Dynamic Forms

In the next major release of QuickBase, currently scheduled for late Spring or early Summer, we’ll be introducing a feature we call Dynamic Forms.  This posting will give you a few details about this new feature but keep in mind that many of the details might be different by the time we actually release it.

Form Rules

We’re making forms dynamic by allowing each form to have an associated set of "rules".   Here are a few examples of the kind of rules that will be allowed:

  • When Type is Fragile, show the section: Special Handling Instructions
  • When Status changes to Done, set Date Addressed to Today
  • When Priority changes to High, and Assigned to is Mary, display the message "Please inform Steve!"
  • When Status changes, change Previous Status to the value in the field Status

Every rule has 3 sections: a When section, an Additional Conditions section and an Action section.

In the When section you specify When the rule applies.  Currently we anticipate the choices here being:

  • when a field is a particular value
  • when a field is not a particular value
  • when a field changes
  • when a field changes to a particular value
  • when a field changes from a particular value
  • when the form loads
  • when the form is saved

In the Additional Conditions section, you’ll be able to specify one or more conditions that must also be true in order for the rule to apply.  The choices here will probably be:

  • when a field is a particular value
  • is not a particular value
  • is greater than a particular value
  • is less than a particular value.

The Actions section will, of course, be the action to take when a rule applies.  Here the choices will include

  • changing a field to a particular value
  • changing a field to the value in another field
  • changing the field to a special value (like the ‘current user’ for user fields)
  • hiding a field or section
  • showing a field or section
  • making a field required
  • making a field not required
  • making a field read-only
  • making a field editable
  • displaying a message

It’s important for the application designer to understand that these rules will run in the end-user’s browser.  Suppose you have the following rule:

  • When Status changes to Done, set Date Addressed to Today

A user who brings up an edit record form and changes the Status field to Done will actually see the Date Addressed field change to today’s date.  But nothing is saved until the end-user saves the record.  It’s just the same as if he/she had typed today’s date into the Date Addressed field.

Live Formulas and Lookups

Besides form rules, there’s one additional new feature that will be part of dynamic forms.  Any lookup or formula fields that are included on an edit form will automatically recalculate on the form when any of the fields that they depend on are changed.  Today you probably don’t include formula and lookup fields on your edit record forms because of the likelihood that they will show stale information.

For instance, suppose you have a formula field for Full Name which is a concatention of First Name and Last Name.  If you have a form with all three fields on it, then when an end-user changes First Name or Last Name, Full Name will update.  What the end-user will actually see upon changing say, First Name, is that the text for the Full Name field will appear with a strike-thru.  This happens client-side (in the browser).  Then the browser sends a background request to the QuickBase server, to get the updated value.  When the value is received, the screen is updated and the strike-thru goes away.

Live formulas and lookup fields will just work – you won’t have to do anything to enable them.

Not Doings

A couple of things we most likely are not doing for this release:

  • form rules based on formulas and lookups – in other words, you won’t be able to make a rule that says: when formulaX changes to Y, change A to B.  While this would be very powerful, it’s a bit too hard to fit into the time we have for this release.
  • dynamic drop-downs – this is the oft-requested feature where the contents of one drop-down change depending on the value of another field.  It won’t make it into this release but getting the basic rules structure in place moves us a step closer.

Last Words

Let us know what you think.  While we can’t promise that we’ll be able to incorporate every suggestion into version 1, your comments are very important for helping us determine the direction we go with this powerful new extension to QuickBase functionality.

  • http://www.firemanagement.net/ Thomas Lynk

    Has there been any progress on adding a feature to prevent duplicate entries from happening?

    Tom

    [Reply]

  • http://www.firemanagement.net Thomas Lynk

    Has there been any progress on adding a feature to prevent duplicate entries from happening?

    Tom

    [Reply]

  • moshe Weitzman

    a key need is for validation before saving a the record. for example, ‘amount’ must be greater than $2000 in order to save the record.

    [Reply]

  • moshe Weitzman

    a key need is for validation before saving a the record. for example, ‘amount’ must be greater than $2000 in order to save the record.

