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Knowledge Views

Knowledge Management (KM) has been defined as the collection of processes or information that govern the creation, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge.

Process Director provides you with a convenient way to find and list information called Knowledge Views, or KViews, for short. The Knowledge View can display all types of information stored in Process Director, such as eForms, Process Timelines, attachments, documents, or workflows.

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Knowledge View definitions are stored in Process Director and provide a “window” into the database showing related information. These are similar to predefined searches. Knowledge Views form the foundation for intelligent navigation, searching, reporting, retrieval, and ultimately delivery of information to the user community. A Knowledge View allows authenticated or anonymous users to navigate and retrieve related information based on the data classification.

Knowledge Views will display all matching documents, eForms, workflow processes, etc. based on the criteria specified. Knowledge View definitions can also be created that will prompt users for input information to locate information faster.

Knowledge Views also provide the foundation for the reporting component. The results of a search can:

  • be displayed in the browser
  • create and run an Excel report template
  • be downloaded as a CSV file
  • have a workflow run on each of the results
  • create a graphical chart in the browser

How Knowledge Views Work

To understand how Knowledge Views work, we must first understand what Process Director does with definition objects like eForm definitions, Process Timeline definitions, Workflow definitions, etc. The definition object contains no actual data, but merely defines what data will be stored. For example, the eForm definition describes the data fields that the user will fill out to enter data. Similarly, the Process Timeline definition describes when activities will start and end, or when a user task will become due, based on when the process begins.

Regular, non-administrative users never interact with any of the definition objects directly. Instead, when a user wants to, say, fill out an eForm, The eForm definition makes a copy of itself, called an instance, that the user will fill with data in the fields specified in the eForm definition. This instance object is what actually contains the data entered by the user. If ten different people fill out an eForm, Process Director creates an instance for each person, so that there are ten instances of the eForm, each of which contains the data filled out by one of the ten users.

By the same token, when a user submits an eForm that initiates a Process Timeline, a new instance of the Process Timeline definition is created that stores the information about that specific run of the process. The whole purpose of the definition object is to describe the instance objects that are created to interact with the user.

Let's take a closer look at an example of the Process Timeline definition and a Process Timeline instance. When the definition is created, we might define a user activity as being due three days after the activity starts. When we create the definition, we obviously don't know when the activity will start. All we know is that,

whenever the activity starts, we want the activity to become due in three days. When a user submits the eForm that starts the process, Process Director creates an instance of the Process Timeline that contains the actual activity dates for that specific run of the process. So, in our example, if the activity begins on January 1st, the Process Timeline instance that is created will now set the due date for the activity as January 4th.

When we search for information in Process Director, we really don't care much about the definition objects, because they don't contain the data. While there are other, more complicated scenarios for using Knowledge Views, we are usually interested in searching through all of the existing instances of an eForm or process to find specific data. We might, for instance, want to search for all timeline activities that are due in the next week, or for all eForms that were submitted by a specific person.

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Knowledge Views display information in a tabular format, much like a spreadsheet. So much so, in fact, that the Knowledge View results can be exported to CSV or Excel format.

When constructing a Knowledge View, you select the columns that you wish the Knowledge View to display. The columns can consist of any system variable, such as eForm fields, business rule results, Process Timeline values, and much more.

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You can also choose to see different types of objects in the results. You can search for eForms, Process Timeline instances, business rules, documents, or any other type of Process Director object. You can select any number of object types to return, as well. The ability to return results containing any system variable from any type of Process Director object makes Knowledge Views very powerful.

Adding to that power is the filtering capability of Knowledge Views. Just as you can make a Knowledge View column out of any system variable, you can also filter every column to return only specific results.

You should be aware the Knowledge Views can degrade server performance in some cases:

  • KViews that have multiple filters that run against form data and workflow information (e.g. users) can be complex queries that take a long time to run.
  • When KView rows are returned, each column has to be filled with data. Sometimes this data is spread across many tables. For some Knowledge Views, it takes a substantial amount of server resources to fill the columns for each row returned.

