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Synchronization of form fields in a client-server environment

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Title: Synchronization of form fields in a client-server environment.
Abstract: A database tier maintains and provides access to a database. An application tier receives and responds to requests for a form. The form includes data defining a first UI control for displaying a first value from the database and a second UI control for displaying a second value from the database that is dependent upon the first value. A client tier renders the form to show the first value in the first UI control and to show the second value in the second UI control. The client tier also detects a modification to the first value and causes an updated second value to be generated in response to detecting the modification to the first value. The updated second value is displayed by way of the second UI control. The updated second value is generated at the client tier, the application tier, the database tier, or at a combined application/database tier. ...


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Inventors: Russell Sinclair, Michael Hopkins Smith, Clinton Dee Covington, Jenefer Monroe, Konrad Tupaj
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120102412 - Class: 715747 (USPTO) - 04/26/12 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >For Plural Users Or Sites (e.g., Network) >Interface Customization Or Adaption (e.g., Client Server) >End User Based (e.g., Preference Setting)

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120102412, Synchronization of form fields in a client-server environment.

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BACKGROUND

Database applications commonly utilize forms to display database information and for data entry. These forms utilize fields to display information retrieved from a database and to collect data for storage in the database. In certain database systems, it is possible to define a field on a form that is dependent upon another field on the form. For instance, a form may be defined for displaying information from a database regarding a customer order. The form might include a first field for showing a customer name and a second field, dependent upon the first field, for showing the street address of the customer selected in the first field.

When a user modifies the value shown by a form field, the user expects any other fields that are dependent upon the modified field to be updated to reflect the modified value. For instance, if a user modifies the customer shown in the first field in the example given above, the user will expect the second field to be updated to reflect the correct street address of the newly selected customer. If dependent fields are not updated in this manner, the user might be presented with stale information and may become confused.

Certain client-side database applications provide functionality for synchronizing form fields in the manner described above. However, in client-server environments, such as database applications implemented via the World Wide Web (“Web”), it can be very expensive in time and performance to synchronize dependent form fields in this way.

It is with respect to these and other considerations that the disclosure made herein is presented.

SUMMARY

Technologies are described herein for the synchronization of form fields in a client-server environment. Through an implementation of the concepts and technologies presented herein, database forms can be defined for use in a client-server environment that include one or more form fields that are dependent upon other form fields. Values shown by dependent form fields can be updated in an automated fashion in response to the modification of the fields upon which they depend. This can be accomplished utilizing the concepts and technologies presented herein in a client-server environment in a performant manner.

According to one aspect presented herein, functionality is disclosed for defining a database form usable in a client-server environment. Through the use of the design-time functionality disclosed herein, a form can be defined that includes a first user interface (“UI”) control configured to display a first value from a database. The form can also be defined to include a second UI control configured to display a second value from the database, the second value being dependent upon the first value. When a client renders the form, a modification to the first value by way of the first UI control will cause the second UI control to display an updated second value. In this manner, a value displayed by the second UI control is “synchronized” to the value displayed by the first UI control. This can occur without modifying the contents of the database.

According to another aspect, one or more user interfaces may also be provided for specifying at design-time whether the updated second value should be generated at a client tier, such as a Web browser application program, or at a server computer. An application tier, a database tier, or a combined application/database tier executing at the server computer may be utilized to generate the updated second value. Based upon information provided at design-time, the updated second value will be generated at either the client tier or at the server computer.

According to another aspect, a system is provided for synchronizing database form fields in a client-server environment. In one embodiment, the system includes a database tier, an application tier, and a client tier. The database tier is configured to maintain and provide access to a database. The application tier is configured to receive and respond to requests for a form, the form including data defining a first UI control for displaying a first value from the database and a second UI control for displaying a second value from the database that is dependent upon the first value. The application and database tiers may be combined into a single application/database tier.

The client tier is configured to render the form to show the first value in the first UI control and to show the second value in the second UI control. The client tier is further configured to detect a modification to the first value and to cause an updated second value to be generated in response to detecting the modification to the first value. The updated second value is displayed by way of the second UI control. As discussed above, the updated second value may be generated at the client tier, at the application tier, at the database tier, or at a combined application/database tier. The updated second value may also be generated without modifying the contents of the database.

In one embodiment, the client tier is further configured to remove the display of the second value following receiving the modification to the first value and prior to displaying the updated second value. In this manner, a user is not presented with stale information while the updated second value is being generated.

This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended that this Summary be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter. Furthermore, the claimed subject matter is not limited to implementations that solve any or all disadvantages noted in any part of this disclosure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a software architecture diagram showing one illustrative architecture presented herein for synchronizing form fields in a client-server environment;

FIG. 2 is a network and computer system architecture diagram showing an architecture utilized in one embodiment disclosed herein for synchronizing form fields in a client-server environment;

FIG. 3 is a flow diagram showing aspects of a method provided in one embodiment disclosed herein for creating a form having fields that can be synchronized in a client-server environment;

FIGS. 4A-4C are flow diagrams showing aspects of a method provided in one embodiment disclosed herein for run-time processing for providing synchronization of form fields in a client-server environment;

FIGS. 5A-5C are user interface diagrams showing the synchronization of several form fields in a client-server environment according to one embodiment disclosed herein; and

FIG. 6 is a computer architecture diagram showing an illustrative computer hardware and software architecture for a computing system capable of implementing the various embodiments presented herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following detailed description is directed to technologies for synchronization of form fields in a client-server environment. As discussed briefly above, a database tier is disclosed herein that maintains and provides access to a database. An application tier is also provided that receives and responds to requests for a form. The form includes data defining a first UI control for displaying a first value from the database and a second UI control for displaying a second value from the database that is dependent upon the first value. A client tier is also disclosed that renders the form to show the first value in the first UI control and to show the second value in the second UI control. The client tier also detects a modification to the first value and causes an updated second value to be generated in response to detecting the modification to the first value. The updated second value is displayed by way of the second UI control. The updated second value is generated at the client tier, the application tier, the database tier, or at a combined application/database tier



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120102412 A1
Publish Date
04/26/2012
Document #
12910875
File Date
10/25/2010
USPTO Class
715747
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
/
Drawings
11



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