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Clarify Form Identifier (Or, What the heck Clarify form is that?)

On occasion, while working in the Clarify Classic Client (especially in a customer’s customized environment), I come across a form that I’m not familiar with (might even be a custom form) that I need to dive into the details of. Trying to find this form in UI Editor is not always easy. It’s common that the form name and/or title aren’t very descriptive (this even happens on baseline forms).

 

So I typically have to start the Clarify client with some debugging and tracing switches, and examine the log file to try and find its form ID. This works, but I think there should be an easier way.

An approach from the past

 

One approach I’ve seen done in the past is to create a custom help file (CHM) that contains the form IDs. Then pressing F1 on a form will open the custom help file and tell you the form ID.

 

Like this:

 


 

An issue with this is that you then need to keep your custom CHM file in sync with your customizations. So if you add a new form, you need to edit the CHM file. It works. But again, I think it can be easier.

A new approach

 

Sitting on a plane on the way home from a recent customer visit, I had a better idea. Why not use BOLT to do this? I could use the same help mechanism that’s built into the Clarify client, but rather than opening a file, open a URL. A little bit of coding at 10,000 feet, and I was off and running.

 

I set my preferences to use HTML help, and set the web server to be the URL to BOLT + “/ClarifyID”, like so:

 


 

Then, clicking F1 on a form (or using the Help menu option) gets me this:

 


 

Coolio.

 

And notice that “View details about form 717” link? This simply takes me to the from details page which is part of baseline BOLT:

 


 

Works on custom forms too

 

Without any changes, it works with custom forms as well (such as the Search form from Dovetail Search for Clarify):

 


Limitation

 

I’m using the httpRedirect handler as part of this solution. In IIS 7 (which I use for my day-to-day development), I can configure this with a simple web.config file, without having to use IIS Manager, so the setup of this is a breeze – just drop the web.config file into the /bolt/clarifyid folder. I haven’t gone down the path of testing this in IIS6 yet, and I know this mechanism won’t work as is with IIS 5. There may need to be some manual configuration done using IIS Manager.

 

I’m a bit reluctant to make this part of the baseline product yet due to its dependence on IIS7 (the rest of BOLT works on IIS 5 and IIS 6).  Maybe after some further testing and documentation.

Useful? Interested?

 

If you have some interest in this, let me know. I’m happy to share what I have and assist in getting it setup (which is trivial in IIS 7). If you have IIS6 or IIS 5, and want this, let me know, and see if we can work together to get it going. Just drop me an email.

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