Tag Archives: K2 smartforms

Change a specific K2 smartforms View background colour

Recently, I was asked this question on how to change the background colour of a specific View in a K2 smartforms Form. Like the following:

Change specific View background colour
Change specific View background colour

How to change a specific K2 smartforms View backgound colour

I’ve done some research and testing, and here is the CSS that will do the trick:

The number 2 in the line “nth-of-type(2)”, means the 2nd View in the Form. So if you need to just highlight the 3rd View, change the value to 3 and you are done.

Where to put this piece of style?

If you have a custom Theme and you want all Forms using this Theme to have the same effect, then you should add this style to your Theme’s CSS file.

If you only have to  make the change on a specific form, you can use a hidden Data Label to apply the theme. This is how to do it:

  1. Add a Data Label to your Form.

    Step 1 - Add Data Label
    Step 1 – Add Data Label
  2. Add the following line to the Text property. Remember to update the row number.

  3. Uncheck the Visible property. We don’t need the user to see this value.

    Step 3 - Uncheck Visibile
    Step 3 – Uncheck Visibile
  4. Check the Literal property. We need the control to parse the style tag.

    Step 4 - Check the Literal property
    Step 4 – Check the Literal property
  5. Finish the Form and you are done.

 

So that’s how you change a specific K2 smartforms View background colour.

Have Fun!

K2 smartforms Custom Control Icon

In this article, I’m going to describe how to add a K2 smartforms custom control icon. The official article is located at help.k2.com but it is not 100% accurate and contains mistakes in the CSS sample. Here’s the step by step guide:

Create the icon

The basic requirements of the K2 smartforms custom control icon is that it needs to be a 16×16 pixel image. In this sample, I’ll be using the Microsoft Paint application to create it.

  1. Search for your Paint application in your Windows Start menu and launch it.

    Find MS Paint
    Find MS Paint
  2. In your Paint application, click on Files > Properties.

    MS Paint Properties option
    MS Paint Properties option
  3. Set the Width and Height of the image to 16 and click OK.
  4. Draw your icon and save it. In my sample, I’ve saved my image in PNG format.

Adding the icon to your custom control

Now, here are the steps to add your K2 smartforms custom control icon:

  1. Add the icon to your VS project.

    Add icon to VS project
    Add icon to VS project
  2.  You will need to set the icon as a Embedded Resource. So right click on the icon, click on Properties and select Embedded Resource under Build Action.

    Set icon Build Action to Embedded Resource
    Set icon Build Action to Embedded Resource
  3. Add the icon as a WebResource in your control code file. Do take note that your resource name starts with the [Project Name], [Folder Name] and ends with the [Icon File Name], separated by a full stop (.). You should update the resource type, if you are not using a PNG file like me in this sample.

    Add icon as WebResource
    Add icon as WebResource
  4. You will need to add the K2 smartforms custom control icon styling in your control’s CSS file now. In the style sample below, you will need to replace a) the control name from “digital signature” to your control’s name and b) update the icon’s WebResource URL to the one you just created in the section above. Note: The CSS style provided at help.k2.com does not include spaces that separates the css class name. This causes the style to not function in your browser.
  5. Since we indicated WebResource usage in our CSS file, we will need to ensure PerformSubstitution attribute is set to true on the CSS WebResource declaration in the control file.

    PerformSubstitution = true
    PerformSubstitution = true
  6. Ensure that the CSS file reference is added in the constructor of your control class.  Replace the WebResource URL for your CSS file in the sample below.

View my K2 smartforms custom control icon!

Now, to view your new K2 smartforms custom control icon, you will need to:

  1. Compile the VS project and deploy your custom control.
  2. Ensure that your IIS has been reset.
  3. Clear your browser cache, log into your K2 Designer site and see your new K2 smartforms custom control icon in action!

    Look at my K2 smartforms custom control icon!
    Look at my K2 smartforms custom control icon!

Enjoy!

List Sequence Number Display

K2 smartforms List Sequence Number Display

Recently, I’ve published a K2 smartforms custom control, List Sequence Number Display at K2 Community (http://community.k2.com/t5/K2-blackpearl/List-Sequence-Number-Display-Field/ba-p/85348).

What does the List Sequence Number custom control do?

It helps you print running numbers on the first column of your List View.

