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New user - field expression help needed

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  • New user - field expression help needed

    Hi, I am new to Alpha 5v9, and am trying to convert a database originally done in Excel to Alpha. Its a flat database, for a financial application. There is probably a very easy way of doing this, but I can't figure out best way: Fields: 'Code' = a 2 character alpha e.g. 'su' short for 'sundries, 'lo' sort for 'loans' etc. There are about 30 different 2 letter codes 'Description' is 20 character field e.g. 'Sundries' 'Amount' is a numeric field for the value e.g. 1,000 There are numeric fields for 'Loans', 'Sundries' etc. I use field rules to expand the code 'lo' to Loans, 'su' to 'Sundries etc. which works fine. What I also need to do is to copy the value entered into 'Amount' into the field 'Loans' if the Code = 'Loans' or to the field 'Sundries' if the Code = 'Sundries'

    FIELDS: Code Description Amount Loans Sundries
    lo Loans 1000 1,000 0
    su Sundries 250 0 250

    Hope that makes sense

  • #2
    Re: New user - field expression help needed

    Sounds like you are denormalizing the data. Not necessarily a good idea.

    Create an update operation

    loans------amount-------code = "Loans"
    sundries--amount--------code = "Sundries"
    There can be only one.


    • #3
      Re: New user - field expression help needed

      Thanks Stan - and take your point about denormalising data


      • #4
        Re: New user - field expression help needed

        Hi Stan - isn't there a way to do it via field rules so that it occurs on data entry rather than as a batch type process?


        • #5
          Re: New user - field expression help needed

          You post seemed that you wanted to convert existing data. If you want to enter an amount in one field and a code in the other and have the amount copied to the appropriately named field we are looking at something different.

          What do you want to happen if the user changes the code and amount?
          There can be only one.


          • #6
            Re: New user - field expression help needed

            Sorry I was a bit vague. It's not existing data, it's data input. An amount is input and stored in the Amount field and also copied to a field corresponding to the code input. For example, input of 1000 with code 'Loans' would post 1000 to field Amount, and 1000 to field Loans. Subsequent changes to either the amount or the Code need to be actioned in the same way, ideally at the time of input/change. There are about 20 different codes in total.


            • #7
              Re: New user - field expression help needed

              Subsequent changes to either the amount or the Code need to be actioned in the same way, ideally at the time of input/change. There are about 20 different codes in total.

              Subsequent changes need to be removed from the field into which they were originally copied and then copied to the newly entered code field. This means you need to capture the code before it is changed, clear the amount in that field, then copy to the appropriate field.

              This can all be done with field rule event code but it is not a trivial exercise.

              We should probably consider why you deem this process necessary. There may be a way to get the end result from the existing table structure.
              There can be only one.


              • #8
                Re: New user - field expression help needed

                First of all, thanks for your help. You are absolutely right - the old value needs to be cleared - I am still thinking in terms of an Excel table, in which this is very easy to do.

                The application is a simple accounting database - where bank payments (Field Amount) are being posted and the relevant nominal ledger code is input as a 2 digit alpha (lo =loans, su=sundries, gp=general purchases etc.) As there are over 20 of these codes, when keying in a series of entries, it is quicker for the operator to input just the code and amount, rather than looking for the relevant spreadsheet cell in a row, or box on a form in which to key the amount. I was trying to keep the table structure very simple, and by having the same amount in both the amount field, and the relevant field for the code, it gives a slight double check on the data, and makes reporting by code, filtered by date simpler. Every entry also has a date, and I was planning to to create summary tables by week and by month. I suppose that could all be done within reporting, but I was trying to keep things as simple as possible as this is my first foray into Alpha. The existing data is in this single spreadsheet format in Excel, so transfers easily if I keep this database structure.


                • #9
                  Re: New user - field expression help needed

                  Every entry also has a date, and I was planning to to create summary tables by week and by month.
                  This will be easy to do and report with summary operations or report groups and calculated fields. You might also look at crosstab operations for some new analysis options.

                  It is often tempting to try to use previous experience to drive the new endeavor but I'd strongly advise you not try to replicate the Excel application in Alpha.
                  There can be only one.