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How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

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  • rmcgaffic
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    Just wanted to report some good news.

    The last remaining bug in this thread has been fixed.

    Previously, when a stand along browse was used for a field rule lookup display, the height of the browse could not be controlled. Even though the height was set in the browse design mode using Object Explorer, the value was overwritten which added many blank lines to the browse.

    I just received an email from Alpha that this bug has been fixed and will be included in the next update (post 09/13/08).

    Here's the score:
    6 different bugs reported in this thread
    6 different bugs fixed in a timely manner!!!

    Thanks Alpha Team!

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Leave a comment:


  • rmcgaffic
    replied
    New problems after 09/08/2008 updates

    All,

    I was hopeful that the problems with the height of a field rule lookup using a custom browse would have been addressed by the A5V9 update of 09/13/08. They have not. I did not receive an email acknowledgement from Alpha when I submitted this problem on 08/15/08, so I have resubmitted it.

    Unfortunately, the 09/13/08 patches appear to have broken things that worked. Anyone else note the following problems?

    (X) Display as drop down list no longer works.
    The display is a full screen browse

    Browse layout to brwLookup no longer works
    My custom browse layout brwLookup is not displayed, and instead the default browse is displayed.

    I have re-submitted the original bug report just in case it fell through the cracks and an addendum for these two issues encountered after the patch update.

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh

    Leave a comment:


  • rmcgaffic
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    Lynda,

    Intermitent, inconsistent behavior sounds like a bug to me, but the problem is whether the problem can be reproduced so that it can be debugged.

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh

    Leave a comment:


  • programsplus
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    i noticed that your examples use a saved browse instead of the default browse... as you can see from my first post, when i use a saved layout, i continue to get a "cannot create lookup" error. this error occurs randomly, 2-4 times a day.. where the user enters the customer name in the customer field, but instead of going to the layout browse it says it can't find the lookup... if the user waits a few minutes, the error goes away on its own and then the list reappears for them to use. This error is consistent with all my accounts using a saved layout and the day i went back to a default browse - ALL of these errors on all customers stopped.

    My post was to ask if anyone knew why using a saved layout would cause this error - or simply how to use a default browse, but have control over the font size of the default browse.

    Any suggestions for these questions? I agree, there are always things that could look better - i think V9 goes a long way in giving better control and design, but what i'd really like to know is if anyone knows how to solve the error first - then i'll worry about aesthetics.

    Leave a comment:


  • rmcgaffic
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    Lynda,

    Please see the screen prints below. I don't think your problem is an Alpha bug. Try using the Object Explorer to set the font of each individual browse column and the row height.

    Screen 1
    Shows the default browse used as a popup. It is all hardwired.

    Screen 2
    Shows my custom browse named after you: brwLynda.

    Screen 3
    Shows brwLynda used as a popup lookup without maximizing the display

    Screen 4
    Shows brwLynda used as a popup lookup with maximizing the display.

    Note that in both screens 3 and 4 the column fonts were set to 18 point Tahoma and the row height was changed to 36 to permit a readable display.

    But this field rule lookup display in screens 1, 3, and 4 suffers from a number of other weaknesses that might be easily corrected:

    1. Buttons are not left aligned. Note that the Alpha Toolbar does not attempt to evenly space out its icon buttons or the menu options for that matter. Yet Alpha apparently sees no inconsistency with docking its popup buttons left and right. To me, this is nutty. Are they flying in the face of convention just to be different or is this simply an design oversight?

    2. Icons on the Find, Locate, OK, and Cancel buttons are weak.

    I'm not sure if you asked 100 people on the street, what a lightning bolt represents but I have never seen it used to mean OK. The more typical icon is a checkmark and preferably a green checkmark.

    The icons are poorly detailed. What is supposed to be binoculars looks like a moth to me. In general Alpha's icons suffer from being too small and overly ornate, a fatal design combination.

    What do you think Alpha could do to strengthen its lookup browses? Here are my suggestions:

    1. Allow the row selector buttons to be optional. The embedded browse has a property ShowRowSelectors, why not a standalone browse? Don't force row selector buttons on a developer for simple one column browses.

    2. Left align buttons, just like the Alpha toolbar and menu and Microsoft Explorer, etc.

    3. Place the same small space between each button so the appearance is even, again just like their toolbar and menus. How hard can this be?