These problems are exacerbated when the KView returns many rows. In Process Director v3.21 and above, Knowledge Views default to return a maximum 100 avoid performance issues. There is also an additional option that enables the user to get a message if the number of rows returned returned will be greater than the maximum. We have also recently improved the performance of the SQL generation of some Knowledge Views to use information about the data returned to speed the query.

In general, you should structure Knowledge Views to use as few columns, and return as few rows as possible to accomplish your purpose. In most cases, there is little to be gained in returning hundreds of rows in a "catch-all" Knowledge View. Such a Knowledge View simply has too much information to be useful in most cases, takes too long to generate, and takes too long for the user to parse through to find specific information.

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Process Director is usually installed with Microsoft SQL Server as the back-end database. SQL Server is capable of returning hundreds of thousands or even millions of records in an instant; however, returning a large volume of rows resulting from a single query is not what knowledge views are designed to do.

Knowledge Views generate information for human consumption; humans don’t ordinarily want to view that many rows. Instead, Knowledge Views are optimized to make it very easy to build or modify searches and tabular reports without having to code any SQL at all. Knowledge Views are, in that sense, general purpose wizards that automatically generate sets of potentially highly complex queries while hiding the nasty details of how those queries are actually constructed.

As a result, the performance of a Knowledge View is not only related to the number of rows being returned, but much more by the number of queries required to construct the columns displayed in each row. So while the database might, for example, easily handle a single join resulting in a lot of rows, what the KView is actually constructing is one query to generate the underlying rows, and then another X queries per row to fill in the additional information configured by the user for each column in that Knowledge View. The total number of queries puts a larger load on the DB than the single complex query that obtains the initial list of matching objects/rows.

And so Knowledge Views represent a purposeful trade-off between design-and-build costs and execution time. In the vast majority of cases this is an optimal approach, making it very easy to generate tables of a few dozen or a few hundred rows for human consumption.

Reports represent the inverse trade-off: design-and-build cost is higher, while execution time is lower. Reports enable you to hand-craft precisely the query you need, optimizing it as best you can. But in instances demanding that a large volume of results be produced on a relatively frequent basis, the extra up-front cost might be worth the effort.

Additionally, customers can run queries against the Process Director database. The schema for the database is published and available in our documentation. (Indeed, when using the Process Director reporting component, that is just what you’re doing: reaching directly into the Process Director database.) To simplify such access further, the product also provides pre-built SQL views on tables containing process-related information, and enables you to easily generate SQL views on form information. It’s not at all unusual for our customers to take advantage of these features to construct their own reports using third party report builders, for example.

The bottom line is that Knowledge Views are not well suited for large lists of data being returned. When you start getting to thousands of rows (even hundreds depending on the filter and columns), it can put too much load on the database. There are definitely business cases for this, and at BP Logix, we generally respond to such requests as follows:

What we want to do is identify the places where a large amount of rows are needed to be returned. For each of these knowledge views we should understand the reasons for the number of records being returned and then we can recommend other approaches. For example, some KViews may be replaced with the reports (which are capable of many more rows because we have control over the SQL sent to the DB), others may be needed because they are exporting to XLS and that could be a different KView or something scheduled nightly and email the XLS to the user. There are different approaches and steps to take, but the first step is to understand what the business reason is behind each KView returning so many records. As part of this it would also be important to know close to real-time this data has to be. If we are finding that a lot of this data is for reporting or exporting to something like XLS and it can be slightly old (e.g. 1 day or less), then we have more advanced configuration options with a dedicated DB for certain KViews and a Process Director rendering server.

More Information

Knowledge View Definitions

A Knowledge View definition identifies what type of objects will be made available and how a user will navigate through them. A Knowledge View is defined by three items: Options, Advanced Options, Columns, Graph (optional), Filter, and Navigation. Select the Content List entry in the navigation bar. This will display the items in the database. Select the Create New dropdown and choose the Knowledge View menu entry.

