I work on site at a fast growing supply chain management
company. Many of the people that I am working for started with the company when
it was small and they did amazing things to make the company grow with the
tools they knew how to use. Now that the company is getting bigger, the old
tools (Excel and Access) are being phased out (thankfully!).
One of the things that had been maintained in Excel was a
project checklist. This checklist helps the corporate project managers know
what needs done and what has been done to keep the business on track.
I was asked to move this checklist to the application that I
had been working on, which is a good move as there have been several versions
of the checklist floating around and keeping them synchronized has been
difficult at best. The one thing that I was asked to do, above and beyond just
collecting and displaying the data that they are using, was to make the interface
look as similar as possible to the spreadsheet.
"No problem," I said, until I looked that the
spreadsheet and noticed that there was not nice checked boxes with ticks in
them, but all of the fields where red, yellow and green. Okay, that is easy
enough to re-create in a report, but they wanted the application interface to
look the same, so that if they were in a meeting they could click on the red
button and make it green or yellow, depending on what button it was. They also
wanted the results to be as real time as possible, so if Jane clicked a button,
the next time Steve's screen refreshed it would show up. I could not just wait
for them to click a save button and batch everything together, I had to save
something to the database every time a button was clicked.
As I started thinking about how I was going to address this
problem several things occurred to me:
I could not use a series of radio buttons, as it would not fit into the
I could use a repeater, but that could prove complicated.
I could go bash my head off of a wall and hope that I cause permanent,
irreversible brain damage.
Taking my family into consideration, I did not want my kids
growing up with a father who was an invalid, I decided that I would use the
repeater and hope the problem was solved before I descended into the depths of