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Excerpt

Setting Up Dynamic Options No Coding Needed

Checkbox, Dropdown and Radio controls support the ability to dynamically retrieve options at runtime from a RESTful web service. The Dynamic Options feature will NOT work with SOAP web services. Using this feature with the ComboBox control is described below.

Frevvoproduct
supports data returned from RESTful web services formatted in either XML or JSON. The frevvo Database Connector is an example of a RESTful web service.

The Dynamic Options feature requires:

  • The URL to the web service -  include parameters and mappings that the service requires in the URL
  • Value and Label binding properties - Path(s) to retrieve the option data from the web service results data. Designers determine the values for these properties by examining the results returned by the web service in the Debug Console. This method is described below and in the Dynamic Options Example.

Watch this 5-minute video example of setting Dynamic Options using the frevvo Database Connector.

Widget Connector
urlhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGFJbBNp8e0

Follow these steps:

  1. Click on the selection control (Checkbox, Dropdown, Radio)
  2. Select Web Service from the Option Src dropdown

     
  3. Enter the URL of the RESTful web service that you are going to to retrieve the option data from. Data is retrieved using HTTP GET. The URL can contain templates and the options will be automatically updated whenever the value changes of any control referenced by a template in the URL.

    Ex: /http(s)://10.0.0.27/:8081/database/BIRT/allCustomers?_mediaType=json - This URL returns a list of all customers from a database The _mediaType parameter specifies that JSON results are returned. In this example, the Database Connector integrates with the database to execute the query. The Database Connector is a Restful service that returns results in XML or JSON


  4. After entering the Options URL for your web service, click the  save and test icon. Examine the results in the debug console to determine the Value and Label Bindings.
  5. The syntax for selection control options is <value>=<label>. The <value> is what is saved as the selected value when the user submits the form or completes the workflow and the <label> is what will be displayed on your form/workflow.
    1. Enter the Value Binding - this is bind path of the option VALUES within the XML or JSON returned by the RESTful web service. Binding paths are specified with the '/' character used as a delimiter i.e. /resultSet/CountryID. The path locates the values to be extracted and set into the selection control options. If the data pointed to by the path is repeating, then the data extracted will be a collection of items. This is the value that will be stored in the XML submissions document when the form/workflow is submitted/completed.
      The Value Binding can be determined by examining the resultSet in the frevvo debug console.

    2. Enter the Label Binding - this is the bind path of the option display LABELS within the XML or JSON returned by the RESTful web service. This label is displayed in the selection control options in Use mode. The Label Binding can be determined from the debug console by examining the resultSet in the debug console.

      1. Type the URL to your WebService in the Options Source property then click the save and test icon. Examine the resultSet in the debug console to determine the Value binding.

        Code Block
        titleExample 1: Results returned in JSON format
        If this is the JSON Data returned:  "totalResultsAvailable":2,
        "resultSet":[{"CountryName":"Argentina","CountryID":"1"},{"CountryName":"Aruba","CountryID":"12"},{"CountryName":"Bahamas","CountryID":"13"}]}
        
        If the Value Binding property is set to /resultSet/CountryID - the country id of the selected country will be stored in the frevvo submission
        
        If the Label Binding is set to /resultSet/CountryName - the country names are what the user sees as the selection control options - Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas
        Code Block
        titleExample 2: Results returned in XML format
        If the results are returned in XML:   Notice that the XML uses namespaces and that they must be part of the bind path.
        
        <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
        <p0:allCountries xmlns:p0="http://www.frevvo.com/database/allCountries">
           <row>
              <CountryID>1</CountryID>
              <CountryName>Argentina</CountryName>
           </row>
           <row>
              <CountryID>12</CountryID>
              <CountryName>Aruba</CountryName>
           </row>
           <row>
              <CountryID>13</CountryID>
              <CountryName>Bahamas</CountryName>
           </row>
        </p0:allCountries
        
        If the Value Binding and Label Binding properties are be set to the same path: /p0:allCountries/row/CountryName - the Country Name will be included in the submission and Users will see the Country Names as the options of the selection control: Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas


  6. Click the  save and test icon to test your form/workflow.
  7. The Example below uses the Database Connector to retrieve a Customer List from a database. It also shows to construct the Value and Label Bindings from the XML results returned in the Debug Console.