The sample Knowledge View definitions that are created during the installation are stored in a folder named [Knowledge Views]. Knowledge View definitions can be stored anywhere in the content list, under any folder structure.

To configure or view the properties of a Knowledge View click on the name, or click the check box next to the name and select the Properties hotlink.

To figure out how to configure a sample knowledge view, see this video:

Options Tab

The Options tab defines the appearance of the Knowledge View window. The presentation allows the look and feel presented to your users to be changed. The presentation allows various configuration values to be set including where the output should be sent (e.g. browser vs. report vs. chart), the maximum number of items to be returned, and how to display documents. For a Knowledge View to not appear on a user's Home Page, you must set the “Do not show this object in 'Items I Can Run' Knowledge Views.”

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Knowledge View Name and Description

The Knowledge View name and description are important because this is what a user will see when selecting a Knowledge View to run. A custom icon can also be configured for this Knowledge View definition. To change the icon used for this Knowledge View definition, click on the image icon.

EForms Associated with Knowledge View

You can optionally link a Knowledge View to a specific eForm definition in the Content List. When this is configured you can choose a form field from this eForm from a dropdown list instead of selecting the eForm in every filter. Essentially, this makes the selected eForm the default eForm for the filter selections. This is convenient if you have only one eForm that needs to be associated with the KView.

Workflows Associated with Knowledge View

You can optionally link a Knowledge View to a specific Workflow definition in the Content List. When this is configured you can choose a step name from a dropdown list instead of typing in the step name when configuring the column data to display.

Maximum number of items displayed in a result list

This controls the maximum number of items returned. If more items exist that match the filter criteria, a message will be displayed to the user indicating that more records exist but were not displayed because of this configuration setting.

When exporting data and using the reports, ensure this value is large enough to accommodate all of the possible items that will be returned, otherwise not all of the matching items will be downloaded in to the report.

An associated option is the checkbox labeled "Do not return any records if more than the maximum will be returned". When this option is selected, Process Director will check to see if greater than the max number of results would be returned, and if so, just displays a message informing users that the number of records returned is too large instead of returning all the results. Using this option is advised and can result in improved overall system performance.

Do not show this object in ‘Items I Can Run’ Knowledge Views

For a Knowledge View definition to not appear on a user’s Home Page, you must uncheck the “Do not show this object in 'Items I Can Run' Knowledge Views” flag in the definition. If this is set, the user will only be able to run it from the Knowledge View Reports item in the navigation bar or the Content List. The user must have "Run" permissions to see the Knowledge View on their home page.

Column Header Style

This option gives you the choice between selecting a fixed header that will not scroll when you scroll down the page, or a scrolling header.

Knowledge View Results

This controls where the results will display. Selecting an option with Chart will add the Graph tab to the Knowledge View tab menu. You can optionally display button icons that to export to Excel, csv, and/or run a workflow.

HTML Code

This contains optional advanced HTML configuration options to control the display.

Advanced Options Tab

The Advanced Options tab defines the results of the Knowledge View window. Providing these options will give the end user additional actions to enhance reporting and provide more control of objects in Process Director. These controls are used throughout the system (e.g. Task List, Content List, etc.).

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Knowledge View Type

This defines the type of Knowledge View you want to display. When a type is selected different options will display allowing you to configure your knowledge view for the selected type.

Content List

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The Content List knowledge View type will return any data items. This type requires the user to have Read permissions. Most knowledge views will be of this type. The following options are available in this type:

Allow These Actions on Objects

This option will allow you to run actions on a result item if checked.

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Return These Objects Types

This will allow you to return the types of objects in a result set.

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Display Action Icons for

This option allows you to display Action icons for each result displayed.

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Users Will Have Permission to Create

This allows the user permission to create new objects in the content list.

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Perform this action when entry clicked

This allows you to specify what action is taken when an entry is clicked in the result set.

