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Data Explorer

Data Explorer is a user interface built directly from your schema. Test, prototype, perform back-office data maintenance, and view data for existing systems, regardless of their architecture, using Data Explorer.

Data Explorer:
  • Uses the same REST API as the other Live API Creator components. Everything it does can you can do using the REST API.
  • Uses HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, so it runs well on desktops and tablets.
  • Is layered over Live API Creator and reactive logic and enforces your logic and security.
To view a video with a walk-through of Data Explorer, see Videos.

Key Services

Data Explorer provides the following key services:
  • Multi-table application interfaces derived from your parent/child relationships, including:
    • Master/Detail. Shows child objects for a parent (for example, products for category or orders of customer).
    • Drill-down Navigation. Shows related data (for example, Orders for Product or SalesRep for Order).
    • Automatic Joins (for example, show Product Name, not Product Number)
  • Filtering on multiple fields. Including paginated scrolling (subject to row/column security).
  • Row Sharing. You can send the current Form Row to colleagues.
  • Update Services, including:
    • Updatable grids
    • Lookups. Associate a child to a parent (for example, Company Name for Product).
    • Enforcement of reactive logic.
      For more information about reactive logic, see Specify your Business Rules.
  • Authoring. Control which attributes are displayed, grouped, and formatted, and skinning.
The following image shows Data Explorer:

Instant HTML5/AngularJS Back Office Apps

You can use Data Explorer instantly on any existing database. Typical scenarios:
  • Back-office database maintenance applications
  • Schema Exploration
  • Data administration and repair
  • Prototyping
For new systems or new components, integration with reactive logic means you have a solid back-office interface that enforces your business logic and security, working in conjunction with REST-based mobile and web apps.

ERP Technology for Custom Systems

Data Explorer provides an ERP-style automated UI for a database. It leverages the schema so that you do not have to configure settings files or maintain them when the schema changes.

Many "back office" packaged systems (Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM)) contain many hundreds of screens. It is costly and time-consuming to hand-build each screen, which moreover does not reflect subsequent schema extensions. These packages often build screens automatically, based on models and configuration files. You can query, browse, and update data using the screens for "back office" use.

Internal custom systems have the same requirements. Not only can this represent substantial time and cost, in many cases these applications are simply not provided, with the result that data maintenance tasks are often performed with raw SQL, which is tedious and risky.

Access an End Point

You can access database tables, views, and API resources using Data Explorer.

In Data Explorer, select your database table (default), API resource, or view from the end point types drop-down.

Schema-driven

Data Explorer implements a number of heuristics based on the foreign key relationships in your database:
  • Each child relationship becomes a tab in the master/detail section.
  • Each parent relationship is used for lookups and navigations.
For more information about the heuristic Live API Creator uses to introspect target (child) for an entity-type method that returns the type of the source (parent), see Insert Into From.

Automatic Joins

Many databases employ surrogate keys. For example, the Business Logic Demo identifies a product by product_number, instead of a name like Hammer or Shovel. These basic heuristics do produce a usable result for child tables containing foreign keys to products, such as Lineitem. It is not interesting to see a list of ten part-1'2, five part-2's, and so forth. You want to see the name of the parent row.

When parents are identified by a numeric key, Data Explorer selects the first text fields to be the UserKey: a field likely to be a more recognizable name. You can reselect such keys when the heuristic makes the wrong choice.

For such joins, you can Select Parent and View Parent. The following image shows these functions:
This image illustrates the following:
  • Grid - A tabular list of searchable rows.  Grids are updatable.
  • Form - The scalar version of the selected Grid row)
  • Child Grid or Tab Panels - (Form + Child Grid is often called Master/Detail - these are the children linked via foreign key (relationship) or virtual user-defined relationships.
  • Insert - Creates a new row in the Grid, Form ,or Child Grid.
  • Fetch More - The number of rows returned to the grid are controlled by pagination settings (see API Properties/Settings).
  • Undo - Reverts changes before you save them.
  • Save - Saves one or more rows in a Grid or the current row in a Form.
  • Zoom (from a Child Grid) - Places the selected zoom row (Order Detail) in the Form window.
  • Show Parent - Click the triangle in the Child Grid to place the Parent in the Form window (for example, Product)
  • Select Parent - Double-click the Parent in the Child Grid (for example, the Product Name) opens a dialog to select, or lookup, a parent.
  • Focus Table - Moves the child grid row as the main focus table in the Grid (the same impact as selecting the table from the drop down list).
  • Back - Returns the form back to the original scalar selection related to the grid selected row.
  • Delete - Marks a row for deletion. Save your changes to complete the delete process.
  • Previous/Next - Move the row selection forward or back ward in a Form.
For more information:

Navigate to Related Data

You can navigate to related data using Data Explorer, such as moving from a customer and list of orders to an order with a list of items, or from an Orders' item to the referenced Product. For more information about showing parent and navigating to related data, see the Zoom, Show Parent and Select Parent notes.

Navigation is based on foreign keys. If these are not in your schema, you can define Virtual Foreign Keys in Live API Creator.

Launch Data Explorer

Launch Data Explorer from Live API Creator or as stand-alone application. You can deploy Data Explorer to any server. Use the following URL:

http://mylocalserver/DataExplorer/index.html#/

More Information

For more information:
  • About customizing the appearance of behavior of your forms, see Author Mode.
  • About how to explore data using Data Explorer, see Explore Data.