Info

When using an _data parameter template in your options URL in a workflow, it may cause issues in steps that don't load the _data parameter and may even invalidate signed sections. One workaround is to store your _data parameter in a hidden control, and then use the template for that control in your Options Source URL instead.

Dynamic Options Example

Let's say you have a form/workflow with a Dropdown control named Customer. You want to populate the options of this control with a list of Customers Names. You also would like to store the Customer Number associated with the Selected customer in the form/workflow submission. We will use the Database Connector as our Web Service. For this example, the Database Connector is configured in Standalone mode to work with a MySQL database named classicmodels.

The Customer dropdown options can be populated with a business rule but you can also use the Dynamic Options feature. The frevvo Database Connector executes a query against a database named classicmodels that will return a list of Customers in JSON format. We will determine the Value and Label bindings by examining the results returned in the debug console.

Follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Customer control.
  2. Select Web Service from the Option Src dropdown
  3. The Options URL is: http://localhost:8081/database/BIRT/allCustomers?_mediaType=json  This URL points to an instance of the Database Connector running on the save server/port as
    Frevvoproduct
    . The results of this query will show the Customer NumbMaer and Customer Name for each customer in the Customers database table in JSON format.
  4. After entering the Options URL click the  save and test icon. 
  5. To determine the Value Binding, examine the resultSet in the frevvo debug console.
    1. Begin the path with the forward slash - / followed by resultSet.
    2. Add another forward slash - / followed by the value from the results that you want to be stored in the submission XML - in this case - customerNumber
    3. The Value BInding should be set to: /resultSet/customerNumber
  6. To determine the Label Binding, examine the resultSet in the frevvo debug console.
    1. Begin the path with the forward slash - / followed by resultSet.
    2. Add another forward slash - / followed by value from the results that you want to see as the option labels - in this case - customerName
    3. The Label BInding should be set to: /resultSet/customerName


  7.  Click the save and test icon to test the form. Note the options display the Customer Name.

  8. Click Submit.
  9. Navigate to the Forms and Workflows Home Page and click the Submissions icon. Open the submissions and view the Document tab. Note the Customer Number is the value stored there.

The images show the same form with a Radio/Checkbox control replacing the Customer dropdown.

Section
Column

Radio Control

Column


Checkbox Control

Populating a Selection Control based on the Value of Another Dynamically Populated Selection Control

Options for Selection Controls (Dropdowns, Checkbox, Radio) are set up using the syntax: value=label. When these controls are used in a template,

Frevvoproduct
uses the option label when resolving the template at runtime. This is desirable when you want your users to see the labels as options. If you use a template in the Options URL, the template resolves to the label at runtime. This may cause the query to fail. Template syntax has been expanded to force the use of the true value as opposed to the option label if the template control is a Selection Control. Use {controlName.value} in place of {controlName} in the options URL to substitute the value instead of the label at runtime.

Consider this example:

Let's say you want to display customer orders for a particular customer in a form/workflow. You have created a form with two Dropdown controls configured to retrieve dynamic options from a database using the frevvo Database Connector. The first Dropdown, named sc for Select Customer, returns a list of customers. The second Dropdown, named so for Select Order, returns orders based on the customer selected in the first Dropdown.

The Options URL for the first dropdown is https://<server:port>/BIRT/allCustomers?_mediaType=json. The Value Bindings is set to /resultSet/customerNumber and the Label Binding is set to /resultSet/customerName. This returns a list of customers from the database showing the Customer Name (Label) in the Dropdown options.

The Options URL for the second Dropdown uses the templatized value of the first Dropdown - {sc} - https://<server:port>/database/BIRT/ordersByCustomer?cnum={sc}&_mediaType=json. The Value Binding for this Dropdown is set to /resultSet/orderNumber and the Label Binding is set to /resultSet/orderDate. This was intended to return a list of orders using the value (Customer Number) of the customer selected in the first Dropdown. Note the use of the Select Customer template - {sc} in the Options URL.

Info

If your options will have spaces, append the URL with !encode=true to accurately list options. An example of the the syntax is {sc.value!encode=true}.

When you test the form, the Customer dropdown is successfully populated but when a customer is selected, the Select Order Dropdown does not populate.

