Intellect Platform - Parent-Child relationship Basic Expense Management System - A103

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1 Intellect Platform - Parent-Child relationship Basic Expense Management System - A103 Interneer, Inc. Updated 2/29/2012 Created by Erika Keresztyen Fahey

2 2 Parent-Child relationship - A103 - Basic Expense Management System

3 Contents About this Document. 6 Getting Started. 8 Parent - Child Relationships. 9 Let s get started. 10 Table Properties. 17 Further enhancements Summary. 28 3

4 Detailed Table of Contents About this Document. 6 Requirement to this Training. 6 Additional Documentation Additional Training. 6 Icons Used in This Tutorial Getting Started. 8 Parent - Child Relationships. 9 What is a Parent - Child relationship?. 9 Where can it be used?. 9 How to establish this relationship?. 9 Let s get started. 10 Designing the Expense Report layout. 10 Storing the Expense Report records. 11 Creating a template for the Expense Items. 11 Storing the Expense Items. 13 Utilizing the Parent - Child relationship. 13 Linking fields. 14 Having more parents. 15 Having a grandparent. 16 Parent (Any Level) vs. Immediate Parent Table Properties. 17 Insert Inline. 17 Display Subtotal and Total Values. 18 Further enhancements Adding function to a numerical field. 19 Storing Mileage information. 21 Calculating the Total Mileage Cost. 22 4

5 Calculate numerical field: Insert Field or Insert Function. 24 Hidden fields. 25 New Entry button. 25 Enhancing the Personal Navigation area When can we not use a global New Entry button? How to structure the data?. 28 Summary. 28 5

6 About this Document This document describes the creation of a simple Expense Management System using the Intellect Platform. The purpose of this beginner training is to get familiar with the concept of Parent - Child relationship. You will learn about how to set that relationship, when to use it and when you cannot and what are the pros and cons of usage. You will also learn about other functionalities, such as built-in mathematical functions for numerical fields, and other further enhancements. Requirement to this Training This beginner training requires that you are familiar with how to navigate around in the Intellect Platform as well as how to create templates and tables. Additional Documentation The following user guides are also available by Interneer: Intellect Platform - User Interface Intellect Platform - Introduction Intellect Platform Macros Intellect Platform Reports Intellect Platform Access Control Intellect Platform Workflow Additional Training Interneer provides several other beginner trainings as well as intermediate and advanced trainings on how to create workflow, or how to create reports, how to integrate with other systems and so on. For further information please contact Interneer at or call

7 Icons Used in This Tutorial Through the tutorial you will see icons in the margins that highlight special types of information. We use these to help you better understand and apply the material. When you see any of the following icons, this is what they mean: If you follow the tutorial on your computer, this icon indicates that there is an action to take, you need to do something on the computer. This icon emphasizes the information, something to definitely keep in mind. When you see this icon it reminds you for some important information that has been already covered in the tutorial. We use this icon to give you tips and tricks to help you make a successful implementation. 7

8 Getting Started In this training we are going to create an Expense Management system that will help to expand the concept of Parent - Child relationships in the Intellect platform. With this expense management system you will be able to track expense report submissions along with detailed expense entries. The system will allow you to categorize the expense entries so that you will be able to analyze the expense patters. While we are creating an expense management system we are going to utilize the parent-child relation ship between the main expense report header record and the expense item records. We will see what advantage this relationship has and also what challenges it introduces. We are also going to see few examples how to make calculations with numerical fields, such as automatically calculating the total expenses. 8

9 Parent - Child Relationships What is a Parent - Child relationship? A Parent Child relationship is the one-to-many relationship that enables hierarchical data structures among tables. This relationship helps children entities access to parent entity data without replicating it. Where can it be used? Parent Child relationships are very widely used when multiple instances of a template (entities) have references to an instance of another template. To give an example; an expense management system would have a table of expense reports. Each expense entry could have multiple expense items. An expense item can only belong to one expense report. There is a one-to-many relationship between the expense report (Parent) and the expense item (Child). How to establish this relationship? The location of a template instance, where it is stored in the hierarchical data structure is very important. The data can be virtually displayed anywhere in the system; for instance by using derived tables, however EVERY record is stored only in one data entry table. Tip: when you are viewing a record, by default the location trail shows the path to that record, indicating its physical location in the hierarchical data structure. This can be changed by turning the Virtual Breadcrumb feature on in the License Management. Parent Child relationships are formed when a data entry table is inserted into a template. The template that contains the newly entered table becomes the parent template. The template of the table inserted becomes the child template. When a template becomes a child template (when a table of it is inserted under another template) additional options are available under its properties. For more information on templates and tables, please refer to Intellect Platform -Beginner Training - A101 document. 9

