Sunday, 3 September 2017

Adding a bit of Excel to tabular forms

When speaking to users they often ask me whether the editing of data can be like Excel. Using tabular forms is a long way from using Excel. It is hard to operate the tabular form just with the keyboard and copying of values needs to be done in a number of keystrokes.

With this in my mind I created a JavaScript function to perform a (single) copyDown action. The value of an item is copied to the item below and the focus is set to that item. When this can be executed using a key(combination) the user is able to do a fast copy down action.
After creating this function I realized it also can be used to move up and down in the tabular form using the arrow keys. And I decided to create a Plug-In around it.



The Plug-In can be called from a Page Load dynamic action. No settings are needed.
The actions will execute on any text, date, and select item in a tabular form. Checkboxes are not yet supported.
The available function keys are:

  • [Up] move up to previous row
  • [Down] move down to next row
  • [Ctrl] + [Down] copy content of current cell to cell below and set focus to this cell
  • [Ctrl] + [Up] copy content of current cell to cell above and set focus to this cell
  • [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [C] copy content of current cell to cell below and set focus to this cell ( needed for Select items because they have another function for [Down] )
I could have included the [Right] and [Left] arrow keys but then the editing of the cell content would be affected. These keys cannot be used anymore to navigate within the content. So the keys [Tab] and [Shift][Tab] can be used to go to the next and previous item in the row.

I think many of you can make your users even happier with their Apex application when implementing this Plug-In in your application.

You can see and experience the Plug-In at this demo page: http://www.speech2form.com/ords/f?p=141:copydown

As always this plugin can be downloaded from apex.world.

One last question: does anyone know how to access the state of checkboxes in an Universal Theme tabular form?

Happy Apexing



2 comments:

M.Yasir Ali Shah said...

Hi Dick,
I have tested this plugin in your application http://www.speech2form.com/ords/f?p=141:COPYDOWN
the following are my observations:
You shouldn't use Ctrl + Shift + C
As it's one of the default shortcuts in chrome developer tools.
refer to https://developers.google.com/web/tools/chrome-devtools/shortcuts
and in firefox it is element inspector
https://getfirebug.com/wiki/index.php/Keyboard_and_Mouse_Shortcuts

However, it can be disabled. just search google how to in firefox and chrome

I think for safari and IE its good. still you need to study the shortcuts for the most popular browsers and set a shortcut that's easy to remember , use and does not conflict.

Dick Dral said...

Hi Yasir,

thanks for your comment. Do you have any suggestions for a key combination that does not conflict with existing usage?

Thanks,
Dick