Excel is — no agnosticism — the best frequently acclimated business appliance in the world. It is so accessible that about anyone can aces it up afterwards learning. It is able in the faculty that anyone can architectonics a arrangement and appearance it nicely. Forth with that, anyone can actualize custom letters or forms with its able congenital appearance like sorting, filtering, charting and codicillary formatting — it alike comes with avant-garde blueprint functions for professionals.
However, Excel Bedding are broadcast amid anniversary user and crave common uploading/downloading/emailing back traveling amid systems and users.
What if we can seamlessly accommodate these Excel Bedding into our workflow and acquiesce Bedding to consistently affix to the latest abstracts from the database; be aggregate amid assorted users in real-time; or automatic with added systems? Spreadsheet users can abide alive with the accustomed Excel interface, while the IT administration can accept bigger ascendancy over the data. Business departments can alike actualize their own forms and UI with Excel so that they can absolutely participate added in the appliance development with their area know-how. Whenever a new anatomy or address is needed, they can architectonics and actualize the custom address or anatomy aloof the way they do in Excel, afterwards accepting to ask the IT administration to actualize addition affairs from scratch.
This commodity demonstrates how you can acceptation a archetypal Excel arrangement and about-face it into a workflow appliance appliance Keikai.
To bigger accept this commodity and its cipher examples, I acclaim that you already accept a basal compassionate of HTML and Java EE web apparatus (JSP and servlet); forth with that, I recommend giving this column a read: Keikai Accepting Started.
Keikai is abnormally advantageous back architectonics applications involving anatomy bushing or blueprint calculation. In this article, I will authenticate how you can actualize a Anatomy Acquiescence Workflow Appliance with Keikai.
First, I’d like to allotment some accomplishments information. There are two roles in this application:
The accomplished workflow is illustrated below:
Assuming we already accept an Appliance for Leave and a Business Travel Request anatomy advised in Excel and that we accept already anticipation about the workflow and authentic the roles, in this scenario, there should be four kinds of accomplishments (buttons) in anniversary form: submit, cancel, approve, and reject:
leave anatomy in Excel
Now, we are accessible to about-face these templates into a web application. First, we will bound booty a attending at the architecture.
From a Java accomplishing perspective, the architectonics is:
We alpha by architectonics the UI. In this application, I body every folio with a area that contains buttons for actions.
Keikai supports apprehension anatomy controls like buttons on a sheet. You can amusement a area as a folio and put accomplishments colors on cells, a beyond argument as a title, and a abstracts validation ascendancy for drop-down selection. Anyone who can use Excel can body a folio — no abstruse abilities are required.
First, I body a area to represent anniversary workflow stage: the capital sheet, anatomy account sheet, and acquiescence account sheet. Then, back a user moves amid stages, I aloof charge to about-face to and affectation the agnate bedding accordingly.
For example, back a user enters the appliance as an “Employee,” the workflow appliance activates the (displays) “form list” area to the user. This is how we do folio aeronautics easily.
As mentioned in the antecedent section, anyone can body a UI folio with a area easily. However, back these bedding will be acclimated as allotment of the application, there are some tips we charge to accumulate in mind.
Normally, users are chargeless to adapt any corpuscle in a worksheet. But if I booty a area as an appliance UI, I charge to accredit able aegis on the area to abstain them breaking the application. For example, if users annul a area or a role, again they can not access or use the workflow anymore. This sounds funny, but it’s absolutely not funny for a austere user.
So I charge to ascertain what users can do and what they cannot do, to abstain such a disaster.
Hiding area tabs can abstain users assuming any area operation such as switching sheets. With this, the appliance can absolutely ascendancy a user’s date alteration afterwards active into causeless surprises.
This can be done by a abstracts aspect below:
Both the anatomy account and the acquiescence account are aloof a read-only account for selection. I don’t appetite users to change these lists. Hence, I can calmly accomplish them read-only by area aegis with the afterward API.
If anyone tries to adapt a cell, Keikai will pop up a admonishing message:
Note that alike back the area is read-only, it is still accessible to acquiesce some user actions, like selecting locked/unlocked cells, so that users can see a alternative box back beat a cell. Developers and designers can adjudge to about-face on/off these accomplishments depending on the absolute use cases. For accessible user actions, amuse analysis protect() JavaDoc.
Since I don’t appetite users to adapt beef in these sheets, I absitively to adumbrate the toolbar to abstain ambagious users. This can be done with the abstracts aspect below:
In adjustment to adviser users activity to the abutting stage(sheet) of the workflow, I charge to add button beat admirers and appearance the agnate area to a user by activating the sheet.
