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Modern UI Support in Ultimate Forms for Office 365

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [0] | Category: General | 10/20/2017

Hi,

The new Modern UI for Office 365 bring a new, modern user interface to SharePoint Online. Until now, Ultimate Forms required you to view your sites in Classic UI mode as the Modern UI did not support the customization to the extent required by the app.

As Microsoft starts to release customization support, we are now able to offer select features of Ultimate Forms for the new UI. We are proud to release our Ultimate Forms Extensions app, in the first preview version, that brings some of our features to the Modern UI.

At this point the following features are supported:

  • New List Search client-side app version to be used on Modern pages. Closely resembling the existing List Search app part, it brings client-side rendering and updated look and feel. Unlike the existing app part version, it no longer runs within the frame and is able to adjust its size to its content, providing a seamless experience.
  • Custom field rendering in list views - our special field types are now able to render in the Modern list views. Such columns as Color Choice or Associated Items column (and the rest) are able to display correctly both in Classic and Modern modes. There is no additional configuration required, once the app is installed, the columns will just work. Note that you might need to re-save column settings if they were created more than a couple of months ago to ensure they properly register their Modern UI support.

Upcoming features:

  • Event Calendar - will be released by the end of the year.
  • Charts - will be released by the end of the year.
  • Filters - new web part, will be released at a later date, as Microsoft releases support for client-side web part connections.
  • Tabs and column permissions - will be released at a later date as form customizations become available.
  • Custom field rendering in forms - will be released at a later date as Microsoft releases support for form customizations.

You can download the app here. It requires the regular Ultimate Forms app to be installed. Your administrator should upload the app to your App Catalog, you can choose to either deploy it automatically throughout your tenant (recommended) or add the app to each site individually.

Note: this is a preview version of the app, it is intended for testing and demonstration purposes only. Your tenant needs to allow preview features in SharePoint Administration. When you enable this support, it might take up to 24 hours to update.

 

Working with Dates in Ultimate Forms

By: Will Cooper | Comments [0] | Category: General | 10/14/2017

It is easy to get tripped up with dates in SharePoint. Dates are troublesome with any software. There are considerations and exceptions when handling leap years, varying number of days in each month and time zone differences. Date headaches are a given, but there are some approaches that will make life easier.

Add your own auto-updating "Current Date" field to a list

Invariably, you need a way to reference the current date in your SharePoint tools.

SharePoint doesn't provide the reference of "Today's Date" in calculated fields.

Using Infowise, you can do it yourself:

  1. Create a "Date and Time" field named "Current Date".
    1. Set the format as "Date Only".
    2. Set the default value as "Today's date".
  2. Create an Infowise Action with these settings:
    1. General Settings:
      1. Name: "Update Current Date"
      2. Run on events: "Timer-Based", Daily, Hour 12 AM.
    2. Advanced Settings: (Default)
    3. Action Settings:
      1. Values to set: "Current Date" = [Today]
      2. Items: ID = [ID]
    4. Conditions:
      1. ID always not equals 0. (Timer actions require at least one condition.)

Now your list can always reference the current date which will automatically change to the current date each day at midnight. You dashboards will be dynamic and your users will see that KPI Indicator Field automatically change to a Red Flag when the project is late.

Use calculated fields first

Whenever trying to do anything with dates, use calculated fields first. Think of calculated fields as variables that you can add to your list. You won't show these in your forms or list views. These are workers calculating date references for other user facing fields such as progress bars or KPI Flags on your dashboards.

If you haven't practiced with date calculations before, start practicing now! Try creating lots of practice calculations to get a better understanding. Think of this as SharePoint Dates 101. This is must have fundamental learning to have success working with dates. Try to work through these Date and time formulas examples:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/bb862071(v=office.14).aspx#Anchor_2

Break it into pieces

Calculated fields can reference other calculated fields. Rather than try to build a nasty piece of nested code that handles a long and complicated date calculation, break up the work into multiple calculated fields. Try writing your calculated field formulas in a text editor so that you can check your code carefully. Simply copy and paste your formulas to SharePoint.

Using Infowise Date Functions

Here's a handy list of all the functions available for date calculations in Infowise:

  • Year number from a date: $Year()
  • Month number from a date: $Month()
  • Day number from a date: $Day()
  • Day number of the week from a date: $Weekday()
  • Week number in the year from a date: $WeekNumber()
  • Hour number from a date: $Hour()
  • Minute number from a date: $Minute()
  • Date Time value of today's date at midnight: $Today()
  • Add value to date (Choose Years, Months, Days, Hour, Minutes or Seconds): $AddDate()
  • Convert a date related string to a date value (to assign to a date field): $ToDate()
  • Get the difference in days between dates: $Days()
  • Get the difference in hours between dates: $Hours()
  • Get the difference in minutes between dates: $Minutes()
  • Get the difference in seconds between dates: $Seconds()

Create a Reference List

Here's a novel approach. Add a list to your site to create date references for handy reference in your other SharePoint lists. You can do all the hard work in this list and create your own "date functions" that SharePoint does not provide! Here is a way to get First date of the current month, Last date of the current month, first date of the previous month and last date of the previous month.

