Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tabbed Interface to OpenMRS Global Properties

I’ve always hated to scroll through long lists when trying to find the thing I’m looking for. Computer interfaces which are designed as long list and give you a hard time to look through all of the things without a filter is definitely bad design. But even with a text field filter, long lists take a lot of time to load... The two applications that I’m working with these days, OpenMRS and DHIS2, both have these long lists that in my opinion are a pain to use.

The DHIS2 uses lists for data elements, indicators, users and these are not divided into pages. There is a text filter, but the time it takes to load the page when the list is long is excruciating. One of the recent examples, where we had over 5000 users in DHIS2 Punjab mobile application, it was excruciatingly slow to load that list of users. And then finding through that list to change anything is also quite slow and painful.

Similarly in OpenMRS, one of the things I often use for our modules is the global properties. Modules can use the global properties infrastructure to store options and it is a quick solution when you want to store some settings that can be configured by the user for your module. But as the number of modules or the number of options in a module increases, it becomes a pain to search the exact option from that long list of options. It also does not have a text filter, but you can always use the browser search to reach what you are looking for and text filters, don’t really solve much. Infact, may be the text filter in your application does not have a shortcut, while Ctrl+F would quickly give you a browser search text field.

Nevertheless, a quick hack by our developer Viet Nguyen (the JavaScript Ninja), was an OpenMRS module called moduleoptions. This is his first module, just to understand the OpenMRS framework and to me is quite a useful thing. It divides the global properties in tabs and makes the properties more manageable in my opinion. It provides better management to the long list of global properties and looks more convenient to use. It was developed in a few hours time and is definitely something that I would want to see as default when managing global properties. Below is a screenshot of how the global properties looks now:



Nyoman Ribeka said...

this is pretty neat sunny :)

Anonymous said...

hey sunny... can you please put this on the module repository. We want to use it for our implementation in Nashik Hospital

Anonymous said...

Saptarshi, this is Rahul from Kolkata. For the OpenMRS you installed in my clinic, I want to install this module. Put this in the repository or send me via email

Also provide me an updated module for XForms and registration with photos