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Apex Coach Views Release 1.2 Available

Apex is pleased to announce general availability of Apex Coach Views Release 1.2 which includes the new capabilities described below.  Nine of these features were a direct result of feature requests from our current customers.  Keep the great ideas coming!

Static Grid

The Apex Coach Views Grid coach view provides high performance grids that load data just in time to manage extremely large data sets. Release 1.2 adds the Static Grid coach view that binds to a simple server-side list.  Static grid supports the same column types as Grid as well as Single, Multiple, and None selection modes.  When a selection is made on the grid, it is passed back to the server in the listSelected variable.

Static Grid

Message View

Apex Coach Views contains the Multiline field that displays a block of plain or rich text with scrollbar or “more…” link for overflow.  Release 1.2 adds the Message view that is like Multiline but only is displayed when the message has a value.The example below shows the product name and description fields.  There is a message field between the two but it is not showing right now because there is no message to display:

empty

After the user enters a value, it is checked.  If there is a problem, the message is updated and the coach view shows itself automatically:

message

If the message is longer than the number of lines specified in the design (2 in this example), the “more” link is shown.  When the user clicks the link, the whole message is shown:

message

Disabled Labels

Apex Coach View fields can be enabled and disabled using the visibility option at design time or the enable() and disable() helper functions.  Release 1.2 adds a css class to disabled field labels and can be styled via a simple modification to your .css file.

disabled  enabled

Required/Optional

Apex Coach View fields can be set to required using the visibility option at design time. Release 1.2 adds required() and optional() helper functions to change this at run time.

optional required

Custom Date

The Apex Coach Views Date field has a date picker and supports various localized date display format.  Release 1.2 adds a Custom Date view that allows users to enter dates in multiple formats without using the date picker.  The designer specifies one or more formats that will be supported by the field.  This example below has the following formats specified:

  • yyyy/MM/dd
  • MMM dd, yyyy
  • MMMM dd, yyyy
  • yyyyMMdd
  • MMM-dd-yyyy

When the user inputs the data using one of the formats:

input

The coach view finds a matching format, converts the value to a date and then formats the entry it to the preferred format (the first one in the list):

passedback

The user could have entered date in any of these formats:

  • 1978/01/30
  • Jan 30, 1978
  • January 30, 1978
  • 19780130
  • Jan-30-1978

Validation Service

Most field validation can be handled client-side but there are some situations where server-side validation is required. Release 1.2 adds a new Validation Service config option that specifies an Ajax service that is called when the field is modified. A spinner is displayed next to the field while the validation is being done. The field will not be “valid” for button validation scope until the service has returned successfully. If the service finds and error, the field is marked invalid and the message is shown.

Labels Left/Above

In prior releases, field labels were place to the left of the fields with a “:” after the label. Release 1.2 extends the Show Label configuration option to place the label either to the left of the control or above the control. Additionally, the “:” after the label has a css class that allows it to be hidden if you prefer.

left

above

Column Row Expander

Apex Coach Views includes two new Layout Views in Release 1.2.  The Column Expander view and Row Expander views can be used in a table section to span two or more columns or rows, respectively.  In the example below, the Description field spans 2 rows and 2 columns, demonstrating the Column and Row Expander views.

column

Grid Row Refresh

In prior releases, when an item in the grid changed, the refresh() helper function was used to refresh the grid and see the changes.  The problem with this is that the entire grid refreshed which took longer and was visually disruptive.  In 1.2, we have added the refreshRowById() and refreshRow() helper functions to refresh a specific row in the grid. This improves the performance and usability of row-specific operations.

Masked Input

Apex Coach Views contains a rich set of field types including Text, Number, Percent, Currency, Date, Time and many others.  In release 1.2, we have added an Masked Input field which guides the user when entering data with a masked input.  Masked Inputs let you specify a formatting overlay as well as what characters can be entered in each position.  As the user completes a portion of the field, the view automatically moves the cursor to the next portion of the field:

phonenumber

The information passed to the server does not include the formatting:

phonevalue

Social security numbers are another excellent example of how the Masked Input field can be used.

Dynamic Sections

Release 1.2 includes a new “Dynamic Section” view that can be used to design dynamic UIs that present a set of data in repeating sections.  When the page is displayed, the view fetches the first 5 items.  As the user scrolls to the bottom, it automatically fetches the next 5 items. Watch the size of the scroll bar and the spinner at the bottom of the page in this video to see how it works:

[jwplayer mediaid=”820″]

The content of the Dynamic Section can be organized using other layout views like vertical section and table section.

