Thursday, April 12, 2012

IBM ED Search for Android - Part 2

This second blog post will focus on the Person Details Screen

When you touch a person entry in a search result the person details screen / view will open showing more information about the person you selected. When the details screen is opened for the first time for a person the app will try to download additional information about the person (department, secretary, etc.). Once this information has been downloaded it will be persisted and will be available offline. Notice how the number of entries in the details list grows when new data is downloaded.

In case the details screen is opened and no connectivity to the directory server can be established only the information that is already loaded will be available. The next time the details screen is opened or when you trigger the reload action the app will again try to download all details.

The details screen shows the person's bluepage picture, the name, job description and a list of details. The entries in the list of details show icons that can be touched to trigger an action associated with the detail.

For example, clicking the icon to the right hand side of the department detail will trigger a search for all persons in that department. Touching the icon on the email address detail will open the email application with the email address filled in as recipient. For the primary email address there is an action to start a Sametime chat with the person. From the manager detail you can either open the details for the person's direct manager or you can search for the complete management chain. You can also dial a telephone number this way or start google maps to display the work location or start the google maps navigation.

Additional actions are available at the bottom of the screen in the action bar. You can start or reload all the information about a person for example. Reloading will also try to reload the person picture. Remember that you can long press an icon on the action bar to show a tool tip that further explains what the action will do.

Since not all available actions for a person are shown in the action bar check out the additional actions available when you press the menu button or the action overflow (depending on whether your Android device has a menu button or not). Currently these actions are "Bluepages" and "IBM Connections" which will launch the browser and open up the associated person profile in either Bluepages or IBM Connections.

Once you navigate away from the person details screen (e.g. by triggering a search for the members of the same department or the secretary information) the app will either show a list of search results in the former case or navigate directly to another person details screen in the later case. Using the back button you will return to the person details screen of the person you began with.

You can always hit the icon on the left of the upper action bar to return to the home screen to conduct a new search. If you do so the history will be cleared and the back button will no longer bring you back to the previous screen.

Long pressing / touching an entry in the details list opens up a context menu where you can choose to copy the text of the detail to the clipboard. This can be handy to copy the address for example.

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