Task List

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Selecting the Task List type will only display actionable items for the current user. Using this type will allow the system to dynamically refresh the Task List to allow items to be added, updated, or removed.

Show These Task Types

This option allows you to display specific task types.

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Items I Can Run

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Selecting this type will only display definitions that can be run or submitted. User must have Run permission.

Return These Object Types

This option allows you to specify what definition types to display.

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Columns Tab

The Columns tab defines the columns to display in the Knowledge View. The column data can include form fields, workflow data, Meta Data, or various object properties. The order of the columns can be changed using the up arrow imageand down arrow image to the right of the column. Columns can be removed using the image icon.

The sort order can be configured in the Knowledge View; however the end user can override this be clicking on the columns names on the Knowledge View. The sort order is not used when exporting the results to a CSV or an Excel Report, it is only used when the results are displayed in the browser.

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Second line for each entry

This defines optional data that should be used on the second line of every item returned. The default is the description of the item.

Default column sort order

This defines the default sort order of the data displayed in the list. The columns that are configured will appear in this dropdown list of possible fields to sort on. The user can override the sorting by clicking on a column.

The sort order is not used when exporting the results to a CSV or an Excel Report.

Column Name

This is the column name that will be displayed in the Knowledge View. This is important when using the reporting options. For more information refer to the reporting section later in this chapter.

Column Data

This defines the data to display. The data can be form data, workflow status, or information about the item being returned. When displaying form data, a dropdown will be displayed with the list for form fields if the optional eForm link has been configured in the Knowledge View Properties tab.

Form fields that are part of an array can also be configured as a column. When this happens, a new row will be returned for every element in the array. That array field expansion will only occur if you have configured an associated eForm to link to on the Properties tab.

When a column is set to display attachments, an icon for each attachment will appear in the column. The icons provide a link at which you can download or view the attachment, and mousing over them will display the name of the file or reference,

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Note that, when using a Knowledge View to return process instances, and you wish to display columns returning form data from a non-default form instance, Process Director v.3.45 and above supports getting form data from the non-default form instance in the process using the system variable syntax
{FORM:NonDefaultFormFieldName}. You should remember, however, that, if multiple forms are included in a Knowledge View, the Knowledge View will only return data from a single form instance in a single row. You cannot have form fields from two different form instances, such a the default and the non- default eForm, display as fields in a single row in the Knowledge View.

When Displayed

When configuring columns in a Knowledge View, you have the ability to control whether the columns will be visible when the results are shown in the browser, whether the column is visible when exporting to CSV, when the column is visible when exporting to an Excel report, or whether the column is always visible.

When “Display the results of the Knowledge View in the browser” is chosen, the default is all columns will be displayed for all destinations. When “Export the results to a Microsoft Excel report” is chosen, the default operation is to display the first column only to the web browser, and to display all columns in the Excel report. When “Export the results to a CSV file” is chosen, the default operation is to display the first column only to the web browser, and to display all columns in the CSV export.

You can change this by selecting from the When Displayed dropdown. The following options are available in the dropdown:

  • Never: This column will never display.
  • Always: This column is always visible.
  • Desktop: This column will only visible in a desktop browser.
  • Excel: This column will only be visible in the Excel Report.
  • CSV: This column will only be visible in the CSV export.
  • Script: This column will only be visible in script APIs.
  • Report: This column will only be visible in Reports.
  • Desktop: This column will only visible on a mobile device.

For example, use the column name “Process Timeline Name” and set to Always display the “Process Timeline Name” column. Use the column name “Start Date” and set to Excel to only display the “Start Date” column in the Excel report.

Chart Options

This column is only available if you have purchase an RM license. This defines specific charting options for each column in the knowledge view. This is only available if you have “Displayed in Graph” or “Displayed in Grid and Graph”. You can specify how to plot the selected column by selecting from the different options, setting this option to a value will display the Graph tab in the knowledge view tab navigation; you must update the knowledge view for the tab to display.