List Sequence Number Display in action
Running number after performing a sort on the column header.

But I can already do that with a SQL View or SQL Stored Procedure…

Well, yes you can, but can your solution:

  1. Add running numbers without altering the original data source?
  2. Can it be do the same for data sources other than SQL?
  3. Can it keep the numbering across different pages? (i.e. pagination)
  4. Can it keep the numbering after a executing sort? (i.e. click on the column headers)
  5. Can it update the numbering adding a new record row? (i.e. adding a new row in a editable list)

So, if you solution can’t do it, then go on and try the List Sequence Number Display custom control! =)

Some things I’ve learned while developing the List Sequence Number Display control

Just to share some of the things I’ve learned from developing this custom control

The parent grid’s html entity ID is always the first set of Guid of my control’s Guid combination

If you look at the generated custom control’s ID via a browser’s Developer Tool, you will see something similar to the following:

Viewing the List Sequence Number Display control from Developer Tool
My custom control’s html entity ID

In my sample here, the div tag’s ID is “b113bc00-d8f7-4ce5-ae81-be2a0ecfe68d_5a10bfd9-f955-41b2-87f7-17e88cd158db”. So if I want to find the Grid which my control resides in, I just need to get the first set of GUID (b113bc00-d8f7-4ce5-ae81-be2a0ecfe68d), separated by the underscore symbol (‘_’) and look for the GUID combination in the ID of a “div” tag with the class name “grid”.

Viewing the List Sequence Number Display control from developer tool 2
Parent grid with the GUID as part of the ID.

This is the piece of JQuery I use to get my grid handle.

If you notice, it also checks if the parentIDString found starts with “00000000-“. This is to handle case where by the grid’s View is not within a Form.

 

Using MutationObserver

The grid has its own JavaScript class with does not expose any event handlers. So the only solution I can come up with is to use MutationObserver to listen to DOM changes. The biggest down side to this approach is that in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE), only version 11 has a proper implementation of this API. In other browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari, it’s been the default since who knows when, so there’s no problem in executing the control in these browsers.

So what are the changes I’m listening to?

Based on my first set of  observations for display-only view:

  1. On the grid’s div tag, the “pagesize” attribute will be changed whenever a column sort occurs.
  2. On the grid’s div tag, the “listrefreshed” attribute will be written and changes when a list refresh occurs.
  3. On the grid’s div tag, the “actiontype” attribute will change when a row editing event occurs.

With these information, my first observer looks like this:

On my second observation on editable view:

  1. The “pagesize” attribute will not be written in the grid’s tag. So I can use this to confirm whether the current grid is an editable view.
  2. Since there’s no paging in an editable list view, the usual attributes in my first observation cannot be used to trigger the observer. From subsequent testing, I also found that there’s no other usable attributes to observe for change. My solution then is to listen to the “Column Headers” change by inserting my own custom attribute. It seems that when changes occur on an editable list view, it will refresh the column headers as well.

This is my 2nd observer for editable list view.

That’s all I have!

Well, as the section header says, that’s all I have learned from developing the List Sequence Number Display control. If you are interested in the codes, you can download it from the project from the link at the top of this post. Enjoy!

Use SmartObject upload file to SQL

K2 SmartObject can read and store files into SQL table via its File property. Files to be stored into SQL table will be automatically converted to base64 encoded string and when retrieved from SQL, it will be automatically converted back to binary.

In this article, we will see how to setup and use SmartObject upload file to SQL and test the function in  K2 smartforms.

Use SmartObject upload file to SQL

  1. We start by setting up the SQL table. The column that will be storing the file content will be created as a nvarchar(max) type.Create table and file content column
  2. If the Service Instance to the SQL database (in this case “FileUploadTest”) has not been created yet, create it. If the Service Instance already exists, refresh the Service Instance. Make sure the new table and its properties are available.Create or refresh Service Instance
  3. Right-click on the [dbo].[FileUpload] Service Object and select Create SmartObject.Create Smart Object function
  4. Give the new SmartObject an appropriate Name and click on Publish SmartObjectCreate the file upload SmartObject
  5. You should find the SmartObject at the Category it is created above.
    The created FileUpload SmartObject
  6. Next, find the SmartObject in K2 Designer and Edit it. Edit the SmartObject in K2 Designer
  7. Select the property that is supposed to hold the file content (i.e. fileContent in this case) and click on the Edit button.

