Informer Power Users Road Show A Big Hit!

Posted on December 17th 2012

by Tim Nicholson, Director of Informer Customer Services

One of the questions we typically hear when doing Informer training is “Where can I find a reference for these script calculated columns?”  Usually we would respond with sites such as or some other JavaScript reference site.  I didn’t want to write yet another JavaScript reference manual when so many of them exist out there.  Then I thought…why not just develop a workshop just for Informer JavaScript?

Using JavaScript, Informer calculated columns allow you to extend your reporting capabilities by doing calculations on the data in your reports.  For example, you have “first name” and “last name” in your report, but you need them to display “last, first”.  Or you have two number values, and you want to see the difference of those two numbers.  Maybe you need to see how many days are between two dates on your report.  You can also do things like create hyperlinks so you can make an email or web address clickable.  The data manipulation possibilities are endless with Informer calculated columns.

At first, I was hesitant to develop such a workshop, thinking that it would be way too much material to cover in a reasonable amount of time.  But the more I looked at it, the more I was convinced it could be done by sticking with the relevant pieces of JavaScript that are used in Informer.  I began to write up an outline and quickly determined that, yes, it was doable.  After several late nights of writing, the workshop material was written! This class needed to be not only for IT people but for the other power users as well.  I also wanted to hold this class in various parts of the country.  The Informer Power Users Road Show was born.

Our first workshop took place December 10th and 11th at Wake Technical Community College.  Even though the announcement for the workshop came with very short notice, we still had 14 people in attendance.

We started the workshop by going over some basics of JavaScript in case users were not familiar with the language (knowing JavaScript was not a prerequisite).  We then started looking at different examples of the types of calculated columns that can be written in Informer, such as: concatenating fields together like first name and last name; doing math calculations on numeric values; manipulating dates; and how to handle multi-valued fields, or arrays.  Each topic had a series of exercises to reinforce the material, and some had more advanced challenges.

The workshop was an overwhelming success! 

The second part of the Informer Power Users Road Show involves plugins.  Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of Informer.  Some plugins we covered include single-sign-on authentication, so users are automatically logged into Informer; row-level security, to secure individual rows of data based on the user running the report; look-and-feel, to change the color scheme and other cosmetics for Informer; and dashboard plugins that add data providers or visualization components.  This workshop is much more technical, requiring a working knowledge of Java development.

Next stop on the Informer Power Users Road Show is the Northeast where we are planning to hold a workshop in the late Spring.  Stay tuned for dates and location!

For more information, contact me at

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