Project Apex: Part 9

Last week we introduced the flexible declarative grid which allows developers/designers to simply declare a SQL statement and column layout to gain full grid functionality such as population, paging, sorting, grouping and filtering. It is also hyperlinkable with fingers on touch devices such as iPad and iPhone.

This week we have standardised the modal dialogues using jquery style popups. This is the user options dialogue which is opened after clicking the ribbon button:

This dialogue can be moved around the screen thus mimicking the windows forms approach used in windows desktop applications.

This form is invoked from a powerful Javascript client-side function:

openModalPopupClientSideFromJavascript("User Options",
                                        520, 600);


We have also added AJAX style client-side waiting animations to the login process to let the end-user know that an operation is in progress:

Typically login will take only a few seconds, but it is important to let the end-user know that something is happening at all times.

Project Apex: Part 8

Created the very important ctrlGrid component which is used throughout the application and allows developers to rapidly declare and specify powerful grids with full support for any SQL statement, column sorting, grouping, filtering, moving.

Here is the first usable version complete with integrated toolbar:

This also shows how to select additional fields to be dragged onto the grid at run-time.

This is a more detailed view showing grid paging in operation:

This uses complex client-side Javascript to render the grid dynamically when the browser is resized. The grid also remembers each end-users configuration of the grid including column sizes/ordering/sorting and filtering. These are stored as cookies and make it very user-friendly as they can have their data displayed exactly as they want it.

The declarative nature of this grid is very easy for web designers to use as shown in this example:

<trisys:ctrlGrid ID="grdPlacements" runat="server" 

            SQLCommand="Select PlacementId, Reference, PlacementType as 'Type',
	                        JobTitle as 'Job Title', Candidate, Skill as 'Status',
	                        Client, Company, PlacementDate as 'Start Date'
                        from v_WEB_PlacementSearch
                        Order by PlacementDate desc"
            RedirectURL="~/Pages/Placement.aspx?PlacementId="   > 

            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="PlacementId"    Width="100"      Visible="false"              
                                            Hyperlinked="true" DisplayFormat="#,###,###,###,##0"        />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Reference"      Width="100"      VisibleIndex="0"                 
                                            Hyperlinked="true"                                          />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Type"           Width="100"      VisibleIndex="1"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Job Title"      Width="200"      VisibleIndex="2"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Candidate"      Width="150"      VisibleIndex="3"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Status"         Width="100"      VisibleIndex="4"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Client"         Width="150"      VisibleIndex="5"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Company"        Width="150"      VisibleIndex="6"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Start Date"     Width="140"      VisibleIndex="7"   
                                            Alignment="right"   DisplayFormat="dd MMM yyyy"             />


As such, we are able to quickly port the existing SQL queries from V10 and get many of the lookup forms operational.

This will keep us busy over the next week, but we have also been working on system options which we will write about next time.

Project Apex: Part 7

Last week we introduced JQuery and client-side Javascript for maximum responsiveness to mimic our traditional windows desktop applications. This week we have connected the product to the back-end SQL Server database using our Business Objects Layer (BOL), and enhanced the forms framework to support contextual ribbon tabs, which are form specific ribbon tabs which only appear when the form is loaded.

This is the initial contextual tabs for the contact form as they will appear when the contact form is visible:

These contextual ribbon tabs become active and visible when the underlying form is visible as demonstrated in this early contact lookup form:

This form shows a DevExpress data grid which is connected to the logged in user database via the BOL and shows underlying test data from our OpusNet database server hosted at Amazon.

We are now working on the ctrlGrid SDK control which will abstract the underlying third party control and allow developers to rapidly build grids to work directly from the BOL. More on this next week.

Tweeting At Work Is Good For Business


Interesting article on Social Media at work.

On June 6, Larry Ellison--CEO of Oracle, one of the largest and most advanced computer technology corporations in the world--tweeted for the very first time. In doing so, he joined a club that remains surprisingly elite. Among CEOs of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, a mere 20 have Twitter accounts. Ellison, by the way, hasn’t tweeted since.

As social media spreads around the globe, one enclave has proven stubbornly resistant: the boardroom. Within the C-suite, perceptions remain that social media is at best a soft PR tool and at worst a time sink for already distracted employees. Without a push from the top, many of the biggest companies have been slow to take the social media plunge.

A new report from McKinsey Global Institute, however, makes the business case for social media a little easier to sell. According to an analysis of 4,200 companies by the business consulting giant, social technologies stand to unlock from $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in value. At the high end, that approaches Australia’s annual GDP. How’s that for a bottom line?

Savings comes from some unexpected places. Two-thirds of the value unlocked by social media rests in “improved communications and collaboration within and across enterprises,” according to the report. Far from a distraction, in other words, social media proves a surprising boon to productivity.

Companies are embracing social tools--including internal networks, wikis, and real-time chat--for functions that go way beyond marketing and community building. R&D teams brainstorm products, HR vets applicants, sales fosters leads, and operations and distribution forecasts and monitors supply chains.

Behind this laundry list is a more hefty benefit. Social technologies have the potential to free up expertise trapped in departmental silos. High-skill workers can now be tapped company-wide. Managers can find out “which employees have the deepest knowledge in certain subjects, or who last contributed to a project and how to get in touch with them quickly,” saysNew York Times tech reporter Quentin Hardy. Just cutting email out of the picture in favor of social sharing translates to a productivity windfall as “more enterprise information becomes accessible and searchable, rather than locked up as ‘dark matter’ in inboxes.”

Among the most promising (and heretofore least hyped) new social technologies are tools like Yammer (recently snapped up by Microsoft for $1.2 billion), which bring Facebook-like functionality into the office. Social-savvy employees post queries and comments to internal conversation threads and coworkers offer feedback, crowdsourcing solutions. Content can be shared and searched, so the same issues don’t resurface. Meanwhile, virtual groups offer a more interactive alternative than email or phones.

Interestingly, the report suggest that tools like Yammer are the tip of the iceberg. Right now, only five percent of all communications and content use in the U.S. happens on social networks, mainly in the form of content sharing and online socializing. But McKinsey analysts point out that almost any human interaction in the workplace can be "socialized"--endowed with the speed, scale, and disruptive economics of the Internet.

It seems noteworthy that the report’s conclusions have been echoed of late from the most authoritative of places: Wall Street. In the last year, the world’s largest enterprise software companies--Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Adobe, and even Ellison’s own Oracle--have spent upward of $2.5 billion snatching up social media tools to add to their enterprise suites. Even Twitter-phobic CEOs may have a hard time ignoring that business case.

--Author Ryan Holmes is the CEO of HootSuite, a social media management system with 4 million users, including 79 of the Fortune 100 companies.

Originating Site:

The TriSys V10 application has Social Networking already built in where you can have intergrated searches with network searches, identified candidates accross different domains where you can automatically pull their details into the TriSys application. Pre defined templates allow you to quickly communicate with candidates.

View the video at TriSys V10 Feature Tour



Project Apex: Part 6

This last week, the design team has focused on the tab framework, and the database team has been working with the .Net developers on the business objects layer (BOL).

Here is the first login form which is automatically added to the tabbed framework you can see at the bottom of the page:

Much debate has focussed on the use of CSS and HTML tables and what is the best way to lay out data entry forms. We are now able to connect via the BOL to the back-end SQL Server.

The Javascript developers have introduced JQuery and Telerik client-side scripting to provide modality for message popups:

This shows the Office 2010 theme which has been implemented throughout as the default theme for the application.

Next week we will demonstrate the contextual ribbon tabs which are part of the underlying forms manager framework.