An “End-to-End” Solution

Each QuestField is a mini Client/Server environment that forms a highly-efficient “pipeline” between a field in the browser and your database. In the browser, a QuestField can be used anywhere where you would normally use a regular "static" input field. The QuestField communicates with the QuestFields Server, which acts like a “black box” between the fields and your own databases:

A unique advantage of the QuestFields “end-to-end” solution, is that no programming or development is needed. Existing and new web pages can be enhanced in a matter of hours. QuestFields offer a highly efficient "channel" between the browser and your database without interfering with the rest of the web page and without replacing your existing applications.

Note that QuestFields do not replace the existing web application, database, or search engine! Rather, QuestFields offer a risk-free and immediate enhancement that is valued highly by users, IT architects, and company management!

Basic QuestField Features

The most important "part" of a QuestField is the QuestFields Server, which is an application that offers advanced request management, user session management, intelligent data caching, merging of queries from various databases, handling of field dependencies, load balancing, interfacing with any content source, and automatic database fail-over. The QuestFields Server runs in virtually any server environment and is compatible with any server application platform (J2EE, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, etc.). It has a low "footprint" and runs seamlessly alongside your other server applications.

Watch the 2-minute
QuestField Examples movie

The QuestFields "Client" is loaded by the browser as part of the HTML page. Adding a QuestField to the web page is nearly as easy as adding an image!

The QuestField was designed to work intuitively, similar to a regular "combo box". As soon as the user starts typing, the QuestField automatically establishes a connection with the QuestFields Server. Nearly instantaneously, results are displayed in a richly-formatted dropdown list. If a user types a non-existing entry, a "red squiggly underline" indicates the spelling mistake. The user can simply back up and correct the mistake, rather than waiting for the page to redraw and retyping the entire query.

QuestFields display results in a richly formatted list that can easily be adjusted to your specific application needs. An "information pane" displays information to the user about the data returned by your database. Individual users can selectively enable and disable various QuestField features.

QuestField Configuration

The data retrieved by a QuestField is configured on the QuestFields Server, which automatically queries your existing databases. Or, if your current search engine isn't fast enough, you can have the QuestFields Server index and search your data. Because most information is preconfigured on the server, adding a QuestField to a web page is extremely easy!

In the HTML page, the QuestField offers a variety of configuration parameters, most of which are optional. The most important client-side QuestField configuration parameters are the QuestFields Server Adress (connectString) and the name of the Content Channel (contentChannel) indicating the query to be performed and the data to be returned. Most other configuration parameters are related to the "look and feel" of the QuestField, such as its size and the size of the dropdown list.

The code below shows an example of how a QuestField is added to the HTML page:

<script type="text/javascript">
  QO.field.insert ({
    connectString: "/questobjects/server",
    contentChannel: "peoplefinder",
    questFieldWidth: 180,
    questFieldHeight: 20,
    popUpWidth: 300,
    popUpRows: 16

QuestField Styling

With no programming, a QuestField can be styled to fit the look and feel of your web page. QuestFields have built-in support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). The following screen shot shows the very same QuestField using various style sheets:

Click to enlarge

When accessed from older browsers that do not support the latest CSS standards, QuestFields automatically revert to a generic look (shown on the left in the image above).

QuestField Metadata Handling

Each QuestField is a standalone, ready-to-use component that does not require any programming, custom development, or redesign of the web page.

However, a QuestField does make the data it receives from the server available to the rest of the web page: With just a little bit of JavaScript programming, the web designer can dynamically redraw parts of the web page based on metadata selected in the QuestField. As users browse through the QuestField result list, your web page will seem to dynamically adjust itself according to the metadata received from the server.

Metadata can include URLs to images and other multi-media content. In the example on the right, the page automatically shows an image and pricing information, as the user selects an item in the QuestField result list.

More Information

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