    [Reply]

  • dave sunderhaft

    This is very exciting! I am amazed at the depth of functionality Quickbase is continuously adding.

    Otherwise, in terms of feedback, I have two conditional feature requests:
    1. I would like to be able to create conditionaledit checks on the data entered in a field. For example, if the data entered is not within an expected range or expected value, I would like to be able to fire a message that describes the type of value or range expected.

    2. I would like to be able to create a pick list;.i.e., choose names from a list of users to send an e-mail to. Not sure if this is within the same scope as conditional forms but I could see a rule like…. if this name is checked, then add this name to the distribution list.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • dave sunderhaft

    This is very exciting! I am amazed at the depth of functionality Quickbase is continuously adding.

    Otherwise, in terms of feedback, I have two conditional feature requests:
    1. I would like to be able to create conditionaledit checks on the data entered in a field. For example, if the data entered is not within an expected range or expected value, I would like to be able to fire a message that describes the type of value or range expected.

    2. I would like to be able to create a pick list;.i.e., choose names from a list of users to send an e-mail to. Not sure if this is within the same scope as conditional forms but I could see a rule like…. if this name is checked, then add this name to the distribution list.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • Tony

    Keep up the Great works !!!

    I hope to see the Hide/Show (Collapse, Expand) features on the dynamic form to make a long form much shorter and more user-friendly. The user can choose to expand the information they need to see.

    Also the ability for the user to create Tabs control and Tree View Control which would be a good way to display complex information on GUI.

    Thanks

    [Reply]

  • Tony

    Keep up the Great works !!!

    I hope to see the Hide/Show (Collapse, Expand) features on the dynamic form to make a long form much shorter and more user-friendly. The user can choose to expand the information they need to see.

    Also the ability for the user to create Tabs control and Tree View Control which would be a good way to display complex information on GUI.

    Thanks

    [Reply]

  • Polly Edwards

    All I can say is WONDERFUL – FABULOUS – MARVELOUS! Can’t wait! The “not-doings” are also terrific, and will look forward to hopefully seeing them in the fall release.

    [Reply]

  • Polly Edwards

    All I can say is WONDERFUL – FABULOUS – MARVELOUS! Can’t wait! The “not-doings” are also terrific, and will look forward to hopefully seeing them in the fall release.

    [Reply]

  • Mike Gerrity

    Great stuff. I obviously wasn’t the only one asking for these features, but its very nice to see stuff dropped in a suggestion box actually come out in a next release…

    [Reply]

  • Mike Gerrity

    Great stuff. I obviously wasn’t the only one asking for these features, but its very nice to see stuff dropped in a suggestion box actually come out in a next release…

    [Reply]

  • Melody McKay

    Am looking forward to working with the new features. I’ve been impressed with the additions to functionality with each release and as a result have been able to continuously expand our own model.

    My suggestion for a future upgrade is to carry formulas down to the subtotal/total lines. I have a field for expense type, a field for expense dollars, a field for units, and a field for dollars per unit. I’d like to see the dollars per unit for each grouping subtotal and the grand total. If I choose the Average option for that field, the effect is averaging averages, not calculating the dollars per unit using the total expense dollars and total units.

    In numeric fields, you have the option to choose Totals &/or Averages. I would love to see an option to use the specified formula if the field is a formula field.

    Thanks

    [Reply]

  • Melody McKay

    Am looking forward to working with the new features. I’ve been impressed with the additions to functionality with each release and as a result have been able to continuously expand our own model.

    My suggestion for a future upgrade is to carry formulas down to the subtotal/total lines. I have a field for expense type, a field for expense dollars, a field for units, and a field for dollars per unit. I’d like to see the dollars per unit for each grouping subtotal and the grand total. If I choose the Average option for that field, the effect is averaging averages, not calculating the dollars per unit using the total expense dollars and total units.

    In numeric fields, you have the option to choose Totals &/or Averages. I would love to see an option to use the specified formula if the field is a formula field.