10 Let s get started Designing the Expense Report layout Create a template for the Expense Report and add input fields to the template. Navigate to Home > Administrative Tools > Templates and insert a template, called Expense Report Remember, in order to make any configuration changes, you need to be in Edit Mode. Insert the following fields and set their properties: Field Name Type Property Expense Report ID Number Default Value: Auto Generated Expense Report Name Text Required: Yes Submitted By Drop down Data list: From - User Table Default Value: [Current User] Editable: No Date Submitted Date Default Value: [Current Date] Editable: No Expense Report From Date Required: Yes To Date Required: Yes Notes Text Textbox size: Multiple lines General Information Group box If you have followed this tutorial, the Expense Report template should look like this: 10

11 Storing the Expense Report records So now that we have created the template, we will also want to store the different expense entries. A table is a container that holds multiple instances of a template. So let s create a table for the expense reports. Navigate to Home and insert a table based upon the Expense Report template. As a result, the Table wizard opens. Select the following: Step 1/4 Table Type: Data Entry Table Step 2/4 Table Label: All Expense Reports Step 3/4 Columns: All Step 4/4 Table: Expanded If you want to make any changes later on, you can always open the properties window of the table in the same way as the input fields. Creating a template for the Expense Items So far we have created the header area of our expense report. Just like in a traditional paper expense report, we will need a table to display the different expense items in an organized way. In order to create a table holding the expense items, we need to create a template first. Create a template for the Expense Items and add input fields to the template. Navigate to Home > Administrative Tools > Templates and insert a template, called Expense Item. 11

12 Insert the following fields and set their properties: Field Name Type Property Date Date Required: Yes Expense Type Drop down Data list: from - New table, Values: Airfare, Lodging, Car Rental, Meals, Other Vendor Drop down Data list: from - New table, Values: Delta, United, American Airlines, Hilton, Hyatt Amount Number Format: Yes Decimal Place: 2, Labels Before: $ Notes Text Textbox size: Multiple lines Receipt Expense Item File Group box If you have followed this tutorial, the Expense Item template should look like this: 12

13 Storing the Expense Items Now that we have created the template, let s create the table for these expense items in the expense report template to establish the parent - child relationship between the expense report and the expense item templates. Navigate to the Expense Report template and insert a table based upon the Expense Item template. Step 1/4 Table Type: Data Entry Table Step 2/4 Table Label: Expense Items Step 3/4 Columns: All Step 4/4 Table: Expanded Note: to establish the parent - child relationship, it is important to insert a data entry table into the expense report template. By doing that, the expense items will be embedded into the expense report. Utilizing the Parent - Child relationship We have just established the parent - child relationship between the expense report and the expense item templates, but what is the benefit of doing that? One of the many reasons is that we can easily display data from the parent. For instance for reporting purposes we want to know who submitted various expense items. We have the Submitted By field on the expense report template, but if you open one expense item record, it doesn t say who submitted it. Instead of having the system to repopulate this field, or relying on the user input, the system can easily display the value in Expense Report s Submitted By field. So let s change that. 13

14 Linked To...Parent Navigate to Expense Item template and insert a drop down field, called Submitted By. Then open its properties and click on the browse icon in the Default Value section, next to Linked To: Expand Parent, then expand Expense Report and select Submitted By. Important: the Expense Report template and its fields are available only after the parent - child relationship is established; only after the Expense Items data entry table is created in the Expense Report template. Linking fields When you are setting up the Linked To: property, the system will offer only the applicable fields; that are of the same type as the original field. So for instance if you want to link a drop down field to another field, you can select only drop downs in the popup window of the Linked To: property. Remember: you don t have the option to change the type of the field after it is inserted into a template. For instance, you can t switch from numerical to text, or from text to drop down etc. You need to delete the old field and create a new one. Since this may require a lot of configuration update and data manipulation for existing entries, it may be a good idea to invest some time into deciding on the field types early on. 14

