Improving Case History within the Clarify Classic Client
One of my annoyances within the Clarify Classic Client has always been the case history.
- Its just one giant text blob.
- You have no control over the formatting.
- Its in chronological order. Sometimes this is OK, but typically you have to scroll to the bottom to read the most recent activity.
- You don’t have control over the timestamp format (DD/MM/YY vs. MM/DD/YY, as an example).
- The timezone of the timestamp isn’t clear.
- It isn’t easy to hide/remove certain entries.
- Its limited to 32K.
In a recent discussion with a customer, their end users were complaining about the case history. Since they’re not yet ready to move to a Dovetail web app (Agent or Mobile), they asked if there was a way to make case history within the Clarify Client better.
Here’s what the case history looks like in baseline Clarify:
Notice the Back and More buttons I discussed previously. We also see that the oldest stuff is shown first.
Case History Web Service
So I gave it whirl, to try it out, at least as a proof of concept.
I slapped a web browser control on a new tab on the case form, and set its URL to the case history page from DovetailAgent.
Here’s what it looks like:
Here’s the code behind that tab:
Dim recCase As Record
Set recCase = cobj_CASE_OBJ.Contents
web.Navigate http://localhost/agent/Case/full_case_history_test.asp?flag=1&objid= + cstr(recCase.getField(“objid”))
Pretty simple. Notice that all I’m doing is telling that control to navigate to the case history page, and I include the case objid in the querystring.
I also added an expand button, which opens up a new form so that you can view the case history in a larger window, if desired.
It’s the same code behind this new form.
Notice we get a few things now:
- We have complete control over the formatting.
- We have complete control over what entries are included or not included in the case history (allowing us to improve content and to improve performance)
- By default, its in reverse chronological order (newest entries at the top). We can click the header, and the order will be reversed in place, without having to go back to the database.
- We control the timestamp format
- We include the Time Ago, in addition to the timestamp.
Its not limited to 32K.
And since we now have full control over what that case history looks like, we can even do cool things like rendering image attachments inline, like so:
Since this was just a proof of concept, I didn’t worry about security at all. To make it more secure, I would probably enhance it so that we would pass in a security token as part of the URL, and have the web page validate the token. A task for another day.
No surprise, the web page itself uses our Dovetail SDK for all of the database querying, which makes building the web page pretty easy.
We’re using contemporary web technologies to improve a legacy application. I think this is a pretty cool way to make the case history better. I bet there are other places within Clarify we could use this approach as well.What do you think of this approach? What else would make that case history better? Where else could you use this approach within Clarify? Email me or drop a comment below.