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User Form Editor (not SETUP) "Token" or "Symbol" Merging
One thing I have been pondering recently, is how to make a contract database. One can do simple things, like putting text in a multi-line text field, and merging that into a word document template, but some challenges come up:

* what if your customer wants to change wording in a section that is not represented by a field? (the whole thing has to be a field that you merge in)
* how to handle sections of the contract, that the client's legal dep't decides they do not want? (appearance of the field in the Word doc needs to be conditional, upon existence of the data)
* what about if you want to let business users, without app SETUP privileges, to be able to enter tokens directly into the text of a given text field, prior to merging data into the Word DOC?

Somehow, with existing tools, the first two seem possible. Word lets you do conditionals on merged variables, and, any section that legal dep'ts tend to bark about, could be made into text. But the third would require some system of tokenization.

It would be good to allow a "contract editor" user, to be able to edit a text field, entering symbols or tokens representing field names. This would work, just like you can do it in SETUP in a Formula-Text field, but would mean the devs who are building, would not need to expose all that technical stuff to business users. Business users could just do:

"This [Contract Type] contract is valid from [Contract Valid Date] through [Contract Expiration Date]."

Saving it would merge in the tokens. The question would be, how to get that list of tokens made available in a normal editing situation.

If we had the third thing, it would allow a different class of apps to be made, and I think a lot of use case scenarios could be covered.

Best regards,
Rick
ID
463
Category
User Experience
Author

Rick Cogley
Date Created
10/13/2011 4:48:22 AM
Date Updated
10/8/2014 7:04:00 PM
Status
New Idea
Score
20
Promoted By
martin oliverRick Cogley
Comments
Rick Cogley 10/13/2011 4:50:30 AM
Actually, a formula text field would require a bit of technical work in the formula, using double quotes and ampersands, to cobble things together. In a user-focused scenario, the user should just be able to merge field names, into the multi-line text.
Rick Cogley 10/13/2011 5:02:43 AM
It occurs to me that we do something akin to this when we make email notifications on workflows. We can merge in mostly whatever we want, with decent formatting available via the markdown. If this could be exposed to certain users, and if it could be done per record against a given table, and if there were a way to simply print it, it would let us get to a good state in terms of merging data into contract or other documents.

The word method lets us also merge the connected detail tables, which would need to be addressed, but I thought mostly contracts do not need to be pretty, just utilitarian, so simple formatting is usually enough.
Kirill Bondar  Staff  10/8/2014 7:04:00 PM
Formula/Markdown of some sort? The user will type markdown template with basic formatting and placeholders in any syntax. Then, via this new formula type you'll replace known placeholders with actual values - I doubt the user will be allowed to render any column's value in the template he typed, right?
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