CostMANAGER data input screens are highly customizable. This has benefits in terms of flexibility, but can result in complexity that will reduce performance. This article looks at issues relating to speed and makes design recommendations for optimizing performance. Within an input screen, budget items and documents are displayed as lists of records and can be grouped by a report structure. Individual levels can show value, text, date, profile and function columns. Optional phasing levels display value or function data, phased across user defined calendar periods.
Data input screens can be designed with more than one purpose in mind. The examples below show the varying use of functions on input screens as a means of illustrating performance and complexity:
1. Standard input screens are useful for data entry tasks; they only contain columns defined in the standard CostMANAGER setups.
2. Complex input screens display functions, rollups and standard columns. These screens function like live reports and are useful for analytical purposes.
Performance is affected by the number of columns on each level, and the type of columns used. The greater the number columns there are on an input screen, the slower it will be. On complex screens, CostMANAGER will take longer to carry out these additional calculations.
In conclusion: simple input screens perform faster and are better suited to tasks such as manual data input and editing. Complex input screens do not perform as quickly, but offer benefits in terms of data analysis.
Recommendations for Performance Optimization of CostMANAGER Input Screens:
- Keep screens simple. Design with a specific purpose in mind. Eliminate unnecessary columns or levels.
- On screens designed for data input and editing, stick to standard editable columns and avoid using functions or rolled up calculated values. This improves performance and speeds up the process of drilling down to data.
- Whilst there are advantages to screens designed for data analysis (i.e. containing many levels with function columns and rolled up values), be aware of the additional time taken to calculate these levels.
- Where possible, apply filters so that the system only returns data that you are interested in. This will improve performance. Filtering and sorting will be covered in a future article.