Rich Text Entry
OpenPages includes the option to configure Rich Text fields of various lengths, short (4K), medium (32K) and long (256K). Within the field, the user can format text which, for selected situations, enhances the content and readability of reports. That said, Rich Text an incomplete solution with deficiencies that undercuts its potential benefit. The shortcomings of Rich Text are:
• The OpenPages report engine, Cognos, supports a minor subset of Rich Text tags so that Cognos loses much of the text formatting and at times, it renders nothing at all. The one exception is that Cognos can create HTML output and the HTML translates the Rich Text tags properly. Unfortunately, clients usually require other file types, such as PDF, where they lose the Rich Text formatting.
• The Rich Text editor can be awkward to use. For example, the Table function shrinks and expands column widths with undesirable results. The New Page function behaves unexpectedly; the user might expect that New Page would insert a page break, but instead it erases the entire content of the Rich Text field.
• Rich Text offers no support for charts, images, and footnotes, a requirement for technical documentation
• By design, Rich Text is not page oriented, which is fine for some situations and unusable for others
As a summary, the enhancement requests for Rich Text are:
• OpenPages needs to be able to create printable output of Rich Text in at least PDF or Excel formats. The Services team has written a Rich Text Translator for Oracle, and will soon write a DB2 version. This kind of functionality needs to a part of the product, not written and supported by Services
• Investigate the awkward elements of the Rich Text UI and fix wherever possible.
• Investigate another approach to document editing that provides Word-like capabilities, check in and out, and maintenance/retrieval of versions.
The recommendation is to make modest enhancements to Rich Text. While adding support for functions such as images, charts and footnotes would be nice, OpenPages likely cannot support the creation of PDF output with those tags (the Services RT Translator will not work). While images and charts in HTML might be of interest to some clients, Rich Text should not permit tags that OpenPages cannot support in Cognos.
This recommendation also recognizes that Rich Text cannot be effectively used as an alternative to Word-like text editors. Since Rich Text is not page oriented, footnotes can never be supported and the user has little control over the look of the output. Further, with very large text documents, users require a check out / in feature and Track Changes, also unsupported in Rich Text . To this end, the OpenPages product team needs to investigate alternatives that permit the user to access and update page-oriented documents with a document editor supports Word equivalent features, where the user can check out / in the document, and where the user can retrieve prior versions.
End User UI
High - Critical