Monday, October 22, 2012

NPC and the footer.text Property

Often when displaying report data, it is handy to have a little explanation about the data being presented.  In the case of NPC, this is accomplished by means of the footer.text property.  As it turns out, this footer.text is HTML based and can use some fairly advanced HTML features.

I say this can be done in NPC, but it can't; at least unless you jailbreak NPC.  At this point, CA has decided that CAPC will replace NPC.  Currently, there's no upgrade path and many of the features that some customers rely upon haven't been rebuilt into CAPC (remember CAPC is a rebuild from the ground up, so just because it was in NPC doesn't mean it will be in CAPC). I've already posted on the community about some of the features that I require before I will upgrade myself or anyone else to CAPC (browser view for example).

However, since NPC now has one foot in the grave (CA is evangelizing IM2.0 which requires CAPC more than Jim Jones' kool-aid), I see no reason why anyone wouldn't want to start experimenting with some of the hidden features in NPC.  So, if you haven't jailbroken NPC yet, you might consider it.  However, if you don't have NV as a data source, don't worry about it.  The NV view wizard is all you really get.  While that opens tons of doors to customization you never thought possible, it doesn't do anything for non-NV customers.  If you're interested, email me.  Once CA puts the last nail in NPC's coffin, I'll publish the steps here.  Until then, I need deniability.

So, on to the topic of this post.  When using the view wizard to create/edit NV views in NV (or NPC if you've jailbroken it) it turns out you can put some fairly complex html in the footer field.  Obviously, you can use {Resolution} and {Samples} in there to pull the current resolution and data point count (whether it's sampled data or not).  However just today I tried and was able to put a fully formed html table in the footer. I then tried to take it a step further and embed a YouTube video.  That worked fine as well.

In case you don't see it, this can be useful when trying to explain to new users what certain views mean.  For example, I could put together a complete page with live data and YouTube videos or text explaining what each one means and how to use it.  For example, I could put some text or an image in the footer that could expand a DIV section containing a YouTube video explaining how to interpret the data.  The nice part about this is that the footer is tied to the view.  Previously, I would put a separate browser view embedding the help information.  This is good for situations where you want to put the data on the left and explanation on the right.  However, putting the explanation in the footer ensures that the explanation stays with the data even through moves and copies.

So in order to put a hidden YouTube video in the footer of a view:

  1. First check to make sure the view supports a footer (most do, this is just a sanity check).
  2. Install HeidiSQL and connect to your NPC server.
  3. Go to the control_properties table and filter it to only show your view.  Get the controlid from the NPC web gui by looking at the status bar when you open the view menu and mouseover the edit option.  Then set a filter for controlid=X, pageid in (0, Y), and propertiesid in (0, Z).
  4. Find the footer.text property.  
  5. Edit the propertyvalue column and insert your html.  
  6. Save the record and you're good to go.
If you change the footer.text where pageid=0, propertiesid=0, and userid=0, you are modifying the default definition of the view and any existing views tied to the default settings and any new views will have this modified setting.
Here's the code you would insert if you wanted to embed my SA video.  You'll need to take out the carriage returns to make it one long line: