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Thread: Date formats

  1. #31
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Ton:

    I am not quite sure what you are saying, but on the form it's in date format 31/12/1998 and the width is 10. But it won't accept inputs of this type.

    Robin

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    Default Re: Date formats

    For some reason the point is just not getting across.

    Here is a short avi video showing the issue...hopefully it can illustrate what we are referring to with a bit more clarity....


    Attachment 21607
    Mike
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  3. #33
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Many thanks Mike. That does show the problem well

    Robin

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    Default Re: Date formats

    Mike,

    In your video you are not changing the regional settings. You are changing the time zone which only controls what time is displayed. ie plus or minus GMT as it is now called.

    Regional settings is found in the Control panel of Windows. Look for 'Regional and Language Options'
    Tim Kiebert
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  5. #35
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    Default Re: Date formats

    You are right Tim! I wasn't looking properly. But I'm sure Mike will oblige with an updated version: I certainly have been changing the regional settings.

    Robin

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    Default Re: Date formats

    Nice catch Tim....I had gone to Date and Time in the control panel and NOT to the regional settings. Changing the regional settings works correctly for me in v8 and v9.


    BUT!!.....the issue still is such that a date mask in a field is not honored when changing or entering in a date--it will show whatever the regional settings are. So when I want only a 2 digit year, when I go to change it all 4 digits of the year will be seen (actually won't be at times when I have the field with just enough room for the date of 8 wide)---so currently the date would show as this 07/17/20 until after leaving the field....very annoying and actually so sloppy looking that I no longer even try to use anything but what Alpha is forcing me to so as not to make the deficiency so obvious to a user.

    Great that I was mistaken about the regional settings not being honored though!! :)
    Mike
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  7. #37
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    Default Date and Time formats

    Hi Mike,

    A picture can say more than thousand words, how much more a video.
    Thanks Mike. It's clear.

    My conclusion it is important that Alphasoftware takes time to look attentively at the date and time stuff (and now my wish:) before they definitively bring out V10.

    Ton

  8. #38
    Alpha Software Employee Selwyn Rabins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeC View Post
    Nice catch Tim....I had gone to Date and Time in the control panel and NOT to the regional settings. Changing the regional settings works correctly for me in v8 and v9.


    BUT!!.....the issue still is such that a date mask in a field is not honored when changing or entering in a date--it will show whatever the regional settings are. So when I want only a 2 digit year, when I go to change it all 4 digits of the year will be seen (actually won't be at times when I have the field with just enough room for the date of 8 wide)---so currently the date would show as this 07/17/20 until after leaving the field....very annoying and actually so sloppy looking that I no longer even try to use anything but what Alpha is forcing me to so as not to make the deficiency so obvious to a user.

    Great that I was mistaken about the regional settings not being honored though!! :)

    Thanks for the email.

    If I understand what you have shown correctly, your video shows a situation in which the Region Settings (set in the Windows control Panel) is mm/dd/yy.

    You have then gone into a Form and set the display format for a date to be dd/mm/yy.

    You have then assumed that since your display format is dd/mm/yy that the 'data entry format' for the date should also be 'dd/mm/yy'.

    Is that correct?

    But in fact, that's NOT how Alpha Five is designed to operate.

    The display format for a date has NOTHING to do with the data entry format for the date.

    There is only ONE way to control the data entry format for a date and that is by setting the Regional Settings from the Windows control panel.

    Frankly, it really makes no sense if your regional settings are set to a mm/dd/yy format to select ANY of the display format choices that are in the dd/mm/yy format.

    And if your regional settings specify a date format of dd/mm/yy then it really does not make any sense to select any of the display formats that are in mm/dd/yy format.

    (The exception would be if you are preparing a report for consumption in another region of the world)


    Nevertheless, there is no bug here in a5.

    To repeat my point - the data entry format for dates is controlled by the Regional Settings. There is NO OTHER way to set the data entry format for dates.

    The display format of a data is NOT the data entry format for a date and the two should not be confused.

  9. #39
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Thanks Selwyn...your explanation made a difference.

    So NOW that I understand how it works it is acceptable to me (like that makes a difference!! :D)

    ....but considering how much I personally have read regarding various aspects of Alpha and I did not catch or understand the difference between having a mask for Display purposes ONLY (nothing to do with data entry), I really think more clarification is in order in the help file/documentation.

    I mean, make it Blatantly clear regarding this! If it is somewhere in the docs, then I still maintain a bit of redundancy is in order to make aspects of Alpha such as this abundantly clear for newbies (and obviously others as well!)....think a team of people is needed by now to do such things I realize.

    Knowing now regarding how a mask in Alpha is to work, I agree that only in static forms/browses/reports will I use them.