    Thanks

    [Reply]

  • Ed Metz

    This is very exciting and a feature I would put to use immediately. I only hope that Dynamic Forms will be compatible with Firefox, so our Mac users won’t be left out. Thanks for all the good work!

    [Reply]

  • Ed Metz

    This is very exciting and a feature I would put to use immediately. I only hope that Dynamic Forms will be compatible with Firefox, so our Mac users won’t be left out. Thanks for all the good work!

    [Reply]

  • David Taylor Jr.

    Thank you Quickbase for making these enhancements. I know that I had discussed this with you guys for our particular account. I am also glad that you tested the formulas on our account and they work. I look forward to the release in June.

    [Reply]

  • David Taylor Jr.

    Thank you Quickbase for making these enhancements. I know that I had discussed this with you guys for our particular account. I am also glad that you tested the formulas on our account and they work. I look forward to the release in June.

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    Sounds great.
    One thought:
    In this section you wrote…
    —————————
    In the When section you specify When the rule applies. Currently we anticipate the choices here being:

    when a field is a particular value
    when a field is not a particular value
    when a field changes
    when a field changes to a particular value
    when a field changes from a particular value
    when the form loads
    when the form is saved
    In the Additional Conditions section, you’ll be able to specify one or more conditions that must also be true in order for the rule to apply. The choices here will probably be:

    when a field is a particular value
    is not a particular value
    is greater than a particular value
    is less than a particular value
    —————————
    I trust this will also support field conditions of blank and non-blank as triggers, in addtion to the ones you have listed. e.g. If a field is blank, send the user a message. Then I can use the message to explain not only that the blank field needs a value, but why, etc. This will be a big help over and above the current simple “required” condition.

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    Sounds great.
    One thought:
    In this section you wrote…
    —————————
    In the When section you specify When the rule applies. Currently we anticipate the choices here being:

    when a field is a particular value
    when a field is not a particular value
    when a field changes
    when a field changes to a particular value
    when a field changes from a particular value
    when the form loads
    when the form is saved
    In the Additional Conditions section, you’ll be able to specify one or more conditions that must also be true in order for the rule to apply. The choices here will probably be:

    when a field is a particular value
    is not a particular value
    is greater than a particular value
    is less than a particular value
    —————————
    I trust this will also support field conditions of blank and non-blank as triggers, in addtion to the ones you have listed. e.g. If a field is blank, send the user a message. Then I can use the message to explain not only that the blank field needs a value, but why, etc. This will be a big help over and above the current simple “required” condition.

    [Reply]

  • Sal Estrada

    I would like a way to generate row numbers in views so I can reference the row number when reviewing printed views with my clients.

    [Reply]

  • Sal Estrada

    I would like a way to generate row numbers in views so I can reference the row number when reviewing printed views with my clients.

    [Reply]

  • James Bernstein

    How do I collect data from emails from prospects and put into my lead management database. Thus far all I can do is cut and paste. Very tiresome.

    [Reply]

  • James Bernstein

    How do I collect data from emails from prospects and put into my lead management database. Thus far all I can do is cut and paste. Very tiresome.

    [Reply]

  • Matt

    Stumble upon this blog posting while looking for info about QuickBase’s lack of support for formula and lookup fields in rules, etc. The posting was back in 2006. It’s almost 2009. Any progress on this front? It is vitally important that I have this ability in my db — not an absolute killer, but the hacks around the issue are painful to maintain.

    [Reply]

  • Matt

    Stumble upon this blog posting while looking for info about QuickBase’s lack of support for formula and lookup fields in rules, etc. The posting was back in 2006. It’s almost 2009. Any progress on this front? It is vitally important that I have this ability in my db — not an absolute killer, but the hacks around the issue are painful to maintain.

    [Reply]

  • Deepa

    How about adding a condition that a field has a value 

    note…not a particular value but any value…eg. I might want to say that if the 1st Reviewer field is filled in, then these other fields become required.

    [Reply]

  • Dr. GS

    What about weighted averages?  I have a column for dollars sold and a column for pounds sold.  I want to do a weight average for each grouping on my report but QuickBase is deficient – I think. 

    [Reply]