9 Replies Latest reply on Apr 11, 2012 9:28 AM by Stu McNeill

    "Dynamic windows" - Customer feedback requested

    Stu McNeill Employee

      LANDesk are currently in the planning stages for implementing the highly requested feature of dynamic windows.  The ER (here: http://community.landesk.com/support/ideas/1306) has many votes and comments but we would like to invite you now to give some ideas on what you specifically want in this feature.


      The main points we're looking for are:

      1. What is required in the dynamic windows feature for it to be useful to you.  What do you expect the user to do and see on the window?

      2. How would you envisage designing/administering the feature?

      3. Some real life examples, in as much detail and as specific as possible.

      4. What would be the main benefit for you of using dynamic windows over your current solution?


      We do have a plan on what to implement to achieve our own goals however we want to make sure this aligns with what our customers require and will make the most use of.  Please feel free to suggest anything as there are no bad ideas at this point.


      Thanks in advance


        • 1. Re: "Dynamic windows" - Customer feedback requested

          Ok, I will take first crack at this.


          Currently, when designing and using windows (forms), the word “IF” does not exist.  I would expect each control on a window to have extra properties in the Window Manager.  One property (let’s call it “Watch List”) would contain a list of attributes that if changed, would fire a calculation.  A second new property (let’s call it “Calculation”) would be the BOO calculation that runs when one of the attributes changes in the “Watch List”. For each item on the “Watch List” a condition like “On Update”, “On Form Creation”, “On 1st Touch”, and “On Clearing” to describe when to do the calculations.  The calculation is tied to the control on the window and not the attribute in the database.  This gives us the ability to validate data per our business rules as things change on the form.


          Example 1: A VIP user calls in.  When I select the Raise User, any control that has Raise User on the “Watch List” will run their calculation.  In my case I have Raise User in the “Watch List” for Severity and the calculation checks the Raise User to see if their a VIP user and changes Severity from 3 to 2 automatically.  When I change Severity to a 4, it does not change back to a 2 because Severity was not on the “Watch List” and therefore the calculation does not run.  As part of the calculation I can provide feedback that the change was made.


          Example 2: I want a few categories to automatically set Severity to 2 rather than the default 3.  I add Category to the “Watch List” for the Category control.  When the category changes or an initial selection is made, the calculation runs, it checks to see if the severity (or anything else) should change, and then makes the changes IF it should.  When the Severity changes, it could then fire off other calculations because of the change.


          Example 3: I select an action item called “Add Mobility” (allows a user to get e-mail on their cell phone).  A calculation checks the user and they already are in the AD group (I have AD groups in my user objects) so they don’t need it.  The calculation also checks the user and they are in the “Maintenance” department so they are not allowed to get Mobility.  In both cases a pop up box notifies the analyst.


          Example 4: I have several departments using Service Desk.  Not all departments need to see every field.  Technical Support has fields for tracking loaner computers if their handed out.  No other department would need to see that Groupbox.  Based on my analysts department when the form starts up, a Groupbox might not be needed and it could be hidden with everything else on the form moving up (conditionally) to cover up the blank space (think of Microsoft Word and a 2 page document where a large section of text is taken out and the text below rolls up so it’s now a 1 page document).


          What you have not asked is “What new controls are needed?”

