Chapter 1: Introduction
This chapter will provide an overview of:
- system requirements for BluePrince
- common definitions
- the BluePrince Main Tool Bar
- common data entry features
BluePrince includes server and client applications and tools. Table 1 provides the minimum requirements for aspects of the server and client where BluePrince is installed.
Table 1 - BluePrince Server and Client Minimum Requirements
Windows 2000(SP3) / XP(SP2) / Server2003
Windows 2000(SP3) / XP(SP2)
Pentium IV 1.7GHz
Pentium III 733 MHz
4GB available hard drive space
100MB available hard drive space (4GB if offline)
SVGA display @ 800 by 600 resolution
Dedicated Internet access DSL/Cable
TCP/IP access to Server, Dedicated Internet access
Throughout this document the terms "form", "dialog" and "window" are used interchangeably to mean a window provided by the BluePrince application. "Click" means pressing the left mouse button once. "Double-Click" means quickly pressing the left mouse button twice. Both click and double-click are performed when the mouse icon on your screen is within the confines of an object on a window like a button or table cell (the intersection of a row and column). “Select” means click on a row with your left mouse button so that it is highlighted in yellow or click on a row from a drop down menu.
The term "record" means a collection of data such as a permit that is stored in a BluePrince database table. Records are typically "linked" to other records. For example, a permit record is linked to a property and contractor record and possibly to several notes and attachment records.
Keyboard keys are identified by their keyboard designation in capital letters. Thus, TAB, CTRL, SHIFT, ALT, ENTER, PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN refer to the corresponding keys on the Keyboard. SPACE refers to the Space Bar. ARROW refers to any of the LEFT ARROW, RIGHT ARROW, UP ARROW or DOWN ARROW keys. CTRL, SHIFT and ALT are always used while pressing another key. Examples in this document include CTRL-s and ALT-n. Note that the '-' is not actually pressed when entering the key combination.
The key following CTRL, ALT or SHIFT is typically entered in lowercase, however if CAPS LOCK is active the key combination works just as well.
BluePrince Main Tool Bar
After logging in, user interaction with BluePrince begins with the BluePrince Main Tool Bar, shown in Figure 1. The tool bar displays a set of buttons that access various functions provided by BluePrince. The buttons you see depend upon responsibilities and how your User ID is configured. Below you will read more about each button on the Main Tool Bar.
Figure 1 - BluePrince Main Tool bar
The upper left of the split screen at the top of the Main Tool Bar provides access to Web Requests. If your User ID is configured to access Web Requests, clicking the mouse anywhere within that half of the screen will launch the Web Requests window. From there, you may review contractor or inspector requests that have been submitted on-line through the BluePrince online website, www.Building-Department.com. The Web Requests area may be blue, yellow or red (see Error! Reference source not found.). See Chapter 2: Web Requests for more details.
Figure 2 - Web Requests
The lower right of the split screen at the top of the Main Tool Bar provides access to My Tasks. If your User ID is configured to process approvals or to process Code Enforcement actions, clicking the mouse anywhere within that half of the screen will launch the My Tasks window. From there, you may see an Approval Work List and a list of Code Enforcement Actions tailored to your responsibilities. The My Tasks area may be blue, yellow or red. See Chapter 3: My Tasks for more details.
The Search button launches the Search window. From there, you may search for saved records such as Building Permits, Code Violations, Zoning Permits, Projects, Properties, Owners, Companies, Contractors, and Persons using a variety of search techniques. The results of your search are displayed in a table. See Chapter 4: Searching for more information.
New Project Button
The New Project button launches a New Project window, allowing you to create a new project. See Chapter 5: Create New Project for more details.
New Permit Button
The New Permit button launches a New Building Permit or New Zoning Permit form, allowing you to create a new permit. If your User ID is configured to process both Zoning and Building Permits, a sidebar menu (shown in Figure 3) will open, prompting you to pick the type of permit you wish to create. For more details on creating permits, see Chapter 6: Create New Building Permit or Chapter 7: Create New Zoning Standard Permit.
Figure 3 - Sidebar Menu for New Permit Button
New Contractor Button
The New Contractor button launches a sidebar menu (shown as Figure 4) that allows you to create a new contractor, company or person. See Chapter 10: Create New Contractor, Company or Person for more details.
Figure 4 - Sidebar Menu for New Contractor Button
The side bar also shows a Sign Up button that allows you to configure a contractor to submit permits on-line through the BluePrince online website, www.Building-Department.com. See Chapter 2: Web Requests for more information.
New Property Button
The New Property button launches a New Property window, allowing you to add a property to BluePrince. See Chapter 9: Create New Property for more information.
