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A Short Tutorial for the macOS Quick Query
Introduction

Although basically the same in function, the Quick Query interface has changed with the move to macOS. This short tutorial explains how the new Quick Query differs from Classic.

In the tutorial below, you can click each image to see it at full-size.

Classic Quick Query

In the Classic Quick Query, your text cursor must first be in the field you want to search and then you must either select Quick Query from a menu, type its command-key equivalent or press a button on the form to bring up the Quick Query panel. Doing this causes the content of the window to move down to make room for the Quick Query panel and places the text cursor in the Quick Query input field.

The Classic Quick Query panel provides three radio buttons or checkboxes for controlling the search operator. The labels of these buttons (and thier type) change to accommodate the type of field being searched. For example, a text field has three radio buttons: [Starts With, Contains, and Is Found Within] and you can only choose one at a time. For a number field there are three checkboxes [=, <, and >] and you have to turn them on/off in combinations to create, e.g. a "greater than or equal to" search.

macOS Quick Query

In the macOS Quick Query, clicking the ‘chicklet’ on the right end of the View’s title bar opens a standard macOS toolbar, revealing the new Quick Query panel. (Of course, the Quick Query can still be opened by all the conventional means described above).

Once it is open, instead of having to click in a rectangle and then reselect the Quick Query command to change the field on which you wish to search, you can now use the Searchable Fields popup menu to switch to any field on the form that is available for searching. (Collection designers: only fields that have the Allow Query attribute checked appear in the popup menu.)

If the text cursor is in a field when the Quick Query panel is opened, that field is preselected in the Searchable Fields popup. This ensures that the process you use to fill out a Quick Query in Classic will continue to work in macOS.

The macOS Quick Query looks and acts like the search function in most other macOS programs. In keeping with that model, the Search Operators are now specified through the standard macOS query tool — the little magnifying glass icon with a popup triangle next to it.

Unlike the limitations of the fixed size of the Quick Query panel, this popup menu is not limited to just three choices. For example, that means that instead of having to click two checkboxes ( > and = ) to get "greater than or equal to" you can now select that operator directly from the popup menu.

Keeping Helix backwards compatibile with Classic means we can not add new operators yet, but this new interface opens the door for us to add many new Search Operators to the Quick Query without creating an interface nightmare.

Just like the Classic Quick Query, the third component is the type-in field, where you enter the Search Value you wish to find. The familiar 'type and tab' interface is preserved in the macOS Quick Query, making the transition fairly painless.

A new feature in the macOS Quick Query is seen in the space below the Quick Query popups, where a ‘plain language’ version of your query is spelled out, helping avoid query specification errors.

Collection designers: although it is not shown here, the Allow Query Bypass attribute appears as a checkbox to the right of the Quick Query elements that are shown.

View Resizing

One problem with the Classic Quick Query is that when the Quick Query panel is opened, it pushes the rest of the view down. The lower portion of the form is cut off and hidden from view, and on a fixed-size view (one that has the vertical scroll bar removed) it is impossible to see that part of the view while the Quick Query panel is open.

The macOS Quick Query resolves this problem by resizing the window to accomodate the toolbar. No more cut off forms!