 

If you have any questions about Apex Coach Views, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 


erikafulkApex Coach Views Release 1.2 Available
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Apex Coach Views Release 1.1 Available

Apex is pleased to announce general availability of Apex Coach Views Release 1.1 which includes the following new features:

  • Charts
    The new Chart coach views present statistical data in a readable, eye-catching, graphical format.  There are four Plot coach views that generate Bar, Column, Pie and Line charts.  The filters and onClick event on Chart coach views make it easy to integrate multiple charts and a grid into a highly interactive dashboard.  You can use custom themes to style your chart to match your brand.  There are also supporting coach views for Horizontal Axis, Vertical Axis and Legend.
  • Save Settings
    The new Save Settings coach view allows you to easily save current settings for a user and automatically repopulate them the next time they open the coach.
  • Tab and Dialog Enhancements
    The Tab and Dialog coach views have been enhanced to support deferred loading for improved performance.
  • Grid Enhancements
    The Grid coach view has been enhanced to allow for more control of refreshes.  You can pause the grid while doing several filter updates (via a “clear” link for example) and then resume it to continue normal updates.
  • Page Enhancements
    The Page coach view has a new onRefresh event.  This is used to define what happens when a child window is closed.  A typical use case for this is refreshing the task list when a task is completed.
  • Simplified View References
    Release 1.1 adds direct view references to simplify referencing coach views in events.

If you have any questions about Apex Coach Views, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

erikafulkApex Coach Views Release 1.1 Available
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Apex Coach Views added to IBM Business Partner Application Showcase

Apex is pleased to announce that our newest product, Apex Coach Views, is now listed in the IBM Business Partner Application Showcase.

[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center” cite=”IBM Business Partner Application Showcase”]The IBM Business Partner Application Showcase features solutions from IBM Business Partners and IBM with proven success in industries, specialties, and product areas.[/pullquote1]

You can view the listing on the IBM Business Partner Application Showcase or visit the Apex Coach Views site.

 

David KnappApex Coach Views added to IBM Business Partner Application Showcase
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Apex Achieves Premier Business Partner Level

We are pleased to announce that IBM has recognized our achievements by making Apex a Premier Business Partner.  IBM defines the premier level on the PartnerWorld site:[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center”]Premier Business Partners have demonstrated superior skills and market success. They actively collaborate with IBM to deliver significant client value through innovative solutions.[/pullquote1]

We value our partnership with IBM and look forward to continued collaboration to help our customers succeed.

The IBM logo and the IBM Premier Business Partner mark are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide.

David KnappApex Achieves Premier Business Partner Level
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Announcing Apex Coach Views

Apex is pleased to announce our newest product – Apex Coach Views.  Apex Coach Views contains a rich set of coach views (56 and growing) packaged as an IBM BPM 8 toolkit.  Some of the key features of the Apex Coach Views include:

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We have created a dedicated Apex Coach Views Site which includes documentation, videos and purchase details.  If you have any questions about the Apex Coach Views, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

My button

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David KnappAnnouncing Apex Coach Views
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Auto Flow

September 26, 2012 – Jim Volpe

A handy new feature in BPM 8 is to automatically flow to the next task.  You can use it to automatically start the next task within an instance if it is assigned to the same person.  There are several cases when this can be useful, here are a few that I will walk through:

  • Avoid long wait times for system services
  • Make distinct steps within a process more visible
  • Assign a second activity to the same person, but only sometimes
  • Wait for prerequisites, but flow otherwise
I will wrap up the post showing the routing options that are possible.

Avoiding Long Wait Times

In this example, the system lane activity takes a long time to complete.  If the second coach does not depend on the results of the nested service, then the user is waiting unnecessarily.

To avoid having the user wait, we can split the activity into three (see diagram on the right).  The first activity includes the first coach and is run in the human swim lane.  Then a split allows the Send Document Request to run in a system lane without the user waiting for it.

To enable auto flow, check the “Automatically flow to next task” setting on the Prepare Document Request activity:

In doing so, we can have the task for Field Inspection sent seamlessly to the same person.  Just set “Last User in Lane” for the assignment of the next activity in the swim lane; in this case, the Inspect Location activity.  That’s it. When the task for Prepare Document Request completes, the user will see the next task start in their browser automatically.

Making Distinct Steps More Visible

Splitting the activities above into three is also an example of adding more visibility into the process.   If you looked at the in-flight instance diagram for the original process, where there was only one activity that included both of the coaches, you would not be able to see how far along it was.  With the service split into three, you can.  Imagine a set of 5 steps that one person handles, each taking a few days each.  Allowing visibility into which steps are complete could be valuable.

