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'Drill Down' Inquiries

One of the recently introduced, but little used, features of APPX is the PRINT FILE BROWSABLE flag. You can set this PDF prior to running a report in order to make the report ‘browsable’. This means that while the user is viewing the report, they can position the cursor on any record in the PCF and press Option 33 which will invoke the default input process for that PCF. APPX will automatically position them on the selected record. Note that if the parent process has children (i.e. it is a multi-level output or inquiry/output process) only the PCF associated with the top level process is ‘browsable’.

We can use this to create inquiry processes that have a ‘drill down’ capability. For example, let’s start with an A/R transaction Inquiry. The INQUIRY process has the TAR CUSTOMER file as the PCF, and an OUTPUT process that lists the transactions as an automatic child. Its PCF is the TAR TRANSACT file. We want to add a drill down capability to the transaction display, so the user can pick any transaction and call up more information on it. Since the PRINT FILE BROWSABLE flag only works on the top level PCF, which is CUSTOMER in this case, and we want to browse the transaction file, we replace the INQUIRY with a simple input process that lists the customers, and has the old OUTPUT process attached as an automatic child. We invoke this child as RELATED, and in the start of process of the OUTPUT, we set PRINT FILE BROWSABLE to “Y”. Finally, we create another simple input that displays all the data from the TRANSACT file. This input process name is entered in the Data Dictionary for the TRANSACT file as the Default Process.

When the user runs the INPUT process and selects a customer, the OUTPUT is invoked, and because the PRINT FILE BROWSABLE flag is turned on, APPX will keep track of the records on the screen. When the user positions the cursor on a particular record and presses Option 33, APPX invokes our simple INPUT on TRANSACT, and positions them automatically on the record they were viewing on the OUTPUT process. When they end the INPUT process, they are returned to the OUTPUT and can select another record for display.

The disadvantage with this approach is that it uses the Default Input process from the Data Dictionary as the process to invoke when the user presses Option 33. You may already have a certain default input process specified for a particular file, and it may not be appropriate for the browsable display. If you can think of an elegant way to solve this problem, let us know!

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