Last month we discussed the new WEBJSON commands that help you to separate web design from back-end business logic, thereby leveraging the talents of your web designers to produce cool web apps. This month, we will show you how to write code in the UltraQuest 4GL (NOMAD) that simply produces data – no HTML or scripting logic – in response to an asynchronous request from your web browser. This means you can dynamically update a web page without re-writing it, creating a simpler, faster, more fluid user experience.
For example, this approach can be used to update a web page as the data changes in real time, add more data to a page as users scroll down, or drill-down into data to provide additional details inline. Imagine you have this table of project managers with the revenue their projects produced:
Expanding a record allows you to see the detail on a project level, like so:
The project records are merely inserted into the page under the project manager. This web page even allows one more level of drill-down, showing information about the employees that worked on a project:
Why asynchronous? Asynchronous means that the browser doesn't have to wait for the response. If the back-end logic takes a noticeable amount of time to complete, users can continue working on their web page while they wait for the new data to arrive. This is usually the preferred behavior, though it is not a requirement for taking advantage of this technology to dynamically update your web page.
Test your knowledge or learn something new
Suppose you have a table (master) which has sales information, including the amount and date of each sale, and you want a report of the total amount of sales for each month. How could you group all of the dates in a month together to get this report? (Hint: the answer is hidden in the previous sentence!) See below for the answer.
SALE MONTH SALE AMOUNT
JAN 15 $5,400,000
FEB 15 $11,250,000
MAR 15 $23,800,000
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NOMAD/UltraQuest Puzzler Answer
Question: How do you group dates by month to get a report of total monthly sales?
Answer: Use the GROUPDATE function. For example, if your table contains columns SALE_AMOUNT and SALE_DATE, you can create a new define column named SALE_MONTH with the expression GROUPDATE(SALE_DATE, MONTHLY). Your report can then be created by simply sorting by SALE_MONTH and summarizing SALE_AMOUNT. This can be done in UltraQuest, or in NOMAD with the following code:
define sale_month as date'mon yy' =
list by sale_month sum(sale_amount);
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