Quantity Formatting

The iTwin.js offers two ways to format quantity values. The more primitive interface is found in the Formatter in core-quantity package.

A more convenient interface to format and parse values is the QuantityFormatter in the core-frontend package. It is limited to formatting and parsing values for a fixed set of quantity types.

QuantityFormatter

The QuantityFormatter class formats quantities for interactive tools, such as the different measure tools, and is used to parse strings back into quantity values. The QuantityFormatter is not used to format properties stored in the iModel, as that is work is done on the back-end via the Presentation layer, but the QuantityFormatter can be set to format values in the same unit system as that used by the back-end. There are four Unit Systems definitions that is shared between the back-end Presentation Manager and the front-end QuantityFormatter:

  • "metric"
  • "imperial"
  • "usCustomary"
  • "usSurvey"

QuantityType

There are nine built-in quantity types (see QuantityType). The QuantityFormatter defines default a formatting specification for each of these types per unit system. IModelApp initialization calls the QuantityFormatter initialization, during which FormatterSpec and ParserSpec for each quantity type are generated asynchronously. This allows caller to get these objects via synchronous calls. Any time the unit system is set, a format is overridden, or a units provider is assigned the cached specs are updated.

Custom quantity types that implement the CustomQuantityTypeDefinition interface may also be registered with the QuantityFormatter, see method registerQuantityType. See example implementation of a custom type here.

Overriding Default Formats

The QuantityFormat provides the method setOverrideFormats which allows the default format to be overridden. These overrides may be persisted by implementing the UnitFormattingSettingsProvider interface in the QuantityFormatter. This provider can then monitor the current session to load the overrides when necessary. The class LocalUnitFormatProvider can be used store settings to local storage and to maintain overrides by iModel as shown below:

    await IModelApp.quantityFormatter.setUnitFormattingSettingsProvider(new LocalUnitFormatProvider(IModelApp.quantityFormatter, true));

This allows both the Presentation Unit System and the format overrides, set by the user, to stay in sync as the user opens different iModels.

AlternateUnitLabelsProvider

The QuantityFormatter provides a default set of alternate unit labels which are used when parsing strings to quantities. The interface AlternateUnitLabelsProvider defines how alternate units are defined. One commonly specified alternate label is "^" to specify degrees, much easier to type than trying to figure out how to enter the default label for degree, "°".

To add custom labels use QuantityFormatter.addAlternateLabels as shown in the examples below:

IModelApp.quantityFormatter.addAlternateLabels("Units.ARC_DEG", "^");
IModelApp.quantityFormatter.addAlternateLabels("Units.FT", "feet", "foot");

Units Provider

A units provider is used to define all available units and provides conversion factors between units. The QuantityFormatter has a default units provider BasicUnitsProvider that only defines units needed by the set of QuantityTypes the formatter supports. Most IModels contain a Units schema. If this is the case, an SchemaUnitsProvider may be defined when an IModel is opened. The parent application must opt-in to using an IModel specific UnitsProvider using the following technique:

    // Reset QuantityFormatter UnitsProvider with new iModelConnection
    try{
      const schemaLocater = new ECSchemaRpcLocater(iModelConnection);
      const context = new SchemaContext();
      context.addLocater(schemaLocater);
      await IModelApp.quantityFormatter.setUnitsProvider(new SchemaUnitProvider(context));
    } catch (_) {
      // in case IModel does not have a Units schema reset to use BasicUnitsProvider
      await IModelApp.quantityFormatter.resetToUseInternalUnitsProvider();
    }

    // ready to store the IModelConnection in the IModelApps redux store
    UiFramework.setIModelConnection(iModelConnection, true);

Measure Tools

Below are a list of a few of the delivered Measure Tools and the QuantityTypes they use.

MeasureDistanceTool

  • Length - QuantityType.Length
  • Coordinates - QuantityType.Coordinate

MeasureLocationTool

  • Coordinates - QuantityType.Coordinate
  • Spatial Coordinates - QuantityType.LatLong
  • Height - QuantityType.Coordinate

MeasureAreaByPointsTool

  • Perimeter - QuantityType.Length
  • Coordinates - QuantityType.Coordinate
  • Area - QuantityType.Area

MeasureElementTool

  • Accumulated Length - QuantityType.Length
  • Accumulated Area - QuantityType.Area
  • Volume - QuantityType.Volume
  • Centroid - QuantityType.Coordinate

Formatting Example

Below is example converting totalDistance, in persistence units of meters, to the format specified for QuantityType.Length in the current unit system. The formatterSpec contains all the unit conversions necessary to convert the persistence unit to the units specified in the FormatProps.

    const formatterSpec = IModelApp.quantityFormatter.findFormatterSpecByQuantityType(QuantityType.Length);
    if (undefined === formatterSpec)
      return;
    const formattedTotalDistance = IModelApp.quantityFormatter.formatQuantity(totalDistance, formatterSpec);

