Connections 2 CLIN Checker User Guide

The Connections 2 CLIN Checker gives users the ability to quickly search Connections 2 vendor tables for CLIN and pricing data. The basic search interface appears below

Basic search interface

Upon entering search criteria in the Search box shown above and clicking the Search button, a basic search is performed. The basic search locates instances where the specified search criteria matches the values of one or more of the nine data table columns that are common across the Equipment, Equipment Service, and Labor tables:

Column headers

The search function recognizes the standard wildcard characters '?' and '*' in search criteria, where ? acts a placeholder for a single character and * acts as a placeholder for zero or more characters.

Single-Word Search

Entering a single word as the search criteria will return rows where the word is found in at least one of the nine data table columns. For example, searching on:

Example of searching for the word government

will return any row where the Vendor is either Avaya Government Solutions or Government Telecommunications, the Description contains the word government, or the Price Type contains the word government. Similarly, searching on:

Example of searching for the word EPS

returns all rows where the Vendor is EPS, but it also returns rows (regardless of Vendor) where the word "steps" is found in the Description.

Multiple-Word Search

Entering search criteria consisting of multiple words will return rows where all of the words are found somewhere among the nine data table columns. For example, searching on:

Example of searching for the phrase american yellow

currently returns rows where the Vendor is American Systems Corporation and the Description includes the word yellow. Similarly, searching on:

Example of searching for the phrase cabinet system

returns rows where the Vendor is BAE Systems Information Solutions and the Description includes the word cabinet, as well as rows (regardless of Vendor) where the words system and cabinet both appear somewhere in the Description.

String literals containing spaces or other special characters can be searched for by surrounding them with double quotes. Repeating the previous search, this time using a string literal:

Example of literal search for cabinet system

returns no rows because although the words "cabinet" and "system" both appear in the Description column of some CLINs, the entire phrase “cabinet system” does not.

Column Filtering

Faster, more-focused searches can be performed by using column filtering. With column filtering the user specifies not just the search criteria, but also the particular column within which to search for that data. This becomes extremely useful when searching for data that could be found in multiple columns. For example, a search on "bae" might return results not just for the vendor BAE Systems Information Solutions, but also for CLINs from other vendors where the letters "bae" are embedded in the CLIN. Similarly, a search on "black box" would return all CLINs from the vendor Black Box, but also results from other vendors where the words "black" and "box" appear somewhere in the CLIN description or some other column. Column filtering improves these kinds of searches by filtering unwanted entries out of the search results.

As an example of column filtering, entering "description:conference" in the Search box yields search results limited to those CLINs where the word "conference" appears in the Description column

The proper syntax for column-filtered searches is <column name> <search operator> <search criteria>. Valid search operators are as follows:

The < and > operators only work with columns containing numerical or date values. The = operator (literal match) is case sensitive. Here are some examples:

Here are some examples:

Example of description column fuzzy search

This fuzzy search returns all rows where the word fragment "stat" appears somewhere in the Description column. Thus, descriptions containing words such as "stat", "station" and "status" would be returned.

By contrast, a similar fuzzy search using a string literal,

Example of quoted column search for phrase box office

would only return rows where the entire phrase "box office" is contained somewhere within the Description. And,

Example of exact column search for phrase box office

which combines a literal match with a string literal, would only return rows where the Description consisted solely of the words "Box Office", capitalized as shown.

When filtering on a column name comprised of more than one word, be sure to use underscore characters in the column name. For example,

Example of invalid price_start_date search

will fail with an error message. Instead use underscores in the column name as shown below.

Example of good search for price_start_date

Compound Column Filtering

Column filters can be combined to perform more powerful searches. To do so, enter multiple search criteria separated by spaces into the Search box. For example, searching on

Example of combining several search operations

will return all CLINs where the word "switch" appears within the Description, and the Price is less than two hundred dollars, and the Price Type is a Purchase.

Advanced Column Filtering

In addition to the nine "common" data table columns searchable via the default settings, there are Advanced Settings that permit filtering of additional columns that are specific to the Equipment, Equipment Service, or Labor tables. To access the Advanced Settings, click on the control located just below the search box:

Link to show advanced search panel

Doing so opens a panel containing additional columns that can be searched:

Advanced search panel

Selecting the checkbox next to one or more of the Extra Columns shown will add those columns to the search path and the output along with the original nine common columns. An example of this type of usage is finding labor CLINs priced under $50, with a Top Secret clearance, a Bachelor's degree, and less than 5 years' experience, by using the following search criteria:

Example of advanced search using the Advanced Search panel

Seeing All Results

The CLIN Checker displays a maximum of 50 results on screen. If the phrase "Showing 50 search results for..." appears just above the header of the results table onscreen, it’s likely an indication that more than 50 results were found. In order to see all of the results, click the download link at the bottom of the screen:

Download link

This will export all found results in CSV format where they can be viewed in their entirety.