The Connection Agent
The Connection Agent must be configured before your forms will be able to successfully integrate with other systems. The Connection Agent does the actual searching. The Connection Agent is managed separately from the rest of PerfectForms™ and is best configured by the local DBA or system admin. For more information, see the Connection Agent Configuration Editor topic.
Each PerfectForms™ system can talk to any number of Connection Agents. It is designed to allow restricted access to systems and it only exposes data the database administrator wants exposed. It never gives blanket access to a database or LDAP system unless specifically allowed to do so.
A connection to a specific database, LDAP system, Web service, form, PDF or Excel document must be defined. A connection is defined in the Connections tree on the Settings Dashboard by an administrator on the PerfectForms™ system. See also: Creating PerfectForms™ Connections.
Once a connection is defined, you will need to create a new action for it. A connection action defines the various ways in which forms can talk to this connection. For example, you have a connection to a SQL Server database. You now need to define actions for a) lookup within a table b) writing to a table c) calling a stored procedure. Each action can then be shared between various forms. Each connection should have at least one action defined.
Using the Connections in Your Forms
A form calls a connection and connection action using an integration behavior command.
As with all behavior commands, the integration command is triggered by some event on the form. For example, a user selects an item from the Contract Type list below, then the form needs to perform a database lookup to retrieve the data and populate Rate Type and Price for the selected Contract Type.
The integration command (such as Connect or Connect and Search) runs, opening the specified connection and connection action. The command runs the action selected on the Properties bar.
Some commands allow you to define, send and receive parameters for data lookups, as is the case for Connect or Connect and Search commands. The parameter fields available on the Properties bar were determined by the administrator who created or last edited the connection.
It is possible to pass form field data to the connection in order to filter the query. If you are calling a PDF, Excel or Web service connection, then you will almost certainly want to pass form field data to the connection. If you are performing a lookup and need to pass a filter value, then you will also pass some fields to the connection.
The image below shows the Connect & Search behavior command properties.
See also the Calling the Connection from a Form topic.