Design Decisions: New List-User Field

For Sunday’s release we were excited to deliver one of our customers’ most requested features (among other enhancements)! Based on customer feedback, we designed the new List-User field to be a simple way for application builders to allow their users to associate multiple users with a single record. Some of the most common uses for this new field type are:

  • Selecting multiple users from a user dropdown list
  • Easily assigning multiple users to a task
  • Sending reminders and notifications to multiple assigned users

The List-User field is also an easy way to associate multiple users with a record in cases where the complexity and overhead of creating a separate resource table and managing the associated relationships are not required.

 

A Handy New Widget

The enhancement introduces a new and more useful widget to pick users for the List-User field. Here are some key points on user experience of the new widget pictured here:

  • With this field type, application users can choose up to 10 users when completing the field.
  • List-User fields can be configured to let you select from all users who are in either the default or custom user set for the field.
  • Using a Search box at the top of the field, users can narrow the list.
  • For a full description of List-User fields and other features in the May 22, 2011 release, visit our release notes.

 

Why Create a Whole New Field Type?

We decided to go the route of creating a new field type instead of modifying the existing one to address our customer’s requests for a number of reasons. First, creating a new field type allows us to offer our customers deeper functionality. Field types are the basis for distinguishing different kinds of data in web database software, including QuickBase. Different field types like numeric fields, currency fields, user fields or date fields allow us to define specific behaviors for each field type. For List-User field these intrinsic behaviors include imports that understand multiple user values and the enforcement of individual role permissions for each user selected.

Different field types also make QuickBase more useful for our customers by allowing them to use formulas optimized for each field type. For example, we have introduced a new formula called, User List To Emails, that can take a List-User field and return a list of email addresses for the set of users in that field. We can also offer new operators in our reporting language which are unique to List-User fields. For example, we introduced the concept of “inclusions in a set” which allows you to find records where a specific user appears in a list of users.

I would love to hear about how you are using the new List-User field in your applications. For a full description of other features and bug fixes in the May 22, 2001 release, visit our release notes.

Soumya De

I’m an Engineering Manager on the Intuit QuickBase team with a love for developing all kinds of software. When I’m not coding or learning a new programming language, I love travelling and hanging out with my wife and friends watching movies, football or cricket.

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