  1. Create a simple SharePoint custom list and add one field "RefDate" to store date values. (Format set to Date Only.)
  2. Create four records titled "FirstDateThisMonth", "LastDateThisMonth", "FirstDateLastMonth" and "LastDateLastMonth".

  1. Now we can add some Infowise Actions to automatically update these values: 
    1. For each action, create a Timer-based action that executes once a month on the first day of each month.
    2. Set the RefDate value for each action:
      1. First Date of this month: $ToDate($Month([Today])-1-$Year([Today]))
      2. Last Date of this month: $ToDate(($Month([Today])+1)-1-$Year([Today]))-1
  • First Date of last month: $ToDate(($Month([Today])-1)-1-$Year([Today]))
  1. Last Date of last month: $ToDate($Month([Today])-1-$Year([Today]))-1

Here is the pay off! Now that we can treat these references as functions in other lists.

For example, if you want to run a monthly report, you can make a reference from an action like this:

$GetValue(|Date-Reference|Title=FirstDateLastMonth|RefDate)

This function assumes that the Date-Reference list is in the current site. It selects the record by title and pulls back the date. You can use these references from all over SharePoint to consistently pull back these date values any time it is needed!

With the combined power of Calculated Fields and Infowise Functions there is no limit to what you can calculated for your Date Time fields. Setting up a Date Reference List allows you to create your own Date Time Functions allowing you to do the hard work only once and reference these values from throughout your SharePoint environment.

Do you have a cool approach that you have figured out? Do you have a nasty problem that you can't solve? Post a message and let us know!

 

Ultimate Forms and Custom Content Types

By: Will Cooper | Comments [0] | Category: General | 9/12/2017

(By Garrett Curtis)

Recently, when extending an existing SharePoint site with Infowise Ultimate Forms I was faced with the need to integrate Custom Content Types with Infowise Ultimate Forms. Thankfully these two tools work very nicely together and, when combined, produce some very powerful configuration options. In this article, I will briefly cover the purpose of content types, and explain how to setup a simple list combining custom content types with Infowise Ultimate Forms.


Content Types are SharePoint’s out of the box method of segregating items in the same list into separate “types”. For example, in the default “Documents” library crated with every new SharePoint site, clicking the “New” button will bring up a list of different document types (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, etc...) which can be created in the library.



This method can also be used in a normal list; one example is an IT Helpdesk where users can submit different types of requests (hardware request, software issue, new employee setup). In this case, the requests share some properties (requestor, time, priority) but also have properties that are unique to each request type. Creating custom content types for each of these request types allows you to utilize one central list in SharePoint that behaves like multiple lists!


Infowise Ultimate Forms allows you to compliment having multiple content types in the same list by specifying rules for specific content types. With this methodology, you can turn one list into a fully featured business tool such as a helpdesk, project tracker or sales system. To get started with custom content types, create a new custom list in SharePoint and follow these steps:

  • In List Settings for the new list, select "Advanced settings", the first option in Advanced Settings is to "Allow management of content types", change this to "Yes" and then press "OK" to exit the Advanced Settings page.
    • Now in List Settings, you should see a new section "Content Types". This section is where you will manage the content types for the list.
  • Select "Add from existing site content types" from the List Settings page to see a list of all the defined content types available in the site.
  • Double click each of the following content types to add them to the "Content types to add" box: Announcement, Discussion, Link. Press "OK" to return to List Settings.
    • Now you will see each of these content types has been added to the "Content Types" section of the List. Clicking on one of them will take you to the List Content Type settings page which lists the columns associated with that content type. Here you can also add or remove columns to further customize the content type.

  • Exit from List Settings and return to the new list, from the ribbon, select "Items" and then click the "New Item" text to see each of the content types that can be added to the list.
    • Try creating each of these content types and notice that each one presents different columns.

 

Now we will add Infowise Ultimate Forms customization which behaves differently for each Content Type. For this example, we will be setting up an email alert to go out when a new Announcement has been added.

