Directus Spotlight: Data ManagementBy Rijk van Zanten on October 1, 2022
Directus enables technical and non-technical users to easily browse, visualize and manage data. Browsing is accomplished with Layouts, and Directus Insights provides an efficient way to visualize data. While browsing and visualizing data is certainly helpful, more than likely, you’ll also want to do something with the data, for example, create, update and delete it. The Directus API allows you to do that programmatically, but to truly democratize the data for business users, simple, intuitive, no-code ways of managing and working with data are necessary.
For example, say you’re using Directus as a CMS for your blog and you want to enable multiple people to go into the system and create, update and delete articles. Or maybe you’re using Directus to power a CRM for your sales team, and they need to be able to create, update and delete information about customers. In any case, it’s important that all users, regardless of their technical capabilities, be able to perform these data management operations with ease.
To this end, Directus provides intuitive Data Management capabilities through its no-code Data Studio. Without writing a single line of code, users can:
- View, configure and manage relational data models and asset storage
- Configure how data is displayed within Data Studio, and how they interact with it
- Translate any and all text in Data Studio into any language
Additionally, Directus replaces traditional terms with more user-friendly terms and concepts, to make managing data even easier.
Let’s take a look at how easy it is to manage data in Directus, and explore some of the advanced data management features of the platform.
Many Ways to Interact with Data
To begin managing data, users simply click on an item to open the item’s detail page. This can be done within any Layout (i.e. table, calendar, map, etc.). Upon clicking the item, you’ll see the Item Detail page, which allows you to read and/or manage the data record. The form consists of customizable fields that correspond with the columns in your database table.
Each field has its own unique interface, which can be configured according to your preferences. The interface makes the data easier to view or manage. For example, you may have quantities of a product stored in your database, the interface determines how you interact with that quantity information. There may be a slider that you can drag from zero to 100, or maybe you can type in a number or use arrow buttons to change the quantity. Say you’re managing stock market data, and you want to add a ticker symbol to a record. For the interface, you can choose an input that autocompletes a dropdown of valid ticker symbols after you type the first few letters. Custom interface extensions can be added to provide an infinite number of ways for you to present various data.
Importantly, fields on the item’s detail page can be arranged in any fashion to create a form that makes sense to users. Everything's drag-and-drop, which enables you to easily move fields around to the desired positions.
Unique Data Management Capabilities
Here are some key capabilities for Data Management in Directus:
- Grouping: Directus allows you to organize fields by grouping them together. The platform supports multiple types of grouping options, enabling you to separate fields with headers or dividers, or create an accordion view. This enables you to further customize the item’s detail page form.
- Conditional fields: Directus enables progressive disclosure, so that as you edit a record, the form presents you with only the subsequent fields you need to complete. For example, once you select the U.S. as the country, it will provide an option to choose a state. This saves the user time and ensures only fields with relevant data are filled in. When you’re setting up conditional fields, you can make them dependent on any field value to set any other field’s options or value.
- Relational data updates: With Directus, any data can be relational. That means you can reuse data, referencing it in many places, and updates will propagate across all related connnections in the database.
- Batch editing: Directus enables you to select multiple items to update at once. For example, if you want to update a field for 20 customers, you can select those 20 customers and complete that edit across all 20 records by entering the new data one time.
- “Soft” delete: With Directus, it’s you can configure workflows to ensure users can’t accidentally delete data. Instead of deleting an item, which is permanent and irreversible, you can simply archive it. This safeguards against accidental data loss, making it safer for non-technical business users to work with the data.
- Change logs: Directus stores revision logs of all changes to the data in your database, including when it was created and by whom, how it was updated, whether it was deleted, and so on. With an account of the entire lifecycle of the data record, you can maintain accountability. And because Directus saves a snapshot of the data prior to the changes, you can always roll back changes to a previous state.
Note that the ability for users to manage data in Directus depends on their assigned permissions – and Directus makes it easy to assign permissions at a very granular level. Read this blog post to learn more about permissions and access control in Directus.
Directus Data Management overlaps with other features to provide the robust experience our users have come to expect from the Directus platform. You can learn about other key features by reading more of our Feature Spotlights.