Data Explorer

Data Explorer
Database tools are great for complex SQL, but they are clumsy for exploring your data as business objects, that is, with related data. Data Explorer is a useful companion for your database tools. The Data Explorer user interface is built directly from your schema. You can test, prototype, perform back-office data maintenance, and view data for existing systems–regardless of their architecture–using Data Explorer. You can explore data, prepare use cases, and make repairs using Data Explorer. You can also create a new managed database using Data Explorer.
For more information about creating a new managed database, see Database Creation.
Data Explorer:
  • Uses the same REST API as the other
    CA Live API Creator
     system components. Everything it does you can do using the REST API.
  • Uses HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, so it runs well on desktops and tablets.
  • Is layered over
    CA Live API Creator
    and enforces your logic and security.
To watch a video walk-through of Data Explorer, see Videos.
In this article:
Data Explorer Key Services
Data Explorer provides the following key services:
  • Multi-table application interfaces
     derived from your parent/child relationships, including:
    • Master/Detail.
       View child objects for a parent (for example, products for category or orders of customer).
    • Drill-down navigation.
       View related data (for example, Orders for Product or SalesRep for Order).
    • Automatic joins.
       (For example, show Product Name, not Product Number.)
  • Filtering on multiple fields.
     Includes paginated scrolling (subject to row/column security).
Fields represent the columns in your database. The term field is used to stay within the metaphor of applications and screens, and not database terminology.
  • Row-sharing.
     Send the current row in the Form to colleagues.
  • Update services.
    • Updatable grids.
    • Lookups.
       Relate a child to a parent (for example, Company Name for Product).
    • Enforcement of reactive logic.
      For more information about reactive logic, see Logic.
  • Author Mode.
     Control which attributes are displayed, grouped, and formatted, and skinning.For more information about customizing the appearance of behavior of your forms, see Author Mode.
The following image shows Data Explorer running on a simulated tablet:
Instant HTML5/AngularJS Back Office Apps
You can use Data Explorer on any existing database. Typical scenarios:
  • Back-office database maintenance applications
  • Schema exploration
  • Data administration and repair
  • Prototyping
For new systems or new components, integration with reactive logic means you have a solid back-office interface that enforces your business logic and security, working in conjunction with REST-based mobile and web apps.
ERP Technology for Custom Systems
Data Explorer provides an ERP-style automated UI for a database. It leverages the schema so that you do not have to configure settings files or maintain them when the schema changes.
Many back-office packaged systems (Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM)) contain many hundreds of screens. It is costly and time-consuming to hand-build each screen, which moreover does not reflect subsequent schema extensions. These packages often build screens automatically, based on models and configuration files. You can query, browse, and update data using the screens for back-office use.
Internal custom systems have the same requirements. Not only can this represent substantial time and cost, in many cases these applications are not provided. Often, data maintenance tasks are performed with raw SQL, which is tedious and risky.
Access an Endpoint
You can access database tables, views, and API resources using Data Explorer. In Data Explorer, select your database table (default), API resource, or view from the end point types drop-down in the Grid.
or more information about the Data Explorer components, such as Grid, Form, and Child Grid, see the Data Explorer Components section.
Data Explorer implements a number of heuristics based on the foreign key relationships in your database:
  • As you create child tables, a relationship between the child and the parent is created. This child relationship is represented as a tab in the Child Grid.
  • Data Explorer uses each parent relationship for lookups and navigations.
For more information about the heuristic
CA Live API Creator
 uses to introspect target (child) for an entity-type method that returns the type of the source (parent), see InsertIntoFrom System Method.
Automatic Joins
Many databases employ surrogate keys. For example, the Business Logic API project sample identifies a product by
, instead of a name like Hammer or Shovel. These basic heuristics produce a usable result for child tables containing foreign keys to products, such as Lineitem. It is not interesting to see a list of ten part-1'2, five part-2's, and so forth. You want to see the name of the parent row.