  • From the ribbon, select "List" and then "Design" to enter the Infowise Design screen.
  • Click "Alerts" under the "Configure Business Logic" section to enter the email alert configuration section
  • For this alert, we will set "What To Send" as follows:
    • Only check “Item is Added” so that the email only sends when a new item is added to the list.
    • For Conditions, create a condition for the Content Type that always equals Announcement

  • Click Add to add this alert to the system.
    Now every time a new Announcement is created, you will receive an email alert. You can configure the email alert to go to different recipients or to have a custom body by following the instructions on the Infowise training page:

https://www.infowisesolutions.com/training/article.aspx?ID=55

All the Infowise features can be configured to act differently for different content types, either using conditions as shown in the Alerts, or with a specific Content type dropdown like the Default Values section shown here (note that in this case, leaving Content type blank will create the rule for all content types).



Now that you have seen the power of Custom Content Types and Infowise Ultimate Forms, I challenge you to integrate these tools into your next SharePoint list!

 

Improved handling of Today function

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [0] | Category: General | 9/6/2017

Hi,

In actions, you can add a condition to compare a date column to [Today] function, such as Created equals [Today]. But date columns in SharePoint contain not just the date, but the hour part as well. [Today] function returns time as 00:00 or 12:00 AM (midnight), so when your date column is not exactly set to midnight (let's say the item was created at 4:00 PM), the condition will not be valid, as the dates don't exactly match. You could create two conditions, such as:

  • Created >=[Today]
  • And Created < [Today]+1

But it looks a bit complicated and could lead to confusion and errors.

We decided to make your life easier. Now, when we see an equals or not equals comparison of a date column to a value containing [Today] function, we will add those two condition implicitly in the background. So now all you have to do it simply use the "equals" (or "not equals") operator, and we will take care of the rest. This new functionality is now available for Actions in the app version and will soon be implemented on-premises as well.

 

Simple and Robust Infowise UltimateForms CRM

By: Will Cooper | Comments [0] | Category: General | 8/1/2017

(Written by Robert Cathlina)

CRM systems handle a number of different functions within an organization. Some of the most important functions of a CRM are: Contact Management, Activity History, Task Assignment, Templates for ease of use and Sales Pipeline Management and Dashboard Reporting on these features.

Off the shelf CRM tools such as a Salesforce can be extremely expensive and require constant maintenance. Infowise UltimateForms offers many of these services out of the box so you can save time and money.

Contact Management in SharePoint can be as simple as adding the Contact content type to a list.

The Contact content type comes out of the box with many fields to help us keep track of our Customers such as: Name, Job Title, Company name and Business Phone. The more information we can capture about our Customer the better!

Sure, keeping details about Customers is useful, but just housing information is not a CRM system’s main function. One critical component of any CRM system is Activity History. It is imperative that at any time our users can check to see the last action taken and the current Status of any Customer. We can successfully implement an Activity History Tracking System by adding a Status and a History column and combining it with an Infowise UltimateForms Action that logs any changes when the Status column changes.

The History column can be used to keep track of changes made to the Status column with a simple Action.

If we set the column to append changes, we have a complete History of all changes made to our Status column on a per record basis.

Another main function of a CRM system is that it helps to move Customers through the Sales Pipeline and one major way they accomplish this feat is through Task Assignment. By utilizing the Infowise UltimateForms Associated Tasks feature we can create a child relationship and thus keep track of tasks specific to each Customer. We can utilize the Associated Tasks features to remind and enable our sales team to continue pushing Customer through the Sales Pipeline.

We can even utilize some additional features in the Infowise Suite to have tasks auto-generated.

Another important aspect of any CRM system is the templates it provides for Customer interactions. Templates for ease of use mean that your team isn’t having to recreate the wheel with every new engagement.

The Infowise UltimateForms Associated Document content type makes templating a no brainer. We can also combine the Infowise Associated Document content type with the Copy item/ document Action to move existing templates into our Associated Document library.

Just add the Infowise Associated Document to your Document Library along with a look column pointing to your Customer list to keep track of which documents belong to each Customer.

Next you need to add the Document Library as an Associated Item. Once this is done you can see we have created a child relationship and can store templates associated with our Customers in a separate Document Library. We can also combine the Infowise Associated Document with the Copy item/ document Action to add existing templates to our new library.

CRM systems work to bring all these features together, but one of the most important aspects of any CRM system is that it provides transparency into the sales process.

We can utilize Infowise Smart Chart Pro features to Sales Pipeline Management and Dashboard Reporting over and above what you would get out of the box with SharePoint.

Infowise Smart Chart Pro allows us to choose from over 30 different graph types, build 3D graphs, include a legend and other things such as show values or percentages for our underlying records.

CRM systems are a critical part of any Sales team. Luckily, Infowise UltimateForms for SharePoint gives us features that can easily replace larger and harder to manage CRM systems to drive sales forward. In this article we built a simple, but robust CRM tool using out of the box Infowise features.