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Date Entry options


saltobello
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Hi. I'm VERY rusty on FileMaker Pro; in fact the last database I was in Vers. 3 or 4, I believe, about 13 years ago! So, as I'm getting up to speed, I'm full of questions. I have Jonathan Stars's "Learn FileMaker Pro 8.5" in front of me and I'm inching my way through creating a database for the documentary I'm working on.

 

I have a specific question: I'd like to format a Date field to be flexible. Here are the variables:

1. When creating a new entry I don't want the users to have to type /'s. If the date is 12/24/2001, I'd like the user to be able to type in 12242001. How is that possible?

2. If the user only has a year--and no specific date--how can I format so an entry like this would be accessible: ####2001 (which in turn would read as ##/##/2001)?

 

Thanks!

 

Stephen

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1. When creating a new entry I don't want the users to have to type /'s. If the date is 12/24/2001, I'd like the user to be able to type in 12242001. How is that possible?

 

Messy. Are your users smart enough to always use leading zeros for one-digit months and one-digit days within a month? Otherwise, user types 1172009. November 7? January 17?

 

If they're not too lazy to do the leading zeros, seems like they'd not be too lazy to use the slashes.

 

Complicated if you're a bit of a newbie. You can't enter 542009 or 10232009 or 1172009 in a DATE field, so your users would have to do their data entry into a TEXT field. You could have the actual date field auto-enter a calculated value based on parsing what they DID type in, but the nature of auto-enter values is that they won't trigger until the original/initial data input is committed. Thus, let's say your data entry person types 02302009 then tabs to next field and continued doing data input, type, tab, type, tab, type tab until way down at the bottom of the page finally clicks out of the field or hits Enter or hits ⌘-N to start a new record. Now and ONLY now does the real date field attempt to fill in a calculated value based on that 023009. Problem is, there is no such date as February 30, 2009. You could put validation which will yield an error messge but it won't error as your data entry person is typing it in, it will complain far later when that record is committed.

 

My recommendation is to tell them to use SOME kind of delimiter between month and day and between day and year. NOTE: it doesn't have to be a slash. FileMaker will accept: dots (periods); backslashes; dashes (aka minus signs, hyphens); commas; semicolons!; asterisks*!!; (exclamation points too); even freaking apostrophes!. But it really wants something in there.

 

 

 

 

2. If the user only has a year--and no specific date--how can I format so an entry like this would be accessible: ####2001 (which in turn would read as ##/##/2001)?

 

Same problem plus an additional prob. ##/##/2001 is not a date. So it would have to go in as a text field with all the issues described above. Then you'd have to decide what actual real date to treat it as. Jan 1?

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All great points and tips. Thanks for the quick and lengthy reply.

 

Perhaps I'd be better off with three windows, one for the date, the next for the month, the last for the year, like entering your SS# on a website?

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You could do that... but you'd still have the problem of someone entering 2 for the month field, 30 for the day field, 2009 for the year field, tabbing on and doing data entry all down the page before finally committing the record which would only THEN say "hey what kinda date is 2/30/2009?"

 

If you use a real date field, it won't let anyone input illicit dates. Stops them right then and there in their tracks until they fix it.

 

Also, FINDING dates would be a pain usng three separate fields. I can ask for all records where date = "1/1/2009...3/31/2009" and get the first 3 months' worth of records. How would you do that if it were split into 3 fields?

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