Last week, we featured an article introducing the ActionEquals service by way of an example that added forms to a static GitHub Pages site. In this article, we will show you around the ActionEquals Dashboard which is where you can view, search, and export the form data submitted by website users.
You may have noticed the Sample Data menu item on our site. This is a link to the "Test Co." Dashboard where you can examine features against some sample data. Some of this sample data may come from the general public exploring the example forms in the Documentation, or users testing out the REST API.
After you login, a menu option will be added to access only your forms.
In the last article, we created a simple website with two forms "Contacts" and "Surveys" by editing the HTML of the form pages. Then, in the Dashboard, we enabled data collection for these forms in ActionEquals by clicking on Allowed Form Names.. and adding both "Contacts" and "Surveys". This step is necessary to prevent a hacker from submitting garbage forms using your ApiKey which we would have to store, and which you would have to see in your list of forms.
View after allowing forms:
In this article, we used the sample dashboard (i.e. "SAMPLE DATA" menu item) to describe the features of the Dashboard. The "My Settings" button does not appear on the Sample Dashboard:
To view submissions for a form, select a form from the list that appears below the "Allowed Form Names.." button. If you do not see the particular form of interest listed, this means you have not yet allowed those forms to be submitted. Selecting the Jewelry form, for example, displays a grid of submitted data
The submissions are initially sorted by Date with the most recent submissions first. You can change the sort order by clicking on a column header. Notice that ActionEquals automatically recognized the data in the "Metal" column as Hex Color values and rendered the actual color. You don't need to do anything to configure your form in order for this to happen. At the bottom of the grid are paging controls.
The Search controls above the grid are designed to assist you in created valid Filter Expressions. For example, if I want to see only the submissions where the user selected "Earrings" as the JewelryType, I can first select the field from the dropdown, then a comparison operator (e.g. equals), then type of the value in the Value field
Then click Add. Notice that the Filter expression is generated
(JewelryType = Earrings)
Values that do not contain spaces do not need to be quoted. Parentheses can be used to group a combination of AND and OR expressions.
By clicking Submit Filter, the data grid is updated to show only those form submission matching your filter expression:
To clear the Filter, select Clear, then Submit Filter.
Now, let's view the Survey submissions. To Filter the search results to view only submissions within a date range, select "Date Submitted" and "Is Between Dates"
Notice that ActionEquals already knows the field you selected is a date, it presents a calendar for the Value and Value2. Entering 3/1/2021 and 4/1/2021 for these dates, and clicking "Add" generates the Filter Expression
(DateSubmitted >= 2021-03-01 AND DateSubmitted <= 2021-04-01)
Similarly, ActionEquals knows that the data in column "WouldRecommendNumber" is a number because its name ends with "Number".
Clicking on a cell labeled "More.." shows all the form field data for a submission. This data is grouped together rather than appearing in separate columns. Data fields where searching and sorting are not applicable should be stored in the this Misc data column. ActionEquals distinguishes between fields that get dedicated column (upper case input name attribute) and grouped data (lower case name attribute) by whether the name of the form element begins with a capital letter.
Export to CSV
By clicking on Export to CSV, ActionEquals will cause a "comma-separated values" format text file to download which you can open with any spreadsheet application. This file will contain all the form submissions for the currently selected form.
One thing that separates ActionEquals from any other forms service is the built-in capabilities it gives you for viewing, advanced filtering, exporting, and thus the ability to analyze the data your users submit.