New Enforcement Button
The New Enforcement button launches a sidebar menu (shown as Figure 6) that allows you to create a new Code Violation or Zoning Complaint case. See Chapter 11: Code Enforcement – Code Violations and Zoning Complaints for more information.
Figure 5 - Sidebar Menu for New Enforcement Button
To schedule, route, and enter results for inspections, click the Inspections button. If your User ID is configured to process more than one type of inspection (Zoning, Building, and /or Code Enforcement) a sidebar menu (shown as Figure 6) will open prompting you to pick the Inspection Type you would like to access. See Chapter 12: Inspections for details in working with Inspections.
Figure 6 - Sidebar Menu for Inspections Button
The Payments button launches the Payments window, allowing you to view Due Invoices and Fees. Payments can be recorded from this window. Since the capabilities of BluePrince are very different depending on whether your jurisdiction uses BluePrince Accounting, two separate chapters are provided in this User Guide. Please read the one that is applicable for your jurisdiction.
If your jurisdiction is NOT using BluePrince Accounting, see Chapter 13: Accounts and Payments without BluePrince Accounting. If your jurisdiction IS using BluePrince Accounting, see Chapter 14: Accounts and Payments with BluePrince Accounting.
The Help button launches a sidebar menu (shown as Figure 7) providing the BluePrince Release & Version Numbers and Creation Date. This is useful information to provide BluePrince Customer Support when reporting a problem. The sidebar menu also provides several buttons to help you resolve problems and a text box to the left that provides information about the buttons as you move your mouse over each button. See Chapter 15: Help for more details.
Figure 7 - Sidebar Menu for Help Button
Frequently Used Data Entry Features
There are several features of entering data within forms that are frequently used within BluePrince. The list below provides an overview of those features. More detailed information about each feature is found below the overview.
- Group Boxes – BluePrince forms are organized and formatted with sets of data identified in “groups”. Each “group box” typically has a checkbox associated with it that you must mark when you are finished entering data into that group. When you check the checkbox, BluePrince validates that you have entered all the data it needs, determines whether to save the data you have entered, and determines whether additional portions of the form should be displayed.
- Required Fields – BluePrince uses special formatting to identify data fields within each form that you are required to enter. Typically the name of the data field is in purple and underlined, but there are special cases where double asterisks (**) mark a set of fields where only one is required.
- Browse Mode and Edit Mode – BluePrince forms are shown either in Browse Mode, which is a “read only” document , or in Edit Mode, which allows for certain fields to be changed.. Whether you are able to use Edit Mode for particular forms is configured specifically for your user account.
- Searching with a Wild Card Character – BluePrince allows you to link together data that is already entered into the system. To do this, you need to tell BluePrince exactly which data record you want to select, often from thousands of similar records. To make this simpler, BluePrince allows you to use a Wild Card Character (a “*”) to match different data values when you are searching the system.
- Assigning Data Records – there is a series of steps involved in searching for and identifying a data record to be linked to another data record within BluePrince, such as finding properties to link to a project or contractors to be linked to a permit.
- Cities – Community Development is typically associated with a set of geographic properties. It is important that data entered into BluePrince about those properties is accurate. To help with that, BluePrince provides the ability to configure a restricted set of cities that may be associated with properties.
On the other hand, the people involved with Community Development include owners of property who may not have their primary residence within the community itself. Entering cities that are associated with people, therefore, is less restrictive.
- Sorting Data Tables – BluePrince uses Data Tables to display the results of searches, and these tables often have several columns. The data may be sorted by multiple columns and in either ascending or descending order for each column. The order in which columns are sorted is displayed and may be modified by the user.
- Custom Fields – BluePrince has pre-defined data fields for different types of data records, but many jurisdictions have needs for data fields that are not already defined within BluePrince. For those, custom fields may be defined by the jurisdiction and utilized within BluePrince.
- Notes – often there is the need for free-form text to be associated with data or activities within BluePrince. These small memos are referred to as “notes” and their association with data records is built-in.
- Attachments – at times there is a need to associate a separate document in PDF or other format with a data record in BluePrince. For these cases, attachments are used. Attachments are stored separately from other BluePrince data but links to the attachments are maintained within BluePrince.
Each group of related data on a form is displayed with a primary group name and often with a checkbox. For example, in Figure 8 below, there is a group box for Project, Property, Summary, and Details related to the permit you are creating.
BluePrince displays the names of required data fields using purple color and underlining, as illustrated within the New Permit form in Figure 8. You must enter a value in these fields on every form in which they appear. In this example, you must start creating a new permit by associating it with a Project, using either the Project Name or Project ID.