          1. HTML Text Box: As selections are made on the form I want to be able to add to this text box.  Think of it as a Twitter screen, a list of messages that will show up based on what analysts do.  Instructions, warnings, special cases, reminders, etc.  I can show special notes for the analysts, show that users have open incidents, if a specific category is selected a special message shows up reminding the analyst to do something.  Because it’s HTML we can control the background and add pictures giving us a ton of flexibility. 
          2. Calendar Feed: Would be really nice to have a calendar that fed information to the HTML text box.  We have many special events that get a high priority automatically.  It would be nice if I could say that on June 20, every incident window that opens would have a message reminding the analysts of an event events: “PeopleSoft testing, all related issues are severity 2” or “New version of Microsoft Office being pushed out today” or “Last night the firewall was modified”.  Tie in with change controls maybe.
          3. Message Box: When a calculation sends data to this control, a message box pops up with information or warning text that must be confirmed.  This is for that really important stuff where the analyst is forced to see the message.
          4. Tabbed Group Box: This is like a standard Groupbox but it has tabs.  Calculations or action items can turn tab visibility on and off.  Example:  When a specific category is selected I want extra controls to show up in the box.  When a different category is selected, other controls show up.  Think of these as sheets of paper on a clip board.  I can add several sheets to the clip board and only 1 is visible at a time.  Because the sheets are not transparent, I can re-use the same space many times making them show up conditionally and it lets me use space more efficiently.
          5. Action Items:  An action item would not show up on the Window but there could be controls that shows up at the bottom of the form so that properties could be added.


          What benefit do I get from dynamic forms?  Control.


          Dynamic forms allow me to guide the analyst through the form with more control over the experience than I can now.  Right now I have a static form, it can’t change as the user makes selections.  I have no control over what combinations they select.  We have a control that is only used before the incident is saved and it confuses people.  I will be able to turn visibility off after it has been used, confusion gone.  We have a business rule that automatically makes an incident a severity 2 if the user is a VIP.  Now I will be able to pop up a message box, change colors, or post a message to the HTML Text Box alerting my analyst that the incident is now severity 2.  I can remind analysts that special events are happening today and we need to do A, B, and C when we see that situation.  When a very specific set of condition occurs and something special needs to be done, I can notify the analyst.  We have many business processes that are supposed to happen.  Processes that are not used often are forgotten.  A dynamic form will help me enforce some of these special situations.

          • 2. Re: "Dynamic windows" - Customer feedback requested

            Nice post Carl


            As an active user of Visual Studio I cannot stop myself from doing some comparisons (which I know is wrong!). However, there is one feature which I find extremely useful, and that is the ability to set an expression (calculation) against a property.


            1. What is required in the dynamic windows feature for it to be useful to you. What do you expect the user to do and see on the window?


            Using calculation against a properties such as Is Mandatory, Protection Level and Show On Window would allow for windows to be more dynamic and ensure details are collect if the requirements differ from severity, category etc


            2. How would you envisage designing/administering the feature?


            If copyright prohibits implementing a Visual Studio style approach, then administering using a similar visual approach as the Copy Settings.


            The list of properties could be limited as some would not be feasible I suspect at runtime to be set. I believe the list below would be a good start.

            Is Mandatory

            Protection Level

            Show On Window


            3. Some real life examples, in as much detail and as specific as possible.


            At the moment we have many windows for different categories and types of incident which require specific detail to ensure the information is collected at source first time rather than the resolver(s) needing to spend time chasing information.


            Having the ability to change the fields which need details or can be hidden if not necessary would mean we could reduce the number of windows and make on-going updates and changes easier to manage.


            Example 1: In our organisation we have to limit certain information from entering our LDSD environment. At the moment a user has to use a set InfoPath form to request assistance. This form has a very limited number of fields allowing for non-sensitive information to be collected for the resolvers to fix the issue. We then use OpenTouch to fill in the gaps and do the rest in terms of entering it into LDSD.


            If the user happens to stray into ServicePortal, they are able to log other tickets depending on the request/problem. Sometimes this allows them to bypass the form and data enters the system which needs removing.


            Example 2: We have a monster change form, which has 5 different windows. Each almost the same as the last but with small changes around visibility and whether mandatory. When a change is required I have resorted to updating one and the making copies. Then I re-implement the correct settings and tweaks. (Only an hour or 2!). This form could be trimmed significantly by being able to dynamically determine if information is required, visible or whether is can be changed.


            4. What would be the main benefit for you of using dynamic windows over your current solution?


            Control and easier management. To be able to use the same window for multiple scenarios rather than needing to make a window for different requirements. This allows for us to evolve the system as the department and our customers requirements change. As they always do!


