission State but you can choose other criteria including the Searchable fields. You can also create a logic expression as shown in the image. We’re searching for Submissions this year where the email address contains frevvo.com and the first name begins with either M or P as the shown in the logic expression field.

filter

Filter/Search for submissions

If the columns don’t fit on the screen (for example, on a mobile device), you can click + for any row to view them. As usual, you can double click any submission to view details (XML document, PDF, attachments, signatures etc.) and delete unwanted submissions.

submssions

Expand/Collapse individual submissions to view details

Similar functionality is available in the Task List as well – we’ll describe it in a separate article. And, in a future release, we plan to unify these user interfaces so you can handle tasks, submissions and reports from the same place in the UI.

Roadmap: Part 4 – box.com Connector

 

frevvo-box

Save documents & attachments generated from frevvo forms and workflows to your box account

In a recent article, my colleague Yuri wrote about adding frevvo to Google Drive/Apps so it can be used as a low-cost ECM system.

It makes sense. Customers want an end-to-end solution where they use frevvo so they can stop emailing PDF documents around for signatures. It works great for them. But the documents need to live somewhere.

But, many enterprise customers still aren’t comfortable with using Google Drive for ECM.

We’ve recently noticed an uptick in customers and prospects who have asked about saving submission data from an automated frevvo form or workflow to their box account. So, we’ve decided to do something about it.

box-wizard

Save to box wizards

We’re working on a Connector and associated wizard for box. Similar, in principle to the Google Drive connector that lets you save documents to Drive. It’s simple and visual:

  • Choose Document Actions and select the Save to box.com option.
  • In the wizard that pops up, provide your credentials. The wizard will login to your box account, browse to find available folders and display them.
  • Select a parent folder (e.g. Purchase Orders) and a submission folder. Typically, the submission folder is a template that’s dynamically generated e.g. {ClientName}.
  • You can also choose which documents get saved including generated files e.g. a Government W-4 for an Employee On-Boarding workflow.
  • Click Finish and you’re done.

When the form or flow is submitted, the documents will be uploaded to your box account in a new subfolder whose name is generated from the ClientName form field (in our example). All subfolders reside in the parent folder (Purchase Order in our example).

Once in box, you can use all their features to collaborate, share and manage the documents in question.

It’s as easy as that. The Connector is targeted for V7.1, which is currently under development and targeted for late October, 2016. Obviously, the date could change 🙂

Interested in learning more? Contact us anytime for more details.

Roadmap: Part 3 – Productivity Report

In earlier articles in this series, we took a peek at the Active Processes Report and the Submissions Reports in the upcoming Business Insights package. Today, we’ll take a look at the Productivity Report.

productivity-report

Workflow Durations (avg/max)

The goals are to analyze workflows, understand throughput and productivity of the team involved, and to find and eliminate bottlenecks.

This report initially displays a breakdown of the average and maximum durations of each workflow type for the previous 30 days in the Summary tab. This chart only shows workflows that completed within the time period (last 30 days) and does not include incomplete workflows. The user may change the time period (30, 60, 90, 120 days, 1 year) in order to examine different data sets. The chart is also organized initially left to right with flows with greatest average durations to the left and descending to the right. The chart can be ordered by max duration descending as well using the “order by” radio button.

The Details Tab displays the data in a tabular format. As described in Part 1, this table (and all tables in reports) have a Search field that acts as a filter. Anything typed in the Search field is checked against all the data in each row and only rows that have some data that matches are displayed.

Productivity for a specific workflow

productivity-time-stats

Time Stats

productivity-time-breakdown

Time Breakdown

Click any of the chart bar(s) for a particular workflow type to drill down into the statistics for that individual workflow.

You can view the information in two ways. Time Stats shows you the processing time average average and max for the various participants involved in that workflow. The chart makes it easy to see which participant (role or person) takes the most time.

Time Breakdown shows a histogram to identify bottlenecks. The processing times for participants involved in the flow type are “bucketed” into categories (< 1 day, 1-3 days, 3-5 days, 5-10 days, ≥ 10 days) and then the counts of workflow instances for each of those buckets is displayed. It’s easy to visualize bottlenecks and get an idea of which users are under/over utilized, etc. For example, the HR Manager in the above graph is almost always taking at least 5 days and in many cases more than 10 days to approve. That could be a bottleneck that needs to be eliminated.

As before, the Details tab displays the raw information in a tabular format and you can examine individual submissions.

