A Form in RSpace is a user-defined structure which is saved and made available in the Create menu as a starting point for documents. Forms define a sequence of fields designed to hold particular types of data, and fix a name for each of the fields – and this structural format is then used in any documents made based on the form. For some fields, ranges of acceptable values can be defined, which are used to validate input into documents created with that form. Forms are ideal for creating a series of documents with a repeating format but changing content – if you are likely to have content in fields which is the same from document to document, then creating and using a template gives you the ability to have content persist in chosen document fields.
A new form is not immediately available for use. When you wish to make the form available for your own use or for others, you can publish the form, which makes it then possible to add as a shortcut in the ‘Create’ menu to create a document from the form. Alternatively, you can delete your form if you wish to abandon it altogether. Once a form has been published, it can no longer be deleted – only unpublished, which makes it unavailable to other users.
Once a form has been published, it can be edited, creating a new version of that form. The most recent version of a form will be used to create documents, but earlier versions will be preserved for the documents that were created from these earlier versions. RSpace is quite conservative and treats all edits of a form as worthy of a new version.
Click on the ‘My RSpace’ tab, then the ‘Create New Form’ tab. This opens up a form editor. Click on ‘Add Field’ to start adding new fields to the form. Once you’ve added some fields you can either publish the form or just save (without publishing) and come back to it later. You can also upload an image or icon to associate with the form, which will then be displayed in any documents created using the form.
One other way of creating forms is by using the Create Menu as illustrated in the image below, as of version 1.49:
There are three levels of form access: private, group, and world. Permissions can be set by the creator of the form in the ‘Manage Forms’ page of My RSpace – click in the form’s checkbox and select Permissions from the context menu.
- Private forms can only be used or edited by their creator, PIs and Lab Admins.
- Group shared forms can be used by all members of a group.
- World (public) forms can be used (but not edited) by anybody.
All forms that can be viewed by a user can also be copied, to create a new form, owned and administered by that user.
Documents created from forms have numerous fields for the user to enter data into. In order for a form to be made into a document, it must first be published and added to your menu. This is done as follows:
- Click on the ‘My RSpace’ tab in the home screen
- Click on the ‘Manage Forms’ box
- Select the form you wish to create a template from
- Check the status of the form, PUBLISHED or UNPUBLISHED
- If the form is not published, select ‘Publish Form’ as shown
- If the form is not already on your menu, select ‘Add to Menu’ (if the form is already on your menu this will not be an option and ‘Remove from Menu’ will be in it’s place)
Now the form has been published and added to your menu you may make a document from it.
- Click on the ‘Workspace’ tab to go to the Workspace view
- Select ‘Create’ -> ‘Other Document’
- A dialogue box will appear asking you to choose a form
- Select the form you wish to make your document from
This will create a document based on your chosen form in RSpace. At this stage you may fill the fields of your form that will remain the same between experiments. For example, say the method field is always the same and the materials differ only slightly. You can fill out the parts that remain constant and then edit in the variable components once you have conducted the experiment. To edit the contents of a field, double click on the field. When you are happy you may save your document by clicking on the ‘Save’ button.
To manage forms, click the My RSpace tab then Manage Forms. Here is a representative screenshot:
The table shows information about each form’s status, together with state-dependent actions. In the listing above, we are logged in as admin. Some of the forms are unpublished (and not available to create documents from), but all the other forms are published and are available for use.
Clicking on a published form’s name will open the form editor again. If you don’t have edit permission on the form, you will get a read-only version. Selecting the form by checking its Options checkbox will open a range of options which can be applied to that form, such as toggling its inclusion in the ‘Other Documents’ list in the Workspace ‘Create’ menu or setting permissions. Some options, such as ‘Copy’ can be applied to multiple selections.
When editing an existing, published form, edits to a form are not immediately available in the published form. As a form editor, you have three options:
- Revert – this abandons the new version, deletes it, and returns to the previous version.
- Save and close – the changes to the form are saved in a temporary form for future editing.
- Update – commits the form changes to a new version. If the form is published, this new version will be available for creation of new documents.