Figure 8 - New Building Permit form
A more complicated example of required fields is shown on the New Property form in Figure 9. As you can see in the Address Group Box, the data fields Number and Street are each followed by two (2) asterisks, as are PIN**, GIS ID**, and Loc** in the Location Group Box. To uniquely identify a property in BluePrince, you must either enter Number & Street, PIN, GIS ID or Loc. In any case, Use Zone is required.
If required data is missing when you attempt to check the Group check box or save the form, the program will alert you and move the highlight back to the field that is missing data.
Figure 9 - New Property form
Browse Mode and Edit Mode
BluePrince forms are shown either in Browse Mode, which is a “read only” document, or in Edit Mode, which allows for certain fields to be changed. Whether you are able to use Edit Mode for particular forms is configured specifically for your user account.
Forms containing existing records are initially displayed in Browse Mode, as shown on the Project Form in Figure 11. This mode allows you to review all the data related to a particular project, to access details about the properties associated with it, the contractor or applicant, and the inspections and approvals that have taken place on the project to date.
Figure 10 -Example of Project Form shown in Browse Mode
If you need to change something about the form you are viewing, you will need to change from Browse Mode to Edit Mode. To do that, click the Edit Mode button in the upper right corner of the form. BluePrince requires you to click the Edit Mode button to prevent inadvertent changes and to ensure that only users with the ability to modify the data on the form are able to do so. Users with Read-Only access do not see the Edit Mode button. You will also need to use Edit Mode to create or modify Notes and Attachments.
After placing a form in Edit Mode, fields that may be edited will have a white background, and those that cannot be edited will have a gray background. See Figure 11 to see the same Project Form in Edit Mode. In Edit Mode certain fields remain gray and cannot be edited, which makes data entry easier, as you may quickly move from one editable field to the next. In other cases, the reason some fields remain un-editable is to ensure data integrity after the record has been created.
Figure 11 - Example of Project Form shown in Edit Mode
When creating a new record the form starts in Edit Mode. The Save button becomes enabled once changes are made that requires you to save. That makes all of the editable fields accessible.
Searching with a Wild Card Character
When you are searching for data, you may need to select from hundreds or thousands of similar data records. To select the correct record might require you to enter several characters precisely in order to not retrieve the wrong record. Instead, BluePrince allows you to enter an asterisk (*) as a wildcard character within a text field you are using within a search. The list of data records matching your search may be longer than you would like to sift through – in this case, you may simply add a few more characters or data fields to narrow the search. This is helpful when you only know part of the detailed criteria that you want to match or when you aren’t sure exactly how the data was entered.
A typical example of using a Wild Card Character in searching is in finding a particular property record. If your property records do not have unique GIS IDs or PINs, you may be searching based on the street number and street name.
provides an example of a search for all properties whose street name starts with “Main*”. As you can see, there may be many properties that match your criteria when you use a wild card. The number of rows returned (in this case, 248) is provided.
Figure 12 - Row count for Search Returns
Entering * by itself in a detailed search criteria text field will return all matches, although if too many results are returned you may be asked to confirm that you would like to review them all.
Assigning Data Records
Often you will want to find one data record in BluePrince and associate it with another record. An example of this would be to assign a new permit you are creating to an existing project. To do this in BluePrince you would use the Assign feature. Since this is such a common occurrence, this section explains using the Assign feature. When a data entry field is “free form” and needs to be linked to a data record in BluePrince, you will see the text field followed by an Assign button, such as in the New Permit form in Error! Reference source not found.. Enter the text you’d like to use to begin your search for the correct Project (for this example) and then click the Assign button.
Figure 13 - New Building Permit Form
Next you will see the Assign form, which consists of three general sections (see Figure 15). The Search Field displays the text you originally entered, with or without any Wild Card character. If you decide to modify your search text, you will need to click Search Again to see different results. The Results Table provides you with the list of data within BluePrince that matched your search. If you have clicked on one of those results, it is highlighted and considered “selected”. A row of buttons at the bottom of the form allow you to determine whether and how to use the data selected from the Results Table.
Figure 14 - Assign Form during Project Search for Building Permit
There are four different actions you can take based on the results of a search:
- Use – this button is active if one of the search results has been selected and indicates that the selection is the one you’d like to use. For this example, it would indicate that the selected Project should be associated with the new Building Permit. Once the Use button is clicked, this form closes and control returns to the previous data entry form with the selected data from the form entered into the data field.
- Details – this button is active if one of the search results has been selected and indicates that the selection is the one you would like to look at the details about. For this example, it would indicate that you’d like to review the details of the selected Project to confirm that this is the project to which the new permit should be associated.