    Thanks again ( a bit of understanding always makes the day much easier!)
    Mike
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  10. #40
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Now I have to accept what Selwyn says, as I am a mere amateur.
    I attach a test database, however, whose behaviour perplexes me. Please accept that I am in the New Zealand regional setting, dd/mm/yyyy: every other program and Windows itself behaves in the manner expected.

    But when I enter my date of birth 24/8/1934 (yes, an oldy! and my birthday is coming up) I get the message "constant operator is not recognised". I don't know what this means, and HELP doesn't tell me.

    Can you put me right please? I must have done something wrong or omitted something.

    Gratefully

    Robin

  11. #41
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Robin,
    constant operator is not recognised
    I get this every time I try to enter the date against what the regional settings are....I will take a look and see if anything obvious (probably will have to be for me to notice lately!).


    Later EDIT: here is a video showing (sorry) no errors when using New Zealand settings and entering in same in your test db.

    Attachment 21637
    Last edited by MikeC; 07-17-2009 at 09:06 PM.
    Mike
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  12. #42
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Thanks Mike: I wish mine worked like yours! I have double checked that I am in New Zealand regional setting but.... still the same problem!

    I think it must be something to do with Windows!

    By the way, what program do you use to make the helpful video?

    Kia Ora

    Robin

  13. #43
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Robin,
    I picked up the opensource freeware called CamStudio. Very easy to use--small program, small learning curve (5 minutes or so for basic use--or less maybe) and can save as .avi or .swf (flash).
    Mike
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  14. #44
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    Default Re: Date formats

    I would like to thank MikeC publicly for taking so much time helping me on GoToMeeting: I'm in a remote rural community but that didn't matter any more.

    And my Alpha 5 problem appears to be that the date field MUST be filled in the manner (eg) 07/11/1867 not just 7/11/1867. In other words put in those leading zeros when necessary. I'm putting instructions to that effect in the bubble help for the field.

    Kia Ora Mike (that's Good Health to you in Maori)

  15. #45
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by Selwyn Rabins View Post
    I have no idea why this would be happening on your machine. Alpha Five has been designed to honor regional settings since version 1 of the product, and I have tested regional settings for many different countries multiple times and have never seen a problem.
    Selwyn, I remember a large range of options for date formats, although I am going back a few versions. Do these no longer exist in versions 9/10? If so, what is meant by "honour regional settings"? Do regional settings over-ride A5 settings? In which case, why have A5 settings?

    I'm confused. Again.

  16. #46
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    Selwyn, I remember a large range of options for date formats, although I am going back a few versions. Do these no longer exist in versions 9/10? If so, what is meant by "honour regional settings"? Do regional settings over-ride A5 settings? In which case, why have A5 settings?

    I'm confused. Again.
    the a5 settings are for how data is displayed.
    they have nothing to do with how data is entered.

    i am in the US. i enter 'december 31st 2009' as '12/31/2009'

    i want to prepare a report for my boss who is in monaco. he expects to see dates using the dd/mm/yyyy format so i prepare my report and select 'dd/mm/yyyy' as the date format.

    my report prints and the dates all come out in a format that makes my boss happy.

    that's why we have a5 formats.

  17. #47
    Member Robin Hoare's Avatar
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    Default Re: Date formats

    That makes things a lot clearer, thanks Selwyn.

  18. #48
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by Robin Hoare View Post
    It appears to me now that the regional settings apply to the manner in which the date is ENTERED. The options for date formats apply to the manner in which the date is DISPLAYED. So you may enter in your local format and then see the date change to another format.
    Am I right?
    yes! you have got it.

  19. #49
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by Selwyn Rabins View Post
    I have no idea why this would be happening on your machine. Alpha Five has been designed to honor regional settings since version 1 of the product, and I have tested regional settings for many different countries multiple times and have never seen a problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Selwyn Rabins View Post
    I don't understand your point. Alpha Five is not 'hard coded' to use MM/DD/YY format. It uses whatever format is defined in your computer's Regional Settings.

    So, if your regional settings are DD/MM/YY then that's how A5 displays dates and accepts data entry into data fields.

    Are you saying that you are not seeing this behavior?

    The attached image shows what by Browse on the alphasports invoice_header table looks like after I have changed my regional settings to English (New Zealand).

    As the image clearly shows, the data format is automatically set to dd/mm/yy.
    So, what do the AlphaFive date format settings do, then? Or are there none in version 9? I thought there was quite a good range of date display formats in earlier versions - have these been abandoned in favour of using current regional settings? If Alpha Five "honors regional settings" what are the A5 settings supposed to do?

  20. #50
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by Selwyn Rabins View Post
    yes! you have got it.
    Sorry, Selwyn, messages crossed "in the post".

