Using Reference Data and Email Field for a Handoff Screen




  • Official comment
    Chip Phillips, Community Manager

    Howdy Chase!

    I think I know what's going on with your app, and I would like to help!

    You can use reference data to populate an email field, but since an email field is based off of a Short Text field, it doesn't give you the option to choose which email you want to assign it to.

    The way we can work around this is by using a Dropdown field that is populated with a list of names of who you want to assign an app to. Then, create a Short Text field with the style set to Email, making sure to reference a different column in the reference data that contains the email addresses of the users who would be eligible to receive the handoff. Then, you would make the Email Field on the Workflow reference the name list.  

    This should allow you to use the reference data for your Email Field in Workflow!

    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Keith McQuait

    Yes. Chip is right on. But there is one more key element missing if you want to force the user into making the correct selection. Took me a couple years to figure this out in a way that successfully works for me (and my fellow employees using my apps).

    Just like Chip said, (the key component) when you set up the workflow, it has to target a short text field and not a drop down list. Personally,  I've never bothered setting this short text field to an email. Never thought about it. Works without it anyway.

    I have a reference data spreadsheet with a list of user names 'First Last' in proper case in column 'A' of the spreadsheet. Column 'B' is the user email addresses. Note: I also always add a first row to the spreadsheet that says "!Select Applicable" above both columns .

    Step 1: In the app builder, you add a 'not editable' drop down list named "Name" or "Username". This field must be setup to pull the persons name from column 'A' of the reference data.

    Step 2: Then you add another short text field which draws the information from Column 'B' (the email list) of the reference data based off screen and field where the drop down list you added is located. 

    If you don't add the 'Select Applicable' as the first row in the reference data, when the user opens the app, the drop down will always default to the first user in the list which just re-creates the problem of users sending it the wrong person.

    So, if all of the above is setup correctly, when the user opens the app. 'Select applicable' will be the default answer in both the drop down and the short text field.

    Ideally, you would want the drop down list field to be blank and make it a mandatory field so the user is forced to make a selection before moving on. However, since you can't have a blank space when using reference data, the field is always populated with the first person on the list (usually alphabetical) and the user can jump right over it whether you make it mandatory or not and poor old Alex Adams (or whoever the first person with the name A is) always gets every hand-off because he's first on the list..  

    So, this is where the 'Select Applicable" comes in.

    Step 3: You have to add a third field. I add another 'mandatory', 'read only' drop down or short text. I name it "You must select a username above". I do not put any available answers in it (leave it blank). I add a field condition to this field with the condition 'username" equals "Select Applicable" that only makes the field visible when "Select Applicable" is selected in the first drop down

    This way, when the user opens the app, the default answer will be "Select Applicable" in both the first drop down and the short text field. However, since you added the third mandatory field (that can't be answered), unless the user actually makes a logical decision to change the drop down list from 'Select applicable" to an actual username, the mandatory third field just sits there grayed out blocking them from advancing until they actually make the correct selection. Best of all, if the user tries to advance without making the proper selection, this third field pops up red text letters that says something like "You must select a username above". When they actually do make the proper selection, the mandatory (not answerable) field just disappears and the user can advance.

    You could also hide the email field from the mobile user so they won't even know it's there.

    Side note: Step 1 and 2 all by themselves are fantastic for auto-populating data into any app. I use this extensively to auto-populate fields in apps that fall after the hand-off points. Any information dispatched to an app after a hand-off point gets deleted after the hand-off. Pre-loading using the above is a great work around.

    Good luck!

    Comment actions Permalink

Please sign in to leave a comment.