If the unit system is "imperial" then the following format (FormatProps) would typically be applied. This format specifies to create a string in the format of X'-X", where inches would be shown to the nearest 1/8 inch.

    format: {
      composite: {
        includeZero: true,
        spacer: "-",
        units: [{ label: "'", name: "Units.FT" }, { label: "\"", name: "Units.IN" }],
      },
      formatTraits: ["keepSingleZero", "showUnitLabel"],
      precision: 8,
      type: "Fractional",
      uomSeparator: "",
    },

If the unit system is "metric" then the following format (FormatProps) would typically be applied. This format specifies to create a string in the format of Xm, where meters would be shown to nearest .0001 precision.

    format: {
      composite: {
        includeZero: true,
        spacer: "",
        units: [{ label: "m", name: "Units.M" }],
      },
      formatTraits: ["keepSingleZero", "showUnitLabel"],
      precision: 4,
      type: "Decimal",
    },

Parsing Example

Below is an example of parsing the string 24^34.5' into an angle in the persistence unit of radian. The parserSpec that is generated contains all the unit conversions necessary to convert from any angular unit to radians.

    inString = `24^34.5'`;
    const parserSpec = IModelApp.quantityFormatter.findParserSpecByQuantityType(QuantityType.Angle);
    if (parserSpec)
      return parserSpec.parseToQuantityValue(inString);

The persistence unit is predefined by the QuantityType definition in the QuantityFormatter. For QuantityType.Angle the following is used.

    // QuantityType.Angle
    const radUnit = await this.findUnitByName("Units.RAD");
    const angleDefinition = new StandardQuantityTypeDefinition(QuantityType.Angle, radUnit,
      "iModelJs:QuantityType.Angle.label", "iModelJs:QuantityType.Angle.description");
    this._quantityTypeRegistry.set(angleDefinition.key, angleDefinition);

The default angle format (FormatProps) is used during parsing to supply the default set of labels to look for in the string. Any alternate unit labels, as provided by AlternateUnitLabelsProvider, will also be checked during the parsing operation. The alternate unit label of "^" is commonly set up for QuantityType.Angle making it easier to build the angle string with standard keyboard keys. The default format for QuantityType.Angle when the unit system is set to "imperial" is shown below.

    format: {
      composite: {
        includeZero: true,
        spacer: "",
        units: [{ label: "°", name: "Units.ARC_DEG" }, { label: "'", name: "Units.ARC_MINUTE" }, { label: "\"", name: "Units.ARC_SECOND" }],
      },
      formatTraits: ["keepSingleZero", "showUnitLabel"],
      precision: 4,
      type: "Decimal",
      uomSeparator: "",
    },

SchemaUnitProvider

It is possible to retrieve Units from schemas stored in IModels. The new SchemaUnitProvider can now be created and used by the QuantityFormatter or any method in the core-quantity package that requires a UnitsProvider. Below is an example, extracted from ui-test-app, that demonstrates how to register the IModel-specific UnitsProvider as the IModelConnection is created. This new provider will provide access to a wide variety of Units that were not available in the standalone BasicUnitsProvider.

    // Provide the QuantityFormatter with the iModelConnection so it can find the unit definitions defined in the iModel
    const schemaLocater = new ECSchemaRpcLocater(iModelConnection);
    await IModelApp.quantityFormatter.setUnitsProvider (new SchemaUnitProvider(schemaLocater));

IMPORTANT: the core-quantity package is not a peer dependency of the ecschema-metadata package

Quantity Package

The Quantity Package @itwinjs\core-quantity defines interfaces and classes used to specify formatting and provide information needed to parse strings into quantity values. It should be noted that most of the classes and interfaces used in this package are based on the native C++ code that formats quantities on the back-end. The purpose of this frontend package was to produce the same formatted strings without requiring constant calls to the backend to do the work.

Common Terms:

  • Unit/UnitProps - A named unit of measure which can be located by its name or label.
  • UnitsProvider - A class that will also locate the UnitProps for a unit given name or label. This class will also provide a UnitConversion to convert from one unit to another.
  • Unit Family/Phenomenon - The physical quantity that this unit measures (e.g., length, temperature, pressure). Only units in the same phenomenon can be converted between.
  • Persistence Unit - The unit used to store the quantity value in memory or to persist the value in an editable IModel.
  • Format/FormatProp - The display format for the quantity value. For example, an angle may be persisted in radians but formatted and shown to user in degrees.
    • CompositeValue - An addition to the format specification that allows the explicit specification of a unit label, it also allows the persisted value to be displayed as up to 4 sub-units. Typical multi-unit composites are used to display feet'-inches" and degree°minutes'seconds".
  • FormatterSpec - Holds the format specification as well as the UnitConversion between the persistence unit and all units defined in the format. This is done to avoid any async calls by the UnitsProvider during the formatting process.
  • ParserSpec - Holds the format specification as well as the UnitConversion between the persistence unit and all other units in the same phenomenon. This is done to avoid async calls by the UnitsProvider and also done to allow a user to enter 43in even when in "metric" unit system and have the string properly converted to meters.