OPTION

DESCRIPTION

Count

This will count the number of results.

Sum

This will sum the values in the results of this column.

Average

This will average the number of unique values in this column.

Min

This will chart the minimum value.

Max

This will chart the maximum value.

Average (ignore 0 value)

This will average the number of unique values in this column and not include 0.

You will also need to specify the type of chart you want the column to display for the column specified.

Filter Tab

The Filter tab identifies filter criteria that specifies what objects are available to this Knowledge View. The filter criteria can include form field data, categories, attribute values, or various object properties (e.g. author, document type, published). The filter criteria can identify what document versions to display – the latest document version or only the published version.

The end user can optionally be given the ability to override any of the filter values. This allows the field name and the input box to be displayed on the running Knowledge View so the user can input the additional filter information.

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Perform search immediately when Knowledge View is loaded

This indicates that the Knowledge View search should occur immediately when it is run (opened). If this check box is not turned on, the Knowledge View will display with an empty list until the Locate button is pressed to run the search.

Filter Conditions

The Filter Conditions identify what items are available to this Knowledge View according to their properties. Only items with matching conditional property values will be available to this Knowledge View.

Refer to the Condition Builder section of this guide to create your knowledge view filter conditions.

Prompt user for value?

This checkbox can be set for any of the filter criteria. This allows the user to override the filter value to locate objects. For each filter field that has this box checked, an input field will be displayed on the top portion of the user Knowledge View.

If you are creating filter criteria based on the result of a dropdown or radio button list, you can limit the values used to filter the search to the values available in the dropdown. This way, neither you nor a user can enter a filter value that could not possibly appear because it is not on the dropdown. This requires that the dropdown be linked with a dropdown object.

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Navigation Tab

The Navigation tab is the last step in creating a Knowledge View definition. This determines what type of a navigation tree should be presented to the end users. The navigation tree is optional. It is displayed as a vertical tree structure on the left side of the Knowledge View window. If a navigation tree is desired, it can be based on the folder structure in the content list or it can be derived from your category schema definition.

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Folder navigation from “folder”

This indicates that a navigation window will appear in the left side of the running Knowledge View. The navigation tree that is displayed will be based on the folder structure in the Content List. When a user selects an item in the folder navigation, it will use that as filter criteria and only display items that are located in that folder and meet the defined filter criteria.

Category navigation from “category”

This indicates that a navigation window will appear in the left side of the running Knowledge View. The navigation tree that is displayed will be based on the category tree hierarchy defined in the Meta Data taxonomy. When a user selects a category in the navigation window, it will use that category as filter criteria and only display items that are assigned that category and meet the defined filter criteria.

Knowledge View Exporting and Reporting

A Knowledge View is a collection of related objects based on categorization or other criteria. They can be made available to authenticated or anonymous users depending on the permissions. Also, there is a variety of ways to access, filter, or export/report on knowledge View information.

Knowledge View URLs for External Access

A Knowledge View is represented by a URL that can be displayed outside of the BP Logix environment. The URL for a Knowledge View can be sent in an email, displayed in a web portal, or added to an existing web site. The URL for an individual Knowledge View is as follows:

http://server_name/kv.aspx?ext=1&id=NN

Where server_name is the hostname of BP Logix and NN is the internal ID displayed in the Knowledge View definition you want to use (e.g. KVID=ea1f7d30-2c44-4971-ac8a-4654ae2521ff).

Passing Filter Values in the URL

The Knowledge View can be opened using a URL that is placed on a web site. If the Knowledge View is configured with Filter, you can pass this filter information to the Knowledge View on the URL. The URL parameters can be accessed in the Knowledge View filter by using the Variable system variable. Use this syntax with the following query string parameters:

http://server_name/kv.aspx?ext=1&id=...1=abd&var2=123

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Knowledge View Formatting

A Knowledge View is a collection of related documents based on categorization. Each Knowledge View can contain a different look and feel by using the Properties tab and selecting from the various tabs in the definition. This option allows HTML formatting to be applied to the top of the running Knowledge View. The Knowledge View window can also be framed in HTML frames and use a custom style sheet (CSS). You can also display the knowledge view in a form by using the KView control.

