Support » Plugin: wpDataTables - Tables & Table Charts » A log of my frustrations

  • Resolved darkNiGHTS

    (@darknights)


    I’m trying this plugin as a trial to buy it and I’ve run into numerous usability issues.

    First, the plugin identifies the first column as date, but can’t formulate it so the plugin display it blank. Bad UI, there should be some acknowledgement that it cannot parse that data for the type of field. I spent 5 minutes trying to fix the file, trying different formats before realizing it was doing. Also, I’m pretty confused because I have tried dates like 01/2015 and even when the parsing is set to mm/YYYY, it shows blank on the table preview.

    In addition, why no custom date parsing? You should be able to enter a PHP date string yourself. I prefer YYYY/MM because it’s sortable but your plugin only offers MM/YYYY.

    Also, having a default for localizing periods and commas without informing the user is not very user friendly. Once again, I was baffled why the software was misinterpreting 0.0301. Since this plugin is completely number based, I feel locale should be forced to setup when installing the plugin. I’ll bet that one star review from the person who couldn’t get Excel to import properly was related to this.

    Also, it doesn’t seem to have xlsx as a valid extension for Excel files. When I have Excel chosen, it doesn’t show any of the Excel files in that directory. I can upload one and choose that, but it’s invisible, aka doesn’t show in the file browser. CSV shows in the file browser fine.

    Now the best/worst part. With the plugin not able to parse 01/2015 as mm/YYYY despite that option being selection and it being blank in the table, the generated chart displayed blank. Yikes! A chart displaying blank with no errors or hints.

    And finally – after all this, I got the chart to display to find out that I can’t add another Y axis. Google Charts API does support this. From Googling I found it appears you support two vertical axes with Highcharts in the paid version, but even this isn’t spelled out, I inferred it from the URL. Because the Google Charts API does support this, it’s easy to assume your plugin doesn’t support it. I feel a tooltip or something should mention “Need two Y-axis? Use Highcharts API in the paid version.” I was this close to uninstalling the plugin based assuming it could not do two y-axes.

    In all honesty, this was a bad first experience and I hope you can tackle some of these issues to make people’s initial impression better.

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Plugin Author wpDataTables

    (@wpdatatables)

    Hello there.

    Thank you for your input.

    When it comes to date format, please note that the date format needs to be the same in WordPress, wpDataTables and source file for it to transfer over correctly. This isn’t always an issue, but tends to happen, depending on formatting of cells in the source file, locale settings, and DB collation (not the case with tables linked to existing data source).

    Thanks for letting us know about YYYY/MM format, we’ll see that it is added to the next update. Simply adding another date format from within the plugin is not possible.

    All plugin documentation is available through our website, also available from the product description here on wordpress.org. There you can find all relevant information about features and possibilities of the plugin. You’re also welcome opening a pre-purchase support ticket on our support platform, also easily accessible from our documentation.

    Number, date and time formats are set to the first option for each of these settings. Same goes for the CSV delimiter, but like all mentioned above – it is easily changed through plugin’s settings.

    We’re uploading .xlsx, .xls and .ods all the time, and are experiencing no issues with it. Please note that wpDataTables uploads all files into WordPress library, and the upload modal you see is WordPress’s, not wpDataTables’. Try uploading the same file through Dashboard/Media/Library, and if the issue is present there as well, you would need to add the following in wp-config.php file:

    define(‘ALLOW_UNFILTERED_UPLOADS’, true)

    We’re using free charts libraries, and not all that you can see in their API is available out-of-the-box with wpDataTables. What you see is the default behavior of charts engine, but if you need some custom solution you can check in our documentation about wpDataCharts callbacks.

    Every chart exposes several options that customize its look and feel. Charts usually support custom options appropriate to that visualization. wpDataChart callbacks allow adding options that are available in Google Charts API, Highcharts API and Chart.js API.

    All necessary resources are available in charts engines API (depends on which one you use). Every engine has a different approach to chart settings. In wpDataChart callbacks you have to adopt those settings to the wpDataChart object (you can take a look at examples for each engine in our documentation, and also in Support help center). Huge number of examples for any area of programming can be found on stackoverflow.com (typing your problem in google and at the end add “site: stackoverflow.com” and google will search only that website). Also, a lot of examples of charts, chart settings and customization can be found on jsffidle.net (typing in google for example “line chart highcharts jsffidle”)

    Please note that using hooks or wpdatatable and wpDataChart callbacks requires certain level of programming skills and included support refers only to advice.

    We appreciate your advice on adding tooltips, but we simply cannot add tooltips for every part of the plugin. Any information you need about plugin’s limitations and possibilities can be found in our documentation, and by reaching out to us. We’ll gladly answer all your questions in our support platform truthfully and honestly.

    Best regards.

    I’m sorry, but date handling and display are A. Inflexible and B. Somewhat broken. I really don’t understand how such a powerful plugin can exist that can’t display dates in more than one way, and the user’s choice of parsing doesn’t have any effect on anything?

    Having a singular date display format is very limiting. I want to sometimes do monthly data, and sometimes have date including the day. This basic use case is apparently unsupported?

    When I choose mm/YYYY it can never detect 05/2005.

    Also, it seems changing parsing options doesn’t actually do anything. It always displays it blank. And when I have it set to mm/YYYY, it still detects 05/01/2005 and 15-07-05 as valid dates, somehow.

    No matter what option I choose, wpDataTables has decided 15-07-05 is July 5th, 2015. Even if choose d-m-y, it still says it’s July 5th, 2015 instead of the correct July 15th, 2005.

    I’m not sure what “When it comes to date format, please note that the date format needs to be the same in WordPress, wpDataTables and source file for it to transfer over correctly” has to do with anything. I can set the date display to mm/YYYY and it works fine, or any of the other options. I can input dates in multiple formats and despite it ignoring my choice, it parses multiple formats that are different than my WordPress date. The user’s locale of WordPress shouldn’t have anything to do with presenting data in tables.

    Plugin Author wpDataTables

    (@wpdatatables)

    Hi again.

    Since you’re using the Lite version of the plugin, you can only link to an existing data source (Excel, CSV) and the plugin is using those files only as a data source. That means that you’re applying date, number and number formats in that data source. The plugin cannot properly read a date format set to (for example) MM/YYYY and convert it to d-m-y. If you want to see the correct dates in d-m-y format, the source file and wpDataTables need to have that format applied to the column where dates are listed.

    You are correct when you say you cannot have more than one date format in one column. The formats are being set in main settings of the plugin, but again, when you’re using an existing data source to create a wpDataTable, you would need to prepare the same format in that data source as it is set in wpDataTables.

    This limitation doesn’t apply to manual tables (available in the full version of the plugin). Even SQL query based tables can sometimes produce this issue, since you are free to set up collation and format in the database itself, and if it is something not supported or recognized by wpDataTables, you can either see empty cells, or wrong dates.

    Kind regards.

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