Monday, 29 October 2012

Finding infrequently used formulas and making them obsolete.

As time goes by most sites tend to find they have an ever increasing number of formulas which can become quite difficult to manage effectively and can make searching for specific formulas more difficult.  ColorPoint provides the ability to mitigate this problem by making formulas obsolete which removes them from search results while still allowing them to be viewed and re-introduced if necessary.  Sometimes it can be hard to decide which formulas should be made obsolete and time consuming to make a large number of formulas that can’t be selected in a single search obsolete.

The solution

ColorPoint Manager contains an administrative level feature that shows which formulas have not been used since a given date and allows you to make them obsolete all at once.  This feature can be launched by going to Admin menu and selecting ‘Obsolete unused formulas’
From here you will be presented with a textbox the date you want to use to define which formulas you consider to be obsolete.  By default we say that if a formula hasn’t been used in the 2 years before today then there’s a good chance you might not need it in the immediate future either.  You can of course adjust this date to increase or decrease the number of formulas being made obsolete.  Pressing the ‘Find Formulas’ button will start the process of looking for formulas which haven’t been used in the specified time frame.  This step may take a moment depending on the number of formulas on the system but you can see progress as it goes and cancel the operation at any point.

Why are designs there?

When you make a formula obsolete it means that you can no longer create jobs from any design that contains a formula which is obsolete, so the designs box shows you which designs will be made obsolete as a result of the selected formulas being made obsolete.  If there is a design that you know you will be using in the near future then if you un-tick it then the formulas it contains will also be automatically un-ticked as well.  Similarly formulas can also be un-ticked directly if you know you will need them soon.
Once you have selected the appropriate formulas and designs are ready to proceed, you simply press the ‘Make Obsolete’ button which will show you a confirmation dialogue asking you if you wish to continue.  The process of making formulas and designs obsolete may take a little while depending on how many items are being processed.

How do I get them back?

If it turns out that you do need to use one of the formulas you made obsolete then reintroducing them is a simple process.  On the formula page select ‘Include’ from the obsolete drop down in the filter panel which will include all obsolete formulas in the search results.
Once you have found the formula you want to use simply double click it and then select ‘Re-introduce Formula’ from the menu on the left hand side. 
This procedure can also be used to re-introduce designs that are obsolete.  If a design you wish to re-introduce contains obsolete formulas you can open the formula easily by right clicking them from the design’s items screen and choosing ‘Open’.

How often do I need to do this?

How often you need to run this will depend on how many formulas you create and whether the formulas you create are often re-used or not.  We generally recommend having no more than 1000 non-obsolete formulas on the system at any given time but if you’re under this number it may still be a good idea to check ever year or so simply to make the number of formulas more manageable.

what if need more than 1000 non-obsolete formulas?

While it is possible that you may need more than 1000 non-obsolete formulas on your system you may be surprised at how few formulas you’re using on a regular basis.  Even if you are using a large variety of formulas only formulas that you haven’t used in years will be suggested so the screen will not suggest making anything obsolete if you’ve used it recently.