FormatProps

For a detailed description of all the setting supported by FormatProp see the EC documentation on Format.

Formatting Examples

Below are a couple examples of formatting values using methods directly from the @itwinjs/core-quantity package. The UnitsProvider used in the examples below can be seen here. As discussed above, there are UnitProviders that can read units defined in the active IModel, and there is a basic provider that can be used when not IModel is open.

Numeric Format

The example below uses a simple numeric format and generates formatted string with 4 decimal place precision. For numeric formats there is no conversion to other units, the unit passed in is the unit returned with the unit label appended if "showUnitLabel" trait is set.

    const formatData = {
      formatTraits: ["keepSingleZero", "applyRounding", "showUnitLabel", "trailZeroes", "use1000Separator"],
      precision: 4,
      type: "Decimal",
      uomSeparator: " ",
      thousandSeparator: ",",
      decimalSeparator: ".",
    };

    // generate a Format from FormatProps to display 4 decimal place value
    const format = new Format("4d");
    // load the format props into the format, since unit provider is used to validate units the call must be asynchronous.
    await format.fromJSON(unitsProvider, formatData);

    // define input/output unit
    const unitName = "Units.FT";
    const unitLabel = "ft";
    const unitFamily = "Units.LENGTH";
    const inUnit = new BasicUnit(unitName, unitLabel, unitFamily);

    const magnitude = -12.5416666666667;

    // create the formatter spec - the name is not used by the formatter it is only
    // provided so user can cache formatter spec and then retrieve spec via its name.
    const spec = await FormatterSpec.create("test", format, unitsProvider, unit);

    // apply the formatting held in FormatterSpec
    const formattedValue = spec.applyFormatting(magnitude);

    // result in formattedValue of "-12.5417 ft"

Composite Format

The composite format below we will provide a unit in meters and produce a formatted string showing feet and inches to a precision of 1/8th inch.

    const formatData = {
      composite: {
        includeZero: true,
        spacer: "-",
        units: [
          {
            label: "'",
            name: "Units.FT",
          },
          {
            label: "\"",
            name: "Units.IN",
          },
        ],
      },
      formatTraits: ["keepSingleZero", "showUnitLabel"],
      precision: 8,
      type: "Fractional",
      uomSeparator: "",
    };

    // generate a Format from FormatProps to display feet and inches
    const format = new Format("fi8");
    // load the format props into the format, since unit provider is used to validate units the call must be asynchronous.
    await format.fromJSON(unitsProvider, formatData);

    // define input unit
    const unitName = "Units.M";
    const unitLabel = "m";
    const unitFamily = "Units.LENGTH";
    const inUnit = new BasicUnit(unitName, unitLabel, unitFamily);

    const magnitude = 1.0;

    // create the formatter spec - the name is not used by the formatter it is only
    // provided so user can cache formatter spec and then retrieve spec via its name.
    const spec = await FormatterSpec.create("test", format, unitsProvider, unit);

    // apply the formatting held in FormatterSpec
    const formattedValue = spec.applyFormatting(magnitude);

    // result in formattedValue of 3'-3 3/8"

Parsing Values

  // define output unit and also used to determine the unit family used during parsing
  const outUnit = await unitsProvider.findUnitByName("Units.M");

  const formatData = {
    composite: {
      includeZero: true,
      spacer: "-",
      units: [{ label: "'", name: "Units.FT" }, { label: "\"", name: "Units.IN" }],
    },
    formatTraits: ["keepSingleZero", "showUnitLabel"],
    precision: 8,
    type: "Fractional",
    uomSeparator: "",
  };

  // generate a Format from FormatProps used to determine possible labels
  const format = new Format("test");
  await format.fromJSON(unitsProvider, formatData);

  const inString = "2FT 6IN";

  // create the parserSpec spec which will hold all unit conversions from possible units to the output unit
  const parserSpec = await ParserSpec.create(format, unitsProvider, outUnit, unitsProvider);
  const parseResult = parserSpec.parseToQuantityValue(inString);
  //  parseResult.value 0.762  (value in meters)

AlternateUnitLabelsProvider

The AlternateUnitLabelsProvider interface allows users to specify a set of alternate labels which may be encountered during parsing of strings. By default only the input unit label and the labels of other units in the same Unit Family/Phenomenon, as well as the label of units in a Composite format are used.

Last Updated: 20 May, 2022