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Let's talk about DREL

  • 1.  Let's talk about DREL

    Posted 09-18-2023 11:29

    Hi Everyone

    I'm a Product Manager here at ProntoForms (soon to be TrueContext) and wanted to ask for some targeted feedback on one of our features: DREL.

    I'm interested in any sort of feedback really, but here are some prompts to get you thinking:

    1. How comfortable are you using DREL? 
    2. Is there data you wish you could get through DREL that you can't at the moment?
    3. Is there anything you find difficult to do using DREL?
    4. Are you using DREL in any non-obvious ways?
    5. Do you have any tips on using DREL?
    6. Do you try to use the same unique IDs in different forms so that the same DREL expression will work for multiple forms?

    Looking forward to hearing from the community!


    Here's one tip to get us started:

    Say you have two fields in your form, but only 1 is ever populated at a time. You don't need any fancy logic on which one to show in your outputs because you can simply reference both and since one will be empty and the other populated, only one will show.

    For example, my installation form takes either an asset number or a serial number. If I want this number in the filename I can simply do:

    and since the empty field doesn't return anything, not even a space, you will get a nice consistent filename without any obvious gaps of missing data (as long as you don't put a space between the two answers).

    This works especially well for our Custom Excel Document if you need 1 of a set of mutually exclusive values, but in the same cell:


    ------------------------------
    Natalie Tallon
    Product Manager
    ProntoForms
    ntallon@prontoforms.com
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Let's talk about DREL

    Adopter
    Posted 09-19-2023 09:54

    Hi Natalie,

    I use DREL quite a bit in Excel docs and in document names, data destinations, etc.

    One feature that I would love to see is some text transformation functions - even simple things like the ability to convert the answer to uppercase would be very useful.

    Something like %a[Building Name][@upper], etc.

    Another minor thing, I don't believe there is a way to get the owner of a submission with DREL. %u gets you the submitter, but if you transfer a form via Teamwork, the owner and the submitter are two different users and there's no way to get the owner until they submit the form. At some point I tried to use destinations to track who was transferring forms between users, but there didn't seem to be a way to figure out who the form was getting transferred to (e.g. the new owner.) The Submission/Teamwork API was also missing this functionality last I checked. That was fairly early on in the Teamwork release so it's possible those have been added and I missed them though.



    ------------------------------
    Calvin Hunter
    Project Manager
    Vipond Inc
    calvin.hunter@vipond.ca
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Let's talk about DREL

    Posted 09-19-2023 10:09

    Thanks Calvin!

    Interesting - it had never occurred to me about that sort of text transformation function – I'm curious, if this is an option-based question (i.e. button group with Yes/No), why would the form options NOT be uppercase but the output should be?

    What other text transformations would be useful? Is this for areas other than the Custom Excel Document? I never thought to try something like =UPPER(%a[UniqueID]) in Excel, I'll try that out a bit later today. I suppose if that doesn't work, I could put the %a[UniqueID] in a reference cell and the use =UPPER(ReferenceCell) if I can't combine it all in one.

    As for the second, thank you for the reminder on this – I remember this from a while back – having that ability makes a lot of sense.

     

    Natalie Tallon
    Product Manager

    Join our Community! / Get Help!

     






  • 4.  RE: Let's talk about DREL

    Adopter
    Posted 09-19-2023 10:49

    Hi Natalie,

    In my case, it's text inputs, and users generally enter lower case when using a phone. This is only an issue when using DREL in data destinations or as document filenames, etc.

    e.g., user enters a building address in varying case, and we'd prefer it be converted it to uppercase for the filename when the document is generated. 

    In Excel docs I do some transformations myself using the reference method you mentioned, that works fine. 

    You can of course restrict text input to forbid lowercase letters with regex, but that's a really frustrating experience for the user, especially on a mobile device.



    ------------------------------
    Calvin Hunter
    Project Manager
    Vipond Inc
    calvin.hunter@vipond.ca
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Let's talk about DREL

    Posted 09-19-2023 11:18

    Text formatting is something we also discussed perhaps including within the form builder. In this way text is re-formatted automatically on the device to the desired case. 



