Connect to data source like a pro and use operators
Hello PerfectForms community,
PerfectForms provides the ability to send and receive information to and from many sources by utilizing our connection dashboard. The connection tab in the dashboard makes integrating with Directory Services, Databases, Web Services and even other forms pretty simple for a basic connections. Today I would like to let you know about an easy to use functionality within our connection tab that will allow you to step up your connection game. In SQL operators are used to specify a condition in a statement. This functionality allows the user to return data where the sent parameter and the condition are met. With PerfectForms, you are able to use operators as you would in SQL all with an easy to understand interface. By using Operators you can fine tune your connections and increase the performance of a connection heavy application.
From the connections dashboard, operators can be used with Database, Directory Service, Form, Google Spreadsheet, and Text File connections. The Operators available for use consist of the following:
• ( = ) Equal to
o Checks if the values of two operands are equal or not.
• ( < ) Less Than
o Checks if the value of left operand is less than the value of right operand.
• ( > ) Greater Than
o Checks if the value of left operand is greater than the value of right operand.
• ( <= ) Less Than or Equal to
o Checks if the value of left operand is less than or equal to the value of right operand.
• ( => ) Greater Than or Equal to
o Checks if the value of left operand is greater than or equal to the value of right operand.
• ( LIKE ) Like
o The LIKE operator is used to compare a value to similar values using wildcard operators.
• ( AND ) And
o The AND operator allows the existence of multiple conditions in a request.
• ( * ) Wildcard
o Matches one or more characters.
In PerfectForms most operators are specified in the connection dashboard while configuring your send parameters. This functionality is able to be used with Text, Date, Time, and Numeric Values. Operators enable you to isolate specific data from a source with ease. By default, any send parameters in PerfectForms are created with an ( = ) operator. By simply double clicking on the ( = ) you will be provided with alternate available options.
An example of leveraging operators would be the following:
If I was looking for information by a date I would simply leave the operator as the standard ( = ) and send a date I would like to receive my information by. Any data I specified in my return parameters would come back in relation to the date sent. Now what if I wanted to return data by a range of dates such as “How many sales I made in June?” To return this data you would need to specify a date greater than or equal to “June 1” and less than or equal to “June 30”.
• Date <= 6-30-16 • Date => 6-1-16
This configuration is achieved by using multiple send parameters with the operators configured accordingly. By adding additional parameters the configuration is automatically utilizing the ( AND ) operator. By sending select dates through these parameters you can pull back all information desired within the data range you specify in your form design.
If you have the need to build a search this is where ( LIKE ) comes in handy. ( LIKE ) will automatically allow a wildcard return. This will allow the ability to search text without case sensitivity. For example, If I search “eric” my search will return Eric, Derick, Erick. If fewer characters are used the return is broadened, ‘ric’ will return Eric, Derick, Erick, Rick, Ricardo, etc.
NOTE: A LIKE statement is best paired with a Connect and Search behavior. A connect and search will allow you to browse the returns and select the data to apply to your application.
There are two operators that can be used in PerfectForms that are not selectable from the drop down, the ( AND ) and ( * ). Although the ( AND ) operator is not selectable, you can easily specify ( AND ) by simply adding another send parameter to your list. Specifying a ( * ) is a little different, this operator must be sent through the connection with the data by adding an ( * ) where you would like the wildcard functionality to take effect. For example, If I wanted to return a list of people with the last name “Jones” I would send “*Jones.” By doing this I could expect my returns to be:
• Tom Jones
• Jessica Jones
• Bryan Jones
NOTE: If you would like to always use a directional wildcard you can preconfigure the wildcard by sending a formula. In the formula, you can send ( * ) + “Your Field.” This will allow a wildcard connection from your form without manipulating the forms actual data.
Now that we have gone over operators you should be able to tailor your connections to your form process. This can help to ensure you are only returning relevant data and minimize the behaviors needed to isolate the useful data which will improve the performance of your form.
Thanks for reading, and happy form building.