15 When two similar types of fields are linked, they only share their values and can have different set of property settings. To clarify with an example, one of the two linked fields can be editable and required, while the other one is read only and so on. Data in linked fields are synced at all times. When a field is updated, ALL of the other fields that are linked to this field (or this field is linked to) updated simultaneously on save. Tip: when you create linked fields, make them read only, unless you want to allow the user to modify the data in multiple places. Having more parents We created a data entry table based upon the expense item template in the Expense Report template, therefore the Expense Report template became the parent of the Expense Item template. However you are not limited to creating only one table based upon a template. You can create as many data entry and derived tables from a template as you want, placing them in various areas of the system. Every time you create a data entry table in a template, a parent - child relationship is established between the two templates. As a result, a template can have more than one parent. When you are setting up the Linked To: property of a field on the child template, every parent of that template is listed when you expand the Parent item in the popup window. This is an example of multiple parents from another system: 15

16 Having a grandparent We created a data entry table based upon the expense item template in the Expense Report template therefore the Expense Report template became the parent of the Expense Item template. We can even create a data entry table based upon the Expense Report inside of another template, for instance if we have a Department template. Then the Department template becomes the parent of the Expense Report, and becomes the parent of the parent (grandparent) of the Expense Item template. In case you need to display some data from the Department template (grandparent) on the Expense Item template, you can follow this chain of hierarchy in the Linked To: properties of the field, by expanding its parent and then expanding the parent of the parent (Expense Report) and selecting the desired field on the Department template. 16

17 Parent (Any Level) vs. Immediate Parent You might have noticed that when you set up the Linked To: property, there are 2 options for accessing fields on the parent template; Parent and Parent (any level). Although you can access the parent, grandparent templates either way, there is a big difference in the performance. Using the Parent path, the system immediately knows which instance you are referring to, but in the case of using Parent (any level) path, the system scans through ALL instances and then determines which one is the parent. If you have only a few record, you won t notice any difference in the performance, however if you have several thousand records, the difference can be significant. Suggestion: Always use the Parent path option to ensure better performance. Table Properties Insert Inline By default, when you enter a new item into a table, a blank instance of the template opens up in the main content area, redirecting the user from the current screen. Imagine that you are entering expense items into your expense report. Every time a blank instance opens, you fill out the form with the information and you save it and go back to the expense report. Then you repeat this action over and over again. This can take some time. Thankfully there is a faster way! Go back to the properties of the Expense Items table. On the Advanced tab, there is an option On Insert: Insert Inline. Now when you insert a new item into the table, instead of being redirected to a new blank instance, a new, blank row is added to the table laving the user on the same expense report instance, reducing the number of navigation clicks considerably. 17

18 Display Subtotal and Total Values Let s say you entered all of your expense items. Wouldn t it be useful to know the total value of the expenses? Let s go back to the properties of the table. Under the Advanced tab, there is a Calculate Total Values area. Click on the little yellow folder and you will see all the available fields. Select Amount. Remember: you need to make all configuration changes on the template, not on the instance. Although the total amount is displayed in the table, it is a property of the table, NOT a field in the system, and used for display purposes only. What this means is, you cannot refer to this total amount via macros or queries. In case you want to make further calculations with the total value, you need to insert a numerical field and calculate the total. Besides the total value of a column, you can also display the subtotal values as well. To be able to do that, you need to select a field (column) to sort the table by and also check the Show header for first sort option. As soon as you do that, you can select the Subtotal values under the Advanced tab. For this example, select Amount. 18

19 Further enhancements Adding function to a numerical field Let s insert a numerical field into the Expense Report template, called Total Expenses. We want to set this field to display automatically the total amount of the expenses in that expense report. Open the properties of the numerical field. In the Default Value section you can link this field to another numerical field, but you can also add calculations to it. Click on Insert Function. Intellect has few built-in mathematical functions, such as Count, Sum, Minimum, Maximum, Average etc. Select Sum from the Function drop down. Then you need to specify which field you want to summarize and if there is any filtering criteria. Click on the Browse icon and select the Amount field of the Expense Item template. If you don t specify the Where filtering criteria, the system will sum up EVERY expense item s amount that is in the system. We want to sum up ONLY the expense items in the same expense report, where the total expense field is. Those expense items are in the Expense Items table. So let s set up the filtering rule. Click on the... button at the Where field and select Expense Item is inside of... 19

20 Inside of what? Inside of the Expense Items table you created in the Expense Report template to store the individual expense items. Click on the Browse button and select the Expense Items table from the list, then click OK. Tip: you can use the Location Trail, on the top of the popup screen, to navigate to other tables in the system, if necessary. This is how the properties of the Total Expense Items field should look like. If you need to make any changes, you can simply click on the link to open the settings of the function. 20