    4. Drop the icons from the buttons. If the icons are weak, eliminate them altogether and rely only on text. No I don't think its realistic to get Alpha to improve its icons. I am not so much concerned about the appearance of their product as I am the appearance of the solution you are trying to deliver to your client.

    5. Alpha has in numerous places hardwired font and sizes. This is the cost of using defaults. But wouldn't it be nice for a custom browse to use the same font and size as the browse title or column headings in the lookup's buttons instead?

    6. This should be a wish list item: Allow custom icon's to be used across a development project. Allow a developer to define what icon he wanted to use for OK, and then when ever a default browse was used, that user selected icon would appear. If you wanted to use a purple lighting bolt for OK, that would be fine, and I could use a simple green checkmark for OK in my application.
    At the same time allow a developer to specify the font and size for "OK" to appear on the button across all screens in his project.

    If I get sometime over the weekend, I may post a "makeover" of how this lookup browse could be improved. Alpha Five so reminds me of Ugly Betty and I just wish the Alpha team would take the braces off, get contacts, and a new haircut!

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Last edited by rmcgaffic; 09-04-2008, 08:38 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • programsplus
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    thank you for your response... i can see that you have selected the "display as drop down" - if i change to this, i can see the font pulls to the browse...
    however, i don't use this (I use allow maximized display) because i want a full screen look at the browse... i use this when selecting a company for a new ticket... so when they get to that field, they enter the first part of the company name and hit enter (i have pop on mismatch marked)... then instead of a small list under the company field, it displays the default browse in full screen, and has several fields for them to see like address, city and state so they can choose the correct company (some companies have multiple location, so seeing the address info is vital)...

    You'll see, if you use the allow maximized display, and not a "drop down" the fonts to carry and the text is quite small.... should i report as a bug? or ask to have them address this as well?

    Leave a comment:


  • rmcgaffic
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    Lynda,

    You might want to try reinstalling the patches. My screens below show that the font size problem that I earlier reported to Alpha has indeed been fixed.

    Screen 1
    Shows that a default browse will be used to display the values from a lookup table for a field edit rule for field Telephone Type

    Screen 2
    Shows that the font of field Telephone Type is Tahoma 18 point and that the displayed values are also 18 point.

    The problem with this display is that Alpha won't allow you to remove the row selector buttons and their checkmark. I bet you didn't even see the checkmark. It's black on a dark navy background, not the best combination for easy readability.

    Alpha either needs to kill this or permit a browse to have a property ShowRowSelector. Note that the embedded browse had this property, but the browse used for a field lookup does not.

    Also did you note the inconsistency in display between a combo box and a field rule lookup. Both have the same purpose: to display a list of values from which a user may select. But the combo box doesn't force checkmarks and row selector buttons on the display; the field rule lookup both using either a default browse and a custom browse does.

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh

    Leave a comment:


  • programsplus
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    "Field Rules - Table Lookup Rule - Display as Dropdown Option - If the lookup rule specified the name of a saved Browse Layout, the drop down window was not inheriting many of the display properties of the saved Browse layout. Also, if the lookup rule used a default layout, the lookup window now inherits the font setting from the parent control on the Form or Browse."

    I'm curious about this response, because i'm not seeing how this works.. I have V9 Platinum and have all the latest patches, but when i use the lookup rule and use the default layout browse... the lookup browse does not use the fonts from the field it is pulling from on the form - and my clients all complain that the text is too small, but i can't figure out where to make it bigger font, etc...

    I would use the saved layout, but for some reason, when i upgraded to V9 i started getting "cannot create lookup" errors on the fields i had defined a lookup to a table and used a saved layout... several clients were getting several times in a day.. and the day i switched from saved layout browse to the default browse... that error went away immediately.

    But now that i have the default browse, it is in small text and can't be read as well - which is why i liked the saved browses browses because i could control the size and color, etc...

    So, how can i make the font bigger and bolder on a default browse in field rule lookup - any suggestions... the post here says that it should work based on the field i have it based on, but for me it doesn't?

