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January 2012 - Posts - Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week

January 2012 - Posts

  • Adding a Filter Control into a Text Area

    Many times authors will want to allow a user to filter out values in a given column, but they do not want to expose the Filter Panel, as it can add confusion and complexity for a consumer. The workaround has been to use a Property Control to provide this capability from within a Text Area. This solution had a series of unwanted side effects if it was not setup properly.

    In 4.0, we now have the ability to embed a Filter for a specific Column directly into a Text Area.  This also allows authors to make efficient use of space and hide the Filter Panel. In addition, all the controls for a consumer are located in the same place, making it easier for them to control the dashboard.

    To add a Filter to the Text Area, select the new ‘Filter Control’ icon from the edit Ribbon inside a Text Area.


    You are then presented with a dialog box which allows you to specify which filtering scheme to use and then which filter you wish to add to the Text Area.



    Once you do that, the Filter Control will show up in the Text Area.


    While in Edit mode for the Text Area you can move the Filter around.  You cannot alter the Filter Text (ie. List Box, Radio Button, Checkbox, etc…) however.


    The Filter is a copy of the Filter instance from the Panel, so if you want to update the Filter Type, you need to do it from within the Filter Panel inside Spotfire Professional. That will then automatically update the Filter Type from within the Text Area.

    The use of the Filter should be identical to the Filter in the Filter Panel, with a few minor exceptions. When dragging a range slider in the Filter Panel, the visualizations are updated immediately while the dragging is still going on. The Text Area version will only update the visualizations when the dragging is finished.

    Interested in learning more about the new features of TIBCO Spotfire for version 4.0? If so, attend our live training webinar on February 29th. Click here for details.

  • Guiding the User Through an Analysis Without Showing all Pages Available

    When setting up an analysis file, there are times when you want the consumer to be guided through the analysis
    and not be distracted by the different pages available to click through. In version 4.0, this can be accomplished
    by setting the Page Navigation mode to ‘None’.

    Once you do this, you will then need to use an Action Control or Script Control to navigate between pages.

    NOTE: Users inside Spotfire Professional can simply switch the Page Navigation mode, but consumers using
    the Web Player will be forced to use the mode saved for the given Analysis file.

    Below is an example of an Action Control being configured in a Text Area to go to the ‘Solutions 1’ page when it
    is executed.

    In addition to Action Controls, you can also use Script Controls to redirect users. You also have the ability with,
    with Script Controls, to leverage the APIs to perform various tasks and do additional checks. For example, if your
    workflow requires you to mark some data on the first page before proceeding, you can have the script check if
    there is any data marked. If there is the user is navigated to the correct page and if there is not, you can output a
    message via a Label Property Control to the user that they need to mark data to continue. Another possible
    example using Script Controls for navigation could be that the script checks the value of a document property or
    similar which is previously set, and based off that value, it navigates the user to the appropriate page. This will
    allow the creation of branched analysis files which are less confusing for users to navigate.

    In addition to Action Controls and Script Controls, the page navigation will also work from the ‘Actions’ capability
    of a Graphical Table. We will discuss Actions in a Graphical Table in a future tip. Currently, Actions are only
    supported inside the Graphical Table and not other Visualizations.

    Another related new feature in version 4.0 is the concept of historical navigation. This is a method using back and
    forward arrows, available on the navigation toolbar, to go back to previous pages to support exploration.

    The navigation is specific to the user logged in and the history only is valid for the user’s session. To start with
    the back and forward arrow buttons are disabled when the analysis is first loaded.

    As the user traverses the Analysis file, the back and forward buttons become enabled.

    In 4.0 the historical navigation buttons exist as a separate navigation mode that is always enabled in addition to
    one of the other navigation modes (Tiled, Step-by-Step, or None). If an author wants to setup a purely historical
    navigation mode, then they should set the Page navigation option to None.


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