By Matthew Haavisto-Oracle on May 23, 2016
Content contributed by Balaji Pattabhiraman
In two recent posts (creating simplified analytics--user perspective and creating analytic home pages), we’ve described some of the capabilities of Simplified Analytics. In this post, we’ll examine how analytics and charting can be used to enhance search.
Searching is an important part of the PeopleSoft UI, and we are continually improving it. For example, we included related actions in search pages, enabling users to act on data directly from the search results without even having to navigate to transactions. We also included commercial search features like facets and filtering to focus result sets. Following that, we provided search in the Fluid UI, making search easier to use across form factors, including phones and tablets.
Now as part of Fluid Component Search, we have enabled analytics which helps users visualize and understand their results better, so they can act on those results more effectively. Let’s examine what that looks like and how to enable it.
Analytics on a Search Page
First, recall what a classic component search page looked like.
It’s useful, but not as powerful as it could be. As of PeopleTools 8.54 and higher we have transformed the search experience for all Fluid Components.
Here is an example of a Contracts search. In this example, the user can look at the Gross Contract Amount by Supplier in addition to searching for the contract. Notice how the search page is transformed in Fluid. The left panel provides filters to narrow the results or initiate a new search. Here we have some Administrator and Contract Style filters applied. You can select a row of detail to open the page for that contract detail after narrowing the search. In this case, Gross Amount by Supplier Name. Applying a filter will update the analytics as well as updating the search result grid because the analytics reflect live data.
Analytic charts are available for this page, so the user switches on the chart slider in the upper right of the page.
Here is the same search result page with the analytic turned on.
The charts are interactive like any Fluid Pivot Grid. This means that you can select any data point and drill down using related actions. Here we view the details by another field for the selected supplier (For example view contract date vs amount for a supplier). You can also narrow the results for the supplier from the chart data point by selecting the Detailed View option. There are more options under the gear menu in the upper right. This lets you change chart options, download data to spread sheets, etc.
Adding Analytics to a Search
Now let’s see how to build a Fluid component search to include Pivot Grids. Open the component properties. (You would have already enabled the Fluid Flag while building the fluid component.) In this case we’ll set the Search Type to Standard. The other option for Search Type is Master-Detail, which enables you to persist the search results on the left panel after selecting a search result and opening the transaction. This allows easy navigation between the search results without navigating back to the search page. (You would also have the search/add record filled for the component, which is similar to any classic component with search.)
Next, open the Pivot Grid wizard and create a new pivot grid model.
In step 1, give the pivot grid a title and, optionally, a description. You can also set the Type and Owner here.
In step 2, choose the data source type. Here we’ve set the type as Component. Then choose your component. Also, choose a tree name and access group you generally use with the product line. In this case we’ve chosen the Purchase Order access group. This will ensure a query can be created from the search record and the end users of the component can see the search results. (Note: The search record will be added as part of this tree and the permissions from the component are added to the tree). When we click Apply, this creates a query with the same name as the component and the fields will be listed. Now we choose the fields that we want the end-user to see.
In the step 3, we set overriding labels for the fields and choose the column type--whether a field is only for display in the grid or whether it should be part of the chart axis or the value the chart plots. In addition, all the key fields become prompts for the pivot grid model automatically. We can set default values for these prompts. Note that you can change the prompt fields and change the criteria by modifying the generated query. In most cases, the key fields serving as prompts will suffice. You can also choose which prompts to show or hide to the end-user in this step.
In step 4, we specify axis information including which fields will be the x-axis, y-axis and the filters. In addition, under the Fluid Mode Options, we can fill the list view Title and Summary fields to show if your component is to be used on small form factors like a phone.
You can optionally preview the chart in the last step and save the pivot grid definition. This completes the setup.
Now when a user navigates to the component, the search page will show up based on the configuration. (Typically a user might navigate from a home page tile, registered using the tile wizard.)
Now you can open the Search page by selecting the Group and Special Contracts tile. You can view it with or without the chart.
Because this uses the PeopleSoft Fluid User Interface, the search page renders nicely on smaller form factors like smart phones and tablets. This requires no additional configuration. Here is the same page on a smart phone.