I have been asked countless times to explain the value of Reverse Selector, which is actually difficult to articulate unless you have spent some time trying to build complex calculators with many inputs. This add-on component for Xcelsius 2008 is one of the few that Centigon Solutions sells on the website. Hopefully this will clarify how this component is useful to your dashboard projects.
Reverse selector provides a unique functionality to Xcelsius and is designed specifically for dashboards/calculators that require multiple data inputs. Generally, the Reverse Selector is best used for calculators or forms containing many variables that an end user controls. Coupling single value components or input text boxes with a Reverse Selector will significantly improve the configuration process, enabling end users to input an unlimited number of variables with ease.
To understand the value of this Xcelsius plugin, we will address a use case where Reverse Selector can reduce overhead, save development time, and streamline a dashboard:
In the calculator below we want to first filter through sales reps by region, then calculate how increasing each rep’s sales can contribute to the overall target. The technical challenge for the Xcelsius model is allowing a single slider to dictate a value for each sales rep, and then persist the values so they can be used in the calculation.
The traditional solution to this problem included stacking multiple sliders on top of each other, then assigning dynamic visibility to each slider based on the selected sales rep. With a 1-1 relationship between a single value component and the cell it controls, scaling this solution is a major challenge. While 2 or 3 stacked sliders are not a problem, 10 or 20 quickly generates a dashboard project that is heavy and difficult to maintain. Furthermore, the time to configure each selector could lead to hours of un-necessary work.
Reverse selector is a great alternative to simplify design and management of calculator functionality within a dashboard. In this example, the Reverse Selector will use one slider to insert and persist the values based on the selected sales rep. The following directions illustrate how to setup a Reverse Selector to achieve the following dashboard.
Source Value– The Source Value is a single cell where you will also link your single value component or input text.
Destination Range– The destination range is the column where you will insert and distribute “Source Value.”
Row Index– The Row index will dictate where the Source Value will be placed within the destination range.
With these three properties set, it is extremely important to set the appropriate behavior for the Reverse Selector.
Update Destination Range– This behavior option dictates when the Reverse Selector will insert the “Source Value” into the “Destination Range.” The most commonly used behavior is “When Source Value Changes.” This option triggers Reverse Selector to insert any time the source value changes. In other words, as the slider modifies the source value, Reverse Selector will insert its value into the destination range based on the “Row Index.”
Source Value Lookup– This behavior is the most important feature making Reverse Selector unique because it enables bi-directional communication between the Source Value cell and the Destination Range. As the Row Index changes, the slider component will need to reference the persisted value within the destination range. The Source Value Lookup will retrieve this value and place it in the Source Value cell. Without this capability, the reverse selector will simply overwrite the destination cells.
Tips for Using Reverse Selector
- When using this component, remember to check the appropriate behaviors.
- Do not have a selector insert into the Source Value component.
- Check out the templates on the Centigon Solutions website to see some of the different ways for implementing this component.
Recommendations for future releases:
- Allow reverse selector to insert into a range, rather than a single row or column.
- Make the Source Value Lookup behavior checked by default.
- Rename the Reverse Selector component.