Running Workflows on Knowledge View Results

Workflows can be run on the results of Knowledge View using two different approaches. One approach will automatically run a workflow on every item returned, the other approach allows a user to click on a special column to run a workflow on the selected item.

Approach 1: Run a Workflow on all the results

To automatically run a workflow on all of the items returned configure the Properties tab of the Knowledge View to “Run a Workflow on each item that matches the filter” by selecting the appropriate radio button in the list.

Choose the workflow to be run by selecting it from the Content List popup that is displayed when the button is pressed in the Workflow Options.

If the dropdown is changed from “Execute workflows immediately” to “Display results in browser first” the Knowledge View will not automatically run a workflow on the results; instead it will display the Knowledge View with a special icon in the top right.

If you want to prompt the user for additional filter data on this Knowledge View when running the workflows, choose the option that indicates you want to “Display results in browser first”. This will allow the user to click on the icon to run the workflow on the results after the filter data is entered.

Approach 2: Run a Workflow on certain items

To allow a user to click on a special column to run a workflow on that item configure a special column in the Knowledge View that specifies a workflow definition to run when the column is clicked on. Add a column to the Knowledge View with the Column Data set to ‘Run Process’.

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When executed, the Knowledge View will display each result with an icon in that column which, when clicked, will launch the specified process using the selected item. It’s also a good idea to set When Displayed for that column to ‘Screen’ (rather than the default of ‘Always’).

When the user clicks on that icon in the list, that workflow definition will be run against that item.

Scheduling a Knowledge View [to run Workflows, or to export data]

Knowledge Views can be used to run a workflow on each of the objects returned by the filter criteria (licensed with the Reporting Component). This can be used, for example, to archive or delete forms or documents that match a certain criteria. Or it can be used to schedule a document review for documents that meet certain criteria. The criteria can be any Knowledge View filter criteria including last updated time, creation date, or any form field data. The actual workflow run on each object can perform any action or task.

Knowledge Views can also be used to export results into Excel, CSV, or PDF format. By scheduling this type of Knowledge View, a report will automatically be generated and can be written to a specific path on the server. This folder, for example, can be monitored by the BP Logix import utility, to automatically run a workflow on the reports. This workflow can, for example, automatically distribute the report to a pre-defined group of users.

These Knowledge Views can be run manually, or scheduled to perform an automatic actions. To schedule these Knowledge Views, a web page is run.

Manual Knowledge View

Knowledge views can be viewed or exported via URL from any web browser, using the kv.aspx page contained in Process Director. Below is a sample URL to the kv.aspx page:

http://localhost/kv.aspx?id=KVID&dor...word=PASSWORD& exportname=EXPORTNAME

The kv.aspx page can be used to:

  • View a Knowledge View.
  • Export a Knowledge View to a CSV or Excel file on your local machine's file system.
  • Export a Knowledge View to a CSV or Excel file in the Content List of the Process Director server.

The kv.aspx command can take the following parameters as part of the QueryString in the URL:

URL PARAMETER

DESCRIPTION

id

The KVID of the Knowledge View to run.

dorun

This optional parameter is used only when the Knowledge View runs a Workflow or Process Timeline. Specify "1" to run the command immediately without a prompt.

exportname

This is an optional parameter used only when exporting the Knowledge View to a CSV or Excel file. When exporting to the file system on a local machine, this parameter takes the desired local file path and file name of the exported file, e.g., "C:\filename.csv". When exporting to the Content List in Process Director, this parameter takes only the desired file name, e.g., "filename.csv".

userid

This optional parameter is used only when the Knowledge View runs a Workflow or Process Timeline. The parameter takes a Process Director user ID with permission to run the Knowledge View.