The Debug console shows this error:

Code Block
ERROR 	WEB_SERVICE 	so 	Error calling web server end point: https://app.frevvo.com/database/BIRT/ordersByCustomer?cnum=Alpha Cognac&_mediaType=json
Invalid uri 'https://app.frevvo.com/database/BIRT/ordersByCustomer?cnum=Alpha Cognac&_mediaType=json': Invalid query

This happens because the second dropdown is using the label of the first dropdown (instead of the value) while executing the web service call.

Changing the Select Order template - {sc} to {sc.value} in the Options URL for the Select Order Dropdown forces

Frevvoproduct
to evaluate the template to the option value instead of the label and the query will return the expected results. Note the Select Customer template is {sc.value}.

Code Block
titleOptions URL for the Select Orders Dropdwon
https://<server:port>/database/BIRT/ordersByCustomer?cnum={sc.value}&_mediaType=json



Section
Column
width50%

Option URL for the Select Order Dropdown with {controlName.value}

Column
width25%

Runtime

Column
width25%


Dynamic Option Runtime Support in the Debug Console

When developing a form/workflow with selection controls with dynamic options, the designer needs to see returned results from an entry point in order to determine bind paths, troubleshoot end point urls, etc. Logging available in the "Debug Console" in test mode includes Web Service events such as:

  • The web service call being made with fully the resolved end point URL shown (Options URL)
  • The web service data retrieved (JSON/XML)
  • Any errors received upon calling the web service.

If there is a runtime problem invoking a configured web service entry point,

Frevvoproduct
 will log a warning statement with a reason to the <frevvo-home>\tomcat\logs\frevvo_YYYY-MM-DD logfile.  For example:

Code Block
08:03:55.177 |-WARN  [http-nio-8080-exec-3] [amicPropertyHolderAdapter] - Error calling web service end point: https://api.edmunds.com/api/vehicle/v2/?state=new&year=2017&view=basic&fmt=json&api_key=p9v6s4uv6998k464u33m8jx3  Error: Service call failed with code: 404 (Not Found)

Timeouts for Non-responsive Web Services

A non-responsive web service call for dynamic options can hold-up a form/workflow indefinitely. Two timeouts have been added to

Frevvoproduct
for socket read timeout and connection timeout. Both timeouts default to 30 seconds. 

They can be overridden by adding these parameters to the URL: http.connection.timeout and http.socket.timeout. Both are specified in milliseconds. These timeouts apply to web service calls from rules as well as doc actions, etc.

Secure Web Services

Frevvoproduct
supports Secure Web Service entry points that use HTTP basic authentication. The authentication credentials are entered in the HTTP Authorization Credentials section of the Edit Tenant screen by the tenant administrator. These HTTP credentials are used by the web service integration. Other authentication schemes in use by 3rd-party services are not supported.

Dynamic Options for the ComboBox Control

The ComboBox control supports three types of data retrieval: frevvo Users, frevvo Roles and Web Service. Select the data source using the dropdown in the Options Src property. Selecting Web Service makes it possible to use the ComboBox to retrieve values from a database and enable a list of possible partial matches. There is also a blank option. Pick this one if you are going to populate your ComboBox options using a business rule.

Note
  • frevvo Users and frevvo Roles require security/authentication. When selecting frevvo Users and frevvo Roles as the Option Src, your form or workflow must be set to Authenticated Users (login required).
  • The Dynamic Options feature using the ComboBox will NOT work with SOAP web services.

Here's how it works:

Use the ComboBox to return a list of users/roles in the tenant where your form/workflow is located (current tenant). You cannot pull users/roles from a tenant other than the current one due to security restrictions.

  1. Drag the ComboBox control into your form/workflow
  2. Set the Options Src to one of two choices: frevvo Users or frevvo Roles.
    1. Selecting frevvo Users - returns a list of ALL users in the current tenant. 
      Frevvoproduct
      constructs a URL:/frevvo/web/tn/{form.tenant.id}/users?match= then replaces the form.tenant.id template with the name of the current tenant. 
    2. Selecting frevvo Roles returns the list of ALL roles in the current tenant.

      Frevvoproduct
      constructs a URL:/frevvo/web/tn/{form.tenant.id}/roles?match= then replaces the form.tenant.id template with the name of the current tenant.


3. The ComboBox supports the ability to specify single or multiple values. Check the Single Value checkbox if you want to limit the choice to one value.

Users can typeahead to narrow the choices based on the letters entered. User ids and roles are case sensitive so remember to use the correct case when typing. 