            This would also be useful for OpenTouch. At the moment it is not practical to have multiple windows. OpenTouch takes on the default view settings for that user. We are AD integrated so all OpenTouch scripts are executed using only a few LDSD users. This forces us to use the default view selection for that user meaning all mandatory fields are pre-fixed. I could create yet another window, but then that also requires maintaining over time. To get round some of this I have developed web services to essentially wrap the OpenTouch service to allow us to get this dynamics, but I would prefer to remove it from the loop. More things to go wrong else


            My last 10 pence worth is around the message box feature which Carl raised. This is something I am asked about regularly and is a much needed part of web access. I know this can be done in console, but we only use SP and WebDesk at the moment.



            • 4. Re: "Dynamic windows" - Customer feedback requested

              More examples ...


              We use surveys in Service Desk.  I have a section of questions that relate to the analyst that created the incidents and a set for the analyst that resolved the incident.  It sure would be nice to have a calculation on initialization of the form that looked to see if the same analyst opened and resolved the incident because it could then turn visibility off on the part for the resolution analyst.  As it is now, I show both sets of quests and rely on the user (yuck) to be able to read and answer questions.  Any guesses as to how that works out?

              • 5. Re: "Dynamic windows" - Customer feedback requested

                At this stage, my main priority in this space would be the ability to have an attribute on the window become mandatory if a check-box is ticked or a particular value is selected from a list.  For example, this would be beneficial in a scenario where someone may choose "Other" from a list and so you wish them to specify additional information in this case.

                • 6. Re: "Dynamic windows" - Customer feedback requested

                  For me the best use will be in the upcoming request process we intend to implement. I don't like using tasks as I find them harder to report on using the in-built reporting tools for export to excel and when a user fills in the forms I intend to design it would be nice if the form could change depending on the options selected:


                  For example, where selecting a User Disablement request it brings up the field related to that kind of request whereas for a new user the raise user field would disappear (as the user won't be in the system) and manual entry fields available to input the details together with the rest of the form to setup a new user defining shares etc.


                  In the same vein for hardware. If a laptop then it would bring up the details for VPN as well as the request for the hardware for example. As to how to manage, it would be preferable if the management of this were done from the window manager for convenience. It would be very frustrating to have to go between two different components to accomplish what is required with the window, as for the how it would be nice to specify it by specific field or group box to go down to a granular level or up to a larger scale if necessary.


                  The improvement would mean that end users would not need to see boxes that have no bearing on what they are currently doing, mandatory fields could be prompted based on the type of request they want instead of hoping they fill out the right boxes and the particular form could be carefully tailored to just what they need instead of giving them a (sometimes) overwhelming number of options, most of which are irrelevant.


                  Many Thanks,


                  Tony Mitchell

                  The AA.

                  • 7. Re: "Dynamic windows" - Customer feedback requested

                    I would find it beneficial to have dynamic windows for the following:


                    It would be very helpful to bring up specific lists/forms based on a given field value, for example, 'category'.
                    >>For example, if a user selects "construction site commissioning" then show this document/form/window. we have a lot of 'checklists' which we use to ensure that no steps are missed and the analyst 'signs off' on the work done. Currently if we want to enforce the 'checklist' contents through LANDesk we can do this through manually added tasks in the process which are 'checked off' as completed.(massive amount of work to build process, complex process workflow, process needs to come offline to make changes, all manual/hardcoded within process so not flexible, and process is HUGE due to all the 'jogs' off the path) The other way is to provide a form outside of the system (word doc, etc) whereby we rely on the analyst to add as an attachment (not enforceable). It would be great if either a document could be made available as an attachment and/or a form be made available (through window or tab) which needed to have all values 'completed' prior to allowing it to move into a resolved/closed state.


                    If I pick 'x' category then 'y' field becomes available.
                    >>For example, when tracking application issues certain fields are relevant which do not apply to hardware issues. Adding a large volume of fields which are not always populated/required can make windows very cluttered very quickly. It would be nice if, for example, you could select an application in your category field and at that time it would prompt you for relevant information (build/version/module, etc) which would not show on the 'main' view unless 'application' was first selected.