password

This optional parameter is used only when the Knowledge View runs a Workflow or Process Timeline. The parameter takes the Process Director password for the user passed in the userid parameter.

contentfolderpath

This is an optional parameter used only when exporting the Knowledge View to a CSV or Excel file in the Content List. The parameter takes the Content List folder path to the Content List folder where the file will be stored, e.g., "/folder1/folder2". The contentparentid parameter can be used in lieu of this parameter if the Folder ID of the destination folder is known.

contentparentid

This is an optional parameter used only when exporting the Knowledge View to a CSV or Excel file in the Content List. The parameter takes the Folder ID of the desired destination folder. If the Folder ID is not known, the contentfolderpath parameter can be used, instead.

For example, the URL to run a Knowledge View which runs a workflow on each result would be:

http://localhost/kv.aspx?id=KVID&dorun=1&userid=USERID&password=PASSWORD

The URL to run a Knowledge View which writes the results into an XLS file (the KView must be defined to Export the results to Excel):

http://localhost/kv.aspx?id=KVID&use...SWORD&exportna me=c:\test.xls

The URL to run a Knowledge View which writes the results into a PDF file (the KView must be defined to Export the results to Excel):

http://localhost/kv.aspx?id=KVID&use...SWORD&exportna me=c:\test.pdf

The URL to run a Knowledge View which writes the results into a CSV file (the KView must be defined to Export the results to Excel):

http://localhost/kv.aspx?id=KVID&use...SWORD&exportna me=c:\test.csv

Scheduled Knowledge View

You may want to automatically schedule the Knowledge View to run at regular intervals (for example, every night at midnight). To do this, use the Microsoft Windows Scheduled Tasks utility. This utility enables you to schedule and test commands executed on a regular basis.

Do not schedule IEXPLORE.EXE because the web browser will never close. Rather, use the bputil.exe command to run the web page. For example, enter this command in the “Run” dialog box to schedule the synchronization:

"PATH\bputil.exe" SU http://localhost/kv.aspx?id=KVID&dorun=1&userid=USERID&password=PASSWORD

Where PATH is the installation directory for Process Director (e.g. c:\Program Files\BP Logix\Process Director\). Enter the appropriate credentials in the Windows Scheduler when prompted

Knowledge View Reporting / Exporting

The default behavior of a Knowledge View is to display the result list in the browser. The results can also be used to automatically run a report or they can be exported to a CSV file (which can be opened by Excel).

These options are only enabled when the product is licensed with the Reporting Component.

Exporting the Results to a CSV File

The results of the Knowledge View can also be exported to a CSV file (that can be opened by Excel). To export the results to a CSV file select the appropriate radio button in the Knowledge View Properties tab.

There are two options when exporting the results to a CSV file. The first will automatically run the Knowledge View and immediately display a file open/save as dialog when run. It is the default dropdown item, “Download report immediately”. This will allow you to save the data to a file on your local PC or open the results in the registered application (e.g. Microsoft Excel).

Additionally, an option exists that allows all form data to be exported regardless of what is defined on the columns. When this option is selected, all form fields will be exported after the defined columns. This will also cause the default display options for the columns to export only (only the first column will appear on the screen). To control the column display options refer to the section below ‘Column Display Options’.

The other will show the results in the browser and allow the user to click an icon to run the Excel Report. This is configured by choosing the dropdown item “Display results in browser first”.

If you want to prompt the user for additional filter data on this Knowledge View when running the report, choose the option that indicates you want to “Display results in browser first”. This will allow the user to click on the icon to export the results after the filter data is entered.

Running an Excel Report on the Results

The results of the Knowledge View can also be streamed to an Excel Report Template and have a report run automatically. This will result in Excel opening and running a report based on the data just retrieved from the server.

Configure the Knowledge View to Reference the XLS Template

To allow the exporting of Knowledge View result to an Excel file, check the “Show Export to Excel Icon” checkbox in the Options tab of the Knowledge View Properties.

