Make your grids POP with embedded images

CategoryTip of the MonthNitro App Builder

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a multi-row grid with embedded cell images could be worth... millions!

Icon cell

Most users are well-accustomed to the humdrum of spreadsheet-like grids loaded with row upon row of text. In some cases overrides to fonts, text colors or cell background shades can effectively draw attention to abnormal or unique values.

Steer your users into entering correct dates

CategoryTip of the Month

It's tricky to think of every possible data element a user can mess up during, say, order entry. Fortunately there are a number of front-end mechanisms to gently coax users into getting the correct values entered into your various fields before they click the Save button. One such element involves a new configuration on the date-picking tool, which can be utilized on any form containing dates.

Date picker

Valence 6.2 has landed!


CNX is pleased to announce that Valence Version 6.2 is now generally available for download. Released as a Beta at the COMMON Expo in Denver last month, production build 6.2.20230515.0 marks the (gasp!) 19th major version of Valence since the original unveiling of Valence 1.0 at RPG World in Las Vegas way back in 2008.

Valence 6.2

Put some fancy logic in your grid's summary row cells

CategoryTip of the Month

By far the most popular widget for business apps created with Valence's Nitro App Builder is the Grid, with multiple options for rendering data cells. From simple display features like text alignment, currency/date renderers and conditional cell colors, to graphical images, formulas and conditional if/then logic using basic JavaScript -- just about anything on your IBM i system can be depicted in a user-friendly fashion using a Grid, and numeric values can be easily summarized by simply checking a box.


Integrate spool files seamlessly into your apps

CategoryTip of the Month

Every IBM i system generates spool files in one way or another. From job logs and compile listings to old-school inventory lists and sales reports, spool files can be quite prevalent. Many companies use tools to convert their spool files into PDFs that can be easily emailed or displayed, and Valence is no exception. The Spool File Viewer app included with Valence makes it easy for users to list spool files and download them in PDF form.

spool file

Merging the best of both worlds: Edit Grids + Forms

CategoryTip of the Month

An active business will frequently find a use case for building an app in which users add or update data in a table or physical file. Whether it be maintaining something simple like a list of locations, or something more complex involving multiple linked tables, an application to handle this can be built and deployed super fast using the edit grid widget in Nitro App Builder.

Edit Grid + Form

Pre-selecting grid rows for a superior user experience

CategoryTip of the Month

Requests for new business applications often begin with basic lists of data — a perfect use case for a Nitro App Builder grid widget — then grow from there. In some cases a requirement may entail allowing users to click on multiple records in the list, then take an identical action against all the selected records at once.

For instance, your marketing department might be seeking a list of active customers, from which a user would select a bunch of customers to send a special promotion en masse.


Debugging back-end jobs in a production environment using the old-school 5250 STRDBG

CategoryTip of the Month

Hard as we may try, it's almost impossible to guarantee error-free execution of programs after promotion into a live environment. Even with a crack QA team doing in-depth testing beforehand, inevitably some program will eventually do something unexpected in production that requires debugging. And when such a problem happens in a multi-threaded CGI environment like Valence, determining which job to put into debug to diagnose the issue can be challenging when you're using a 5250-based STRDBG session.


Leveraging NAB's Export/Import Functionality

CategoryTip of the Month

As your repository of data sources, widgets and apps created in Nitro App Builder grows, you're likely to encounter situations where you need to move NAB objects from one instance to another, or even deploy entire NAB apps to another IBM i system or partition altogether. Likewise, you may occasionally have a need to retrieve a prior version of a data source/widget/app in order to "undo" some recent changes.


Please your users with default filter values

CategoryTip of the Month

In your never-ending quest to make your Nitro App Builder-based apps as user-friendly as possible, reducing the amount of typing and clicking required for users to get to the data they're seeking can go a long way. If you know your users will be routinely setting a grid filter to, say, a specific date or date range relative to the current date, or a specific department based on where they work, etc., there are many ways to save them the hassle of having to manually set the filter values each time.

Filter Settings

Investigate behind-the-scenes activities with Valence logs

CategoryTip of the Month

One of the more important elements to keeping your users happy is ensuring the apps with which they regularly interact are performing snappily. As discussed in a previous blog post, users can become impatient or distracted when it takes too long to get to the data they need to do their jobs. So it's critical that developers stay on top of these performance issues as much as possible.

Log inspection

Setting behind-the-scenes fields on edit grids

CategoryTip of the Month

One of the more popular features of Nitro App Builder is the ability for IBM i developers to quickly roll out a file maintenance app in the form of an edit grid. A developer simply creates a data source over the desired file(s), maps it to an edit grid widget, and voilà!  In virtually no time they've created a fully functional maintenance app.

edit grid data

Cleaning up temporary work file data in Valence

CategoryTip of the Month

In most cases, apps running inside the Valence Portal pull whatever data they need directly from the company's IBM i or remote database, providing pertinent information to users with no intermediate steps required. Hence there's nothing to "clean up" after the apps complete.

But for more complex scenarios, you may find back-end work files are needed to support the process.

Housekeeping after Valence apps

Create a Quick and Dirty File Maintenance App

CategoryTip of the Month

We pride ourselves on how quickly you can create an elegant application for editing a physical file, or even multiple joined physical files, in well under an hour in Valence using the Nitro App Builder tool.

But what if you've got to leave to catch a train in two minutes, and one of your users comes to you with an emergency need to edit the contents in a single physical file?

Edit a file FAST

Using App Variables to dynamically change grid column headings

CategoryTip of the Month

In most cases, grid applications developed with Nitro App Builder have static columns that never need to change. That is, a "Customer Number" column will always hold the customer number or customer ID; a "Product Number" column will always hold the item number or SKU, etc.

But in some cases you may have grid columns that, ideally, would have different column headings depending on the type of data being rendered.

override grid columns

Hit with an insane filter request? RPG (and SQL) to the rescue!

CategoryTip of the Month

Lists or grids of business data are often pretty straightforward to filter, particularly when applying single-column comparisons. Do your users need a way to limit a list of customer orders to a specific destination country and shipping date? No problem! Two simple column filters — one over the ship-to country, one over the ship date — and the users are able to retrieve what they're looking for.

But occasionally users may come to you with some more unusual filtering needs...

SQL power