    Also, does anyone know why the saved layout creates this error - "cannot create lookup"... is there something i'm doing wrong in the saved browse i'm using... can you have fields that aren't in the "lookup rule" list in the browse, do they have to be in the same order as the list in the lookup field rule definition? Would love to go back to the saved layout, but can't until i figure out why the error..

    Leave a comment:


  • rmcgaffic
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    All,

    I want to report very good news:

    Over the course of the last several weeks I identified and reported five different bugs related to the use of a combo box or a browse with a field rule, namely:

    1. Browse title font property fails when used for field rule lookup
    2. Browse line style properties fail when used with field rule lookup
    3. Combo box font fails
    4. Combo box vertical alignment property fails
    5. Object explorer Show title property fails for browse

    Over the weekend I applied the latest patch and tested these problems against it. THEY HAVE ALL BEEN FIXED!!!

    Thanks Alpha Team!

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh

    Leave a comment:


  • rmcgaffic
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    Keith,

    I received an email from Selwyn last week letting me know that the bugs I reported concerning the combo box and browse used as a look up-- were being fixed for a patch to be released this week. As you may remember I submitted five separate bug reports. This weekend I'll download the patch and verify that the problems have been corrected.

    I am obviously impressed by two things:
    1. Selwyn's personal monitoring of A5 problems
    2. The speed with which these bugs are being fixed, that is immediately and not having to wait for the next general release.

    Bravo Alpha!

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh

    Leave a comment:


  • Keith Hubert
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    Hi Robert,

    Have you seen this? From Patch updates.
    Field Rules - Table Lookup Rule - Display as Dropdown Option - If the lookup rule specified the name of a saved Browse Layout, the drop down window was not inheriting many of the display properties of the saved Browse layout. Also, if the lookup rule used a default layout, the lookup window now inherits the font setting from the parent control on the Form or Browse.
    Hows that for service?

    Leave a comment:


  • rmcgaffic
    replied
    Another bug reported for field rule lookup using browse

    I have reported another bug in my attempt to use a browse as a field rule lookup based on a table.

    The browse lines properties all fail when the browse is used with the field rule, even though the browse itself seems OK.

    Just for the record, here's the problem:

    Browse line style properties fail when used with field rule lookup

    To reproduce this error:

    1. In design mode, note that browse brwLookup is defined with the following line style properties, screen 1:

    Title Rose Solid
    Row selector Rose Solid
    Horizontal lines Rose Solid
    Vertical lines Rose Solid

    2. In view mode, note that the browse is correctly displayed with rose solid lines, screen 2

    3. Assign the browse to the field rule for Telephone type, screen 3.

    4. Execute form frmPerson and click on field telephone type, screen 4.

    Note the following bugs:

    Horizontal lines are not Rose, in fact, there are no horizontal lines
    Vertical lines are not Rose, in fact, there are no vertical lines

    Leave a comment:


  • rmcgaffic
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    General design principles

    Users expect controls to behave in a consistent way and to have a consistent appearance. This is a general rule of good gui design.

    A useful reference is User Interface Design for Mere Mortals, 2007, available from Amazon.com, $36.47. Relevant chapters include:

    Chapter 4 Good Design
    Chapter 5 How User Behave
    Chapter 6 Analyzing Your Users
    Chapter 7 Designing a User Interface

    Note this book focuses on the design of controls and the user interface, not the misapplication of controls. For the latter, see GUI Bloopers 2.0: Common User Interface Design Don'ts and Dos, available from Amazon.com, 2007, 32.97. Relevant chapters include:

    Chapter 5: Graphic Design & Layout Bloopers

    Also http://www.gui-bloopers.com/

    Commercial application development tools and controls

    I have done a search on third party activeX controls and can not find one ActiveX or .net controls displays its values like A5V9 forces upon a user. Take a look at the following ActiveX controls from commercial controls firms whose business is creating useful, functional, consistent, and yes, beautiful appearance.

    http://www.dbi-tech.com/ctCombo.asp
    http://www.codejock.com/products/com...rs/tour_19.asp
    http://www.infragistics.com/dotnet/n....aspx#Overview

    not to mention the 800 pound gorillas of Microsoft Visual Studio, Miscrosoft Access 2003 and Access 2007, and SAP.

    Alpha's own design

    1. When Alpha creates a default form, the font, size, and attributes of the label are the same as the text. Consistency in appearance is not a new concept to Alpha.

