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Does rule work for sections?



  • liu09liu09 Posts: 51
    Dear Gerben,

    Thank you so much for your help. I finally sorted this out. At the end of the day, I have to reinstall OC and the rule designer, and managed get them work together.

    But the whole experience is a bit overwhelming, for a totally new comer to the OC system, I have to say the user manual is not that useful. There are so many things need to consider, which is not shown in the manual, and the lack of error message doesn´t help, I just lost and didn´t know where to start. There isn´t a central place to hold all the documents, I need to search this Forum and google to find help.

    I write this message here is not intend to you, but for the people who are developing the OC, there is definitely a lack of support for the community version.

    Thanks to you and Tomas who helped me along the way.


  • kristiakkristiak Posts: 1,339 ✭✭✭

    Hi Bin,

    Sorry that you had so many problems. You have to recognize that this is a free system and you are thus on your own to a certain degree. My advice for a "beginner" of OC is to first really get to understand the system before you embark on advanced functions such as rules design. Since the early 90-ties I have worked with most system on the market and I find OC by far to be the most user friendly system on the market and support you get from the user community is far better than that provided by most companies selling commercial systems.

    You were lucky to get support from the most advanced and experienced users in the community. My advice is to use Gerben's excellent site and practise and try his many examples to get a better understanding of the system.



  • agoodwinagoodwin Posts: 131 admin
    via Email
    Dear Bin,

    I'm sorry to hear that your experience has been challenging. We spend a
    great deal of time and effort creating detailed, freely available manuals
    for the community. These are constantly being updated with every release -
    part of our "Definition of Done" for any feature is that it is documented.
    You can find our manuals here:


    In addition to online user documentation we try to build useful information
    into the application as well. In the CRF template itself, you should find
    the "instructions" tab which contains information about GROUPS and ITEMS
    and the use of SHOW/HIDE.

    What in particular would you have found to be more useful? Where did you
    feel the documentation could have been improved?

    Often it is the case that OpenClinica Community users who want to become
    more advanced choose to sign up for Central User Training - this covers all
    aspects of the software in depth (and is a 4-day course). If this is
    something you are interested in in future, you can find more info here:

    In the meantime we hope to hear back and hope we can improve the experience
    for all.

    Best Regards,

    On Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 4:36 AM, kristiak
  • liu09liu09 Posts: 51
    Dear Alicia,

    Thanks for your reply. To be honest myself is not unfamiliar with open source LIMS systems, I have installed and tested dozens of them. Before OC, I have a local developed software using XML, eXist and apache-tomcat.

    It is not right just assume people who is new to your OC system is not capable to be an advance user. My job is to test and run the system before I introduce it to the clinical people, who really like to get the things right at the very beginning. I did follow the help in the CRF template to create several CRFs, and they look fine, and I did set up several rules inside the CRF. But the CRF simple rule is not working when the rule gets complicated. I have to say I don´t think the rule design is such an advanced task, instead it is a very basic skill to get a decent and flawless work flow.

    For most of the LIMS I tested,  there is always online manual and quite often you will find installation instruction in the source code downloaded. When I downloaded the rule desinger, I couldn´t find any installation instruction within the source code, there is nothing on the Extension web. There is no .war file on the extension site, at the end I found the war files and installation instruction on this forum. Surely a lot of good tips and advice in this Forum, but a new user have to know the right key word to do the search (depends on if there are any those key words), and read through pages and pages to get the information. From my point of view, it is a shame all those good tips and advice buried in some where in this forum. Funny enough, some help is from a place called ¨trialdatasolutions¨, http://www.trialdatasolutions.com/tds/howto/findingoids.jsp as an example (Gerben pointed this to me, although I googled this out as well). This site shows a better explanation. 

    Having said that, the OC online doc is the one get me started, from installation to basic use, and they are very useful. I found it would be more helpful to have some examples or case studies to show a workflow, for example the items show and hidden function, like Gerben suggested to hide and show in an opposite way, which I didn´t think at all. I would like to see a suggested work flow I should follow, for instance should you create study group before design a rule? which I found out yes, I have to create a study group before I design a rule because that rule will need the study group OID in the XML rule file. Another example is could you have so many repeated CRFs (although I deleted them along the way) when associated with the rule, the answer is no, it messed up the system even the rule designer doesn´t work, which I learnt after I reintalled the whole system and the rule designer.

    Something for your guys probably are so obvious, but for people new to the system, they are not. Another thing I found is the lack of error message, which just drives me nuts. Like you said ¨The system gives confirmation on successful (or error message when not
    successful) save.
    ¨, I simply didn´t see this in my local installation, when I saved and nothing shows, I thought it didn´t work, then left the rule designer, check the rule again, it was saved. Then went back to the rule designer, did the same thing again, guess what, it didn´t work, and no error message. At the end of the day, I basically click every button in the designer page, XML tab, validate tab, test tab, save button. I have to do two show actions as I don´t know if there is a cap for how many fields can the action can apply on, in my case I can only apply to 11 fields, and have to add another action to apply to the rest of the fields. I got the rule designer work, but I don´t know how it works.

    I think I wrote too much here, but this is my experience so far. Before I expressed my concern with OC, the main replies I heard are from Tomas and Gerben though :~), felt a bit funny there are people really reading these posts.

    Have a nice day.



  • liu09liu09 Posts: 51
    Oh by the way, the video demo is not helpful. There is a software called REDCap, they have fantastic online demos.

  • liu09liu09 Posts: 51
    I mean online video demos.
  • agoodwinagoodwin Posts: 131 admin
    via Email
    Dear Bin,

    Thank you for the feedback. A few points that I would like to address:

    I would like to point out that OpenClinica Community is free software that
    we build and make open source. A couple of very compelling reasons to offer
    open source software are:
    - Community contributions
    - Community support

    While OpenClinica LLC does participate in the community, the community must
    support each other as well for an open source project to be successful. The
    help and support that you've received has been because of a great, active

    Regarding Rule Designer, this software is something that OpenClinica LLC
    developed for OpenClinica Enterprise. This was originally built as a SaaS
    solution for our customers. We recently decided to make it open source so
    that developers could download the source code and make contributions.

    For non-developers, we also offer a* FREE *rule designer SaaS that can be
    connected to from any instance once registered (this does not require
    installation or a .WAR - simply complete the registration). You can
    register your instances here:

    While we are always developing our products in-house, we encourage and
    greatly appreciate contributions and community participation - it is what
    makes the community and product better all of time. It sounds like you have
    some development experience with other projects and if you would like to
    develop / make contributions you can certainly do that here:

    We try to be very responsive to pull requests and look forward to anything
    you might want to contribute.


    On Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 6:38 AM, liu09
  • kristiakkristiak Posts: 1,339 ✭✭✭

    Well said Alice ! :)



  • liu09liu09 Posts: 51
    Well Said !!! I definitely understand the openclinica community spirit now.

    Why do you think I am not making any community contribution by spending a good hour to checking all the points and giving the feedback which asked by you?


This discussion has been closed.