Data Entry Saving Methods

Center of Excellence
edited March 2023 in Best Practices

1. Abstract

When saving data entry on a Screen, either the data entry Tick can be used or a separate save button. We’ll discuss which should be used, depending on several different variables.

2. Context

Use of ‘on data entry’ triggers and save procedures are valid and applicable in different cases. To determine which should be used, several variables should be considered.

3. Content

Several factors drive the choice between using data entry triggers versus save procedures. Choosing the right option may significantly impact the save process's performance and the Screen's usability.

3.1 Multiple data views

When a Screen contains multiple data views, where more than one allows data entry, it’s important to remember that using the Tick on a single data view will only save data entry for that data view. Any unsaved data entered into a different data view on the same Screen will be lost. This may be fine if users are comfortable with this fact and will only enter figures into one data view at a time. However, disabling the Tick and using a single Save button may be safer and less confusing for the user.

3.2 Data entry triggers vs. save procedures

The behavior of a data entry trigger is essential to understand as it determines whether or not using a trigger will be more efficient than using a save procedure. Both methods ensure the execution of a procedure once a data entry is committed.

When data entry is saved on a data view with a data entry trigger attached, the trigger procedure is called once for each cell that has had a new value entered with a select on that row/column combination. This is highly efficient if the data view contains many cells and only a handful is being entered simultaneously. It is also desirable if audit logging of precisely which cells were amended and by whom is required. Where a data view is being updated in bulk, i.e., a significant number of cells will be entered at one time, clearly calling the trigger procedure repeatedly could quickly become slow and inefficient, in which case a separate save button and procedure is likely to be the better option. With the save button, the procedure will only be called once by default, regardless of the volume of data entered. Any calculations must be performed at a bulk level rather than per individual new data cell. If a save button is used, the Save Date Entry “tick” in the slide-out toolbar should be hidden to ensure that users use the save button instead. Otherwise, data could be saved without running the procedure, leading to possible data inconsistencies.

3.3 Disabling save/undo mode

Disabling save/undo mode means that any data entry on the Screen will be committed immediately without the need to press either the Tick or a Save button. If the user needs to undo their change, they must do so manually.

This method can be beneficial in certain circumstances, where the results of the change are to be seen immediately, and each change should be seen as a separate event.
For example, if the user is tweaking configuration settings and expects to see a set of tables or graphs immediately reflect the change. However, no automatic undo option will be available. Instead, the user will need to fix any erroneous changes manually. It should be used with caution.