Making the Best Use of a component Parameter Screen

2 minute read time.

If you have created a set of customizations for Sage CRM the probably you do not want to spoil the users experience by presenting an empty parameter screen when a System Administrator comes to install the product.

For example the System Administrator may start to install a component:

And then they see

The phrase "No parameter information found in 'xxxxxx.ecf'" can look, to some System Administrators, like there is an error. There is no error, there are simply no parameters being used. I do understand that not all components need input from the user when they are run. Not all components are like the screen of the Advanced Customization Wizard.

I feel strongly, however, that not using the parameter information can cause you to miss an opportunity to help the System Administrator during the installation of your component by providing important additional information.

The image below is of the parameter screen for one of the example components that are provided to members of the Developer Program when a new release of the software is made. These are used in the training lessons and they also allow developers to test components.

The parameter screen here is used to provide a description of the component. There is also information provided that says when the component was published and who is the author. And of course I add a disclaimer to explain who is at fault if you are so silly as to put one of my training examples on a production system!

This type of parameter screen uses the trick that the fields within a parameter can be Read-Only.

The basic content of the xxxx.ecf file looks like

[code language="html"]
Description=Add Child Cases (Sage CRM version)


TEXT Name=Title,ReadOnly=true,Default=Child or Sub Case example for Sage CRM
TEXT Name=Image,ReadOnly=true,Caption=
TEXT Name=Description,ReadOnly=true,Default=This is the description of what this component will do. It should not contain commas.
It can contain line breaks.

TEXT Name=Disclaimer,ReadOnly=true,Default=Since this component is free of charge there is no warranty or liability of any kind. The entire risk of using the component is with you. Should the content prove faulty , inaccurate or otherwise unacceptable then you assume the cost of all necessary repair or corrections.,Cols=5
TEXT Name=Author,ReadOnly=true,Default=Jeff Richards , Sage CRM,Cols=5
TEXT Name=Date,ReadOnly=true,Default=11th January 2011,Cols=5
TEXT Name=Version,ReadOnly=true,Default=Sage CRM XXXX,Cols=5

All the fields are Read-Only in this example. If you look at the code above you will see how I have been able to add the icon using the caption property of a field. I have been able to include line breaks using the
tag in the Default property of the field. I can display commas using the , symbol.

Please do make use of the features of the parameter file to improve the experience for System Administrators as they install your component.