    306-step7
    Edit the SmartObject’s fileContent property
  8. Now, this is the most important step. Change the Type to File and click OKChange the fileContent property type to File
  9. Lastly, Click Finish to complete editing the SmartObject and you are done.Click Finish to save

Testing

  1. Now, to test the SmartObject, we will use the Generate View feature. Right-click on the SmartObject and select Generate Views.
    Generate the View from the FileUpload SmartObject
  2. Select the checkbox under Item and click OK. This will generate an Item View. Select to create an Item View
  3. Select the newly created Item View and click on RunRun the generated View
  4. In the form, fill in the file Name, select a file in file Content field and click Create. This will create the record in SQL. Try create a record
  5. Take note of the generated ID field value and check against the SQL table created earlier. You will find the newly created record with the file content. Verify that the record is created in SQL
  6. To verify that the file was indeed saved successfully into the table, refresh the View used earlier, fill in the ID field value and click on Read button to load the file. Click on the file to download it and make sure it can be open in the appropriate application. Use the View to download the file to verify that it's working as expected

And that’s all on how to use SmartObject to upload file to SQL.

Have fun!

Building K2 Smartform Control – Part 3

Now with the previous post, we talk about adding our own custom library and cleaning up the template. This is so that we have a clean baseline to start working on.

If you missed the previous post, visit them here.

K2 Smartform Custom Control – Part 1

K2 Smartform Custom Control – Part 2

This post will be relative short and last part of the series.

Today, we are going to cover the main portion of it and some deployment procedure.

SideMenu_Control.cs

Within, K2 Smartform Custom Control project, located the SideMenu_Contro.cs file.

Add the following codes.

13. Adding method to generate HTML

This is required of the Javascript library to render the html within in the K2 Smartform Custom Control.

SideMenu_Script.js

Add the following codes to SideMenu_Script.js

At the top of the file, add the following.

 

14. Javascript file Init the class

 

Next, scroll to the bottom and add the required javascript to invoke the SideMenu.

 

15. Adding Document.Ready method

 

Testing & Deployment

We are all done now, let’s build it and deploy it.

If you are facing the following errors during your build phase, change the .Net framework of the project to 4.5

Error:

16. Error in compiling

 

Solution:

17. Changing the .Net Framework

Now, copy the dll and place them in the Bin folder of your K2 Runtime and K2 Designer and run the .bat file.

Building K2 Smartform Control – Part 2

Continuing from the previous post on building a custom control, visit Part 1 here.

We are going to add a sidemenu javascript library to the K2 Smartform Control.

I have chosen the following javascript library, you can download it from here.

Add Javascript Library to Solution

Now lets add those library to the solution project.

6. Adding the javascript and CSS library

 

Open up the property windows of those files and set them to “Embedded Resources”

7. Setting the properties to Embbedded Resources

NOTE: This is critical for the K2 SmartForm Control, as this will tell the solution to compile the library along with it.

Linking the Javascript Libraries & CSS in the source code

In the SideMenu_Control.cs, open it up and add the following lines of codes.

8. Adding CSS library to Control source file

 

9. Adding JS library to source file

 

We are not done yet, the above codes only tells to K2 Smartfrom Custom Control that those are required resources.

We are going to add those following JS and CSS to the code base with the following lines.

9.1 Adding JS library to source file

Housekeeping

You will notice that the K2 Smartform Custom Control Template generate a whole bunch of codes for you. In this section, we going to remove some stuff to keep it clean.

SideMenu_Control.cs

Remove the following sections that is generated along with the template.

section 1:

 

10. Remove the Generated Method

section 2:

11. Remove the Generated Method 2

section 3:

12. Remove input type as this not a input control

With that all done, we have a clean baseline to work with.

Go to K2 Smartform Custom Control – Part 3

 

Building K2 Smartform Control – Part 1

K2 Smartform is a rapid development tool that provide a WYSIWYG interface. There’s a lot of plus point to this as this closely resemble the visual studio designer or even dreamweaver and K2 have place alot of thought in the Smartform product design and a whole lot of controls are available out of the box.

However, the downside here is that since the K2 Smartform only work within the K2’s technology ecosystem, to extend the capability of the Smartform such as cooking your own controls or even using those commercially available (e.g. Telerik) are limiting.

