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Record ID - Num/Char

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  • Record ID - Num/Char

    I am very new to the Alpha platform but have been using Access/.NET for many years. I need advice on the record id for each table created in Alpha.

    I have always created the ID field as a numerical, starting at 1 and autonumber (autoincrement). But, most of what i read here says use a character format and then set the starting value at something like 000001. What is best, keeping in mind SQL server down the road.

    I also use a universal lookup table consisting of 3 fields. ID, tblName and Value.

    When used in a lookup field, i filter the lookup by the value in the tblName. Example: if i use it in the "Agency Name" field the lookup values are filtered by the tblName value "tlkpAgency".
    The value stored is the ID value of the lookup table. If i store the text value as opposed to the id value, if the value changes later then the previous data entered needs to be updated, such as the personnel table when someone changes their name due to marriage.

    Using a universal lookup table is very easy to maintain and find as opposed to numerous lookup tables. BUT, this is the way i have done it in the past.

    So, my main question is; do i use a numeric value or a character value as each records id. And, since the universal lookup table id will be numerical, each field in every table that uses it will also need to be numerical. if i use numerical, does the width value matter. if i set it at 6, what happens when it hits one million? There is no width setting in Access for the autonumber so this is new to me.

    since changing any of this later would be a logistical nightmare, i want to make sure i do it right the first time.
    J.R.
    Epigate Software, LLC.

    jr@epigate.com
    http://www.epigate.com
    sigpic

  • #2
    Re: Record ID - Num/Char

    So, my main question is; do i use a numeric value or a character value as each records id.

    Some people swear by then, even though in Alpha world character type has traditionally been recommended. As you say, if you later go to SQL, you will have to convert to numerical if you start w. character.

    And, since the universal lookup table id will be numerical, each field in every table that uses it will also need to be numerical. if i use numerical, does the width value matter. if i set it at 6, what happens when it hits one million?

    Sure it matters. Figure your largest realistic record quantity and multiply by 10 for safety.

    I also use a universal lookup table consisting of 3 fields. ID, tblName and Value.

    You may already know this, Alpha allows you to fill multiple fields at once. Very powerful. In such a case you might not want to use a universal lookup.
    Peter
    AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

    Peter@AlphaBaseSolutions.com
    https://www.alphabasesolutions.com


    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Record ID - Num/Char

      Thank you Peter. I think that is enough to persuade me to use the numerical format. I do anticipate SQL down the road.

      Concerning the Universal Lookup table, in my application, which is currently in Access 2010, there are over 100 fields which use a lookup. So the universal table holds all the values for all of these fields, and each field is filtered by the appropriate lookup table name in the lookup table. (This is difficult to explain, so i appologize if it is confusing).

      "In such a case you might not want to use a universal lookup".

      If i do not use a universal lookup table, where are all the values stored for all these 100+ fields? I want the end user to have the ability to not only add new values but also easily inactivate a value so it will no longer show up in the dropdown, but still exists for past historic records. I failed to count the boolean yes/no field in the lookup table that determines if it shows in the dropdown.


      Can you expand on the lookup table concept a little more. It is easier to do it right from the start, as opposed to trying to remedy it later.

      Yes, the "fill multiple fields at once" feature in Alpha is great. alot easier than the way i did it oin the other platform.

      We created an Access Starter Application called Db-2-App, which we sell at http://www.epigate.com/product_db-2-app.htm and all of our apps we build starts off with this template. It has permissions, logging, audit log, online update, session, object and event logging and error logging/reporting.
      I wish there was something like this for Alpha. Since a good app needs a good administrative ability, and since i am new to Alpha, it will take me quite a while just to get a starter db built. (desktop, not web based)
      J.R.
      Epigate Software, LLC.

      jr@epigate.com
      http://www.epigate.com
      sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Record ID - Num/Char

        If i do not use a universal lookup table, where are all the values stored for all these 100+ fields?

        Nothing wrong with that. I have done the same thing in Alpha. In my own case, at least, I tend to use table lookups a lot more.

        Can you expand on the lookup table concept a little more. It is easier to do it right from the start, as opposed to trying to remedy it later.

        As you know they are a function of field rules. Alpha is very flexible. You can do it after the fact with little impact on your design, I think.

        We created an Access Starter Application called Db-2-App, which we sell at http://www.epigate.com/product_db-2-app.htm and all of our apps we build starts off with this template. It has permissions, logging, audit log, online update, session, object and event logging and error logging/reporting.

        Very nice!
        Peter
        AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

        Peter@AlphaBaseSolutions.com
        https://www.alphabasesolutions.com


        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Record ID - Num/Char

          Thanks Peter. Is there a desktop app template available anywhere out there that you are aware of?
          J.R.
          Epigate Software, LLC.

          jr@epigate.com
          http://www.epigate.com
          sigpic

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Record ID - Num/Char

            Originally posted by J.R. Noe View Post
            Thanks Peter. Is there a desktop app template available anywhere out there that you are aware of?
            As far as I know, the closest you are going to find is the sample Alpha Sports app that comes with Alpha.
            Peter
            AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

            Peter@AlphaBaseSolutions.com
            https://www.alphabasesolutions.com


            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Record ID - Num/Char

              I would think that would be something marketable. I realize some of the things our Db-2-App does is already included in Alpha (which is one of the reasons i really like Alpha), but it sells rather well, so having a "Starter Template" for an Alpha desktop app that includes more administrative components than what is included in the AlphaSports would be desireable. I know i would pay for one, since it would save so much start up time.

              Just an Idea.

              btw, I used to live up your way at Salisbury Beach MA. Way toooo cold to brag about living on a beach.
              J.R.
              Epigate Software, LLC.

              jr@epigate.com
              http://www.epigate.com
              sigpic

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Record ID - Num/Char

                Nothing like a brisk sea breeze when the temperature is below 20.
                Peter
                AlphaBase Solutions, LLC

                Peter@AlphaBaseSolutions.com
                https://www.alphabasesolutions.com


                Comment

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