Books, fields, and records
Cloudternal Records can be thought of as a digital filing cabinet. An old school physical filing cabinet would have record books full of neatly organized information for each aspect of your business, and Cloudternal brings it back to those basics.
In Cloudternal, each record book is just called a book, each column header is called a field, and each entry is simply a record.
For this guide, let's pretend your company has started issuing parking tags for the company lot and you're tasked with implementing a new system to keep track of them. Right away, you decide to sketch things out on pen and paper, it looks something like this.
There's not really a tool just for this and you don't want to introduce something new for something so trivial anyway. Also, you're supposed to lock access down but also open it up in ways that are impossible to implement with Excel (we'll expand on that soon). And wouldn't it be nice if you could tap into existing employee data instead of duplicating it in your new system. Luckily you can solve all of this because you already have Cloudternal Records! And you make something that looks very similar to what you sketched on paper and pen.
Something to note is that you always create records at the top and newer records show before older ones (you'll see how to change the sort order later).
Cloudternal Records automatically keeps an audit trail of every change, in every cell, in every record, in every book throughout the application. As a quick reference we provide four system fields that always display who created the record and when it was created along with the last updated date for the record and who made that update.
Cloudternal Records allows you to cross-reference data from one book to another book. This means that you won't have manually duplicate data and that all your data stays in sync throughout the application.
An entire record can be referenced from one book to another book. In this simple example we want to associate an employee to an order and it can be done by cross-referencing "Ann" from the Employees book. In this way, even if Ann's department changes from "A" to "Z" in the Employees book, that change is automatically reflected in the Order book.
To take our Parking Tags example one step further, you realize that it would be better to have the employee name cross-referenced from the Employee book.
Cloudternal Records was designed to make it easy for users to build on what others have already created without having to recreate the wheel. Users have the ability to extend existing books by adding fields of their own.
As with any organization, different users/groups need to track different data. Cloudternal Records makes it easy to add new fields. Simply pick a field type and give it a name. You have several fields types to choose from: Date, Date Time, Formula, Image, Quantity, Text, Toggle, Video, and Cross-Reference.
Continuing with our example above, you would like to track car make and parking spot number.
Having field types gives you more control of the data that is entered. You'll never have to worry about finding out that your report isn't running because someone fat fingered the letter "l" into a date field.
There are additional controls available for each field type that help ensure data being entered is clean and that it falls inline with your business rules.
You can use formula fields in Cloudternal Records to automatically calculate values from other fields in the same record. This cuts down on mistakes and unnecessary data entry.
In our parking tags example, let's suppose that you need to keep track of parking tag expiration dates.
In Cloudternal Records you can automatically calculate an expiration date for each of the parking tags based on when the parking tag was issued instead of manually calculating and entering the expiration date.
You can create formulas for dates and quantities. We currently support adding or subtracting time to/from dates, comparing dates, and basic math operations on quantities. New formulas are being added constantly.
You can also use formula results inside of other formulas for more complex calculations.
Since Cloudternal Records can handle millions of records, scrolling to find a specific set of records won't always be possible. We make it easy for you to find what you are looking for quickly by sorting, filtering, and grouping.
Sorting can you help you quickly find things in a long list.
In Cloudternal Records you pick which fields to sort and how to sort them. So whether you need to sort by a date, a name, a number, or any other field type, it's possible. In this example we sort by name descending. And for those who need to sort by multiple fields at once, it's possible with Cloudternal Records.
To narrow down the information displayed, you can also filter the results to only those values you care to see.
In this example we want to narrow down our list of employees where their name starts with "j". And if you need to filter these results even further, you can do that because Cloudternal Records allows you to do multiple filters at a time.
Another way to more easily visualize and organize a large amount of data is to group that data into meaningful categories. In this example you have a list of records all mixed together that are then grouped based on a similar characteristic.
In our Parking Tag example we want to quickly visualize the parking tag info for each department. By grouping the entire book by department we can easily see the parking tag info broken out by department. As the amount of data and number of fields continue to grow, you will likely need the ability to create groups within groups. All this is possible because Cloudternal Records allows you to group by multiple fields at a time.
Adding users and admin rights
There are two types of users in Cloudternal Records, administrators and non-administrators. Administrators have complete access to the application and permissions do not apply to them. They are also responsible for adding or removing users and can assign administrative rights to other users.
New users are added to the system by adding a record into the "User" book. This is also where they are designated as an administrator or not. And since permissions for the application rely heavily on attributes of users, this is also where a user in the "User" book is cross-referenced to a person/employee.
Cloudternal Records offers a permissions system unlike any other. It is the first of its kind. It combines two core tenants.
First, permissions are expressed in plain English, how anyone would describe who gets access to what. You no longer have to maintain constantly changing, hard coded security groups or security roles. Instead, permissions are based on your business rules, that rarely change.
Second, we offer extremely granular permissions, down to the cell level.
Following along with our Parking Tags example, it would make sense that employees should not see anyone else's license plate info. Yet, each employee should be able to update their own license plate.
In order to satisfy the business rules of the security personnel we only need to setup two permission rules.
First, at the book level, we compare to see if the user is also the employee on that record, if so, the user is allowed to see that record and that record only.
Second, at the field level, we allow the "License Plate" field to be editable if the user is also the employee on that record.
The result of those two permission rules are seen here. The user who is logged in, "Jack Sparrow" can only see his record and the only field he can edit is "License Plate".
Exporting and importing data
Your data is never held hostage. You can always export your data from Cloudternal Records. Exporting is done to CSV. You can also import your data via CSV.
During the export process you get to choose exactly which fields you would like exported to CSV. Something to keep in mind is that you can fine tune what is exported by using the filter feature prior to doing an export.
The import process involves picking a CSV file, reviewing the contents of that file, and then importing the file into a book. Data in the CSV file including the header names needs to be correct because the data will run through the same validations already setup for your book.