Resizing Cognos Search and Select Prompts: A SAD STORY

Prompts are an essential part of analyzing data. Out of all the prompts available in Cognos, The Search and Select prompt is one of the most useful items available to report designers. They can use it to add interactivity and flexibility to a report or dashboard.

It provides users with the ability to scan large data sets and select the values to filter the report. But unfortunately, Shortcomings with the Search and Select prompt make life miserable for every Report developer and the Business User. A couple of main issues are

Ability to set the size and height 

Initial frustration is the Inability to set the size and height of the prompt in the report. The prompt size is BIG to begin with, and if you make it a multi-select then forget about it, the size becomes HUGE!!!

I was working on developing a Report recently and was looking into leveraging Search and Select Prompt. The size of one of those prompts was approximately 550px(W)*425(H).

I needed to use two Search & Select prompts, among other prompts. So the size came close to 1000 px*850 px. Seriously! That’s almost size of an iPad Mini! Who has that kind of a real estate in their reports? So ideally we should be able to define a size with respect to screen resolution for this component.

Link to IBM ideas site to vote and to provide feedback to IBM, so you “help make them even better” 🙂

Ability to set “Contains any of these Keywords”

By default, the Select and Search prompt uses “Start with any of these keywords” as the default search option. This search option does not provide an optimal user experience.

On most cases, the users usually remember only part of the string they are trying to search by. And, that necessarily may not be the beginning of the keyword(i.e., If I was looking for all companies named “Hathaway.” The search results would not contain “Berkshire Hathaway Inc.” Since it does not begin with “Hathway.”

The users are forced having to select “Contains with any of these keywords” as the search option, before actually searching the prompt. This adds an unnecessary click to the user. Sometimes in a hurry, they forget to set this setting, and it adds to their frustration.

IBM ideas site link:

There are of course JavaScripts available, which can be leveraged to accomplish the above two requests. But, those are not supported by IBM, and if IBM changes the source code during one of the upgrades( which they have already), then it becomes an unnecessary headache for IT teams to have to come up with an update script. It would be nice if this functionality came out of the box.

So if you are like me and have faced this issue or have users complain. Please take 5 minutes of your time to register and vote for the above ideas at the IBM site. At the time of this writing the “Setting the Size” idea had 110 votes, so more people vote faster, it will be get taken care.

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