It’s about eight years in to the development of the agileBase platform and every now and again we still add a major new feature. Today is one of those occasions.

In brief, the system can now assign users and groups to individual data records anywhere in the system. So for example, if you want to take your sales pipeline, todo list, inventory management system or anything else, and assign individual entries to individual people, you can do so easily.

This is only one step along the way to another facility we’re building at the moment, a comprehensive notification system, coming soon. But we think it’s an exciting feature in it’s own right.

Any text field that’s configured as a dropdown list or tags field, can be set to get it’s contents from the user list or group list. To set this up, go into the administration interface, select a table (under Build), click the fields tab and click ‘edit options’. You’ll see a dropdown from which you can select

  • users
  • groups
  • users and groups

These are the types of objects which people be able to select when they’re entering data.

It’s very flexible. Since it works through any dropdown or tags field, you can assign either one or multiple users or groups to each record.

What’s more, when editing a record, only the users/groups who have privileges to see that data will appear. That makes data entry a lot easier – if there are many users in the system only the relevant ones pop up.

As  mentioned, this will feed into a notification system so staff get notified of items relevant to them, but even before that there are lots of uses you can put it to, e.g.

  • assigning staff to items without having to use a separate ‘staff’ table. This saves wasteful duplication and works well if not all users are internal staff.
  • in collaboration with fine grained access control, allow each staff to see lists of their own items, without needing to set up a separate view per user

Finally, even though the system will present lists of users and groups for selection, data entry isn’t necessarily limited to these. If the administrator doesn’t tick the ‘use only given values’ field option, people will still be able to add other values themselves. So for example if you want to mark a task as assigned to a one-off contractor who’s not set up as a user, that’s no problem.

We think all of these things make this a very powerful and flexible feature. We look forward to seeing how it’s used.