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Using Dynamic Properties to Customise Your Workflow

Dynamic properties allow authorised users the ability to extend the functionality available in any document type that makes up a MaestroLIVE instance

Dynamic properties allow authorised users the ability to extend the functionality available in any document type that makes up a MaestroLIVE instance (the extent of which documents are exposed to an authorised user is determined by the package you have subscribed to).

Unlike many other applications, dynamic properties does not just allow users to add new fields, it also allows users to change the fields based on answers selected in other fields, it can hide fields, and only show them if appropriate selections have been made, etc.

Found under the "Admin" menu tab, authorised users can select properties, then select the document to which they wish to add dynamic properties. As mentioned above, all documents that make up your package instance will be shown, but typically it is the "CRM\Business", "CRM\Contacts" and "Office\Defects" document types that see most of the action.

Selection of the document type you wish to change will show the current active properties associated with that document, including any dynamic documents that have already been added. You can also see the display order (the base default properties - the ones that come as part of the design - cannot be rearranged in relationship to each other, but dynamic properties can be moved at will and interspersed with these basic properties). You give this property a name, and then you select what type of control is to be used (the choice is "Input", "Select", "Multi Select", "Check box", "File upload", "Date/Time", and "Signature"). Most of the above selections are rather self explanatory, but if you pick either "Select" or "Multi select" 2 radio buttons and a new field are displayed, allowing you to choose what has to be selected.

Note that you can create your own drop down list box very simply, just remember to separate the choices by the use of a semi colon ";"

Next you will see four, or three check boxes (it depends on whether or not you have selected "Input" as the control type - if you have, you see four check boxes, else you only see three). Assuming you have selected "input", then the first checkbox is used to determine if the field you are creating should be the result of a calculation - "Values calculated from other properties". If you check this option, then secondary fields are displayed that allow you to select the first "operand", the operator to be used (currently limited to "+". "-". "*" and "/"), and the second "operand" field. The next check box is used if you want to make it compulsory to use the above field, the next check box is used if you want to hide the field from the defect lists (this can be very handy of you are going to add many fields - by default, unless you tell it otherwise, MaestroLIVE will add this field to the pages listing all documents of this type and it can become far wider than any PC screen can reasonably handle without the need for scolling), and finally the last checkbox gives you the option to limit the visability of the field.

This final option, if chosen, then allows you to define the "parent" property and the value(s) that property must have before this field is shown to the user. This is a very powerful feature, but sometimes the results can be a little surprising. It is worthwhile spending some time with pen and paper and "model" how you would want the form to behave. It is also important to ensure you have the fields in the right order on the document if you want your document to behave sensibly (it makes no sense to have a field that is limited visibility, and use a field you have positioned further down your document - the user will not neccessarily see the right chocies because s/he has yet to make some of the decisions you are basing your visibility criteria on).

The ability to undertake calculations using input from the document makes for some interesting options, and you can use the output of a calculation as the operand for another calculation (i.e. you can concatonate these fields). For example, you might want to know what tax someone would pay on income of "X", and a tax rate of "Y", giving you value "Z"; you may then want to know the expected income after deductions of "X" - "Z". This is but a simple example.

Potential "Gotcha's"

Potential "Gotcha 1" with compulsary fields. If you have defined the field to be compulsory, and you have defined the field to be a "select" or "multi select" then be careful with the dropdown list.

As a general rule of thumb, if you want your select to be compulsory, then it is good practice to start your list with a bank space, followed by the ";", then the second choice, etc (i.e. " ;Hot;Cold;Luke warm;Tepid"). The list is displayed in the order which you typed them - in other words the list from top to bottom will be blank, Hot, Cold, etc. MaestroLIVE knows not to accept a "null" value (i.e. the blank) as a valid value. If you forget this step, then by default MaesstroLIVE will automatically select the first in the list (in this case "Hot") and because it is a real value, it will not complain when you submit the document, even if a user has not actually entered this value, it was just auto selected. Now you can't say you have not been warned! 

Potential "Gotcha 2" is with the filters. If you have defined a field with dynamic properties, and have checked the box "Hide on Lists" then you will not see this field in the Filter panel where that document type is used, and you cannot filter on it.

As a rule of thumb, if you want to filter on a dynamic property, that property MUST be visible in the list view.

Potential "Gotcha 3" with calculations and %. The calculation function in dynamic properties has no concept of "%", "£", or any other special character or even conventional limiters showing thousands, millions, etc - it just sees numbers. Therefore if you need to make a calcualtion that is based on %, you need to put this into a decimal value (i.e. 1.5% = 0.015, whereas 15.4% = 0.154) otherwise the result will be far bigger than expected! And do not expect to see the format present to you as £123,000 - it will not. It will be presented as 123000

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Read

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