Brazos Portal Views and Task Group Templates

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Overview

One of the customizations available in Brazos Portal is the ability to create and share multiple views of your tasks.

Views Admins have the ability to create multiple sets of task groups, called views, that can be shared with users allowing them to organize their tasks in multiple ways, or focus on a filtered list of tasks. 

What are views?

Views let you organize the same list of tasks using different groupings. Views can also filter your task list so you can focus on a specific subset of tasks. Views can be shared with users and groups of users so everyone on a team can have the same view into their task list. Views are similar to saved searches in IBM BPM.  

Example

The best way to explain views is with an example. This example is also available on the Brazos Portal Test Drive server where you can interact as a Brazos Portal user. To see this live on the Brazos Portal Test Drive server select Shared Views from the Customization dropdown in the header. Note that in addition to the shared views, this example is also has company branding and the task drive moved to the left side of the screen. These are just a few of the customizations available when you subscribe to a Brazos Portal support contract.

Here you see a user with 3 views: My View, Install Teams, and High Priority Installs

The first view is always the user's Personal View. This view is private to the logged in user and the Task Groups in My View can be edited and configured by the user. This view is never a shared view. In this example of the user's personal view, My View, the user has organized their tasks by several different criteria to fit the way they work best.

The Install Teams view is a shared view, so multiple users see this view. This breaks the tasks down by which install team is responsible for the installation. As a sales engineer this allows the use to see a quick breakdown of his tasks based on which install team is assigned the end installation job.

The High Priority Installs view filters the task list to only high priority tasks. This is the same set of data (same filter criteria) as the High Priority Installs task group in the My View; however, this view breaks down the high priority installs by the client's state. As you can see this gives the user quick access to the same information, but organized by different criteria.

 

View Switcher 

The bar at the top of the screen is called the view switcher:

The active view is highlighted. The numbers shown below each view name represents the total number of tasks due in that view regardless of date range. When a user logs in they will be taken to the same view they were in when they logged out.

Admins will see additional icons when they hover over the numbers in the view switcher:

 A configuration (gear) icon is shown for views that can be configured, and a group icon is shown on views that are shared with users or groups.

 Templates have italicized names and a template icon.

These additional icons don't show up for non-admin users.

The View Switcher is hidden if:

  • The only available view is My View.
  • My View is disabled (see below) and only one shared view exists for the user.
  • There are no views to show.

Personal Views

The first view in the View Switcher is the user's Personal View, "My View". This is the logged in user's private view. This view is not shared and not editable by anyone other than the current logged in user. A Personal View is created the first time a user logs into the Brazos Portal. A Personal View will be based off of a Template if there is a template shared with the user. If no Template is available for the user, the Personal View will start out with only one "Unfiltered" Task Group, and the user will need to create Task Groups manually. The Task Groups in Personal Views are always editable by the logged in user, which means the user can add, delete, modify, and reorder the Task Groups.

Each user only has one Personal View; however, additional views can be created by or shared with specific users and groups.

As of v1.13 personal views can be disabled as a portal customization. When "My View" is removed as a customization, users will not have a personal view, they will only have access to Shared Views. If a user does not have a View shared with them, they will see a single Unfiltered group with no ability to create Task Groups. Note that users who previously had "My View" created (prior to the customization) will still have that view. If you need to retroactively remove "My View" for your users, please open a support ticket with BP3 for assistance. Templates are not applicable when personal views have been disabled.

Templates

Templates are special views that are used to populate default Task Groups for new users at first login. This gives Brazos Portal users a predefined set of task groups that they can then customize based on the way they want to work. A copy of the Template becomes the users Personal View.

Unlike Shared Views, users get their own copy of a View from a Template. Changes to the Template will not alter any currently existing Personal Views made from that Template.

Managing Views

View Admins

Brazos Portal Administrators can assign View Admin privileges to non-admin users and groups. This is done on the Views tab of the Brazos Portal Admin screen (/admin.html). This allows the designated View Admins the ability to create and share Brazos Portal Shared Views and Templates. View Admins work within the Portal screen; being designated as a View Admin does not provide authorization to access to the Brazos Portal Admin screen.

