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SBM Relations - Part 1

SBM Relations - Part 1

Relating Existing Records in SBM

Many processes you implement in SBM will require either creating related items or linking to existing SBM items.  (For the purposes of this blog entry I will use the generic term “item” to refer to a record moving through an SBM workflow.)

For those of you that have used SBM since the days that it was called TeamTrack or if you have ever seen that dropdown list called Item Link Type, this was the method used prior to relational fields to relate records and take action on them.  There are several drawbacks to this feature, especially since we now have better options.

 

1.      Visibility - When using the links, all links are displayed in the Attachments section of your form.  This limits your ability to choose where the links are displayed.

2.      Usability - Links are displayed using the “Value Display Format” defined for the table.  While this may be ok for an auxiliary table, the typical use cases desire a nicely formatted table with several columns of data displayed.

3.      Integration - To take action on related linked records requires you to define triggers in the Global Application.  As a personal best practice, I only use the Global Application when explicitly necessary and in my book that is usually only when I want to promote users or groups from one environment to another or access the system contacts and companies tables.  This way all of the stuff that affect my one process application is together and I don’t have to worry about a Global App dependency.

4.  Reporting-It is very difficult to report on a list of related items when they are item links in a listing report vs. a field that you can add as a column to your report.

There are two newer features that make relating items a snap! 

1. Relational fields for relationship creation(these have been around since at least TeamTrack 6.6.1)

2. Relational Grid for visibility. (relatively newer, available around SBM 2009R1)

Using relational fields and transition actions is a much more generic, but flexible way to accomplish what the specific sub-task, item link and trigger features offered in TeamTrack.

So let’s take a look at relating existing items.

First - If you want to associate a single item, then use a single relational field, if you want to relate multiple items, use a multi-relational.

To use these fields, the user will type search criteria in the blank, then click the magnifying glass to search for matching records. 

 

This field also includes a popup search window that allows you to search against additional fields in the related table.  This is the icon to the right of the search box.

 

Once your record is saved, the icons next to each entry allow you to view the details of the selected records.

                          

 

We can make this even more usable if we introduce relational grids.  Remember that Value Display Format I mentioned earlier?  Well that is used for the display in the relational fields too.  So to improve our user experience and allow our users to see more of the data associated to the related records, we can use a relational grid.

Here are the steps to create a relational grid.

1.      Ensure you have your relational field created.

2.      Create a listing report in Composer that contains the columns you want to display.

 

3.      On your custom form, add an embedded report widget.

a.      Choose the relational grid option at the top of the configure dialog

b.      Select your relational field in the first drop-down

c.      Select your composer report in the second drop-down

d.      Click OK

4.      If you want to allow users to query for records rather than view the entire list, edit your Composer report to include the query condition.  i.e. Title contains query at run-time

5.      On your custom transition form, add an input field to your form

6.      Go to your embedded report widget and edit the query properties

a.      Enter an open curly brace, { , and from the drop down look for your text input field in the list and select it.

 

7.      Go to your state form and add a relational grid to show the selections.

8.      Deploy your changes and you are done!

 

NOTE:  SBM will give you an error if you have your relational field AND your relational grid on the same form.  So make sure you do not have your relational field on the form.

Here is a sample of the relational grid with making row selections, in the first image.  In the second image, you will see an example of check-boxes used to make selections.

 

In my opinion, we have solved half the problem.  What about the records we just referenced, what if we would like to have a pointer from those records back to this record?.....That will be the topic of my next blog, and you will get to create another orchestration, albeit a simple one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good article, do you have a suggestion on how to best print this? Will there be relational grid introduced to print forms in the future? As it is now I guess we are left at putting the relational field (using the value display format) on the print form. This gives other information on the print as on the form, also when using the relational grid on form with quick form print out the field is just not there. Suggestions?

As of version 11.3, you can embed reports in a Print Form to display the list of associated items.

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