Thursday, March 24, 2016

Flexible custom control settings

With Orbeon Forms, all form controls share certain properties, like the control name. However, some controls take additional properties which are specific to them and which you set at design time in Form Builder. For instance the Dynamic Data Dropdown and Autocomplete controls take:
  • a resource URL
  • XPath expressions to retrieve items, labels, and values from a service response
Controls like the Dynamic Data Dropdown are not set in stone: they are built on top of the Orbeon component framework, which allows you to create your own custom controls. And this is where the component author defines, when needed, which custom properties Form Builder must expose in the metadata of such components.

Until recently, you could only use plain text fields for custom properties. We have now made them much more flexible and you can use any form controls and layouts you want: dropdown menus, radio buttons, grids, and so on.

This opens the door to more and more flexible custom components. And the beauty of it is that it's entirely customizable. For example, the Dynamic Data Dropdown and Autocomplete controls now lay out the fields in a grid.

See also the Control Settings documentation, as well as the Control metadata documentation. We hope you'll like this feature, which will be available in Orbeon Forms 4.11.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Quicker settings navigation in Form Builder

Form Builder allows you to change a control, grid or section's settings by opening a dialog. This is generally good but when you want to quickly change settings for several controls, opening and closing dialogs can be a little frustrating!

To help with this, we just implemented Previous / Next navigation in settings dialog. This means that you can simply open the dialog once, make changes (or just look at the current settings), and then quickly navigate to the previous or next control, grid or section in the form. This way you can even navigate through the entire form without missing anything.

Improved Control Settings dialog

Improved Section/Grid Settings dialog

We hope you will enjoy this improvement, which will be available in Orbeon Forms 4.11.