When parents are identified by a numeric key, Data Explorer selects the first text fields to be the UserKey, a field likely to be a more recognizable name. You can reselect the keys when the heuristic makes the wrong choice. For such joins, you can select parent and view parent.
For more information:
Clumsy using Database Tools
The following image show the DbVisualizer Free tool:
Simple and Fast with Data Explorer
Data Explorer is layered over API Creator so you have full security and logic. It includes:
  •  Filter search.
  • List/form view.
  • Master/Detail (Order and Order Details).
  • Drill-down navigation (see selected Order of Employee Fuller).
  • Automatic Joins (see Product Name, not number).
    For more information about automatic joins, see Automatic Joins.
  • Formatting, such as currency.
  • Update, including lookups (for example, for Product).
The following image shows Customers and Orders from the Demo database in Data Explorer:
Start Data Explorer
You can start Data Explorer in API Creator in a new tab or as a stand-alone application.
Start Data Explorer as a Stand-alone Application
You can deploy Data Explorer to any server. Use the following URL:
Start Data Explorer in API Creator
Start Data Explorer in a new tab by clicking the Data Explorer fly-out and log in (Log in using admin if you are using the defaults). The following image shows the fly-out in the left navigation menu:
Data Explorer Components
The following image shows the Data Explorer components:
The Grid is a tabular list of searchable rows. You can update the Grid. Each row represents a record in the database. The Form is the scalar version of the selected row in the Grid. Each field represents columns in your database. The Child Grid includes tabs.
Together, the Form and the Child Grid are the children linked by way of relationships. These relationships are defined in the database (the foreign key) or you can define them using API Creator (virtual foreign keys). The Form and the Child Grid are often called a Master/Detail form.
Create a New Row
Create a new row in the Grid, Form, or Child Grid by clicking 
. The number of rows returned to the grid are controlled by pagination settings.
For more information about how to control the pagination settings, see API Properties
Filter the Main Grid
You can filter the fields in the Main Grid to narrow the records displayed.
  1. Click the filter field down arrow on the Main Grid toolbar.
    The filter window appears.
  2. Choose the field by which to filter.
  3. Enter the value by which to filter. If the field is numeric or float data type, you can use the less than (<), the greater than (>), the less than and equal to (=<), and the greater than and equal to (>=) operators. If the field is boolean data type, you can search by true (T) or field (F). You can filter by null and not-null field values by choosing the Is Null or Not Null option. 
  4. To search by an additional field, click the plus (+) symbol to filter by another field.
  5. Press the Enter key on your keyboard or click the Search icon. 
The records in the Main Grid are filtered.
Return the Next Set of Rows
Return the next set of rows in the Grid or Child Grid by clicking 
Fetch More
Revert Changes
Revert changes before you save them by clicking 
Save and Delete Rows
Save one or more rows in a Grid or the current row in a Form by clicking 
. You can mark a row for deletion by clicking 
 and saving your changes.
Place a Row in the Form
Place the selected zoom row (for example, Order Details in the Child Grid) in the Form by clicking 
. Place the parent (view parent) in the Form (for example, Product) by clicking the triangle in the Child Grid.
Select a Parent
Open the dialog to select, or look up, a parent (select parent) by double-clicking the parent in the Child Grid (for example, the product name).
Move a Row as Focus Table in the Grid
Move a row in the Child Grid as the main focus table in the Grid by clicking 
Focus Table
. You can also view a table in the Grid by selecting the table from the endpoint types drop-down in the Grid.
 Return a Row in the Form to the Grid
Return the scaler version of the selected Grid row back to the original scalar selection by clicking 
Move a Row in the Form
Move a selected row in the Form forward or backward by clicking 
Navigate to Related Data
You can navigate to related data using Data Explorer, such as moving from a customer and list of orders to an order with a list of items, or from an Orders' item to the referenced Product. Navigation is based on foreign keys. If these are not in your schema, you can define virtual foreign keys using API Creator.
For more information about defining virtual foreign keys, see Database Connectivity.