    ------------------------------
    Craig MacMaster
    Senior User Experience Designer
    ProntoForms
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Let's talk about DREL

    Adopter
    Posted 09-19-2023 15:39

    @Craig MacMaster

    I think you and I discussed this at some point as well. That would be an acceptable alternative (or addition), maybe even preferable in most cases. It would be better for the user to understand that the case they type in doesn't matter - I do have users that know everything is converted to uppercase, and others that don't, and some (very few) of those do occasionally go through the extra effort to properly capitalize words, etc. for no real reason. 

    @Natalie Tallon

    There are definitely work arounds in most situations. The only situation I have in use at the moment (that I can think of) without an available work around is attached files on e-mail data destinations. 



    ------------------------------
    Calvin Hunter
    Project Manager
    Vipond Inc
    calvin.hunter@vipond.ca
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Let's talk about DREL

    Posted 09-19-2023 12:03

    Thanks for these additional details, that really helps us understand better - it also opens it up for different ways to potentially address the pain point.

    I can see why filenames with inconsistent case use would be bothersome, especially if the street address is used to sort or if search is case-sensitive in the system you are using. Not to mention the grammar rules for a proper noun such as a street name, says that the first letter should be capitalized.

    Using REGEX for uppercase - I could see why that would be extremely frustrating for an end user.

    Outside of our system, perhaps you could do something with PowerAutomate or a SharePoint List calculation field if you use Microsoft 365.



    ------------------------------
    Natalie Tallon
    Product Manager
    ProntoForms
    ntallon@prontoforms.com
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Let's talk about DREL

    Adopter
    Posted 03-01-2024 20:46

    Goodness yes!

    Not having a way to be able to extract the Form Owner seems like a wasted opportunity. 

    Our company wants to be able to identify what forms are currently outstanding (ie, need approval) and to do that now, each day the admin (myself) needs to go into the portal and create a manual list to push out to our team. Also, not having the Form Owner as part of the form metadata columns when pulling a CSV list is also a wasted opportunity.

    I was hoping to be able to pull a SharePoint List that updates as the form gets added when unapproved, then dropped off when approved using the "Form Owner" but I'm going to have to rethink my logic on how to extract this data on a real time basis.

    Having a form Owner DREL id would be ideal.



    ------------------------------
    Kylie Clarke
    Contracts Manager
    Anderson Environmental Contracting
    WA
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Let's talk about DREL

    Posted 03-05-2024 09:35

    Hi Kylie

    This is a very timely ask, I'm a product manager here at TrueContext and this was a recent topic between Product & Engineering. I believe your CSM, Chris, is going to introduce us by email so that we can set up a customer interview with you around your approval process - if you are amenable to that.

    I agree and understand the need to be able to query the owner of a data record. It sounds like you are using Teamwork for this process, have you built it to have an edit loop between the requester and the approver? i.e. can the approver transfer it back to the requester for them to make edits?



    ------------------------------
    Natalie Tallon
    Product Manager
    TrueContext
    ntallon@truecontext.com
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Let's talk about DREL

    Adopter
    Posted 03-14-2024 18:58

    Hi Natalie –

     Thanks for reaching out. I would be very amiable to discussing our approval process with you.

     In relation to your Teamwork questions, the answer is no, we have not built a loop because it's not part of our process. Our workflow is (in simplified terms)

     Person completes form in the field.

    1. Person reviews form and approves, then
      1. Form is filed (SharePoint)
      2. Form is sent to Payroll for input.
      3. Form is emailed back to all parties involved for audit trail purposes.

    OR INSTAEAD OF ITEM 2

    1. Person reviews forms and approves – with changes, then
      1. Form is sent to Payroll for adjusting.
      2. Payroll approves form.

                                                                  i.      Form is filed (SharePoint)

                                                                 ii.      Form is emailed back to all parties involved for audit trail purposes.

     

    We don't send forms back for editing, we move them through a system of review with the final version being the (clearly) audited version that all parties get copies of.

     Let me know when you might want to meet and we can set up a Teams meeting. Looking forward to connecting with you.



    ------------------------------
    Kylie Clarke
    Contracts Manager
    Anderson Environmental Contracting
    WA
    ------------------------------