    2. When Alpha displays records for a combo box, the font, size, and attributes of the list are the same as the field for entry. Further, and most importantly, the source of the data doesn't matter. A combo box populated with user defined entries looks the same as a combo box populated with table lookup entries. A user doesn't care about the source of the data. Consistency in appearance is not a new concept to Alpha.

    3. Software houses generally go to great lengths to offer upgrades with backwards compatibility. As seen in screen 1 of my earlier posting, Version 8 Alpha can display field rule lookup values in a manner consistent with Version 8's combo box, but Version 9, shown in screen 2, can not. Upgrades and new versions generally offer additional functionality, rather than removing existing functionality.

    4. I haven't been able to find any documentation suggesting that the lookup for a type in field should be different from a lookup field in a browse. See Alpha's own documentation cited in my earlier post.

    Summary

    Alpha Five should offer the backwards compatibility for Version 9 with Version 8. The fact that this functionality previously existed suggests to me that it was an oversight not to bring it into Version 9.

    If on the other hand, Alpha just says tough, we don't care what your form looks like, go and design your own custom browse (which is non-value added work), they need to correct the four bugs I identified in trying to do just that:

    1. Browse Title font property fails when used for rule lookup
    2. Object explorer property Show Titles fails for Browse
    3. Combo box font fails
    4. Combo box vertical alignment property fails

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh

    Leave a comment:


  • Keith Hubert
    replied
    Re: How to achieve consistent appearance for field rule lookup

    Hi Bob,

    I understand what you have written, but just need to ask you a couple of things to clarify what you regard as being a bug.
    field rule edit lookups should look the same
    Who said so? Where is this written?
    The lookup list is not displayed in the font of the type in field; it should be
    Who said it should be?
    b. The lookup list is displayed with buttons
    What is wrong with that?
    c. The selected button has a checkmark on it
    IMHO Not enough to regard as a bug.
    d. The display needlessly displays unneeded white space for the list
    The size can be changed in design mode of field rules. Not really a bug.
    Aren't Alpha scrollbars supposed to be displayed dynamically?
    Seems not on all occasions. If you change the size, then this is also not an issue.

    There are many things in V9 that are not in V8, I would not regard these differences as Bugs. Personally I would ask Alpha why some of these things have changed and if it was possible to get a little more consistency.

    I'm sure that these items that you have spent so much time on, have not meant the application could not be built to perform as a viable database.

    Leave a comment:


  • rmcgaffic
    replied
    Good news: it works in V8; Bad news: it doesn't in V9

    Here is a copy of the bug report I filed today. I filed this as a wish list item last week, but have retracted that request.

    Bug description: Field rule lookup based on table fails in V9, OK in V8

    I originally posted this issue on the wish list, but have now determined that it is a bug, new to version 9. There was no such bug in Version 8.

    Whether the data source is user entries or a table lookup, field rule edit lookups should look the same. This is not the case with version 9, but was the case for version 8.

    Actually, I stumbled on this Version 8 capability in your documentation. See "Comparing drop-down lists and popup dialogs". The example used is the Alpha Sports Invoice form. Note in that documentation, the field lookup for Product description has the desired appearance.

    When I noticed that the lookup was defined using a table and had exactly the look and feel I sought, I said EUREKA!!! I felt better knowing that at least in the past, Alpha got this right.

    Screen 1 Version 8: A type in field on a form is defined with a field rule to use a table lookup. Notice how clean and simple this is. Nothing out of the ordinary, just what you would expect.

    Screen 2 Version 9: Exactly the same tables, forms, field rule definititions but what a difference in display, namely:

    a. The lookup list is not displayed in the font of the type in field; it should be. The field is Tahoma 12 point and the list is Arial 8 point.

    b. The lookup list is displayed with buttons. Note in Version 8, values are listed without buttons.

    c. The selected button has a checkmark on it, and a hard to see one at that. Black on dark blue doesn't get high marks for readability.

    d. The display needlessly displays unneeded white space for the list. There are only four records and yet a vertical scrollbar is used in an area that would accomodate three times as many records. Aren't Alpha scrollbars supposed to be displayed dynamically?

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh
    [email protected]

    Leave a comment:

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