In this article, we will be writing a mulit part series to show you guys how to build your own custom control.

Setup

The K2 Smartform is design such that its almost similar to any custom user control on ASP.NET or Sharepoint Webpart in terms of architecture.

To get started building a K2 Smartform custom control, head over to the following url and install the template that the community have release to help everyone get started.

K2 Visual Studio Template

Download the respective template and install for your version of Visual Studio. The “good” guys at the community have cater for different version of Visual Studio.

Getting Started – Creation of the K2 Smartform Control Project Solution

Now, let go about creating a new project. You should have a new category for the option on the left which is named K2.

K2 Visual Studio Project

Expand the K2 and select K2 Extension. Now choose Custom Smartform Control Project and give it a project name.

This should generate a Visual Studio Solution Project for you.

Generating the K2 Smartform Control Files

Let’s go generate some files for the custom control that we are going to build.

Right-Click and select Add New Item.

2. Visual Studio - Add New Item

Choose SmartForms Basic Client Control Item and give it a name. (This should be the name of the control).

3. Visual Studio - Add New Basic Client Control

 

Your Visual Studio Solution Explorer should look like below.

4. Directory Structure

 

Go to K2 Smartform Custom Control – Part 2

K2 smartforms control custom property

In this article, I’m going to show you how to add a property, MaxFileSize, to a K2 smartforms custom control.

Note: The focus of this article is all about adding a property and using it in your control. For the basics on how to create a K2 smartforms control, please visit K2 smartforms Developers Reference .

Adding a K2 smartforms control custom property

1. Add a new property to your control’s xml definition

In your control’s definition xml file, add a new Prop element under Properties. It should look like the following:

ID attribute is the new property’s name and InitialValue sets the default value when the control is first added to a View.

For more information about what each of the property’s attribute does, look at Control Definition XML File.

2. Add a Getter/Setter method in your control class to access the property value

You need this method to create and save the option values into the control so that you can retrieve it in your JavaScript later.

The method name should match the ID value set in the property earlier on. In the GetOption and SetOption method, use small caps for your option name (e.g. maxfilesize) as this will be the data-options attribute registered in the control’s html.

3. Reading the option values via JavaScript

Now, as I mentioned earlier, the options will be surfaced as data-options attributes in the control’s html. Use your browser’s in-built developer tools to look at the control’s html. It should look similar to this:

Notice that the maxfilesize value has been registered in the data-options attribute? This is the value set in the K2 Designer and you have access to it now. =)

So, last step. To get the value, just use the jQuery .data function to retrieve the data-options values. For me, I create a initialise function to handle the values initialization.

 

Good luck!

Form is Initializing or Initialized??

Since K2 smartforms 1.0.6, there is a new event, When the Form is Initialized, which runs after When the Form is Initializing completes. The new event allows the Designer to configure rules that runs after a form has been loaded (as ajax calls). This is an important feature as we can now load the form first (forms becomes interactive), then make X number of ajax calls to load the other controls/Views data (e.g. dropdown, List View, etc), instead of loading everything when the form loads. So what does this mean? Let me show you a simple example.

Firstly, let’s create a SmartObject that simulate a large result set or simply a very slow data source (imagining my Oracle and SAP in dev env…). I’ll be using a stored procedure that simulates a 5 seconds wait before returning my result set.

As the procedure name says, it is a very slow script and the corresponding spVSlowScript SmartObject is generated.

222 - SmO
The very slow data source

Next, I generate a View from spVSlowScript SmartObject and made sure to remove all Rules in the View. I don’t need the When the View is Initializing rule.

222 - View
The generated View.

With the View ready, I created a new Form and added 2 instances of the View into it.

222 - Form
The Form with 2 instance of the View.

Now, move on to the Form Rules configuration. You should see the When the Form is Initializing rule added for you.  Let’s edit this rule and change the views method to List. Change the execution block type to also for efficiency (You should use and block if one action returns much faster than the other).

222 - Form Rule
The Form Initializing rule

With the Rule above, the Form will finish loading when both the actions have been completed. Save the Form now.

Testing the Form Initializing rule

In this test, all loading actions (especially the slow view methods) are executed in the initialising rule.

