How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

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Charlie
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How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

Post by Charlie » 15 Aug 2017, 15:02

We have on some form windows a few data fields (some date/time, some number) that are not applicable in certain circumstances.

These fields were originally setup to hide when not applicable, allowing "N/A" background text fields to become visible.

I've always found this a lousy setup, particularly when dealing with a tabbed form window.

Has anybody figured out a better alternative to handle N/A ? Off the top of my head, I can think of the following, although I can't figure out how to implement any one of these (if any of these are even possible ! ) :
  • a background image of "N/A" in the data field ? Showing the background information when the field is indeed N/A, and no background image otherwise ?
  • EM_SETCUEBANNER ? Showing a "N/A" banner when the field is indeed N/A, and no banner otherwise ?
  • dynamically changing the data type of the field to string data type to show "N/A", and leaving the data type of the field as is otherwise ?
Cheers and best regards !
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Jeff Luther
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How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

Post by Jeff Luther » 15 Aug 2017, 19:01

You don't say what version of TD you are using, but kind of good news/bad news:

>> v6.3 and later supports 'Hint Text' as a data field property. (Image attached shows hint text -- set in Italics by TD -- for my Converter's non-editable source name String field, FYI.)

BUT... though it can be assigned to a field of type Number during design time (as I just tested), the non-editable Number field doesn't display the hint text!

You wrote
These fields were originally setup to hide when not applicable, allowing "N/A" background text fields to become visible.
Workaround might be you have a double-field pair for each real field, sized identically, with a non-editable String field initially hidden (and overlapped/sized the same) and assigned "N/A" at create -- maybe in italic font. You swap/flip each field pair depending on whether the real field is N/A or not.

I know... if you have a thousand fields that's a lot of work, but if you have v6.3 or later then you only have to add a 2nd "N/A" field to your non-String type fields. It's a thought, anyway.
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Dave Rabelink
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How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

Post by Dave Rabelink » 16 Aug 2017, 06:22

A screenshot of the existing implementation could help here.

I'm thinking, why not just disable the fields, have them empty and grey out the label text?
Normally "N/A" for an editable field is managed as a disabled field which an extra cue by having a grayed label.

I know, personal taste, but having a N/A text inside a field confuses me in thinking whether the field itself is "N/A" or does the field have the value "N/A".

As an example: having male and female radio button. When female is selected, a field "pregnant" becomes applicable. For males it is not applicable.
It is enough for me to have the pregnant field disabled with grayed label to inform me, the field is N/A.
The text N/A does not give extra que, it rather confuses.

But maybe in the context of your GUI's a N/A makes more sense.
Regards,
Dave Rabelink

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Charlie
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How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

Post by Charlie » 16 Aug 2017, 10:38

Oops, forgot to mention: TD5.2SP3

I should also have explicitly mentioned that the data fields are placed on top of their related "N/A" background labels.

(Apologies, I'd attach a screenshot if I could figure out how. Haven't had my dose of caffeine yet ...)

Jeff: THANKS! Very nice to know that, when I get around to upgrading TD someday, "hint text" will be available.

Dave: THANKS! I thought about going the "N/A" data fields instead of background text, and quickly ruled that out because it is way to easy to get tripped up by them. Going the "colour-code to dark gray means not applicable" route is what I'm throwing into today's new version of our application suite. (Thought of that yesterday afternoon as I savoured my cinnamon-laced coffee. Great minds think alike? I love simple no-nonsense solutions !)
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How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

Post by Jeff Luther » 16 Aug 2017, 15:28

Charlie, You're welcome! You also wrote
I'd attach a screenshot if I could figure out how
I have a wonderful utility I can recommend and use (and used on my screenshot above): SnagIt: https://www.techsmith.com/screen-captur ... mpaign=sw8

Great utility and I've used it for I think decades!! I save out the image in png format and attach it. 'Easy as pie,' as they say...
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Charlie
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How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

Post by Charlie » 16 Aug 2017, 19:55

Thanks Jeff, however that's a solution to the wrong problem.

We used to use SnagIt, but I now capture screenshots with functionality built into the app.

So I have my screenshot, but I can't find a button "here" to attach the screenshot to my posts.
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How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

Post by Jeff Luther » 17 Aug 2017, 15:12

I can't find a button "here" to attach the screenshot to my posts.
Oh...

See the attachment below, showing that after you click the Attachments tab below the "Save, Preview, Submit" buttons set at the bottom of this edit control when you are in edit mode, there's an Add files button.
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Charlie
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How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

Post by Charlie » 18 Aug 2017, 10:33

G'day Jeff,

I have the tab for "Options", but not the tab for "Attachments".

Once upon a time, the "Attachments" tab was there, but it has somehow disappeared since the last time I actually attached a file.

Très étrange ...
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Jeff Luther
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How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

Post by Jeff Luther » 18 Aug 2017, 15:55

I'd check with Dave R. about this if he doesn't reply himself. Sounds like there might be something going on with the underlying forum code itself?
Jeff Luther @ PC Design
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Dave Rabelink
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How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

Post by Dave Rabelink » 21 Aug 2017, 05:34

Charlie wrote:
18 Aug 2017, 10:33
I have the tab for "Options", but not the tab for "Attachments".

Once upon a time, the "Attachments" tab was there, but it has somehow disappeared since the last time I actually attached a file.

Très étrange ...
I checked and yes, this subforum was not configured properly. The attachment tab was not authorized for registered users.
This is now corrected. Please test if the attachments tab is present now.

If you (or others) see "glitches" in (sub)forum permissions, missing features whatever, please report them in the "General/Forum Discussion" subforum:

TD Forum index/General/Forum Discussion
Regards,
Dave Rabelink

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Charlie
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How to handle data fields that can be N/A (not applicable)

Post by Charlie » 21 Aug 2017, 12:04

G'day g'day,

The attachments tab is indeed there now. Thanks Dave !
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