StratNavApp.com is built to be a collaborative platform. To encourage people to work on developing and executing their business strategies together.
One of the problems that can arise is that two people try to update the same information at the same time. This can lead to clashes, and in the worst cases, one of the people's updates is lost!
To prevent that from happening, StratNavApp.com will lock an input field while someone is updating it. While that field is locked, it will appear slightly greyed out to everyone else. They will be able to see it, but not change it. Once the first person stops updating that field, it will change back to its normal appearance for everyone else, and they will then be able to change it as normal.
If a person clicks on a locked, greyed-out field, they will see a popup message explaining that the field is locked and giving them three options:
- Wait: this will simply close the popup message. If you still want to edit that field, then you can wait for the other person to finish; the field will then change back to its normal appearance and you can carry one. You don't have to wait of course. You can get on with something else somewhere else in StratNavApp.com and then come back later.
- Learn more: this will bring you to this blog entry.
- Force unlock: you don't have to wait, of course. You can force the field to unlock so that you can make your changes immediately. Sometimes, there are good reasons why you may need to do this (See What happens when it goes wrong, below.) If the other person is still changing that field, they will receive a notification that you have forced the unlock and the field will become greyed out and locked for them. There is also a chance that they might lose the changes they are currently working on. So do think carefully before you do this.
Although this may seem a little odd at first, it is important to remember that a field can be locked by someone else, but it can also be locked by you yourself! This can happen if you are working on two computers, using two browsers, or even just two tabs in the same browser. But don't worry, the popup mentioned above always tell you who has locked the field. So you will know if it is you or who else it is and can decide what to do on that basis.
Field locking only applies to fields where you update them by typing. Fields that you can change with simple mouse clicks, like options, don't ever need to be locked.
What happens when it goes wrong
StratNavApp.com relies on the Internet and the Internet is complex thing. So it is inevitable that things can go wrong no matter how hard we try to prevent them.
In particular, fields can fail to unlock. This can happen if, for example,
- Someone starts making changes to field and then goes on holiday without finishing.
- Something goes wrong on their computer - it crashes or loses its connection to the Internet.
In these cases, a field can get left in a permanently locked state. This is where the force unlock option becomes essential.
We've worked as hard as we can to stop such circumstances from happening. But I am sure you can see that some things are just beyond our control!
What you can do to help
StratNavApp.com works to ensure that each field is locked only for the shortest amount of time possible. This helps to prevent problems arising in the first place. You can help by
- Only clicking in a field when you actually intend to change it - this will defer the field being locked for as long as is possible.
- Always clicking outside of a field when you've finished changing it - this will ensure the lock is released.