It’s a common user requirement in an ECM system to allow users to act on multiple documents at once. Whether it’s necessary for the business process (ex: a workflow route), or just a time saver (ex: deleting documents), we see requirements around multi-document execution from many clients. For this post, we will look at how both D2 and HPI allow users to act on more than one document at a time.
The D2 approach is fairly simple. When viewing documents in a document list, the user selects one or more documents, holds down the Ctrl or Shift key and then clicks to select another document. This works in the exact same way as Windows Explorer, so users should be familiar with the process. After selecting the necessary documents, right clicking brings up the normal menu, but the available options are now aware that multiple documents have been selected.
HPI follows a similar approach when it comes to document lists. Instead of the Ctrl/Shift + Click paradigm however, we provide check boxes in the list of documents that allow the user to select more than one. This approach gives a visual clue to the user that multiple documents can be selected. Additionally, it is more mobile friendly (although we do note that D2 is not intended to be a mobile client).
See the short video below that compares the two approaches in the context of changing document properties in bulk:
While both D2 and HPI have many actions that can act on multiple documents, HPI remains more flexible due to the openness of our code base and architecture. Some clients have built actions that act on multiple documents where the user is not even required to select multiple documents in the first place. A good example is the ability to combine documents from a folder into one PDF. Check out the demo in the TSG Learning Zone to see this in action. In this case, HPI automatically pulls all documents with PDF renditions into the action that live in the current folder. This differs from the D2 approach, where (if a combine PDF documents action existed) the user would need to highlight and select the given documents. The application would also need to gracefully handle the case where the user selects a document that does not have a PDF rendition.
Overall, both D2 and HPI have many actions that can act on multiple documents. However, given HPI’s more open architecture and approach, we anticipate that innovative clients will continue to add and enhance actions in HPI to act on multiple documents.