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Before a Knowledge View can be exported to an Excel file, an Excel template file located inside the content list must be linked to the knowledge view. To link to an Excel template file, set the “Select Excel Template” field in the knowledge view options.

For information on the Excel template format, see the Excel Template File section of this document.

Knowledge Views can immediately export their results to an Excel file when opened. To activate this option, select the “Export to Excel” option in the “Knowledge View Results” dropdown in the Knowledge View properties.

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If the “Displayed in Grid” option is selected, then the Knowledge View results will display in the browser, along with a button giving the user the option to export the results to an Excel file.

Excel Template File

The Excel Template Report file defines how the data in a Knowledge View will be displayed in an Excel report.

Format the Columns in Excel

Apply formatting to the columns in the Template Excel file such as date/time and number formatting, using the Format Cells command in Excel.

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Smart Markers

In the template XLS document, you will place Smart Markers where you want the results of the Knowledge View to be imported. The smart markers take this format:

&=BP.col1

&=BP.col2

Where col1 and col2 are the names of the Knowledge View columns. For example, the image below defines 3 columns in a template XLS sheet.

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These columns will be filled with the corresponding columns (Contract Date, Customer, Customer Type) in the Knowledge View. The Column Names defined in the Smart Markers must match exactly the columns defined in the Knowledge View. All column names in the template file should add BP. to the variable.

You can also place formulas in columns using the following syntax:

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Define an Excel Range

If you define a range in the Excel template that includes the header columns, and the template columns, the range will automatically be expanded as results are inserted into the spreadsheet.

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Define XLS Pivot Table / Formulas

The XLS template file can contain Pivot tables or Excel formulas that can be automatically run against the data. Create the Pivot Table against a RANGE name that encompasses the template and header column. When the Knowledge View is run, it will stream (export) the results into the RANGE specified. The number of rows will be expanded automatically to accommodate the number of records returned from the Knowledge View.

To automatically run a Pivot Table, ensure that the option is selected in Excel that indicates the Pivot Table Report should run when loaded (i.e. Refresh on open).

Also, when using a Pivot table, ensure that the XLS file you upload in to the Content List was saved with the Pivot Table Graph as the sheet that is displayed. When the XLS file is saved, it will open with the same sheet displayed.

Special XLS Columns

You can include special columns in the Excel output range which will automatically be filled in when the report is delivered to the user. You do not need to include these columns in the Knowledge View Definition.

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COLUMN

DESCRIPTION

BP_KV_NAME

The Name of the Knowledge View Definition.

BP_KV_DESC

The Description of the Knowledge View Definition.

BP_ROW_SECOND

The value of the "second line" configured for this Knowledge View of the current row. This can be used like any other column name.

BP_FILTER_1

The value of the first filter criteria (if any) in the Knowledge View Definition

BP_FILTER_2

The value of the second filter criteria (if any) in the Knowledge View Definition, etc.

BP_KV_CURR_USER

The name of the current user

BP_KV_CURR_USER_EMAIL

The email of the current user

BP_KV_CURR_DATETIME

The datetime this excel file was generated

Excel Formulas

Formulas must be formatted according to a specific syntax when create an excel report template.

The characters “&=&=” must precede any formula. The excel report template equation for “1 + 1” would then be as follows:

&=&=1+1

The character sequence “{r}” represents the current row number. To display the current row number in a cell, one would use the following formula:

&=&={r}

One can also access rows other than that which a cell belongs to. For example, the access the previous row, one could put the following formula into a cell:

&=&={-1}

To return the value of a specific cell, you would use the format “Column_Name{Row_Number}”. So, to display the value of column B in this row, one would use the following formula:

&=&=A{-1}

The string (numeric) after a formula will convert the value into a number. So, if you were to want to display this column as a number, you would use this formula:

&=BP.MyColumn(numeric)

These components can be combined in any way to create a formula. For example, if I wanted to add one to the product of the previous row number and the value of column b in this row, I could use this formula:

&=&={-1} * B{r} + 1

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