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Anonymous
Not applicable

Basic question about data types and functions

Hello All, So this may seem very basic for everyone but I've been pulling my hair out, watching dozens of videos, searching all over and just not finding exactly what I need.   I am having tons of problems with trying to get some basic functionality to work and I think it has to do with me using complex data types in my data source.  I am using a dataverse table as my data source.  I have about 25 columns and some are text, some are dates, some are formulas, some are choices, and so forth.  I'm using this data source to build a canvas app that allows users to have various screens.  One screen I'm working on is a table like screen that will populate certain columns to give the user a view for seeing some of the columns as a "dashboard".  I'm using all of the different data types I mentioned above.  The problem is that I need this table to be sortable, searchable, filterable and I plan to add some other functionality like conditional formatting (say if something is passed a due date I want that field to be red).  

 

So, some of the fields are working ok...i can get the "sortbycolumn" to work for example...but when I stick in a complex data type field it won't work.  I tried passing the value by setting a global variable and passing that to the sortbycolumn function...but it didn't work.  I predict some will say to just use text fields, but I need those other field types so that's not really a solution.  Is there a work around?  Maybe create a second table and have it populated by the main data table but as all text? is there any good info sources on how to do something like that? 

 

Sorry if it's a basic question, but I've really been struggling and it's been a long couple days.  Appreciate any assistance!

 

4 REPLIES 4
Matren
Super User
Super User

Hello @Anonymous ,

 

A few thoughts:

 

1. Can you post a screenshot of your Items code? It would be helpful to see some specifics to see if your issue is a result of the wrong expression, a delegation issue, or something else.

2. I recommend you keep working the issue and don't result to text fields. I've accomodated many different types of fields in my data tables and galleries.

3. For custom formatting of values, you may wish to switch to a gallery instead of a data table. Data tables are very limited on the types of customization you can do. Sure, you have to build the scroll bars and add fields; however, galleries have alot more customizable features. After using datatables to store a dataset with 60+ columns and 15k records, I switched to galleries and won't go back anytime soon.

 

Best Wishes,

Matren

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Anonymous
Not applicable

Matren,

 

Thanks for the reply, really appreciate it. 

 

3.  I'm going to go out of order by answering number 3.  I am using galleries, sorry if I wasn't clear.   Originally, I started off using tables, but switched to galleries for the better flexibility in being able to do some formatting.  When I said "table" I was referring to the dataverse "table". 

 

1.  Not much code to show, I've been testing short lines and having the problem.  But here is Items code on my gallery.

 a. When I used this code it works.  For this example I'm using a "plain text single line" type in the dataverse table. 

 - SortByColumns(HERTSData,"cr550_reporttitle",Ascending)

 - One thing I don't quite understand, is the name of the column.  I named that column "reportTitle" but somehow its been renamed "cr550_reporttitle".  They added the "cr550_" and made it all lowercase.  I'm assuming that's the configuration on the service backend. Also, the "Text" code on that column is "ThisItem.reportTitle" (which is what I named it). If I try to change the SortByColumns code in the Items section of the Gallery to try to force "reportTitle" it can't find that column. So, my only assumptions is that the server is changing the format.

 b.  So, now when I try to use the exact same code, but just substitute with a different column type it errors out.  The column type here is a "choice" type in the dataverse table. 

 - SortByColumns(HERTSData,"cr550_reviewstatus",Ascending) 

 - When I change just the column type, as shown in bold, I get "The function "SortByColumns" has some invalid arguments.  Cannot sort on the expression type.". Then it says ""cr550_reviewstatus" = There is an error in this formula. Try revising the formula and running it again. | Data Type: text

 

2. I agree, I want to push on using galleries so I get the added flexibility.  I would also like to avoid doing any additional work by doing some work around converting the data over to make this work.  I'd like to figure out how to get these complex data type columns to cooperate!  🙂  


Thanks again,

RDJ

 

Matren
Super User
Super User

Hello @Anonymous ,

 

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

 

1. Delegation - this is the ability to have the source system be used (i.e. delegated) for processing. You'll note that only certain functions can be delegated depending on the source system. Sorting by a choice field is not currently surpported. If the function is not listed, it's not delegable and you should avoid adding it to your Items property. Review the current Dataverse delegation: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/power-apps/maker/canvas-apps/connections/connection-common-data-service#power-apps-delegable-functions-and-operations-for-dataverse

