List subset from formula


I'd love to have the ability to create a list subset from a formula.  That would give a great way to pre-filter and limit sparsity in modules.

20 votes

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  • jon

    Yes, this is a great idea @EarlC


    It's been requested multiple times here and is apparently on the product roadmap, but great to resurface this again. 


  • Thanks for the link--I added my vote!

  • Status changed to: New
  • Hi, 


    I agree that this would be easier to manage...but deleting elements from a subset is like deleting elements from a all related input data would be lost. 

    Having this managed by a formula that could change from "TRUE" to "FALSE" dynamically, I find it a little bit risky. 


    I still prefer to have this in a more controlled way...especially for when the subset flag goes from "TRUE" to "FALSE" (deleting elements from subset).


    The subset flag can be linked to a boolean formula, but not directly. 

    I would create an action that uses the boolean formula to update subset by launching an import into the list action. 

    I find this way more "stable" and less "risky". 


    What do you think?



  • @alexpavel 


    I tend to agree with you here.  There have certainly been times when I have thought "man it would be so much easier to manage these subsets if I could make them formula driven" but the risks you highlight are legit.  I think the current setup encourages one to be a bit more contentious in the management of subsets and reduces the risk of inadvertent data loss from formulaic driven changes.


    Should this functionality be made available, there will certainly need to be some strong best practices put in place to ensure models are built with integrity and auditability.  I do think there are likely instances where module driven subsets could be powerful but the design will need to be considered carefully to taking into account for volatility in the output.  An example we often see is where a list item may not be relevant to the current version (or even the previous version) but it was used in earlier iteration so if we had removed that item from the subset we would have inadvertently impacted a prior version of plan. 


  • The inadvertent data loss is a good point, and something I had not considered--but is it any more risky than, for example, a scheduled import of a production list?

  • @EarlC  the scheduled import into a list action it will only add/modify will never delete elements..

    To delete elements from a list it is needed to create a different specific action.


    My concern when the subset is directly linked to a formula is the possibility to switch the flag from "TRUE" (element in the list) to "FALSE" ( element deleted from the list). 


    Imagine that you want to build a subset "Active Products" based on a simple flag formula using the data from modules ( ex. "Sales <> 0"). 

    For some reason, you want to clean the data and reload... this means that temporarily the cells with "Sales" will be all the "Active products" subset elements will be temporarily deleted and re-activated after the data load...but in the meantime, all input data cells related to the "Active products" modules would be lost. 


    If I would like to connect the "Active products" to the same flag I would create an action to update the flag of the subset ONLY for the "Products" that have "Sales <> 0", the action would ONLY add new elements to the subset and will never automatically delete elements from "Active products".


  • Just make the subset boolean able to hold a formula to a module line item.

    That way you can keep the choice open to either update the subset through actions or with a formula

  • Another vote for this functionality

  • ezhuang

    I think it will be also helpful to add an override functionality to formula driven subset selection. If this override functionality is enabled, after formula driven selection of subset, we will also be able to deselect some special list items being picked up by formula or select some special list items not being picked up by formulas. We can also disable this functionality to let the subset purely driven by the formula and avoid manual selection 

  • Provided future subsets feature is designed like a standard line item or property, the ability to activate or deactivate an automated subset update would work : 

    - not activated : leave the subset property empty of formula (default existing behaviour) : the subset can be manually update or via import actions

    - activate dynamic subset : insert a formula to a module calculating a boolean that is used to update the subset


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