4. Check the Options Value Only checkbox to restrict the ComboBox value to available options. Options Value Only is only available when Options Src is set to frevvo Users or frevvo Roles.

Info

You cannot test the ComboBox Options in the form/workflow designers. Click the  save and test icon for the quickest way to verify that the ComboBox is working as expected.

Populate Dynamic Pick Lists from a Database with the ComboBox

The ComboBox control can be used to retrieve values from a web service and enable a list of possible partial matches. This is helpful when you have database queries that return a large number of options. You can filter the number of options returned from a query based on the text typed into the ComboBox. Users typeahead and are only presented with the matching options as choices.

  • Your web service must be able to filter results and accept parameters that drive filtering
  • A dynamic Options URL that contains the {<combobox control name>.matchText} parameter. As the user types text into the CombBox, the text will be substituted into the URL. The web service returns only the options matching the typed in text as choices.  
  • The ComboBox control shows up to 100 matching options. If the web service finds more that 100 possible matching options, only the first 100 are to be shown. Informing users that there are additional matches that are not shown is not supported.

Set the Options Source property of the ComboBox to Web Service then provide the Options URL and Bind Path properties:

  • Options URL - The URL of the RESTful web service that will retrieve matching options. Be sure that the URL contains the  {<combobox control name>.matchText} template parameter. 
  • Bind Path - The bind path of the matching options within the XML or JSON returned by the RESTful web service. The Bind Path property determines the selected value that is included in the submission and what the user sees.

Example

It is very common to pull options for a typeahead control such as the ComboBox from a database. If you are using the frevvo Database Connector to integrate with your SQL database you already have a Restful service that returns data as resultSets.

Let's say you have a classicmodels MySQL database with a Products table that contains 121 records. You have a form with a ComboBox control named NameofProduct and you want to populate the options from the query results. However, you do not expect your users to scroll through 121 choices until they find the one that they are looking for. Ideally, you would like to filter the results coming back from the query based on the characters inserted into ComboBox. Users can then typeahead and select a value from the filtered choices.

For this example, the frevvo Database Connector is installed on the same machine as

Frevvoproduct
and configured in Standalone mode running on port 8081.

  1. You will need a query to run against the database. This query, which is included in the BIRT queryset in the configuration.xml file, uses the MySQL Like and % wild cards, to return all the products that match the value in the template (pname}.

    Code Block
    <query name="productsByName">
    <retrieve>
                    <!--maps to HTTP GET -->
                    <statement> SELECT * FROM Products where productName LIKE '%{pName}%' order by productName </statement>
    </retrieve>
    </query>

     

  2. Click on the ComboBox control to display the Properties panel. Select Web Service as the Options Src.
  3. Provide the URL to the datasource - in this case the URL to the database query in the BIRT queryset- productsByName. Add the {<combobox control name>.matchText} parameter to specify the value of the variable - pname - in the query as the matching text typed into the Name of Product control.

    Code Block
    http://<server>:<port>/database/BIRT/productsByName?pName={NameofProduct.matchText}
    Info

    If your options will have spaces, append the URL with !encode=true to accurately filter options. Using the example above the syntax is {NameofProduct.matchtext!encode=true}.

  4. Click the save and test icon. Enter a value into the ComboBox. Determine the Binding Path from the resultSet. In the image, the number 1 was entered into the ComboBox.

    Code Block
    titleBinding Path Example
    /p0:productsByName/row/productName
  5. The ComboBox Properties panel should look like this. If you want to limit the user selection to one value, check the SIngle Value checkbox.
  6.  Users will see all the returned options that match the number 1 when it is entered in the ComboBox. Adding 8t into the ComboBox will further filter the options and display the choices that match 18t . Each time a character is entered it is added to the URL and the Web Service is invoked. Only the matching results is displayed to the user.

ComboBox Control Properties for Business Rules

The following ComboBox properties can be used in rules.

PropertyPurpose
optionsUrlAllow designers to specify more complex dynamically determined end point urls that cannot be built using control templates within the URL.
matchTextRead-only. As the user types in the combobox, any rule referencing the matchText property will fire and determine/set options that match.
matchingOptionsWrite-only. Array of strings. The rule can set the options that match and should be presented to the user as choices. Typically used in conjunction with matchText.

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