We are excited to announce that our latest HPI code base will include Folder Browsing. This post will discuss why we have added it as well as present a video of the early capabilities.
HPI Folder Browser– Why Add it now?
In working with our Documentum or Alfresco clients, we often hear that out of the box vendor interfaces do “too much” when it comes to their specific business requirements and many customizations are about turning capabilities off. This can be true for Documentum (Webtop, D2) or Alfresco (old Explorer, Share). While vendor interfaces have to show off everything that the product is capable of doing, (typically a part of any checklist RFP process), we have always focused HPI on a minimalist approach reduce training and improve processing time. HPI wasn’t built to replace the out of the box interfaces, HPI was built to simplify and speed up typical processes for the average user.
In looking for simplicity and performance, our users generally want to quickly navigate to a document or folder with a search-based approach rather than expanding a folder tree. This is particularly true when the folder tree gets rather large or deep as in our insurance solution for claim and policy.
While experienced ECM architects can debate folders versus search (see a good example from Word of Pie a couple of years ago), folder browsing does play a role and adding folder navigation provides the ability to satisfy all of the user search requirements below:
- I know what I am looking for – HPI Search. Can be drop down values (ex: Plant, Division) or contains (ex: Document Number). Could be direct link in dashboard (ex: Recent Folders) or other application (ex: training).
- I have a rough idea of what I am looking for – HPI Search – Full Text or Attribute
- I don’t know what I am looking for but will recognize it when I see it – HPI Folder Browser.
HPI Folder Browser– What does it do?
Our initial release of HPI Folder Browser allows for browsing of all the folders in the repository, as well as targeting sections of the repository based on HPI’s trac concept. See demo below.
A couple of key points to focus on:
- Leverage of Document Search Results – Once a folder is selected, the documents are displayed leveraging the same capabilities of HPI Search results to allow for multi-document actions such as Download to Zip, Export Search Results, etc. as well as single document actions available via right click such as view versions, view properties, etc.
- Leverage of Document Viewing – Once a document is selected, the same action items are available for Document Viewing. This gives users the ability to Annotate, Check-Out/Check-In, View Properties, Email, View Properties, Send Notification, and others.
HPI Folder Browser– What next?
Some items we are considering adding include:
- Saved Search – Display users and public saved searches within a folder for quick access as well as allow the search results to display track specific properties.
- Recent Folders and Documents – Display recently accessed folders or Documents in the folder paradigm.
- Dual pane view – currently, only one document is viewable at a time in the folder browser, but we could implement the side-by-side viewer functionality that is currently available in the HPI Stage.
One thing we are hoping to avoid is adding too much clutter to the browser to make it like the vendor interfaces. Some items we want to avoid:
- Add new folder – we want to keep folder creation functionality in the the HPI stage
- Drag and Drop Folders – similar to adding folders, we want to keep HPI Foldering focused on browsing, not creation. In talking with our team, we want to avoid turning HPI Foldering into Windows File Manager.
- Case Management Items – Certain features that are more focused around executing actions on a folder are only available in the stage. For example, Folder Notes, Update Folder Properties, Export Folder Zip.
HPI Folder Browser allows users to browse the repository similar to other vendor “out of the box” interfaces but without the clutter of a do-all application. Additionally, HPI tracs can be used to target a certain section of the folder tree if desired in order to further reduce clutter. If you have thoughts or other features for us to consider, please add your comments below.