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Square in char field

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  • Square in char field

    The board is quiet these days, I thought I would create some action, so here we go again...:)
    I have an Agent field (char, size 20) setup in FR as follows:
    1) in Data Entry with a default value with expression user_name() at start of data entry
    2) in LU to lookup value from Name field in Agents table
    3) Validation: always required

    On the layout the width of field object is 20. The largest user/Agent name in the table is 11 char wide.
    Each user has a user name which is the Agent name.

    Issue: when an agent creates an invoice sometimes a square (just 1 square) appears in the field on the layout instead of his user/agent name. When I preview the invoice the square is there.
    When I open the Invoice table in default browse, the Agent field is empty although on the layout there is a square.

    This is really random, not tied to any particular station, no tied to any particular name, not so frequent (happens 2 or 3 times a day with 9 agents creating invoices).

    Note: I have a calc field to display the logged on user/agent name on the layout and it does show the correct name.

    I checked the board and the help file.
    I have been going in circle for the past few days checking everything I can thing of. I know it's hard to suggest a solution when the problem is random; just hoping that someone ran into a similar situation - thks

  • #2
    Re: Square in char field

    Since you are only seeing a single box it is likely an unprintable character.

    ? chr(399)
    = ""
    The only thing that makes sense to me is that the lookup is not working for some reason or the return value is being scrambled over the network (just guesses).
    There can be only one.


    • #3
      Re: Square in char field

      In my experience, although I have not seen this in Alpha, whenever you see a square like that it means that there is a character in the field that is not displayable in the font that you are using. The default browse might be masking that character so that it appears to NOT be there but it just might be. I am not exactly sure what you mean by "although on the layout there is a square". Does this mean that you are in design mode and can see a square in the field?

      I would do a little more investigating to see if something really is in the field and then start tracking anything that might be stuffing something into it.

      EDIT: Man that Stan is fast!!!!!!!


      • #4
        Re: Square in char field

        Originally posted by Doug Page View Post
        EDIT: Man that Stan is fast!!!!!!!
        I wish my A5 was as fast and reliable...

        Stan: the user rarely uses the drop down LU. I have set it up this way in case Agent John needs to create an invoice for agent Sylvia when she is away so he can change the value from John to Sylvia. Upon record creation A5 automatically inserts the agent name so that the Agent does need to use the drop down arrow.

        Doug: by that I mean the square appears in the field on the layout, when I open the default browse I expected to see a square; But instead it's empty (or appears to be). I'll be watching the field closely and the next time it happens before changing anything I'll try to see if something really is there (a ghost character).


        • #5
          Re: Square in char field

          Gaby, I have also seen this in cases where the text to be displayed would not "fit" in the available space, always with numeric values that are larger than the number of available digits in the text box. It will also appear in calc fields that cannot be evaluated, as for example when the calc field results in an error. The square is never part of the actual field value... it's simply how the text box is programmed to behave when its asked to display something it can't. I think something in your design is throwing an error.


          • #6
            Re: Square in char field

            Originally posted by Tom Cone Jr View Post
            I think something in your design is throwing an error.
            So do I.

            The app has been in use for 3 months, the problem started recently (2 weeks ago). I then changed the default expression in FR from user_name() to alltrim(user_name()); the little square left me alone for 2 days but came back yesterday. I am going to scrap the auto enter default value in FR and replace it with a script (set field value) on the layout and see how it goes.


            • #7
              Re: Square in char field

              As Doug suspected the field appears empty in a browse but in fact the little square is there. See attached.
              I changed the font of the Agent field to Marlett in Red. The last field (Agentname) shows the nbr of charaters.


              • #8
                Re: Square in char field

                I've seen a square show up when pressing Ctrl-Backspace. It can happen in a field or in the code editor.

                I know I've done it by mistake when using the Ctrl key for something else then hitting the backspace key either without thinking or when just showing off my lack of coordination - i.e., not getting my finger off the Ctrl key soon enough.


                • #9
                  Re: Square in char field

                  Cal, that's interesting. Might be worth looking at the DBF with a hex editor to see if Alpha is letting some non-alphanumerics into character fields...

                  Now that you mention this I've seen the same thing when pasting formatted word processing text into memo fields. The control codes that are embedded in the word processing text to format the text will appear as single square boxes. These can wreak havoc in memo fields. Alpha is expecting plain text.

                  Gaby, might your users be "pasting" text into your field from an external source?


                  • #10
                    Re: Square in char field

                    Originally posted by Tom Cone Jr View Post
                    Gaby, might your users be "pasting" text into your field from an external source?
                    Very unlikely Tom. The Agent field is set up in field rule as auto enter with the expression alltrim(user_name()) at start of data entry; this inserts the name of the user who is creating the invoice.
                    Could very well be, as Stan said, that the return value is being scrambled over the network. I'll change this today to set the user name with a script and see how it goes in the next few days.
                    I'll keep you informed about this mystery.


                    • #11
                      Re: Square in char field

                      I have seen the squares appear after I changed the length of a field when editing the table structure. After changing the length of the field I had to delete the field on the form and then re-insert it. Not a random event though so probably not relevant to this issue but thought I would post in case others experience this problem.

                      Might be worth creating a new form and see if it suffers the same problem or try the default form.