Virtual Formula Variables for Drag & Drop

In LL21, we improved the Drag & Drop behavior thoroughly. However there was one thing still missing. When dropping e.g. a date field, at times you don't need the actual date in the report but rather e.g. the year. The same for numerical values – do you want decimals? If yes, how many? Do you require a local formatting? Or a currency symbol? While you can easily achieve any of these formattings using simple formulas or the "Format" property, you have to do just that. So drag and drop is not the no-brainer it is supposed to be in a perfect world. In LL23, the world will actually become a little more perfect.

The tree view in the Variables/Fields tool window and the formula assistant in LL23 feature new virtual formula variables that offer an enhanced drag & drop experience. If you expand a date value, you’re offered a whole lot of different options now:

The same for numerical, string and boolean fields:

Of course, the tree still supports multiselection, so selecting these fields

and dropping them on the workspace results in this table:

Note the year column – a single click on the field reveals it’s true value, which is now a combination of a formula and the dropped field:

Besides making things faster even if you know what you’re doing, this will also help your less tech-savy end users to cope with the Designer more easily.

We’re eager to know what formattings and formulas you’d find useful. Did we make the right choices? Any more ideas? Feel free to drop them into the comments below.

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3 Comments on “Virtual Formula Variables for Drag & Drop”

  1. Hi!

    I think this is going to be one of the killer feature for ordinary users in LL23!

    But there comes one question to my mind: Can we programmatically set the virtual D&D fields? Something like “User defined virtual D&D fields?”.



  2. Yes, your sample looks good. But I was thiniking about using it like this:

    LlAddVirtualFormulaField(hJob, LL_TEXT, ‘Trim$(Customer.Firstname) + ” ” + Trim$(Customer.Lastname)’, ‘Customer Fullname’);

    But if you implement this, please Add LLAddVirtualFields(…) also, where one can add a bunch of fields and formulas which will be grouped together in one entity.

    Related to this suggestion:

  3. Hi Mike,

    Just to get this right – you’re thinking of something like

    LlAddVirtualFormulaField(hJob, LL_NUMERIC, ‘Fstr$({0}, )’, ‘Format super specific’);

    with parameters for the data type, the formula to offer (with a placeholder for the actual variable) and a description text – would that solve your needs?



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