                    This would also assist with requests (ex. if 'new user' request bring up these checkboxes/fields, if 'new hardware' request bring up this set of fields, etc)


                    Enforce a field being mandatory only if criteria is met.
                    >>For example, for internal clients it is mandatory that we have a 'construction site' field so we can report against specific sites/areas. For our external customers this is not required so we need to configure a 'dummy' site for each client in order to enforce the field being mandatory.

                    Enforce protection level when criteria is met.
                    >>For example, if it is 'x' user/group allow reads/writes on this field, but if it is 'y' user/group set to read only. Perhaps you want the creator of a note to be able to modify the note, but not allow other analysts to modify their note. Also I would really like to see fields only being enforced mandatory before it needs to move in the process vs. 'on save'. Sometimes you need to save a 'work in progress' because you're just gathering/collecting information initially, or you need to save as a draft until you can complete it at a later time. Eventually you'll want to ensure a field is filled out, but it's not really necessary until you actually need to move it further in the process - ex. prior to submitting for approval. It would also be great if you could lock down fields to read only after a specific point in the process. For example,once it's been approved by a user the field is no longer read/write but prior to approval it is read/write by anyone.

                    Pop-up box functionality
                    >>If specific criteria is selected bring up box to request additional info/confirmation, or bring up a 'warning' box.


                    Collection options based on criteria
                    >>For example, in dealing with our external clients, if an analyst checks off "is external?" we could then allow them to link specific CIs relevant to our external clients only, or if an analyst checks off "is billable?" then a specific "add billing attachment" becomes available which contains additional fields vs the standard 'add attachment" window

                    • 8. Re: "Dynamic windows" - Customer feedback requested

                      We would like to make an attribute mandatory once another attribute is selected/changed. Here's an example of what we're trying to accomplish:


                      For one of our request forms, the user selects a checkbox (boolean attribute) if Email Access is required.

                      We then have a reference list dropdown for the user to select the type of email access (Email Type).

                      We want it so when the checkbox is selected, the Email Type attribute becomes mandatory.


                      A bonus would be to have them do the same: if one or the other is selected, to make the other mandatory.

                      • 9. Re: "Dynamic windows" - Customer feedback requested
                        Stu McNeill Employee

                        Hi everyone,


                        Thank you all very much for all your feedback - it is good to see that a lot of you have the same requirements as well as some creative ideas.  Some suggestions were a little out of the scope for what we plan to implement in the short term but this thread will no doubt be referred back to in the future and further work might be done in future releases to build on what we already have planned.


                        Work is now underway to implement a set of dynamic window features to be included in the next major release.  The planned changes/enhancements are as follows:


                        1. Add some calculation controlled properties for fields in Windows Manager to set certain properties such as Mandatory/Not Mandatory, Show/Hide on the fly as other fields are changed.  This will cover most scenarios people have described in this thread.


                        2. As a by-product of #1 the “Is calculate on change?” property will be supported in Web Access as well as Console.


                        3. Add the ability to trigger the window as a whole to change when particular fields change.  This will be supported mainly by point #4.


                        4. Enhancements to the View Rules functionality to allow rules to be created based on any number of attributes (called Variation Attributes) in the same way the SLA matrix works.  This means there is far more control over which window is displayed when, for example at a specific status or when a certain category is selected.  This along with point #3 means the window displayed can be changed on the fly as fields are changed.  This is to cover the scenarios where point #1 cannot.


                        5. A re-working of the View Rules interface within Windows Manager for better ease of use.


                        Note that while all the above changes/enhancemantes are currently planned to be in the next major release none can be confirmed as definitely included at this stage in the release cycle.


                        This thread will now be closed however if you do have any other specific feature requests please feel free to raise them on the Enhancement Request portal.





                        Edit: If anyone has any specific questions about the changes I've outlined above please feel free to contact me directly!


                        Message was edited by: Stu McNeill