Technology Management Web Panel Add-in.

Part I – NAV 2015 Web Client Onscreen Keyboard.

I believe we all love Microsoft Dynamics NAV and appreciate all the cool things you can do with it. There are some gaps though. One thing that has drawn my attention is the fact that it is, actually, quite inconvenient to work with data entry for devices having no keyboard attached (for example a touch-screen on a shop-floor, or a tablet device). You can bring the onscreen keyboard provided by the Operating System (if any), but this would force you to always call the keyboard to appear, or even keep it on the screen. Anyhow, as a result your screen might look something like this:

DefaultOSKeyboard 

Above image is Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Web Client Purchase Orders screen on 14’’ touch-screen laptop with Microsoft Windows Onscreen Keyboard. Obviously this is not a very convenient way to work.

This is why here at Technology Management we have decided it is a good idea to create something to address this. We came up with a slick and fully customisable solution for an onscreen keyboard for the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Web Client. The Add-in enables the Web Client to accommodate the user with a keyboard layout depending on the control the user is going to input data in. Below is the same screen but with Tecman Web Panel Onscreen QWERTY keyboard.

TecmanOSqwerty TecmanOSqwerty.2

If you ask me, this is a way better option. It is nice, neat and appears only when I focus on the editable field. The onscreen keyboard dimensions and content are fully customisable. You can create an unlimited number of your own keyboard layouts if you need to and a single page can host multiple keyboard layouts depending on your needs. For example, the page above has another on-screen keyboard attached to work with quantities (see the screen below with the Tecman Web Panel Onscreen num-pad). The Add-in will tell the Web Client which keyboard layout to show in which case making the data entry quite intuitive and user friendly.

clip_image006TecmanOSDecimals.2

All the keyboard layouts defined are stored within Microsoft Dynamics NAV. You do not need to deploy any additional components anywhere. Just follow the standard Add-in installation routine on the Microsoft Dynamics NAV server and you are ready to go.

There is more functionality available within the Web Panel Add-in, but I will cover this in the next part of this blog. Spoiler alert: It will be dedicated to creating ‘classic’ style page controls (dimensions, positioning, font styling – everything many classic Microsoft Dynamics NAV users are longing for).

Brief Q&A

How does Web Panel – Onscreen Keyboard work?

Without going deep into details, the Add-in creates JavaScript code and injects it into the Web Client page. The JavaScript core code contains the library for building the onscreen keyboard of any layout as well as the keyboard definitions and attachment instructions (generated at runtime by Microsoft Dynamics NAV page).

How much development is involved to attach it to a page?

It does not take long at all. All you need is to add the Add-in control to the page (as always) and write several lines of code to let it know which keyboard layouts to attach to which controls.

Does this affect the Windows Client?

The Add-in does not affect your Windows Client. This means that you do not need to create any separate pages to utilise the Add-in.

Can I have it in my Windows Client?

I am afraid you cannot (at least at this point). Windows Client has no HTML content the web Panel Add-in Onscreen Keyboard element could interact with.

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