    How can I display dates AND ENTER THEM in the same format? (Having a date display as 08-06-2009 which then changes to 06-08-2009 when the field is in focus is exteremely confusing, obviously.)

  21. #51
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Martin, it will help the rest of us understand you if you use values that make it clear which way you're going with your examples. 08 and 06 are valid month and valid day choices. You know what you're saying but no one else does. Compare 12/31/2009 and 31/12/2009. Easy to see which is which. Right?

    If I were in your shoes I'd set the display format on my data entry form to match the regional time/date setting I chose for my machine in Windows. If I need a different display format in my reports I'd change it there.

    Selwyn has indicated in this thread that Alpha Five will not support data entry in any display format you may happen to choose. Alpha made a design choice. Data entry will follow the format specified in the regional settings in Windows. How many other ways do you want him to say the same thing? The display format has nothing to do with the format Alpha expects you to use when entering or editing a date data type value. They decided that most users will want to employ the regional format when entering or editing date values. A reasonable choice it seems to me. A perfect choice, certainly not. But reasonable nonetheless.

  22. #52
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Cone Jr View Post
    Martin, it will help the rest of us understand you if you use values that make it clear which way you're going with your examples. 08 and 06 are valid month and valid day choices. You know what you're saying but no one else does. Compare 12/31/2009 and 31/12/2009. Easy to see which is which. Right?

    If I were in your shoes I'd set the display format on my data entry form to match the regional time/date setting I chose for my machine in Windows. If I need a different display format in my reports I'd change it there.

    Selwyn has indicated in this thread that Alpha Five will not support data entry in any display format you may happen to choose. Alpha made a design choice. Data entry will follow the format specified in the regional settings in Windows. How many other ways do you want him to say the same thing? The display format has nothing to do with the format Alpha expects you to use when entering or editing a date data type value. They decided that most users will want to employ the regional format when entering or editing date values. A reasonable choice it seems to me. A perfect choice, certainly not. But reasonable nonetheless.
    Hi Tom,

    "08 and 06 are valid month and valid day choices"

    Exactly. It's very confusing, isn't it? That's why I chose them for my example. I was trying to make a point.

    So, in conclusion, we are saying that if my clients want to both display and amend dates on screen in a constant format (in nearly 35 years in system design I have never had a request to do otherwise), the only feasible approach is to use the date format as defined in the operating system of that particular computer, and that the AlphaFive settings are irrelevent?

  23. #53
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    Default Re: Date formats

    If by "irrelevant" you mean that the display format setting for a date type field in your data entry form has nothing to do with the format Alpha will expect the user to be using when edits occur by the user, yes. I find the display format settings useful for static text, and for labels and reports. The key word is "display", as distinguished from "use for input". They are "relevant" in my applications.

    As for feasibility, that would depend upon your patience and strengths as a custom programmer, because Alpha has the tools to permit you to collect input from your users as simple text in any format you wish, validate it, and then convert it to a date type field value when the record is saved. This is messy, and tedious, but feasible. Its a matter of costs and benefits I suppose.

  24. #54
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Cone Jr View Post
    If by "irrelevant" you mean that the display format setting for a date type field in your data entry form has nothing to do with the format Alpha will expect the user to be using when edits occur by the user, yes. I find the display format settings useful for static text, and for labels and reports. The key word is "display", as distinguished from "use for input". They are "relevant" in my applications.

    As for feasibility, that would depend upon your patience and strengths as a custom programmer, because Alpha has the tools to permit you to collect input from your users as simple text in any format you wish, validate it, and then convert it to a date type field value when the record is saved. This is messy, and tedious, but feasible. Its a matter of costs and benefits I suppose.
    Yes, that's exactly what I had to do in my earlier forays with A5, and, to be fair, they are still working after many years. But it did increase development time (it seemed that it took more lines of Xbasic code to work around AlphaFive than it would have to write the date handling functions from scratch) and, more importantly now, I have to remind myself of how I did it every time (once or twice a year) that some minor change is requested by a client.

    I have been tempted to invest in a more recent version because I'm interested in the browser-based aspects. I have clients, though, who have branches, and customers, in more than one country; I need to impose a constant date format on their systems which is not dependent on the settings of individual PCs. So, I guess AlphaFive is not for me...

  25. #55
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    Yes, that's exactly what I had to do in my earlier forays with A5, and, to be fair, they are still working after many years. But it did increase development time (it seemed that it took more lines of Xbasic code to work around AlphaFive than it would have to write the date handling functions from scratch) and, more importantly now, I have to remind myself of how I did it every time (once or twice a year) that some minor change is requested by a client.

