Tips and Tricks

Blog
Tips and Tricks
Wednesday, February 8, 2017PrintSubscribe
Customizing the Menu in Touch UI

The menu offers the user access to the pages in your application. The default location of the menu is in the toolbar at the top of the screen. Top level pages will be displayed as tabs in the toolbar. Nested pages can be accessed by pressing on the parent tab. Page icons will be displayed in the dropdown menu. The Quick Launch area of the sidebar will display up to five page icons, if any have been defined. The user can view a full list of pages by pressing the “Apps” icon (three by three grid of dots).

The site menu displayed in the application toolbar at the top of the screen.

If the screen width is insufficient to display the full menu, then the remaining options will be grouped under a “More” option.

If the screen is too narrow to display all menu options, a "More" option will be displayed.

If it is not possible to fit three or more pages, then the menu will be hidden.

The menu is hidden on very small devices.

The user can still access the full menu by pressing the hamburger icon in the top left corner. If any page icons are defined, then a grid of these icons will be displayed in the menu panel.

The menu panel will display a grid of page icons.

The full site map will be displayed if no page icons are defined, or when the user presses “More” in the menu panel.

The full site menu is visible in the menu panel.

Moving the Menu to the Sidebar

Depending on project requirements, it may be desirable to move the menu from the toolbar to the sidebar. One way of changing the location is to change “Menu Location” property under the Touch UI section of the Features page in the Project Wizard.

The other way to change the menu location is to set the ui.menu.location property in the “~/WebSite/touch-settings.json” file to “sidebar”. We will use this technique.

Start the app generator. Press on the project name, and press “Open” to reveal the project folder in File Explorer. Navigate to the WebSite folder, and double-click the “touch-settings.json” file to open in your default text editor. It is recommended to use Visual Studio or other editor that supports syntax highlighting and validation.

Opening the "touch-settings.json" file under the WebSite folder of the project directory.

Replace or merge the contents of the file with the following:

{
  "ui": {
    "menu": {
      "location": "sidebar",
      "apps": {
        "tiles": null,
        "location": null
      }
    }
  }
}

The ui.menu.location property has been set to “sidebar”.

Switch back to the browser, and refresh the app. The menu will now be rendered in the sidebar.

The Touch UI menu rendered in the sidebar.

Changing the Location of the “Apps” Icon

The “Apps” icon offers access to the full site menu. By default, it is displayed in the Quick Launch area of the sidebar.

The "Apps" icon is displayed in the Quick Launch area of the sidebar.

The “Apps” icon location can be changed using the ui.menu.apps.location property. The default value, shown in the picture above, is “sidebar”. The icon can also be placed in the toolbar. Make the following change to your touch-settings.json file:

{
  "ui": {
    "menu": {
      "location": "sidebar",
      "apps": {
        "tiles": null,
        "location": "toolbar"
      }
    }
  }
}

Save the file, and refresh the web page. The result of the change can be seen below. Notice that an additional page icon is now displayed in the Quick Launch area.

The "Apps" icon is rendered in the toolbar.

Disabling the “Apps” grid

Activating the “Apps” icon, or opening the menu panel on a small device, will show a grid of page icons. The rest of the pages can be accessed by pressing the “More” button.

The "Apps" icon will display an "Apps" grid if any page icons are available.

The “Apps” grid can be disabled by setting the ui.menu.apps.tiles property to “false”. Make the corresponding change to your touch-settings.json file:

{
  "ui": {
    "menu": {
      "location": "sidebar",
      "apps": {
        "tiles": false,
        "location": "toolbar"
      }
    }
  }
}

Save the file, and refresh the app. Press the “Apps” icon in the sidebar or toolbar. The full site menu will be shown, bypassing the “Apps” grid.

Disabling tiles will bypass the "Apps" grid.

Sunday, February 5, 2017PrintSubscribe
Page Icons

In Touch UI apps, icons can be assigned to pages in order to convey additional meaning to the users. Up to five page icons will be displayed in the Quick Launch area at the bottom of the sidebar.

Icons displayed in menus and Quick Launch area of the sidebar.

Let’s customize the default Northwind app. Initially, this app does not have any icons assigned to pages. Only “Apps” and “Settings” icons are displayed in the Quick Launch area.

Default Northwind app has no page icons assigned.

Pressing the “Apps” button will reveal a site map with no icons.

The "Apps" menu will display the site map.

Let’s assign some icons to the primary pages in our app to help the user find them quickly.

Start the Project Designer. In the Project Explorer on the right side of the screen, double-click on Customers page node.

The Customers page of the sample Northwind app.

Icons can be defined by specifying the icon library plus the icon name. Replace spaces with dashes.

Let’s assign the “group” icon from the Material Icons library.