Run the Form URL now and you will notice that the spinner overlay will cover the entire form and the form will only be usable/interactive after the 2 List methods completed the ajax call, which is after 5 seconds. The main interest point here is that your Form takes more than 5 seconds to load, which will fail most of your performance requirements. =(

222 - Initialising Spinner
Whole form spinner overlay.

Testing the Form Initialized rule

Now, let’s try changing the When the Form is Initialising rule to When the Form is Initialized and see the difference.

222 - Form Initialized Rule
Changed the rule to Form is Initialised.

When you run the form again, you will realise that the form actually loads almost immediately (<1 second) and each View will have a spinner overlay to indicate that it is performing an operation now (ajax call). While the spinner overlays are running, the User can start to interact with any controls that have completed loading (e.g. text boxes, etc). Now, you have passed your performance test. =)

222 - Initialized Spinner
Each View running its ajax call now.

Form is Initializing or Initialized?

So in short, you should place the actions that are required on form load in When the Form is Initializing rule and any other actions that could slow down a form loading or could be loaded at a later stage to the When the Form is Initialized rule.

The following is a list of actions that you can consider for the 2 events.

Some example of actions that could be added to the When the Form is Initializing rule

  • OpenWorklistItem action.
  • SmartObject or View methods that loads the main form content. (e.g. The Leave object in your Leave Application)
  • SmartObject or View methods that returns small number of records and the performance is good.
  • Hide/show controls and views. If you already know what to hide or show at this stage, you should do it here.

Some example of actions that could be added to the When the Form is Initialized rule

  • SmartObject or View methods that does not load the main form content and is slow in performance (e.g. large result set that takes a considerable time to load).
  • Hide/show controls and views. If the consideration logics are finalised after all actions in the initialising and initialised rule are completed. These will be added to the end of the initialised rule.

Have fun!

Providing a friendly error message for your K2 error

5 May 2017: I’ve updated this post for 4.6.10 and above here.

Be it on smartforms or your custom ASP.NET forms, the OpenWorklistItem call will return the following error if the current User did not pass the validation rule on K2 Server:

172-OpenWorklistItemError
OpenWorklistItem error

For the K2 Designer and Admins, it’s a simple fact that the User is not the Destination User of this Activity. To the Users of this System, they will be like “What the heck are you trying to say?!?”. So how can we help the Users to better understand what is going on without calling us every time a cryptic message appears?

Find these cryptic out-of-box messages

These messages are stored as a template in [K2 blackpearl folder]\Host Server\bin\HostServerLogging.config.

172-HostServerLoggingMsg
The error message for ID 24411

In this file, you will find all the message templates used by K2. The first three numbers of the MsgID represents a logical section. So for example, MsgID starting with 244 are relating to security.

Of course, you can just modify this file directly, restart your K2 blackpearl Server services and all messages will be friendlier. But what happens on upgrade? Well, there’s a high chance that it will be replaced by the default copy in the installer, so it will be a hassle to make comparisons and update the entire list every time you upgrade. My take? Don’t touch this file unless you are willing to do all the additional work.

Friendly message via ASP.NET

Once you know the message you are looking out for, the rest will be using your try-catch block to capture the error thrown and look out for the MsgID in your error message body.

Friendly message via K2 smartforms

In smartforms, you will need to make use of the Error Handling condition – Error Occurred and read the message via the System Values > Error node.

  1. Open your Rule Configuration Wizard.

    172-RuleWizardConfig
    Rule Wizard Configuration
  2. Add the Error Occurred condition. This will be executed when an error occurs in this Rule.

    172-ErrorOccurred
    Error Occurred condition
  3. Add the An advanced condition is true condition. This condition should be with Error Occurred to create a AND condition like the following:

    172-advCond
    An advanced condition is true with Error occurred
  4. Click on an advance condition link, followed by the Add button to add a new row.

    172-NewCondition
    Add a new row of condition
  5. From the Context Browser, expand System Values > Error. Drag the Error Message node and drop it to the Left column text box. Select Contains for the Operator and fill in the MsgID code you are looking for in the Right column text box. Click OK to save and close the dialog.

    172-conditionDone
    Fill in the conditions
  6. Add your friendly message and any other rules(e.g. disable form, navigate to another form etc).

    172-showMessage
    Add a message
  7. Lastly, let’s test and see the result. 172-result

 

Have fun!