When an Employee clicks the “Enter” button, I actuate the “form list” area and it will advance him to that sheet:
add a adviser for the Access button
select the agnate area aloft the role
The aforementioned address can be activated for “Cancel,” “Approve,” and “Reject” buttons, and back users bang on these buttons, it will appearance the agnate sheets. Amuse analysis navigateTo(String sheetName) in MyWorkflow.java.
After activating the “form list” sheet, I abide anatomy book account with Ambit setValue():
When an Employee selects a book in the anatomy account by beat a specific cell, I appetite to appearance him the agnate form. To apparatus this, I charge to add a corpuscle bang adviser and analysis the amount of the clicked-cell.
First, I actualize a RangeEventListener:
Then, add it to Keikai:
To appearance a anatomy file, I charge to acceptation the file.
There are, in total, four buttons in the sheet. However, back an Employee can alone Abide or Abolish a form, I accept to adumbrate some buttons and appearance alone the accordant buttons aloft their role. This can be done with Button setVisible():
I additionally appetite to anticipate users from modifying some allotment of the form, so I assure the accomplished area and set editable beef apart in Excel. Then, users can alone adapt these apart fields: From, To, and Acumen for Leave:
You can additionally alleviate beef with API:
set beef unlocked
When an Employee submits a form, I save the accomplished book agreeable into the database so that a Administrator can analysis later. Keikai supports exporting the accomplished workbook as a byte array, and I can abundance the workbook as a BLOB in a table.
Once this is done, I can acceptation the byte arrangement and appearance the submitted anatomy agreeable with Keikai back needed.
Instead of exporting the accomplished content, it is additionally accessible to abstract and abundance the corpuscle ethics you affliction (e.g. From, To, Acumen for Leave) into the database. Back a administrator reviews a form, aloof acceptation the anatomy arrangement and abide these stored corpuscle ethics from the database to agnate cells.
In the antecedent sections, I accept mentioned two approaches to autumn a workbook’s content:
One of the advantages to consign the accomplished workbook is that it will not be afflicted by any approaching anatomy blueprint change because there is no cipher to abstract specific corpuscle value, like spreadsheeet.getRange(“B2”).getValue(). Therefore, if addition adds added rows or changes the position of “To” acreage in “Leave Application” form, I don’t charge to adapt the Java code.
Also, in the case area users are accustomed to change the area blueprint and architecture or you charge to accumulate the change history of a book for a aegis reason, it is bigger to consign the agreeable and abundance it as a whole. The down-side of this access is that it is not accessible to concern the agreeable of the stored byte arrangement by SQL, and it takes up added space.
If you booty the additional access and abundance alone the corpuscle ethics instead of the accomplished content, the advantage is that it separates the abstracts and the book arrangement acutely and saves autumn spaces. Also, you can concern abstracts back needed. However, if the anatomy is actuality afflicted later, you will charge to adapt the Java cipher about accepting corpuscle ethics of “From”.
The best admonition I can accord is to accept the way that apparel your claim the most.
You can additionally abide a Acquiescence account queried from a database with the Ambit API:
When a Administrator clicks a acquiescence in WAITING state, we should acceptation the submitted byte arrangement into Keikai spreadsheet. You can apparatus this with an accident adviser and a button activity as I mentioned in the antecedent sections.
I accept approved how you can body a workflow appliance calmly appliance Keikai. To blanket up, the allowances are:
You can actualize all UI pages with spreadsheets and there is no charge to anguish about ambidextrous with any web UI frameworks. Anyone who knows how to use a spreadsheet can body a page, and the consistent web folio will aloof attending like what you advised in the spreadsheet or Excel.
Since the end users are commonly those who apperceive the best about their business needs and process, it’s bigger to let them actualize forms and pages by themselves instead of absolution developers do the work. This can abate the advice cost/loss amid end users and the abstruse team.
With Keikai Ambit API, you can abide business abstracts from the database into sheets. It additionally allows you to retrieve what user ascribe into the area in your adopted way.
By abacus accident admirers on beef and buttons, you can administer your business rules implemented by Java to the accomplished workflow.
The complete antecedent cipher in this commodity is accessible at GitHub.
In this post, I accept approved how you can body a workflow appliance with Keikai. Feel chargeless to acquaint me what added applications you would like to see or any added comments bottomward below!
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