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JCallan
Frequent Visitor

Saving a collection record to SharePoint

Hello, hoping someone can point me in a proper/better direction

 

We have a SharePoint list with 50+ columns which includes some complex types.  Our app seeks to enable the user to filter items in a gallery and uses input fields w/ the Default set to the ThisItem.<field> to provide in-line editing of the item.  We were hoping for a simplistic way to save full records with any changes back to the SharePoint source.

 

Approach:

  1. Use locates records they want to work with in the Gallery.  OnSelect, the record is retrieved from the source and added to a collection rather than from the gallery - the thought was that we'd have few if any naming or compatibility issues if the record came from and was returned (saved) back to the source.

  2. The user makes any number of required edit. OnChange, the corresponding collection record is updated in real time (works great) 

  3. We'd like to either save an individual record from the collection, or save all records in the collection w/ any changes.

I've tried to drop read-only columns for "Created", "Created By", "Modified" and "Modified By" but there appear to be other columns that SharePoint has added.  The formula appears to run, but save no data back to the source.  The hope was to use a simple formula such as Collect(<Source>, <Collection>), but struggling to get it to work.

 

The alternative is to code a long Patch statement to scoop up each input field or each changed field, but would anticipate some performance hit vs. saving an entire record.  The requirements do not lend well to a form-based edit of a single record, but we're enabling that as an alternative.  I've scanned dozens of articles looking for the "secret sauce", but have not found any robust examples or any that did not create the collection by hand for a small number of fields.

 

Open to ideas or alternatives.

 

For example - is there a way to explicitly only ShowColumns in the collection for changed column values, hence reducing the complexity of the save action to just those columns?  Any column can be updated by the user.  Or, is there a way to create a list of Patch statements dynamically that then get executed to update each changed field at the source?

Thanks, 

- Jeff

 

 

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
RandyHayes
Super User
Super User

@JCallan 

Yes, it's a little convoluted to go about it that way.  But I am now more concerned with this part of your response "then Save all Collected..."  How do you envision this happening?  Is there some button that is going to handle that?  Or are you expecting it to happen in some other way?

 

You're going to run into some obstacles by trying to rely on the On actions of the input controls in your Gallery.  They are PowerApps behavioral actions.  They don't work like what you might think in a development product when you have Events on controls.  So, there is a good potential that your final save will exclude some values.

This is why it is best to reference the controls directly, painful as it is with lots of controls, it will ensure that you are getting the actual values that are in those controls correctly.

 

Now, from a performance standpoint, you are better off updating the row/record each time it is completed.  This is why a save type icon on each row when editing is preferred as it will occur when the user clicks it.  However, if you're doing more of a free flowing Excel like gallery, then you will not want that.  In that case it get to a little more pain as you *really* want to have a control (a toggle or checkbox - hidden) that will be true if there are any changes in that record.  That is painful because you have a lot of columns and controls, so you would need to validate all columns against the input controls in the row.

ex. A Default property on a checkbox:

With(ThisItem,
    !(ColumnA = inputColumnA.Text) ||
    !(ColumnB = inputColumnB.Text) ||
    ...etc...
)

So, this hidden checkbox would be true if there is any change in the row.

Now, with that checkbox, you can perform your final operation based on the entire Gallery table.

ex.

Collect(yourDataSource,
    ForAll(Filter(yourGallery.AllItems, theCheckBox.Value),
        {ColumnA: inputColumnA.Text,
         ColumnB: inputColumnB.Text,
         ...etc...
        }
    )
)

This will then only do the Collect action on the changed rows.

 

Again, painful if there are a lot of columns, but at some point, collection or not, you need to reference the controls and assign the values.  So, since that is the time consuming part, I would go with simple and skip the extra overhead of trying to manipulate a collection.

 

And, if the rows of your gallery are based on existing records, you'll want to include the ID in your records and change to Patch instead of Collect.

_____________________________________________________________________________________
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4 REPLIES 4
RandyHayes
Super User
Super User

@JCallan 

Trying to understand a few things...

What is it that you are trying to accomplish by duplicating the data into a collection?  Your gallery already is a table of information that can be used to perform what you are doing.

I'm a little confused on your reference to inline editing and then you mention a form.  Are you using a form for the editing, or are you hand-building the controls yourself?

 

In general, the best option for in-line, would be to have the inline controls and a save icon appear (when editing).  The save would simply write back the values in the controls.

