Tuesday, July 27, 2010


"Clear Search" new feature

There's a small but potentially important change to the Search Surveys page. There's even a story as to why this update was needed.

I met with a subscriber last week to discuss the annual update processes and during the meeting we ran into a situation where an extremely large search result would cause an error with the company firewall. NextComp would deliver the initial result set (over 1000 rows) but the firewall blocked subsequent searches due to the way the search page "posts" information back to the server. It wasn't an issue with NextComp per se but it was an issue with the way NextComp interacted with the company's firewall.

So now there's a new link on the Search Surveys page directly to the right of the "Search" button. It's a "Clear Search" link. This link doesn't post information back to the NextComp server, but rather hyperlinks back to the Search Surveys page in a way that will clear the current search results. Then a new search can be initiated thereby bypassing the "post back" that caused an error with the firewall.

I also moved the "Search Tips" link to the right of the new "Clear Search" and made the text a bit larger.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010


Excel Tips and Tricks for salary survey data

In this video I demonstrate the most common keyboard shortcuts I use when working with salary survey data files, a really cool and fast technique for converting data from annual to hourly (or vice versa), and a useful formula for combining data from two or more cells into one cell.

For reference, here are the keyboard shortcut combinations that I demonstrate in the video.

Moving around the worksheet:

control and down arrow (move to bottom of a list)
control and up arrow (move to the top of a list)
control and right arrow (move to the right of a table)
control and left arrow (move to the left of a table)

Selecting cells:

shift and control and arrow key (selects a contiguous set of data)
shift and arrow key (expands or contracts a selection of cells)

Copy and paste:

control and c (copy)
control and v (paste)

Converting values:

paste special -> operation -> divide (divide a range of values by the copied value)
paste special -> operation -> multiply (multiply a range of values by a copied value)

Converting formula results to values:

paste special - as Values (takes the results of a formula and pastes it as the value)

Combining data from multiple cells into one cell:

If you have three cells of data that you want to combine into one cell, you can use this formula

= cellref1&" - "&cellref2&" - "&cellref3

In this example, cellref is the cell reference for the cells that you want to combine.
If cellref1 = 1.01 and cellref2 = Administrative Assistant and cellref3 = the job's summary, then the result of the formula will be 1.01 - Administrative Assistant - job summary

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Monday, July 12, 2010


IE 8 File Upload Bug Fixed

Internet Explorer 8 is beginning to become more common in the corporate setting. Some subscribers have discovered a bug with uploading files to NextComp when using IE 8. This error also occurred when using the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome and Safari. If you use any of these browsers and you've tried to upload a data loading template you most likely received an error page similar to the one shown below.

The good news is that we've fixed this bug and now the file upload feature works with all major browsers.

For the technically minded, here's what caused the bug.

In prior versions of Internet Explorer, when you send a file from your computer to the NextComp server, the browser sends the entire file path including the file name. NextComp would then parse out the file name. The code used to accomplish this assumed that the string of text would include the entire file path. Starting with Internet Explorer 8 the browser only sends the file name, without the full file path. Microsoft made this change to tighten security so that the remote server, in this case the NextComp server, wouldn't know anything about your local machine's file and path structure. I think it's a great idea to only include the file name, but this caused an error with how NextComp parsed the file name. It was an easy fix once we figured out what caused the issue.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Survey Loading Process

It's getting to be that time of year when many survey publishers release the results from their fall and winter data collection.

Here's a diagram of the overall process of data loading in NextComp. I've labeled the various steps with the primary area of responsibility in a typical setup. This varies by organization as some subscribers do all of their data loading without involvement from NextComp.

You can also download a PDF version of this file.

Click to view larger.

You may also be interested in these documents:

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