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4. The Interface Designer
You will continue designing your first Analytical App in this lesson, examining the Interface Designer in order to configure your app’s user interface.
The Interface Designer
- The Interface Designer allows user to adjust the app interface as appears to the user, app outputs, and test the app
- The Interface Designer has four views: Layout view, Test view, Tree view, and Properties
In the previous lesson we converted our sales report work flow into an analytical app. We began by adding interface tools to the date filter designed to allow us to toggle the Start Date and End Date for the period under review. Let's continue with that work flow here, beginning with an examination of how these new interface tools work in practice. In this lesson we'll take a deeper look at our interface tools by introducing the interface designer. It's important to note that to edit analytical apps you must open them through Alteryx. If you double click on the file it'll simply open the app and you won't be able to edit it. In order to view and adjust our current app user interface we need to add the interface designer to our dashboard. This can be done by navigating to the menu, selecting view, and then interface designer.
Note that my work space is getting a bit crowded, so I'll move the interface designer into a tab document. The interface designer is made up of four parts, layout view, test view, tree view, and properties.
The layout view allows you to configure the interface of your app as it will be presented to the user. If your work flow contains multiple interface tools you can use the layout view to reorder how these tools appear together with a range of other functions. As we can see there are two calendars presented. These refer to the Start and End Date tools that we added to the workflow in the previous lesson. Clicking on the first calendar brings up a dialog box in the configuration window. Text entered here generally prompts users on how to use this section of the app. Note that the text box already says Start Date as we enter this in the date tool in the previous lesson. If we look at the second calendar we can see that it has a label End Date. The arrows to the right of the interface designer allow us to reorder our application tools. For example, we could present the End Date first followed by the Start Date, simply by highlighting the Start Date and clicking the down arrow. We'll return this to the previous layout as it was more intuitive. The dialog on the right side of the interface designer also offers the ability to add and delete elements of the app. In this case, we'll add a group and bring together both the Start Date and End Date inside the group box.
We'll label this group box as period under review. If we look up at the Alteryx run icon at the top of the window, we can see that a new magic wand icon has appeared next to it. This icon runs the application. We'll click it now and see that the app dialog box appears displaying our Start and End Date. We'll click cancel on this for now. Moving on the test view option gives us the ability to see what the app will look like in action, recreating the app within the designer window. The third option, tree view, shows us the app logic in a hierarchical format. For more intricate designs, this can be a handy way to change the order of app requests. Finally we have the properties icon. This is a very important part of the app design process as it allows you to specify what the app should do on conclusion. For example, once the appropriate questions have been answered with respect to the Start and End Date, you may want to run the report and have it delivered to the user in PDF format. Alternatively, you have the option to chain apps, running a second or subsequent apps, depending on answers given. We'll look at this option in more detail in a later lesson. So far we've added some basic interface tools to our work flow and examine the interface designer. In the next lesson we'll focus on adding further interface tools to our work flow to give it maximum user flexibility.