21 Storing Mileage information We already created a template for the expense items, and inserted an expense items table into the Expense Report template. But we don t have to stop here. A template can have multiple data entry tables. So let s create a table for storing mileage information. Remember: there is no table without a template. So let s create a template for the mileage information first. Navigate to Home > Administrative Tools > Templates area and insert a template, called Mileage. Insert the following fields: Field Name Type Property Date Date Required: Yes Submitted By Drop down Data list: Linked To - Parent > Expense Report > Submitted By* Editable: No Purpose of Travel Text Textbox size: Multiple lines Start Location Text End Location Text Textbox size: Multiple lines Round Trip Number Format: Yes - Decimal Place:2; Labels After: miles Mileage Number Default Value: 0.52 Editable: No Format: Yes - Decimal Place:2; Labels Before: $, Labels After: /Mile Total Cost Number Format: Yes - Decimal Place:2; Labels Before: $ Mileage Expense Group box *Remember: The Parent - Child relationship is established only AFTER you have inserted a data entry table into the Expense Report template. Until then you cannot link the Submitted By field to the parent, because there is no parent available. For more information on templates and tables, please refer to Intellect Platform -Beginner Training - A101 document. 21

22 If you have followed this tutorial, the Mileage template might look like this: Calculating the Total Mileage Cost When the user inserts a new mileage entry, it would be user friendly if the system automatically calculated the Total Cost after the user provides the number of miles in the Round Trip field. Open the properties of the Total Cost field. In the Default Value section you can add calculations by using the Insert Field button. This is how the properties of the Total Cost field should look like. Now that we have created the Mileage template, let s insert a table into the Expense Report template. Navigate to Home and insert a table based upon the Expense Report template. 22

23 As a result, the Table wizard opens. Select the following: Step 1/4 Table Type: Data Entry Table Step 2/4 Table Label: Mileage Expenses Step 3/4 Columns: All Step 4/4 Table: Expanded Just like for the Expense Items table, change the data entry to Insert inline, and display the Total for the Round Trip and Total Cost fields. When the user submits the Expense Report the subtotal of the expense items and also the subtotal of the mileage expenses will be displayed. It would be even more user friendly if the system automatically calculated the total amount of the expenses, which is the amount the user needs to be reimbursed for. As we mentioned earlier, when a table displays the total of a column, that information is not stored in any field of the system, therefore you cannot utilize that value in any queries or macros. It is only a property of the table, used for display purposes only. As we did earlier, insert a numerical field to calculate the subtotal of the mileage expenses. Use the Sum function; sum of Mileage\Total Cost where the Mileage is inside of Expense Report\Mileage Expenses table. You may want to rename the previously inserted numerical field to Subtotal Expenses and then the bottom part of the Expense Report template should look like this: 23

24 Note: when you are setting up a function for a numerical field, you can run the function only on one field of a template. You cannot combine multiple fields from the same or different templates. If you still need that in order to achieve your goal, insert numerical fields for the sub-calculations and display only the end result. So now we have a numerical field for the subtotal of the expense items and another one for the subtotal of the mileage expenses. Let s calculate the total amount of the expenses. Insert another numerical field, called Total and open its properties. In the Default Value section click on insert field and choose the Subtotal Expenses field, then type + and click on insert field again and select the Subtotal Mileage Expenses field. This is how the calculation of the Total numerical field should look like: Suggestion: When you set up a query, macro or even a calculation, test it! Make sure it is working correctly. So go ahead and insert an expense report and add few expense items and mileage expenses as well, and check if the total field is displaying the correct amount. Calculate numerical field: Insert Field or Insert Function In the Default Value section of the numerical field s properties, there is an option to insert a field and also to insert a function. Use Insert Field when you want to create a formula using different individual fields on the same or related templates. In this case those fields already have to exist, as you need to select them for the formula. For instance to add up the two subtotal fields on the expense report template, or calculate the total cost in the mileage template. In case you want to calculate an array of the same numerical fields use Insert Function for instance to calculate the sum of the mileage expenses. In the function s settings, select one specific field and the system will use the value of that one particular field in the difference instances. 24

