Create Custom Forms In 3 Steps For Your Business Analyst

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over 6 years ago

You’ve created all your requirements classes and their respective attributes but the layout of the attributes on the form is not very user friendly. You may want to group related attributes or position required attributes towards the top of the form.

So how do you change the layout so that it is easy to use, efficient, and facilitates good requirements authoring?

With custom form templates. Each database and project can have its own set of template files. A template file represents the custom layout for a single requirements class type, an entire project, or all projects.

Setting up the templates is easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Create your template directory
  2. Create your template file
  3. Enjoy!

So let’s get started.

 

 

Create Your Template Directory

On the Dimensions RM application server go to the default template directory under Tomcat. If you accepted the default installation directory, the path is “C:Program Files (x86)\Serena\Dimensions 12.2.1\Common Tools 1.6.0.0\tomcat\7.0\webapps\rtmBrowser\forms”.

Create a new directory and name it the same as your database name. In my example, my database name is “RM12”.

Under this directory, create a new folder and name it the same as your RM project. In my example, my project name is “QLARIUS”.

 

Create Your Template File

This is no doubt the tedious part of the process. You will create an XML file for each of your requirements classes that you wish to customize. Note that if a class does not have user-defined template (i.e. XML file), it will simply use the default template under “common”. In other words, it’s not all or nothing. You can create/custom as needed or over time.

I’ve included my examples at the end of this blog for you. Again refer to the online help that specifies the things you can do and what all the tags mean.

But I encourage you to keep a few simple rules in mind when it comes to the design.

Keep it simple. The best forms avoid unnecessary elements and are clear in the language they use on labels and in the layout.

Be consistent. By using common elements in your form, users feel more comfortable and are able to get things done more quickly. This will also facilitate efficiency.

Be purposeful in the layout. Careful placement of attributes can help draw attention to the most important pieces of information and can aid scanning and readability. Especially the placement of required attributes. Don’t bury them at the end of the form.

 

Enjoy!

That’s it. Easy as 1-2-3. You now have nice readable forms that will enable your users to be more efficient with their requirements authoring and management.

For detailed information refer to the online help under Customizing Web Forms.

Examples: QlariusForms.zip


Do you have an example template you would like to share with others? If so, please contribute to Serena Central or drop me an email and I will share it for you.

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Anonymous
  • You’re welcome. For your User Case Scenarios. Are you planning on re-using them with different Use Cases? In other words, relate the scenarios to the cases? If so, then you will need a separate class as you stated. You will need to control the ordering with a user-defined field since the PUID will be auto-generated. I would create this as a numeric field so that the order is handled properly. I would also highlight a limitation if go this route. When, or if, you publish your Use Cases to a MS Word, document, keep in mind that a chapter &/or sub-chapter containing mixed requirements from different classes, the paragraph format is the only option. The grid option format is disabled. Serena R&D is looking at enhancing the product to handle this. Hope this helps.
  • Thanks for this! I know it was not the intent, but I also appreciated to Use Case example. I do need to capture Use Case Scenarios. I'm thinking that I'll need another class to relate to the Use Cases. The Scenarios would also need a way to maintain some form of serialization for the ordered steps. Any ideas?
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