- New – this button indicates that you have not found existing data that you believe is the correct data for your data field, and you have decided to create a new data record for use instead. For this example, it would indicate that none of the current projects make sense for the current permit, and you would like to create a new project for the permit. Once the New button is clicked, a “New” form opens so that you may create a data record to be used. Once created, control returns to the previous data entry form.
- Cancel - this button indicates that you don’t want to assign a data record at this time. For this example, you may need to do additional research with the contractor to determine whether a new project is required. Once the Cancel button is clicked, this form closes and control returns to the previous data entry form with no data from the form entered.
Community Development is typically associated with a set of geographic properties. It is important that data entered into BluePrince about those properties is accurate. To help with that, BluePrince restricts the cities you can associate with properties and allows that set of cities to be configured for each jurisdiction.
On the other hand, the people involved with Community Development include owners of property who may not live in the community.
For example, on the Property form the city in which the property is located is selected from a fixed list of cities that were configured using BluePrince Configuration. Only the cities in which your jurisdiction conducts business are shown; the list is not editable while you are creating a New Property.
On the other hand, the owner of the property has an address shown on the Person Form. In this case, the city in which the person lives may be selected from a list or entered. BluePrince automatically saves that city in the list when the form is saved. It is possible that a mailing address is not within your jurisdiction limit; therefore the city list is not as restrictive.
Sorting Data Tables
The order in which data tables have been sorted is indicated by an upright or inverted yellow triangle on each column used to sort. If the column is sorted in ascending order, the yellow triangle is upright; if sorted in descending order, the triangle is inverted (see PIN column sorting in
Figure 15). If multiple columns were used to sort the table, the sort order is reflected by the numbers that appear in the yellow triangles within each column header. You can re-sort the data or reverse the sort order by clicking on different column headers. You can also sort data by more than one column header by holding your CTRL key and then clicking on any additional column headers, and likewise remove a column from the sorting by the same key presses.
Figure 15 - Example of Data Table with marked Sort Order
Custom Fields – BluePrince has pre-defined data fields for different types of data records, but many jurisdictions have needs for data fields that are not already defined within BluePrince. For those, custom fields may be defined by the jurisdiction and utilized within BluePrince.
Custom Fields may be required or optional, have a custom field name, may be presented in a designated sequence, and may have default values. They are associated with many of the standard BluePrince data records. They may simply be short text, a note, number, currency, time/date, or a phone number. Complex data types for custom fields are defined in Table 2.
Table 2 – Complex Data Types available for BluePrince Custom Fields
Custom Field Data Type
List of Menu Item(s) text, sequenced, with a checkbox for the default value to be used (if any)
List of Menu Item(s) text, sequenced, with a multi-select checkbox for the default value(s) to be used (if any)
List of Menu Item(s) text, sequenced, with a multi-select checkbox for the default value(s) to be used (if any)
Notes are provided for data records where short memos are useful to be added. Examples of the data records where notes are provided are Inspections, Code Violation Cases, Zoning Complaint Cases, and Permits. Notes are only visible to internal users of BluePrince. Notes may be added to existing records and to new records after the new record has been saved. You are automatically prompted to create a Note by some events in BluePrince such as changing owners of a property and putting a hold on a permit or contractor. Notes may be manually created at other times by entering Edit Mode to activate the fields on the Notes tab.
If your Jurisdiction utilizes the Laserfiche integration see the Laserfiche User Guide and disregard the remainder of this chapter.
Attachments are separate electronic documents or files created elsewhere that are associated with a data record in BluePrince. They are stored separately from other BluePrince data but links to the attachments are maintained within BluePrince. Attachments are only visible to internal users of BluePrince. Attachments may be added to existing records and to new records after the new record has been saved. Attachments are linked to a BluePrince record by entering Edit Mode to activate the fields on the Attachments tab. To attach a document, click the Add New button. The Select Attachment dialog box will open.
Locate the file you want to attach and click the Save button. The Change Attachment Description box will open.
Fill in a description of the attachment, which will appear on the Attachments tab in BluePrince. Click the Save button to copy the file into to the shared directory and save the attachment.
To remove an attachment within BluePrince, select the attachment you want from the Attachments tab and click the Remove button. The file name will be removed from the attachments list, but the file is not removed from the BluePrince shared directory because the file may be attached to other records in BluePrince.
To change the description of an attachment, click the Description button. An Attachment Description dialog appears showing the original name and an edit box to enter the new name.
Note that you may also double-click an Attachment from the Attachments tab to edit it using its native application.