Editors

Editors may add, modify, and order Task Groups of shared Views. If a user has rights to modify a Task Group of a shared View, a group icon is overlayed to the add or modify Task Group icon to reflect this:

A mouseover tooltp will also caution that changes will affect other users.

Admins, View Admins, regular Users, and Groups can be given editing rights to Task Groups of views.
Portal Screen:

Admin Screen:


Administrator and User Privileges Summary

Most View management is accomplished from the main Portal Screen by Admins or View Admins. See below for further details about adding and modifying Views.

  Add Views Configure Views1 Add or Modify Task Groups and Filters

Portal Screen

     
Admin/View Admin AND Editor

X

X X

Admin/View Admin

X    
User AND Editor    

X

User

    2

Admin Screen

     

Admin

  X  

1Configuring Views includes setting or modifying Sharing and View names, designating Views as Templates, and deleting Views.
2Basic users are limited to modifying their own Personal View. If Personal Views are disabled, then basic users will not have any view, task group, or filter privileges.

Both admins and users will only see Views shared with them in their View Switcher on the Portal Screen. Admins will be able to see all shared views listed in the View tab > Shared Views section of the Admin Screen.

Adding Views

Brazos Portal Admins and View Admins can add new views or templates using the + button on the View Switcher.

After clicking the add view you will see a dialog like this where you name the view, set up filters and add users and groups for sharing:

 

Editing Task Groups in a Views

Once a view is created you then need to create the task groups for the view. This can be done by anyone with edit privileges to the view. Editors cannot edit the sharing of a view - this is limited to admins.

Users with edit privileges will see a user group icon overlaid on the group config icon indicating that it's a shared view. There is also text at the top of the group config window warning users that any changes will impact multiple users:

Remember that views are truly shared - any changes are propagated to all users who share the view next time they load the portal.

Users without edit privileges on a view will not see an add or config icon, and they will not have the drag indicators on left of the groups.

Shared Views Admin Screen

In the Brazos Portal Admin page (/admin.html) there is a tab called Views. Brazos Portal Administrators may designate individual users or groups as View Admins and see and edit all Shared Views without needing to be a View Admin. Note, however, that from the Admin Screen View editing is limited to altering sharing, Template designation, View name, and deleting Views. Filters and Task Groups still must be edited through the Portal Screen. This is also where you can export and import views from other environments and designate View Admins. 

Views shared with only a single user are not displayed on this screen.

Best Practices

Template Sharing

Templates should be shared with unique groups of users. Multiple templates should never be shared with the same group of users. Likewise there should not be overlap of user membership between groups used to share templates. Here is why: As described above, templates are used to populate a new user's Personal View upon first login to the portal. This means that only one template is applied per user even if they have multiple templates shared with them. If a user does have multiple templates shared with them, their Personal View will be populated from the first Template found by the Portal.

Don't share a template with All Users/tw_allusers - unless you only have one template for all your users. If you have multiple templates sharing one with all users means that template will match for everyone. See "Templates should be shared with unique groups of users" above.

Promoting Views/Templates Between Environments

The best way to promote views and templates between environments is to use the view import and export functionality introduced in Brazos Portal v1.14.0. This allows you to easily promote views between environments. Please see the KB Article Shared View and Template Promotion Between Environments for additional information on promoting your views.

Limit the Number of Users Who Can Create Views

Views are a great way to help users organize their tasks in standardized ways, but at the same time, be sure you are not overwhelming your users with options. One way to do this is to limit who can create views. Views add complexity. BP3 recommends keeping the Brazos Portal simple and allowing users to organize their work in a way that allows them to best do their job (i.e. via their Private View). A good rule of thumb is to have 1-3 shared views per user. Your business requirements and processes might justify a higher number, but this should be a conscious decision rather than gradual view creep.

Limit View Edit Capabilities

Views are shared, so any changes to views impacts all users who share that view. Frequent changes will likely confuse your end users. View editing should be limited to Admins and power users who understand the processes and the teams who are using the shared views.

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Comments

  • Avatar
    David Bailie

    Updated article with information on View Admins and the Shared Views admin screen.

  • Avatar
    Simon Chiu

    Which version of BrazosPortal does this view feature come with?

  • Avatar
    David Bailie

    Hi Simon, This is available with any customized version of Brazos Portal. It's one of the standard features that is optionally included if you have purchased a support contract for Brazos Portal.

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