Property Value
Icon / Custom Style material-icon-group

Press OK to save the page. Double-click on the “Orders” page, and make the following change.

Property Value
Icon / Custom Style material-icon-shop

Save the change, and double-click on “Products” page to set an icon.

Property Value
Icon / Custom Style material-icon-local-offer

On the toolbar, press Browse. When generation is complete, the app will open in the default browser. Notice that the first three page icons are displayed in Quick Launch. If the “apps” button is disabled or moved to the toolbar, an additional page icon will be displayed. If “Settings” button is disabled, another icon slot will become available.

Notice that some themes will emphasize the Quick Launch area if at least one page icon is defined. Page icons will also be displayed in toolbar menu dropdowns.

Icons have been assigned to pages. Icons are added to the Quick Launch area of the sidebar.

Pushing the hamburger button in the top left corner will expand the sidebar. The Quick Launch area will rotate to fit horizontally.

Expanding the sidebar will rotate the Quick Launch area.

Press the “Apps” button to reveal the site menu. Notice that pages with an assigned icon will be placed in a grid at the top of the menu.

Activating the "Apps" menu will display a grid of icons representing pages.

Pressing “More” will reveal the full site map. Icons will be displayed next to their assigned page.

Pressing "More" from the "Apps" menu will display the site map.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016PrintSubscribe
Speeding Up Quick Find

The Quick Find feature is available by default in all data views of an application. This feature allows searching every field available in the grid all at once.

Quick Find can be triggered by pressing on the Search icon in the top right corner of the data view, or by typing when a full screen data view is in focus.

Activating the Quick Find by pressing the Search icon.

Type in a value and hit “Enter” key on the keyboard to begin the search.

Typing in a value to the Quick Find input box.

When the search is complete, the search query will be displayed in the view header and the results will be displayed in the grid.

When Quick Find is triggered, the query is displayed in the header and the results below.

Each word separated by a space will search for results containing both words. Words separated by commas will search for results containing either word. Results can be negated by adding a dash (-) before the word. Exact phrases can be wrapped in “double quotes”. The example below executes the following search:

“Camembert Pierrot”, tea –grandma

The search returns records that contain the phrase “Camembert Pierrot” exactly, or records that contain “tea” and do not contain “grandma”.

Two results are returned.

However, while using Quick Find is perfect for small to medium size tables or views with a small number of columns, it can cause a substantial performance hit when the grid contains many different columns, and there is a large number of records in the table. Each column must be searched for that particular combination of keywords. While it is still possible to use Advanced Search in order to query specific columns, it does not beat the convenience offered by Quick Find.

In order to avoid the performance hit caused by searching every column, it is possible to reduce the Quick Find search scope to an inclusive or exclusive set of fields in the grid.

Excluding Specific Fields Using “$quickfinddisabled”

The quickest way to add performance is to add the tag “$quickfinddisabled” to the Search Options property of the data field. This will exclude the column from the search.

Let’s remove the QuantityPerUnit data field from the Quick Find query of Products page in the sample Northwind project.

Start the Project Designer. Switch to the Project Explorer tab. Double-click on “Products / Views / grid1 / QuantityPerUnit” data field.

Editing the QuantityPerUnit data field of grid1 View of Products controller.

Make the following change:

Property Value
Search Options $quickfinddisabled

Press OK to save. On the toolbar, press Browse.

Navigate to the Products page and execute a Quick Find search. Notice that Quantity Per Unit will now be ignored when using Quick Find.

Quick Find will no longer use Quantity Per Unit field in the filter.

Including Specific Fields Using “$quickfind”

It is also possible to only include specific fields by using the “$quickfind” tag. Let’s reduce the Quick Find scope on Products page to only ProductName and CategoryName fields.

Switch back to the Project Designer. Make sure to clear any “$quickfinddisabled” tags, as these are exclusive.

Double-click on “Products / Views / grid1 / ProductName” data field node.

Editing ProductName data field in grid1 view of Products controller.

Make the following change:

Property Value
Search Options $quickfind

Press OK to save the data field.

The next data field to modify is CategoryName. However, this data field is being used as the Alias for CategoryID data field, and has not been added to grid1 view. We will need to add CategoryName data field to grid1 in order to modify the behavior. This data field will not be rendered twice.

Drag the field “Products / Fields / CategoryName” onto “Products / Views / grid1” view to instantiate a data field for CategoryName field.

Dragging CategoryName field onto grid1 view.  The CategoryName data field has been added to grid1.

Next, change the configuration for CategoryName data field.

Property Value
Search Options $quickfind

Press OK to save. On the toolbar, press Browse. Navigate to Products page and search for “tea”. Notice that Supplier Company Name is not searched - results do not include those with Supplier of “Grandma Kelly’s Homestead”.

The Quick Find query has excluded all fields that were not tagged with "$quickfind".