Friday, January 20, 2023

Time form control improvements

With Orbeon Forms 2022.1, we shipped a Time form control that had unintentionally lost its “smart input” capability. Luckily, we are fixing it with Orbeon Forms 2022.1.1. The good part is that this also gives us the opportunity to improve the Time control, as well as to write a little refresher about its capabilities!

Since the beginning, the Orbeon Forms Time control has supported “smart input”. Say you’d like to enter “1:00 pm”, well, just type “1p” and then press the Tab key. The control will automatically complete the input to “1:00 pm”, “1:00:00 pm”, or even “13:00:00” depending on the time format applicable to the control (you can also enter the full format if you wish so).

This is user-friendly, as it doesn’t require the user to enter the exact format. In addition, Orbeon Forms doesn’t try to guess beyond the obvious, so that you don’t have to worry about the control trying to be too smart and modifying your input too much.

With 2022.1.1, we are restoring and improving this function of the Time control. But we are also adding more. In particular, we have been unhappy with the way time formats were specified in Orbeon Forms. The format was specified globally in your configuration properties file, which is not flexible.

Instead, we have now made this a configuration of the Time control. This means that you can specify the time format for each Time control individually, at the form level, or in configuration properties, as is the case for all other form control configurations in Orbeon Forms. This also means that you can have different time formats within the same form.

Time control settings
Example of Time controls

We added a user interface to the Time control settings that looks like this:

Time control settings
Time control settings

The format allows you to control the following:

  • use the 12-hour or the 24-hour format
  • show or hide seconds
  • show or hide am/pm and if shown, in what format
  • pad the hours with zeros or not

This is done in the UI, so you don’t have to figure out a textual syntax (but you still use such a syntax in Orbeon Forms configuration properties).

Finally, we are also making a change to the time output in readonly modes (view and PDF, in particular). Previously, the output format in readonly modes was determined completely separately from the format used by the editable control. This was confusing. Now, the output format is the same as the format used by the editable control.

Time control settings
Example of Time controls in readonly modes

We hope you’ll like these improvements to the Time control!

For more, see the documentation on the Time component.

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