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In Sugar's Winter '18 release we introduced a new dashlet that helps users navigate and search the product catalog and add items to a quote easily without leaving the quotes UI (see this blog post for more information).  There are many other places in Sugar where users need to be able to access the product catalog, so in the Spring '18 release we're making it available everywhere.


Opportunities and revenue line items


Enterprise Edition users who work with opportunities will notice that the Product Catalog Dashlet is now available in the opportunity create drawer.  They'll be able to easily find any item in their catalog and review the details of a specific item by opening the detail drawer as they create a new opportunity.  If they're using revenue line items, they'll be able to add a line item to an opportunity simply by clicking on the product's name.



The dashlet can be added to dashboards in opportunities record view as well.  If you're using revenue line items, you can continue adding line items to your opportunity in record view by clicking on product names in the dashlet.


Accounts and other modules with a Revenue Line Items subpanel


When users add the Product Catalog Dashlet to a module record view with an RLI subpanel -- the accounts module, for example -- clicking a product in the dashlet will open the RLI create drawer and automatically populate the relevant fields with values from the product catalog record.



In modules that do not have an RLI subpanel, or in list views, or the homepage, users will still be able to navigate the catalog hierarchy and open the details of a single product in a drawer, but will not be able to create RLIs or QLIs.


Limiting access to the dashlet


Users will be able to add the dashlet to any dashboard in Sugar by default.  If a user needs the product catalog on their home page, they just need to add the dashlet to their home dashboard. 


If an administrator needs to limit access to the dashlet, or make it available only in certain modules, they can do this by adding a module white list to the dashlet metadata.  The 'filter' => array section of the code below limits the dashlet to the Accounts, Opportunities, Quotes and Revenue Line Items modules. 


// ADD TO /custom/modules/Quotes/clients/base/views/product-catalog-dashlet/product-catalog-dashlet.php
$viewdefs['Quotes']['base']['view']['product-catalog-dashlet'] = array(
    'dashlets' => array(
            'label' => 'LBL_PRODUCT_CATALOG_DASHLET_NAME',
            'description' => 'LBL_PRODUCT_CATALOG_DASHLET_DESC',
            'config' => array(
                'module' => 'Quotes',
            'preview' => array(
            'filter' => array(
                'module' => array(
                    // These are the only modules the dashlet is allowed on
                'view' => array(
                    'record',   // Allowed on Record Views - removing this means dashlet is not allowed on Record View
                    'records',  // Allowed on List Views - removing this means dashlet is not allowed on List View


Usability improvements


We've also made a couple small usability improvements to the dashlet in the Spring '18 release:


  1. Users will see the link pointer (the little hand icon) when mousing over folders, category names, product names or product detail icons so that it's a little more clear what you can interact with.
  2. Chrome users will see a scroll bar on the right-hand side of the dashlet.  The scroll bar will change size and position as categories are opened and closed.
  3. All users will now see category and product names in the same fonts used in the rest of the Sugar user interface.  The dashlet rendered using incorrect fonts for some Windows users in the Winter '18 release.  



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The Winter '18 release of Sugar features a new dashlet in the quotes module that will help users navigate the product catalog, find items they're looking for and quickly add them to a quote.  This new dashlet puts important data right at the user's fingertips and makes it easier for users to quickly create and edit quotes.


Where can users find the new dashlet?


The new Product Catalog Dashlet is in the intelligence pane on the quotes create page (this is the the first time we've ever put a dashlet on a create page) and in the intelligence pane on quotes record view.  For now the dashlet is only available in quotes.  We plan on adding it to the opportunities module in a future release so users can quickly add items from the product catalog to their opportunities as RLIs.


What does the new dashlet do, and how does it work?


The Product Catalog Dashlet in Sugar Winter '18


Product categories are represented as folders and are organized to reflect the structure of the customer's category hierarchy.  Users can click on individual folders to reveal the products contained in each category.  Clicking the product name will immediately add the product to the quote displayed on the page.  Clicking on the icon next to a product will open the full product catalog record in a drawer.  Users may add the product to their quote directly from the drawer or close the drawer without adding the product and return to their quote.


Here's a short video that shows the new dashlet in action:



Upgrade considerations


The new dashlet will appear at the top of the default dashboard in quotes record view in new Sugar installs or in upgraded instances in which users have not previously used the quotes module.  Users of the quotes module who are upgrading from an earlier version of Sugar will have to manually add it to their dashboards.  If they've used the quotes module in the past, their default dashboard has already been configured, and we do not change it on upgrade.  The dashlet will appear automatically on the quotes create page in all instances of Sugar, whether they're new installs or upgrades.


Performance and technical notes


We did extensive performance testing throughout development.  This resulted in several architecture and design changes so that we could optimize performance and deliver the best possible user experience to all customers.  Here are a couple of things we did to optimize performance particularly for customers with large product catalogs:


  1. The product/category hierarchy is rendered using PhaserIO, a new JS library that renders shapes, text, images, video or other content in an HTML canvas or using WebGL.  Using this new library ensures that the dashlet is fast and responsive even when the UI is rendering tens of thousands of records.
  2. The new API that delivers data to the dashlet only retrieves what the user needs at any given time.  Each time the user clicks on a folder in the dashlet, the API retrieves only the content of that folder.  It also respects the "Listview items per page" parameter in Sugar's system settings.  If that parameter is set to 20, the API will return 20 items.  Additional items can be loaded by clicking a "Show more" link.


The Product Catalog Dashlet is the latest major enhancement to our core SFA modules.  It puts important data right at the user's fingertips so that it's available exactly where they need it the most.  With the new Product Catalog Dashlet it's never been easier to create and edit quotes in Sugar.


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