    I have been tempted to invest in a more recent version because I'm interested in the browser-based aspects. I have clients, though, who have branches, and customers, in more than one country; I need to impose a constant date format on their systems which is not dependent on the settings of individual PCs. So, I guess AlphaFive is not for me...
    i fail to understand your point.

    a5 stores the dates internally in a format that is independent of any settings of individual machines.

    it just simply 'works'

    a user in the usa whose regional settings are mm/dd/yy enters dec 31 2009 as 12/31/2009.

    a user in the uk enters the same date as 31/12/2009

    the xbasic code that manipulates these dates is the same for both uk and usa user.

    it just works - you don't have to think about anything.

    if you can point me to some example where it does not 'just work' i would be both surprised and most interested.

  26. #56
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Selwyn, I think Martin wants to impose a single specific format for the entry of "date type" values regardless of what regional time/date settings may exist. He seems to have thought he could pick a "display format", and use that single format for data entry regardless of what the user's regional date setting might be in Windows. In a sense he's asking his users to adapt to his application, using his single specific format instead of what might be more typical in the user's region. When conflict with a regional setting occurs the users get confused because his design (selected display format) suggests they enter and edit the date value in a specific way, but their regional settings (which Alpha Five uses) is different.

  27. #57
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Cone Jr View Post
    Selwyn, I think Martin wants to impose a single specific format for the entry of "date type" values regardless of what regional time/date settings may exist. He seems to have thought he could pick a "display format", and use that single format for data entry regardless of what the user's regional date setting might be in Windows. In a sense he's asking his users to adapt to his application, using his single specific format instead of what might be more typical in the user's region. When conflict with a regional setting occurs the users get confused because his design (selected display format) suggests they enter and edit the date value in a specific way, but their regional settings (which Alpha Five uses) is different.
    i guess that if that's that case i would define separate day month and year fields and then use the xbasic date_value() function to combine them into a date value.

  28. #58
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by Selwyn Rabins View Post
    i guess that if that's that case i would define separate day month and year fields and then use the xbasic date_value() function to combine them into a date value.
    Phew! We all agree! Thanks Tom, for explaining what I clearly couldn't.

  29. #59
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    Default Re: Date formats

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Cone Jr View Post
    Selwyn, I think Martin wants to impose a single specific format for the entry of "date type" values regardless of what regional time/date settings may exist. He seems to have thought he could pick a "display format", and use that single format for data entry regardless of what the user's regional date setting might be in Windows. In a sense he's asking his users to adapt to his application, using his single specific format instead of what might be more typical in the user's region. When conflict with a regional setting occurs the users get confused because his design (selected display format) suggests they enter and edit the date value in a specific way, but their regional settings (which Alpha Five uses) is different.
    That's correct. My client is a British-based company with mainly, but not exclusively, US customers and Brit/US/other employees. They have had expensive mistakes with dates like 05-06-09 and wanted a fool-proof way of displaying (including updating) dates, so chose 06-MAY-09. Speed of entry is not a factor; date fields form part of some quite complicated forms which are usually entered during telephone conversations with customers. I remember, when I first discussed using Alpha (current version 4.5!) with my client, mentioning that, by default, the focus moved across the form and, when entering a date field that had said, say, 06-MAY-09 it would change to either 05-06-09 or 06-05-09, depending on how the PC had been set up. He looked at me blankly for a few seconds and said that he would like it to say whatever it had said before.

    It was also suggested, as a second-best option, that dates could always be set to British (i.e. 06-05-09 in above example) in my application, but although I could guarantee that the A5 application would be set accordingly, I couldn't guarantee that all op. systems (present and future) would be set to British (I'm 3000 miles away), so the old confusion would arise again.

    Therefore I took the only option, as Selwyn has now accepted, and wrote all the date entry and validating in Xbasic.

    At least I know now that my efforts were not in vain and that, as the situation has not changed in versions 9 and 10, there is no need for me to upgrade.

    I still don't know why it's such a problem. All I want is the same range of options (including maybe a "default to Windows") on field input as on field display. I'd have thought that most of the work has already been done.

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    Default Re: Date formats

    I may have missed something but this is the wishlist isn't it. Martin has requested a wish to be able to enter date data in the format of his choosing. Now like many things the wish may already be possible using xbasic if you have the skills but I'm guessing Martin wanted an out of the box solution, hence the wish.

    Now its just down to Alpha to decide whether they can do this and if it is worth doing it. I would suggest it is as there is nothing so annoying as someone presuming what you want which is the case at the moment. The presumption being you want to enter the data using regional settings format. That being said I do not think Alpha have done anything wrong in making regional settings the default. This is logical and for most scenarios perfectly acceptable but it would be nice and a worthy wish to have an option to override it if required.

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