25 Hidden fields When you are working on more complex configurations, many times you will need to use extra fields behind the scene to achieve your goal. Often showing the value of these fields would be confusing for the end user. On the Advanced Tab of every field s property there is the option not to display the field for the end users. You can make those fields individually not visible, or you can insert a group box into the template, move all hidden fields inside of that group box, and set the group box itself to not visible. New Entry button A New Entry Button is a button that can be created to allow users to enter a new instance of a template. For instance we can create a new entry button to insert instances into the main All Expense Reports table. The advantage of this button is that no matter where this button is located in the system, by using this button you can insert new expense reports from anywhere. To insert a New Entry button, open the Toolbox and expand the Input Fields section. Enhancing the Personal Navigation area The Personal Navigation area which displays on the right hand side of the screen serves as your own virtual organizer. It lets you create your own personal navigation windows in which you can filter information, shortcuts, and links. By default the platform comes with the My Activities window in the Personal Navigation area to display the different workflow activities. However you can easily modify the Personal Navigation area, adding links and shortcuts to various areas of the system. So let s add a new entry button for the expense reports. By doing that, no matter where you are in the system, the Personal Navigation area is always available and you will always be able to insert a new expense report into the system without navigating away from the current location. 25

26 Navigate to Home > Administrative Tools > Screen Areas > Personal Navigation. Notice, that you can insert only categories and tables. Both types will add a new blue bar to the Personal Navigation. Click on Insert Category and name it as Insert New. Notice, that in the Personal Navigation area a new blue bar appears. Navigate into this newly created category and click on Insert Item to open the toolbox. When you click on the New Entry button, before the system inserts a button, you need to specify which template s instances you will want to insert by clicking on that button. We will want to insert Expense Reports easily, so click on that template and name the button Expense Report. We are not done yet! You will also need to specify which table you will want to insert the Expense Reports into. Remember, you can create several number of tables based upon the same template, so you have to specify the table for the system. Open the properties of the new entry button and click on the browse icon next to Insert into the following Table: section. In the popup window the system offers the current location, but through the location trail you can navigate to any areas of the system. We want to insert instances into the All Expense Records table and that is located (if you follow this tutorial) in Main > Home. Remember: test the new configuration! Click on the newly created Expense Report button in the Personal Navigation and insert a new expense report. Then navigate to the main All Expense Reports table and double check if the new instance is there. 26

27 When clicking on a New Entry button, a popup window appears by default over the Current Location. If you prefer that the new instance appears in the content area, open the properties window of the New Entry button and change it from Popup to Main Content Page under the Display tab. When can we not use a global New Entry button? When you insert a new entry button, for instance into the Personal Navigation area, you also need to specify which table you will want to insert the new instances into. In case of expense reports, there is one main expense report table that we were able to select. But what about the expense items or the mileage expenses tables? Can we create a new entry button for them too in the Personal Navigation area? The answer is no. The expense items data entry table is in the expense report template. Every time you insert a new expense report, the system creates a new table for the expense items in the new expense report. So for instance if you have 10 expense reports in the system, you also have 10 individual expense items table in the system (even if they don t contain any records), just like 10 individual mileage expenses table. So when it comes to setting up a new entry button outside of the expense report template, such as in the Personal Navigation area, you cannot specify which table you want to insert the expense items into. So the only way to insert expense items into an expense report, is to open that particular expense report instance and then insert the expense items and mileage expenses there. If it is important that the end user quickly inserts instances from a global area, such as the Personal Navigation area, then you need to structure your system accordingly. 27

28 How to structure the data? Unfortunately there is no magical formula that tells you how to organize your system. Every hierarchical structure has advantages and disadvantages. Prioritizing the requirements will help to design the structure of your system. The hierarchy of the system is primarily determined by where the data entry tables are for the different templates. Data entry table + - Inside of a template Parent - child relationship is established, therefore you can easily display information from the parent(s) and pre-populate fields for the new instances Need to open parent record in order to insert a new instance into a child table Not inside of a template Global new entry button makes the data entry faster Additional input fields are necessary to connect records to each other; this might become source for user error Note: If you decide not to insert the data entry table into the template, you can still display those records using derived tables. The derived table is a reporting table, displaying only records that meet the filtering criteria (query). It looks the same as the data entry table, so the end user won t notice any difference. You can have as many derived tables as you want in any template; it is not going to change the structure of the system, because the information is not stored in derived table, it is just displayed. Summary To establish a parent - child relationship, you must insert a data entry table into the template. For better performance use immediate Parent (instead of Parent (any level)) Plan before starting the configuration! Prioritize the requirements to determine the most optimal structure of the system. 28

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