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Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS

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  • Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS

    Hello - I'm disappointed the 4.5 upgrade isn't radically better than my previous 3.0 version. (I've barely tolerated the Alpha Windows interface) Before I send it back, I'd like the answer to one (I believe) simple lookup question.

    application: Music collection
    configuration: MyAudio table using table lookup to Artists table (which fills Artist, Sort Name & Label input fields)

    routine in Alpha DOS (used since 1992)
    1. Select entry form, Artist table lookup window appears
    2. King Crimson - type a 'k', then arrow down, press enter
    3. Enter data, you're done.

    HOW can I get the V4.5 to also do this SAME simple thing?

    The lookup window appears (sticky in 4.5 hooray) but it DOES NOT advance in the speed-typing way that DOS does. It just sits there. having to use the Find command is cumbersome and time-consuming.

    One work-around is to:
    1. Hit Esc and drop the look-up window.
    2. Start typing the desired name.
    3. Press the Down arrow and the lookup box returns WITH the list advanced by what you typed in your form.

    This method is only slightly less irratating! Why on Earth are we missing (and re-adding as "enhancements") simple behaviors that worked in DOS without programming.

    If it takes x-basic to accomplish this one, then something is really wrong with this picture.

    Sorry for long speech, but I really expected better. Any help is appreciated.

    Tim (whose A4V6 Grain Commodities application is now still running in it's 8th year)

  • #2
    RE: Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS


    I, too, used A4 for years. You are correct in that A4 has a couple "built in" features that are missing in a5.

    However, Evaluating all things, and the fact that just about any feature that was in a4 can be duplicated in A5, I think you might want to reconsider sending the software back! Of course, it's you decision, but there are SO MANY things that can be done with Xbasic that CAN'T be achieved in A4.

    Oh, I still love and respect A4; it was so simple! But if you hang in there, you'll love A5 even more.

    Well, anyway, I believe that you can easily solve your problem.

    Go to the field rule for your lookup. Select "Popup on mismatch" and "Do not automatically popup." This will by-pass the 'esc' routine. When the user types in any number of characters and presses enter, the popup will open to the closest match. Typing in 3 characters usually takes the lookup to close proximity to the match.

    While not exactly the same, it is just as easy.

    I hope this helps.



    • #3
      RE: Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS

      There are also a couple of articles at

      including one called "Improved Table Lookup" that may help with what you want to do.

      I, too, fought switching to A5 because it was different. A4 was less complicated for many things, but then so was DOS. We are rapidly approaching a time when new machines will no longer run DOS software, and many new printers, scanners, and other devices will not connect to older hardware that may run DOS software. You'll have to find a Windows db someday in the near future.

      I shopped my way through several of the other Windows db alternatives including Lotus Approach, FileMaker Pro, and Access. Whatever we wish A5 had that it doesn't, it still beats the others cold for making more power and features accessable to its users.


      • #4
        RE: Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS


        V4.5 was never meant to include any radical enhancements or changes but rather some index stability and some bug corrections. V5 will be the radical change and most of us are eargerly awaiting the release.

        TYVM :) kenn

        Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.


        • #5
          RE: Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS

          Paul, good point. I remember experiencing the same sort of frustration as Tim describes. But for me the key question became DOS or Windows? If it's to be Windows, what tool? Alpha Five became my choice after looking at the others that are available. It's not a new, bigger, better Alpha Four. It's a different product. One that permitted me to leverage my existing investment in data structures, functions, and expressions as I transitioned to Windows.

          Tim, check out Visual dBase, Paradox, Approach, FileMaker and Access. I daresay each and every one will present you with a steeper learning curve, and require more custom programming, than Alpha Five. At least that's my experience, to date.

          -- tom


          • #6
            RE: Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS

            Craig - Thanks for thoughtful reply with work-around. I just made the field rule change and I can live with that. I know that I have to hang in there with this. My question served to also test the waters, which everyone here has helped me feel better about this situation. If no one chimed in or simply commiserated about how "bad" it is, that would have told me to return it!

            Thanks, Tim


            • #7
              RE: Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS

              Paul - Thanks for your comments, I've never developed a love or even respect for Access. If I can make a go of it in Alpha 4.5 I'd rather stay on this road.

              Thanks, Tim


              • #8
                RE: Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS

                Tom - Thanks for the comments. I've been there, no t-shirts were offered. It's like Adobe Premiere 5.1; too steep, found Sonic Foundry's Video Factory and Vegas Pro. I daresay just as powerful, easier to use, less money as well.

                Thanks, Tim


                • #9
                  RE: Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS

                  Ken - Thanks for comments. I should understand this, based on our own company's releases. We have a 4.4 coming out that's only a couple fixes, whereas our 5.0 (fall 01) will be totally different. Sound familiar?

                  Thanks, Tim


                  • #10
                    RE: Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS


                    All I can say, is; The waters great! Come on in!

                    While we look forward to your next question, I think you'll find it entertaining learning the new program. It's built by the same people, and uses the same logic as did A4.

                    Looking back to when I was learning A5, I think I was often surprised to see how close the two platforms really were. Then, of course, there were all these new neat little tricks!!!

                    As mentioned in a previous post, please be sure to review Dr. Peter Wayne's website: WWW.LEARNALPHA.COM

                    It contains articles written by many fine supporters of this board. It serves well to familiarize users with Xbasic.

                    His books, which you may already own, are also handy reference tools.

                    Then there's also tons of fellow programmers (Too many to mention) here on the board...

                    Welcome, provided you choose to stay!



                    • #11
                      RE: Re-creating Simple table lookup ala A4V6 DOS


                      Thanks I'll be lurking more for a while. Busy schedule till June, just had to get some re-assurance that I'd done the right thing (ordering 4.5) while there was still recourse.