Information Windows

One of the cooler features when the MicroStrategy Mobile iPad app launched was a new concept known as the Information Window.  It was originally demoed along side the mapping capabilities as a natural extension of drilling without having to slide out of view.  In 9.2.1, Information Windows made the jump to Documents in Web.  There’s a lot of really cool things you can do with them, so today I want to talk about some use cases that have worked out well for me and some tricks for fitting them into “tight” places where they wouldn’t normally be functional.

Creating an Information Window
Information Windows are basically a special state of a Panel Stack.  Instead of rending on the page where you physically place the Panel Stack at design time, it is hidden and appears next to the item you’re clicking on.  The item you clicked acts as an Attribute Element Selector, which passes it’s value to the Panel Stack whilst also displaying it.  The effect is an inline popup that can hold anything, though most commonly a trend graph or detail grid (or both!).

This example uses MicroStrategy Tutorial on 9.2.1

Step 1 – Create a Test Data Set and Document
Create a report that contains Date, Region and Revenue, and a Document based on this data set.  Add a grid to the document that contains only Region and Revenue, and add an Attribute Element Selector for Date against the Document, so that it looks like this:

Step 2 – Create the Info Window
Add a Panel Stack to the Document, along with a trend graph for Revenue across all dates.  Throw on a text box to display the name of the Region for good measure, using the autotext {Region@DESC}.

Step 3 – Configure the Info Window
Set the Panel Stack Properties to be an Information Window.

Edit the original Grid and set Region to be a Selector targeting the Info Window (Panel Stack).

After clicking “Use as Selector”, right click again and choose “Edit Selector” to verify that the Panel Stack is chosen as the target.

Step 4 – View Your Masterpiece
Info Windows only work in Express Mode, so make sure you use that.  You can switch to Express Mode from under the Home tab’s dropdown, or by using the icon to the left of Design View.  It’s best to just set Express Mode as the default for the document (from Tools -> Document Properties in Web or Format -> Document Properties in Desktop) and disable Interactive Mode as an option so that you/users don’t accidentally run it in the wrong mode.  In Interactive Mode, nothing will happen.  But in Express Mode …

(If you got a Graph with a single dot, then edit your original Date selector and set it to Manual Mode and untarget this Panel Stack)

And there you have it.  A nice little popup that reacts to the Region that was clicked to display some quick and inline details or related information.

Additional Information / Tricks

  • An Information Window can only be opened by a Grid acting as a Selector.  It cannot be opened by any other type of selector or text link.
  • If you set the Grid Selector to allow the option for All, this will enable clicking the column header to open an Information Window for all Elements.
  • You can “fake” a text link to Information Window by cleverly formatting a Grid to only show the header.  Use Grid Display Aliasing to change the header to whatever text you want.
  • You may notice a quirk where after opening and closing an Info Window, the cell you clicked on remains highlighted.  You can remove this behavior by removing the Fill Color on the Cell Selection.  This format property is only available in Web (not Desktop) and is in the general Formatting menu for the Grid.
  • There is no way that I can find to modify the hover color or remove the hovering effect.
  • A cool trick I did was to have elements link to one Info Window while the column header linked to a different Info Window.  To accomplish this, I aliased the Grid with a blank header (single space) and then carefully positioned a Grid using the 3rd tip above in the space that the header would normally go.  This results in what looks like a normal grid, but the behavior is customized for different targets.
  • You can reuse an Info Window and have multiple grids target the same Info Window.  Clicking on different grids will simply “move” the Info Window around and update it.
  • You can use an Info Window inside an Info Window, but the graphics aren’t very clean.  Namely, the black arrow that points to the element you clicked on bleeds through to the top, even if the 2nd Info Window is on top of it.

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