June 8, 2011

Limiting TestTrack Field Choices with Field Relationships

Helix ALM
TestTrack supports many types of fields. One of the most used is the pop-up menu field, also known as a drop-down field. These fields sometimes end up with lists ranging in the hundreds of items in them, which makes them hard to use. In TestTrack you can specify field relationships, which allow you to limit the choices that are available to the user based on the value selected in another field. You designate a field to be the parent and one or more fields to be the child. The value chosen in the parent field determines which values will be available in the child field. The TestTrack user guide already covers the mechanics of how to set up field relationships, so I am not going to repeat that. Instead, let's look at some guidelines and possible use cases. There are a few things to keep mind.
  • Field relationships can only be established between pop-up menu fields.
  • A parent field cannot be a multi-select pop-up menu field.
  • A parent field can have multiple children.
  • A child field can only have one parent.
  • A child field can be the parent for another field.
There are several use cases for field relationships.

Increase Usability of Fields

A list that contains hundreds of choices is virtually unusable. Use field relationships to ensure that only applicable choices are available. Remember that you can set up 'multi-generational' relationships, meaning that a field can be a child and parent and the same time, so the available choices can 'cascade' down the generational ladder.

Decrease the Chance of User Error

A defect with incorrect values selected wastes time and directly affects productivity. Let's take a look at the most widely of field relationships, which is the relationship between the Product and Component fields. Based on the product selected, only the appropriate components are available to the user. If a product is not selected, there aren't any components available. This ensures a valid component is selected when a defect is entered in TestTrack.

Archive Old Values

Some choices in the list may no longer be applicable, but you want to keep them for historical purposes. Set up the field relationship so the values are never available, regardless of the parent field selection.

Example

The following screenshot includes a list that has 20 choices. All are available to the user regardless of what is selected in any other field. [caption id="attachment_8657" align="aligncenter" width="437" caption="Component Field Choices"]Component Field Choices[/caption] After configuring a relationship between the Product and Component fields, no components are available if a product is not selected. [caption id="attachment_8658" align="aligncenter" width="438" caption="No Components Available"]No Components Available[/caption] The user is now forced to select a product first. Then, the available components will be displayed based on the selected product. [caption id="attachment_8659" align="aligncenter" width="441" caption="Components Available Based on Product Selected"]Components Available Based on Product Selected[/caption]