For form based edits, you'd just submit the form.

 

But, I'm really trying to understand the purpose of a duplicate collection.

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Digging it? - Click on the Thumbs Up below. Solved your problem? - Click on Accept as Solution below. Others seeking the same answers will be happy you did.
NOTE: My normal response times will be Mon to Fri from 1 PM to 10 PM UTC (and lots of other times too!)
Check out my PowerApps Videos too! And, follow me on Twitter @RandyHayes

Really want to show your appreciation? Buy Me A Cup Of Coffee!

Randy, thanks for the reply.

The experience we're building is presented similar to a spreadsheet where input controls are aligned in a gallery like cells and each input fields Default is set to the item field (ThisItem.<field>) that corresponds.  We can code a Patch statement to save an item when a given item changes, but was exploring the ability to simply collect the records from SharePoint as the user interacts with the gallery, allow the user to edit any number of fields in any selected record and then push that collection of records back to SharePoint.  The collection would act as a cache of edited records in this case.  We are not using forms as the nature of the work requires viewing and manipulating multiple records simultaneously. The input fields in the Gallery enable them to do that.  We just need to save out the changes in the fastest performing way possible.  As there are 50+ "columns" at play (the gallery is coded to scroll horizontally to display them via a slider) dealing with the records as opposed to Patching all distinct fields per record sounded both possible from other posts and better performing.  Does that clarify?

 

The idea was;  OnSelect in the Gallery, retrieve the record from SharePoint to a Collection (to avoid all the input field objects in the gallery), Patch any changed fields from the Gallery to the corresponding Collected record, then Save all Collected records back to SharePoint via some flavor of Collect(<SP Source>, <collection of changed items>) formula...  problem is with the last bit.

 

 

RandyHayes
Super User
Super User

@JCallan 

Yes, it's a little convoluted to go about it that way.  But I am now more concerned with this part of your response "then Save all Collected..."  How do you envision this happening?  Is there some button that is going to handle that?  Or are you expecting it to happen in some other way?

 

You're going to run into some obstacles by trying to rely on the On actions of the input controls in your Gallery.  They are PowerApps behavioral actions.  They don't work like what you might think in a development product when you have Events on controls.  So, there is a good potential that your final save will exclude some values.

This is why it is best to reference the controls directly, painful as it is with lots of controls, it will ensure that you are getting the actual values that are in those controls correctly.

 

Now, from a performance standpoint, you are better off updating the row/record each time it is completed.  This is why a save type icon on each row when editing is preferred as it will occur when the user clicks it.  However, if you're doing more of a free flowing Excel like gallery, then you will not want that.  In that case it get to a little more pain as you *really* want to have a control (a toggle or checkbox - hidden) that will be true if there are any changes in that record.  That is painful because you have a lot of columns and controls, so you would need to validate all columns against the input controls in the row.

ex. A Default property on a checkbox:

With(ThisItem,
    !(ColumnA = inputColumnA.Text) ||
    !(ColumnB = inputColumnB.Text) ||
    ...etc...
)

So, this hidden checkbox would be true if there is any change in the row.

Now, with that checkbox, you can perform your final operation based on the entire Gallery table.

ex.

Collect(yourDataSource,
    ForAll(Filter(yourGallery.AllItems, theCheckBox.Value),
        {ColumnA: inputColumnA.Text,
         ColumnB: inputColumnB.Text,
         ...etc...
        }
    )
)

This will then only do the Collect action on the changed rows.

 

Again, painful if there are a lot of columns, but at some point, collection or not, you need to reference the controls and assign the values.  So, since that is the time consuming part, I would go with simple and skip the extra overhead of trying to manipulate a collection.

 

And, if the rows of your gallery are based on existing records, you'll want to include the ID in your records and change to Patch instead of Collect.

_____________________________________________________________________________________
Digging it? - Click on the Thumbs Up below. Solved your problem? - Click on Accept as Solution below. Others seeking the same answers will be happy you did.
NOTE: My normal response times will be Mon to Fri from 1 PM to 10 PM UTC (and lots of other times too!)
Check out my PowerApps Videos too! And, follow me on Twitter @RandyHayes

Really want to show your appreciation? Buy Me A Cup Of Coffee!

Fair enough.  We'll scrap the collection and code it as a Patch to the source via an icon in the gallery row.  We explicitly want the user to save their changes.  We can add a ForAll feature later, if required.   Thank you for your time and detailed response.

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