Even as companies move toward a more paperless workplace, printed documents and paperwork remain an inevitable part of doing business. Whether it be a supplier invoice, a bill of lading, a certificate of quality, a signed contract, a proof-of-delivery or what-have-you, many business transactions are still supplemented with a piece of paper somewhere.
The coronavirus pandemic and accompanying "social distancing" has created unique business challenges on many fronts. This is particularly true for companies who weren't already set up to support large swaths of employees suddenly looking to access their IBM i-based ERP systems from home.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much more valuable is a button with an icon on it, compared to a string of words nested inside a row menu? While a thousand times valuation differential may be a stretch, there's no doubt that a visible action button on a grid row is going to be considerably more intuitive to users, particularly new users who are exploring apps for the first time. Such buttons also offer the added value of requiring one less click to trigger a row action.
With the end of the year approaching, most companies find they have a rare opportunity to do some significant system maintenance as users go offline for the holidays. In addition to, say, upgrading to IBM i OS 7.4, this may also be a good opportunity to rearrange your Valence setup so it's following a "best practice" configuration. In a proper setup you can download and test new Valence builds without affecting any of your production or test instances.
When creating an app to convey a typical collection of IBM i business data to users, the most common approach using Valence's Nitro App Builder tool is to build an SQL statement to pull in the pertinent information, pop the resulting rows into a multi-column grid, give the user a few filter options and call it a day.
Just about every modern office job involves users interacting with a computer for the bulk of their work day. So excessive waiting for the computer to respond to actions can lead to both user frustration and decreased productivity.
In short, users like speed!
The ability to download grid data into an Excel document has been a feature of Nitro App Builder for quite some time. Indeed, when someone wants to massage or analyze numbers in their own world, Excel is an ideal tool to accomplish that.
If your company's ERP system dates back to the AS/400 glory days, your users are likely accustomed to running programs that generate "old school" spool file output. While working with printed reports was quite common in the past, today most users prefer to work in a more paperless fashion, opting for on-screen apps or downloaded spreadsheets wherever possible.
Your IBM i HTTP Server powered by Apache is a powerful web-serving system akin to a bank staffed with multiple fast-working tellers. The AJAX requests coming in from your front-end apps are like customers entering the bank to perform transactions. Each "customer" queues up in an orderly line on a first-in/first-out basis, and is serviced by the next available "teller" as soon as they're finished dealing with the prior customer.