We have a situation where the business has a range of datasets which end users contribute to. The business needs flexibility in adjusting or rather extending these datasets, and also publishing new ones.

As part of that process, there is an important (and often complex) "flow" through the dataset which means only some fields are relevant at any time. So in fact even if there may be 200 fields in the total available dataset maybe only 50 or so are typically used. These flows are currently documented as flow diagrams in a PDF document - Not in any machine understandable way.

Currently these flow rules are applied retrospectively after the data is submitted - however I'm looking for a more integrated UI solution that will simply prevent invalid flow data being entered at all.

This got me thinking, if you could define the flow and the schema, then you could both enforce these rules on the front end AND generate the form automatically. (And re-check on the server side too incase they're messing around at the front end)

I did come across Alpaca and JSONSchema, but before I investigate those too much I wanted to understand the pro's and con's of what people think of this approach?

Also; The users can submit bulk data which comes in via an xml file (although the format isn't that relevant). So it would be amazing if we could apply the same process flow rules to this bulk load method.

Our server is Java based, and our front end has the usual Jquery and Javascript tools available.

  • I think it would be good idea to apply the flow rules at the front end. In this way the person entering the information can receive immediate feedback too.If you use Acrobat to generate your PDF document then you should also consider using Acrobat Forms as a possible solution. – John Frederick Chionglo Jul 15 '18 at 4:10
  • Why the downvotes? I googled where to ask this type of question, and specifically found a post saying that softwareengineering, NOT stackoverflow was the place to go. It's pointless downvoting without saying why. – Codek Jul 16 '18 at 9:13

Not sure whether this matches, but maybe give BPM-engines a try.

As a quick idea, please check: https://www.flowable.org/docs/userguide-5/index.html#forms and then check also the intro.

By combining process flows and forms, it may help, at least from a conceptual Level.

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