Nitro Query apps containing charts or graphs can make conveying your company's business trends or performance metrics much more effective than showing raw numbers alone. It's particularly common (and easy) to create a dashboard app that includes a grid of monthly sales details supplemented by a chart showing month-to-month performance. This adds some great context to the lists of numbers.
Just about every business has a situation where users need to perform a single process against multiple items in one pass. For example, you might have a list of open invoices that you'd like to flag as ready for payment, or a group of inventory items that you would like to transfer out of a special holding area. Rather than making your users do individual transactions for each invoice that needs to be paid, or each product that needs to be moved, you could significantly speed up the operation by providing your users a list of selectable records and an action button.
Wrapping up 2017 with a simple but powerful tip for Nitro Query grid apps... Very often lists of business data include columns that can be classified as boolean, with text representing values of yes/no, true/false, 1/0, etc. When you're creating a Nitro Query grid app that includes such columns, you can make "truthy" values stand out much more clearly by replacing the column text with a visual checkmark.
Whether you're a seasoned SQL pro or just learning the ropes of SQL syntax on IBM i, the SQL parser built into Nitro Query App Builder is an invaluable tool you can leverage to quickly generate a web-based report for your users, or even a file maintenance application containing multiple joined files. SQL-based data sources were introduced in Valence 5.1 back in May 2017, and the feature was formally removed from Beta status this month.
The tried and true IBM i Query Utility (as accessed via STRQRY or WRKQRY) is a mainstay in many IBM i shops. But it goes without saying that the user interface associated with the configuration and the output of an IBM i Query leaves a bit to be desired. This is particularly true when users must navigate through the query's definition to change selection or sort criteria.
The Nitro Query app included with Valence is designed to quickly take large volumes of IBM i data and make it easily accessible to your users in the form of a dashboard or query. Management and company executives in particular love the intuitive nature of being able to click through charts, graphs or grids, and optionally download the data to Excel. And, of course, IT developers love the ease and speed in which these apps can be created for both desktop and mobile interfaces.
By far the most popular UI component in the Valence modernization framework is the subfile-on-steroids known as the Ext JS grid. And for IBM i developers and super users alike, there is simply no faster way to roll out a web or mobile application exploiting this powerful functionality than through the grid widget in Valence's Nitro Query tool.
One of the most powerful widgets available in Nitro Query is the Edit Grid. Traditionally queries are read-only, but with an Edit Grid you can actually allow users to update records in a single-file data source — right from within the query itself! In some cases you may find you can simply create a query for data entry in lieu of coding an actual app, saving yourself a ton of time and effort.
One common trait we see at companies small and large is that users have a seemingly insatiable appetite for queries, dashboards and Excel downloads. Fortunately, the Nitro Query app included with Valence provides a great mechanism for quickly whipping out these kinds of apps without any programming. With Valence 5, in addition to completely reengineering the Nitro Query interface, we've also added a new "click event" feature. This functionality makes it possible for users to intuitively click their way into greater details from any component on your app.