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Re-design Relationships and Link Controls (encompasses most other relationship/link control idea out there) - FP12

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I felt the need to create a "global" (haha see what I did there?) idea based on the current functionality of relationships, relationship types, and link controls, as there are a lot of related ideas out there but they are all basically independent.  I am proposing this "global" idea so that all of the "child ideas" can be considered at the same time and implemented together.  Some of these child ideas also apply to functionality outside of relationships and link controls so it's important to keep that in mind in case of marking duplicates.


Over the course of my usage of FP12 in the last year I have found a few items with the functionality that I feel should be addressed together as a whole, rather than individually:


1) Link Controls are.. not pretty.  They take up a lot of screen space, especially on the vertical, with a lot of empty real estate.  They consume an entire row (you cannot have link controls side by side).  They are not intuitive to use.  And when many Link Controls are grouped together, it can be difficult to determine when the first one ends and the next one begins, especially when using the 'Dark' theme.  There are several ideas out there for this:

  1.  (Improve link control layout to use less screen space - FP12)
  2.  (Link Control: column order on Grid Columns - FP12)
  3.  (Ability to specify width on link controls - FP12)
  4.  (Rename columns in link controls and saved searches - FP12)
  5.  (Ability to change column widths in link control and KBA picker)
  6.  (Initiate Link Control by pressing ENTER on a field)
  7.  (Improve link control's usability - Choosing Links)
  8.  (Prevent 'Create Linked' if relationship is external -FP12)
  9.  (When creating linked, if only one relationship, auto select it - FP12)
  10.  (V12 - View Linked Items in View Mode)

What I would like to see is a Link Control section in which it uses as little physical space as possible, which can have it's width adjusted, in which it's column widths and column header names can be adjusted.


2) Relationships are sometimes confusing, which can make them seem overwhelming at first.  And by design they are also quite restrictive.  Relationships require you to specify a 'Relationship Type'.  These types are pre-defined and not configurable.  In addition, many of the types are repetitive: Ticket/Ticket, Incident/RFC, Incident/Problem, RFC/Problem, etc etc.  They are all the same.  The reason for having so many - I recently found is by design and not a defect as initially reported - are that Link Controls will show all relationships of a given type, regardless of which Link Control was used to specify the relationship.  (ie: If you have two 'Related Tickets' Link Controls, they will cross-populate their data, so you cannot develop many custom relationships unless you either re-purpose existing relationship types (if you are not using all ITIL processes), or ignore the fact that they cross-populate.  There are many ideas out there for this:

  1.  (FPSCv12: More option on link control)
  2.  (Relationships Items: Specific to Any - FP12)
  3.  (Custom Relationship Manager)
  4. "Relationship Type" as a field within a single Link Control - FP12

What I would like to see, is the removal of relationship types as the concept that exists today.  I would like for relationships to be created the way they are today, minus the type.  A generic type can be used for filtering your view (ie: show me all ticket/contact relationships).  Link Controls would be based on relationships instead of relationship types, with the ability to choose one or more relationships for a single Link Control.


3) Filtering in Link Controls is tedious at best.  I'm not sure why it was designed the way it is, as opposed to how you do column filtering in the rest of the system.  Default filtering does not exist either, so you cannot, for example, have a contact form with a Link Control to only show that contact's open incidents.  There are a few ideas around this as well:

  1.  (static default filters on link controls - FP12)
  2.  (Ability of filtering on columns in link control tables on ticket items)

I would like to see filtering behave the same as the rest of the application.  Its easier and more standard.  As well as the ability to place default filters on link controls.


4) Permissions with Link Controls and Relationships are not ideal.  You cannot make a Link Control required, or read only.  You cannot specify that a Link Control must have more, less, or exactly X amount of relationships tied to it.  The best you can do today is use linked fields and make these required, but this does not mean the Link Control is required.  In addition, read-only linked fields will fail to populate.  A few ideas exist:

  1.  (V12 - Making Link Control Mandatory)
  2.  (V12 - Restrict Links and Link Control)


5) At present you cannot import into Link Controls.  So if you want to, for example, move a customer's existing ticket and contact information, you cannot import the relationships.  You have three options available: A) Dont import anything. B) Import the tickets (including linked fields), import the contacts, then manually go to each ticket and hit the link to button.  C) The better option, if you're ingenious, is to map out and import the relationships directly into the FootPrints database.

  1.  (When importing into an item, would like to be able to map to link controls to populate relationships - FP12)


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