 

2. You want to stick with delegation as much as possible otherwise the app will do the processing and Microsoft limits this to returning 500-2000 records. Sure you can use Collections; however, that can slow down your initial load times and can get complicated when you have to load multiple collections to accomodate more than 2000 records. Microsoft recommends limiting collections. For more Microsoft Power Apps tips, check out: https://pahandsonlab.blob.core.windows.net/documents/PowerApps%20canvas%20app%20coding%20standards%20and%20guidelines.pdf 

 

3. Here is a common code I use to Filter and sort (it is all delegable):

 

 

 

 

SortByColumns(
    Filter(
        DataSource,
        !gblFilterActive || (StartsWith(
            Source_Column_Name,
            Form_DataCardValue1.Text
        ) && StartsWith(
            Source_Column_Name2,
            Form_DataCardValue2.Text
        ) && StartsWith(
            Source_Column_Name3,
            Form_DataCardValue3.Text
        ) && StartsWith(
            Source_Column_Name4,
            Form_DataCardValue4.Text
        ) && StartsWith(
            Source_Column_Name5,
            Form_DataCardValue5.Text
        ))
    ),
 //Sort on ID field
    "ID",
    If(
        gblSort,
        Ascending,
        Descending
    )
)

 

 

 


Simpler version: SortByColumns( Filter( 'Sales Orders', StartsWith( Title, TextSearchBox1.Text ) ), "Sales_x0020_Order_x0020_Number", If(SortDescending1, Descending, Ascending) )

 

4. Tips - To keep things moving fast, which is key to a good user experience, I don't show every column in the gallery (just key fields) that are accessed frequently. This allows the user to find the record they want quickly through filtering and sorting. However, the user can always click on a record, and see all the fields if they want to. Note - my current gallery has 10k+ records and 60 columns. My gallery is attached to a form. If a user clicks a record in the gallery, they can see the record with all columns in the form. I also don't allow users to filter on every column -- only those columns that they use often. It can seem a bit like jujitsu as you learn to accomodate delegation, source system limitations, and UI experiences; however, if done well, your users will never know (or care) that there are system limitations.

 

5. As far as highlighting certain cells, I do that in the gallery or the form. Just go to the Fill or Color property for the Gallery or Form, and insert your condiction, to change the color of a cell or text for a value.

 

6. As far as the source system renaming your fields ... that does happen (see link below for reason(logical, unique names). I usually work with it, and have a reference sheet to keep track. However, I always show the User Friendly name to the user. For more info, check out: https://powerapps.microsoft.com/ms-my/blog/display-names-and-guids-for-canvas-apps-graduate/

 

 

Hope this helps,

Matren

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Anonymous
Not applicable

Matren,

 

1.  Yeah, I was aware that only certain fields were delegateable, I guess I suspected that was my issue.  Your reply helps to confirm that. Thanks.  So, for those fields that are not delegateable (such as the Choice fields) I guess my next best solution is to create a separate data source (a second dataverse table) and have columns that are dedicated to the various choices I want to offer the user, then link that to a "Combo Box" in the Canvas App input form.  This will populate the record with text verses a complex type of data.  Is there any downside to doing this?

 

2.  This app will not initially have many records, maybe 200.  Over the next few years it will surely grow, but maybe by the max of 100 records per year.  So, the number of records isn't too much of a concern for me.  That said, I do want feedback like what you've provided that points out the limitations in what I'm doing, as it will help me understand for future projects. 

 

3.  Thanks for that code, I'll try to see if it helps.

 

4.  Great point about not showing every column.  And luckily, I had done that already!  I have one screen that shows that gallery, but it's only showing like 11 or 12 of the full 25-30 columns.  My intent is to have another screen with a small gallery that connects to a form for editing the records. Also another screen that that will show (display mode) all of a single record's columns so that the user can see all data about that record.  So, if I'm understanding you right, my plan is actually good?

 

5.  Thanks, yes when I get the sort, filter and search functions sorted out I plan to move on to the conditional formatting of the gallery columns. 

 

6.  Ok, so that's normal.  I'll read that linked article.  it's confusing if you're not expecting it (as a noob).  

 

Thanks again for all of the detailed feedback!  It's really helpful!

RDJ

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