Sometimes Assigning a Second Activity

It is not unusual for users to play different roles in a process.  In this example, anyone can run the Open Issue task as the Requestor, but the Analyst is assigned specifically.  If the Analyst and the Requestor are the same person, then the second task can be run right away.  If the Analyst is different than the requestor, then the Requestor will be done once Open Issue is complete.

No System Lane Activity Between

When I initially tried this scenario, I included a “Determine Analyst” activity in a system lane. This does not work for automatically flowing.  The activity to automatically flow into must immediately follow the first.  Solving this was simple enough.  I just nested my Determine Analyst service inside the Open Issue service.

Wait for Prerequisites, Flow Otherwise

This pattern can be use when splitting flow to additional participants, including one who has a consolidation activity after they all complete.  The Review Design activity is set to automatically flow.  If the other two parallel activities, Analyze Manufacturability and Analyze Serviceability, complete before Review Design completes, then Review Design will auto flow right into Consolidate Results.  The one caveat here is that users may expect Consolidate Results to always run as part of Review Design.  Handling this expectation could be handled through training or documentation within the last coach in Review Design.

 

Routing Options

The activity that you would like to automatically flow to does not necessarily need to be assigned via Last User in Lane.  Any assignment that assigns the task specifically to the same user (Last User in Lane, Custom) will work, even if the activity is in a different swim lane.  Assigning to a group (Lane Participant, Routing Policy), even one that the person belongs to, does not work.  Routing to a List of Users works, but only if the person is the only one in the list.

jvolpeAuto Flow
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What’s New in IBM BPM 8?

September 19, 2012 – David Knapp
I started my BPM journey on Lombardi Teamworks 5.6 way back in 2006. Over the last six years, I have experienced the transition from 5 to 6 to 7 and now to 8. The Apex team has been very involved in IBM BPM 8. Several of us participated in the beta program, I partnered with John Reynolds to present the new BPM 8 Coach View Framework at Impact, and Jim Volpe lead the team that completed development on one of the first BPM 8 projects. Over the coming weeks, Apex team members will be sharing a series of blog posts detailing interesting new features in IBM BPM 8. Stay tuned and be sure to share your comments and questions.

David KnappWhat’s New in IBM BPM 8?
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Apex Repository 2.15.0 Available

Apex is pleased to announce general availability of Apex Repository version 2.15.0.  Version 2.15.0 adds support for executing creates, updates, and deletes of multiple business objects in a single transaction.  The Apex Repository makes it easy to manage IBM BPM business objects in a relational database.  After defining the setup for a business object using a simple XML file, the repository automatically creates or alters existing tables, indexes and foreign keys to match.   For more information on the Apex Repository, please contact us at info@apexbpm.com.

lgerhardApex Repository 2.15.0 Available
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Chris Turner joins Apex

Apex is pleased to announce that Chris Tuner has joined the Apex team.  Chris has over 26 years of professional experience.  He comes from an Open Source Content Management industry leader.  As Lead Technical Account Manager, he was responsible for helping fortune 500 clients design their high volume, high availability architectures for smooth operations.  His clients represented a broad range of industries including entertainment, health care, publishing, retail sales, and hospitality.  Prior to this, he was with one of the largest internet and television news and entertainment services in the world.  As e-commerce and member services operation lead, he was responsible for dozens of high volume websites.  With experience ranging from operating nuclear submarines in the Navy to business intelligence, Agile development, performance tuning and troubleshooting in the information technology sector, Chris is ready to tackle any challenge.

David KnappChris Turner joins Apex
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Apex Sessions at Impact

David Knapp (Apex) will be partnering with John Reynolds (IBM) in two sessions at Impact related to the new coach design capabilities in IBM BPM.  The main session is “2729 – What’s New: Human Interface Development with Coaches in IBM BPM” on Tuesday, May 1st at 1:30pm in Venetian – Palazzo G.  There will also be four roundtable sessions  “2789 – Roundtable: Business User Empowerment with IBM BPM” in the Venetian – Toscana 3702:

  • Monday, April 30th 5:15pm – 6:30pm
  • Tuesday, May 1st 10:45 am – 12:00 pm
  • Wednesday, May 2nd 1:30pm – 2:45pm
  • Thursday, May 3rd 1:30pm – 2:45pm

If you are at Impact, please join us for one of these sessions and/or email us at info@apexbpm.com if you would like to get together to discuss any of our products or services.

David KnappApex Sessions at Impact
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