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Field value jumps to max

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  • Field value jumps to max

    I have a field with auto increment enabled. Every 3-6 months the value suddenly jumps to the largest available number. An example is a packing slip number is 5432. It suddenly jumps to 9999. The client can no longer create packing slips because I have the field set to character(4). I change the size to (6) and sure enough 3-6 months later the field jumps to 999999. Any ideas on what causes this.
    Using version 9 in a multi user environment.

  • #2
    Re: Field value jumps to max

    If your autoincrement field was originally defined as character, 4 you should have initially set the "seed" to "0001". When you changed it to 6 you should have temporarily unset the field autoincrement, updated all records with a padl() expression that filled to the current value to the left with "0" 's.

    Several have reported anomalous behavior with unfilled character autoincrement fields.

    See this.

    And this.
    Last edited by Stan Mathews; 12-10-2010, 06:32 PM.
    There can be only one.


    • #3
      Re: Field value jumps to max

      I created all of my auto increment files with the setting of


      • #4
        Re: Field value jumps to max

        I know some people, for reasons that mostly escape me, want to use character fields for auto-increment. I have always used numeric and have NEVER had any problems of any kind. Of course, I suppose sometimes one might want something like "A1567" but...... Plus with SQL and the web you pretty much need to use numerics, so.....!

        Raymond Lyons


        • #5
          Re: Field value jumps to max

          Unless something has changed that I haven't read about, the web side utilizes character. The debate on character vs numeric has been an ongoing debate for many years I've noted in regard to auto increment...both work obviously, each with its own caveats.
          It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.
          It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
          Henry David Thoreau


          • #6
            Re: Field value jumps to max

            Hi Mike,

            We have had this discussion before and yes I stupidly misspoke (forgot, whatever) about the web using numerics. The web, being a text based monstrosity (see if that gets a rise out of anyone!) has to convert all numbers to characters (right??). So, my point only applies to the real world of databases, which more and more means some flavor of SQL which, I think, demands that auto-increment fields be numeric. But what do I know!

            One thing I know is that in Alpha Five DBF based tables I have never had a problem using numeric fields for auto-increment, and even given the web needing a conversion (big deal!), I would go with numeric fields almost every time in dbf tables to avoid the kind of problems people keep having when they use characters. Also if nothing else converting to SQL, which we all should be doing some day, should be easier. Plus I predict the web won't forever be 100% text based (now I really don't know what I am talking about!).

            Raymond Lyons


            • #7
              Re: Field value jumps to max

              Alan, no one has offered an explanation for what you are experiencing. I'll hazard a guess, but can't say it's for certain.

              The auto-inc field rule uses the table's index to find the record with the highest field value. This value is then incremented and used when the next new record is begun.

              I suspect that your index file is being corrupted, and that the corruption in the index leads to the highest possible field value being supplied by the field rule.

              Index corruption is an oft discussed topic. It can be caused by many different things, including hardware failures, power outages, and so on. Suggest you search for related threads discussing index corruption to see if what's reported there rings any bells for your situation.


              • #8
                Re: Field value jumps to max

                I believe it maybe the index getting corrupted. We have about 10 XP machines running off a widows 2003 server. When I try to compact I am getting errors. In order to reset the auto increment I have export all the data out and rebuild the indexes. My concern is I don't know what is causing the problem. The app can run for over 6 months before I see the problem. Needle in a haystack. I was using access for several years prior and never experienced this type of issue.


                • #9
                  Re: Field value jumps to max


                  Further suggestions for you:

                  a) study the many message board threads discussing index corruption to familiarize yourself with the types of things that can cause the problem;

                  b) look for simpler ways to recover. Exporting, importing, and rebuilding seems like overkill to me;

                  c) visit the code archive forum of this message board. Search for auto-inc alternatives that accomplish the same result without using the built-in field rule. Some of these are much much easier to work with once they're implemented.


                  • #10
                    Re: Field value jumps to max

                    Originally posted by Tom Cone Jr View Post

                    Further suggestions for you:
                    c) visit the code archive forum of this message board. Search for auto-inc alternatives that accomplish the same result without using the built-in field rule. Some of these are much much easier to work with once they're implemented.
                    I would also recommend one of the methods in the code archive (I think it came from Cal Locklin), especially if you insist on using or need to use a character field for auto-inc. I have used that method for both character and numeric auto-inc fields (takes tweak for numeric but it is just a minor tweak). I don't know but it seems to me that in general you'd have fewer index related problems if the field being indexed was numeric. Okay, I think that horse is dead now. No more!

                    Raymond Lyons