Upcoming frevvo releases will continue to add functionality focused on improving the task list (related to reports but operational in nature), saving your own custom filters as a new report, creating your own report in the designer, using form data (current reports only work over operational data) to filter your reports and more. We’ll publish updates on this blog regularly.

 

Roadmap: Part 2 – Submissions Reports

In Part 1 of this series of articles, we took a peek at one of the reports (Active Processes) in the upcoming Business Insights package. In this article, we’ll look at submission-related reports. The goals are for customers to easily analyze workflows that have completed recently and figure out which ones ended with an error and what the error was.

Recent Submissions Report

rs_summary_1

Recently completed workflows

This report displays information about all recently completed workflows (or forms). You can get a quick picture of completed activity and overall system usage.

The Summary Tab displays data for 7 days and all forms/workflows by default but you can change the time period and select a particular form or workflow to update the chart.

The Details Tab displays the data in a tabular format. As described in Part 1, this table (and all tables in reports) have a Search field that acts as a filter. Anything typed in the Search field is checked against all the data in each row and only rows that have some data that matches are displayed.

rs_summary_2

Completed forms/workflows for a particular day

You can also click on any of the bars in the chart to drill down into submission activity for that day.

The report will display a pie chart and table with submissions for that date broken down by form/workflow type. The pie chart shows the data broken down by percentage for the top 9 + an Other category. The table to the right represents the same data, but shows the actual counts including a break down for the Other category. As with all tables, you can narrow the results simply by typing in the Search field.

Submission Failures Report

sub-failures

Workflows with errors during submission.

The Submission Failures report displays information about workflow instances that had an error occur during submission. There are many possible causes of errors: workflow/form design bugs, misconfigurations, temporary runtime failures etc. This report can be used to determine if there have been recent errors and to investigate the exact causes.

The report initially shows all error data for 7 days and all forms/workflows but you can change the time period and select a particular form or workflow to update the chart.

sf_3

Details with exact error description

Clicking the Details button drills down into the error data. It displays a chart of errors by day in the Summary tab but you can also view a table with the details about each failed submission.

Each item contains the exact error description so administrators/designers can determine what is causing the error and take corrective action.

We’ll discuss the Productivity Report in the next article where you can analyze your workflows and find bottlenecks, see who’s taking the most time to complete things etc.

Upcoming frevvo releases will add functionality including the ability to save your own customized report, reporting over form data (current reports only work over operational data) and more. We’ll publish updates on this blog regularly.

Roadmap: Part 1 – Active Processes Report

active-processes

Which processes are active right now?

At frevvo, we’re hard at work on some of the most frequently requested features – Business Insights, Task/Submission search and others.

Customers have built many real-world business applications but it hasn’t been easy to see what’s going on operationally, find tasks & submissions etc.

In the first release, we’ll focus on business insights reports over operational data (metadata). The goals are for customers to easily answer questions like:

  • Which processes are active right now?
  • Who’s involved in these active processes?
  • Which processes have ended with some sort of operational error and what are those errors?
  • What processes have been completed recently?
  • Where are the bottlenecks?
  • Who is taking the most/least time to complete tasks?

active-table

We’ll describe several built-in reports over a series of articles. This Part 1 is about the Active Processes Report. You can use this to view what’s currently active in the tenant. Active workflows are those that have started but have not yet reached the final (SUBMITTED) state. Forms can also be active if they have been partially filled in and saved i.e. in the SAVED state.

The initial Summary tab shows all active forms & workflows in your tenant as a pie chart as well as a table (see Figure above). This table (and all tables in reports) have a Search field that acts as a filter. Anything typed in the Search field is checked against all the data in each row and only rows that have some data that matches are displayed.

There’s also a Details tab with a table that displays detailed data for all of the active workflows in the tenant. This is the detailed data that is summarized on the summary tab. For example, if a particular form/flow had a count of 3 on the summary tab, then there would be 3 rows for it in this detailed tab.

customer-registration

From the Summary tab, the user can drill down to individual workflows. The report changes to display data only about that selected workflow as shown in the Figure. At this level, the dashboard displays information about the people (or roles) that currently have assigned tasks for the selected flow. The pie chart displays the break down and the table to the right displays the summarized counts of assignments per user or role.

There are several other built-in reports that provide useful information and we’ll talk about them in future articles.

Upcoming frevvo releases will continue to evolve reports to add functionality including things like creating your own customized report and saving it, using form data (current reports only work over operational data) to filter your reports and more. We’ll publish updates on this blog regularly.