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Thread: 3523 .... lots of issues

  1. #31
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    peter .... didnt think the logic was to complicated, but we all see things through different eyes. Let me just explain how I would handle .... first off, the customer is always right(at least to begin with) .... so, If a customer called me and pointed out that an app I wrote for them was causing data corruption, I(not the customer) would take the lead on trying to find out whether that was the case .... reason being -> if the app really does have an issue, I would want to isolate it as fast as possible. What I see from Alpha seems to be selective processing depending on what they are working on at the moment. Example - > I had an error pop up in my application that told me to send info to Alpha .... the only way I could send is through bug report. I sent it, but have heard nothing back. Probably because, all I sent was the error message .... Alpha would probable say, you didnt provide example and step-by-step to reproduce. I didnt provide anything else because the message said to just send the Info displayed to Alpha and I didnt have time to create a whole test example of my app just for them to check out. Now .... I can understand them wanting more info, but not a word from them ..... so, I just try to come up with variations on code to work around such issues ....

    Glenn

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Follow-up to my previous post:

    Based on forum comments, I decided to un-install V10 with latest patch and re-install V10 Build 2526 w/ System addins build 3535.

    Restored databases and ran accounting programs. ALL IS WORKING FINE NOW.

    Thanks to all the users, I figured out the problem was with V10 software and not with my coding (originally developed under V8).

    I agree with others: Patches to the main program should not corrupt a users databases like this latest patch did for me.

    As for me: If it aint broke, don't fix (or patch) it.

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Quote Originally Posted by goldberg2727 View Post
    I think it is a revolutionary product
    Where is the revolution. In the Web part or in the Desktop part or maybe in xbasic?


    Ken

  4. #34
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Hi Peter,

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter.Greulich View Post
    Not sure I follow your logic. I guess the developer has to ascertain if it is the user's fault. Alpha's fault or the developer's fault. I'm not saying that Alpha may not be at fault, it's possible, it's just that I have seen a lot of cases where developer caused the problem. Alpha has plenty of bugs in general, but data corruption is very rare in my experience.
    My experience is I have never found a true corruption of the DBF file that was not traced to hardware, the user, or some other non-Alpha DBF program sharing in an incompatible way to the way Alpha does it.

    I have seen occasional corruptions of the memo file not covered by the above (techniques to isolate this failure I've covered in the past), but even they are extremely rare.

    Dictionaries I've seen corrupted occasionally during development, but then, I am one of the few that really "play" with the dictionaries directly in less than documented ways.

    In most cases, because of an issue with the application, data is not being corrupted, but records are being written or overwritten that the user did not ask to do due to a programming error or an update that changed some aspect of the program. That's not really a corruption, but a programming issue.

    A corruption is more properly a messing up of the structure of the data, improper values being written to places the code is not intending to write to, or invalid characters being placed into fields (e.g. alphabetics in a number or date)

    As for Alpha's releasing of patches being untested, I'm absolutely sure they test the code.

    However there is such a wide variety of applications that use Alpha, it's is hard/difficult to account for every possible case out there. In most cases, it is really someone using Alpha in an unusual way (even if they didn't directly code it, but produced the equivalent in a genie/operation/etc.).

    Microsoft does exactly the same thing - They test it and then release it then patch it repeatedly until it's almost right, then sell you a new version.

    I'm thinking Vista.....now Windows 7 !! :D
    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
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  5. #35
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Ira ... I agree about your corruption statment, but what if Alpha introduced a bug that caused the user to corrupt their own data without knowing ....

    I described this in another post ...

    I have a form ... one table. Its called from another form which specifies the customer#(and its data) to display. The init event does a query(queryrun) and a fetch with the passed cutomer #, the form loads and displays the right data .... when I click on one of the fields, the data changes to the data for the last customer in the filter. If I watch through debug, query and fetch definitely go to correct customer ... then I notice some Alpha code that does yet another resynch and the record pointer is now on the last record in the filter .....

    So ... if this where due to some Alpha bug introduced in a patch and the end-user thought they where working with a particular record when in fact it was a diferent record .... corruption could occur ....

    Glenn

  6. #36
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Manuel ... to clarify .... you went all the way back to 2526-3394? ... I do not see this in release notes. Also, can you tell us what patch you where on with your problem .... I know you said latest, but can you tell us specifically which one?

    Thanks!! .... Glenn

  7. #37
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Hi Glenn,

    Quote Originally Posted by peterg000 View Post
    ... then I notice some Alpha code that does yet another resynch and the record pointer is now on the last record in the filter .....

    So ... if this where due to some Alpha bug introduced in a patch and the end-user thought they where working with a particular record when in fact it was a diferent record .... corruption could occur ....
    That's kind of the rub. What's the source of the Alpha code that is setting it to a different record? Is it a piece of an underlying Xbasic from an Action script that the user did, or is it buried in Alpha's handling of the event? In most cases it's the user doing something odd (not necessarily wrong, just not typical for most), and hence an untested path.

    It would never be caught in testing. So the best way is to try and test with a large selection of applications. I think you'd be hard pressed to find an example that corrupted or changed data in an unexpected way that couldn't be found with a moderate amount of testing.

    There are real bugs, but many come blasting with "bugs" that are of their own making. Rollouts of versions and patches with no testing is just plain stupid.

    And of course, before rolling out a "tested" version of something new, backups are absolutely mandatory on a very regular basis (maybe every hour?) until confidence is increased. I don't think I could count how many times I've walked into an office with zero backups EVER! And they had all the tools to do regular easy backups too!
    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
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  8. #38
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Hi Manuel

    Quote Originally Posted by jrbpdad View Post
    I figured out the problem was with V10 software and not with my coding (originally developed under V8).
    How did you ascertain it was the V10 software and not your code? Just because it works with one patch and not another does not mean you don't have a latent (not showing/invisible) bug in your code waiting to be found.

    I have found problems/bugs using different versions of A5 that required me to correct a lot of code, not because it was wrong, but because I was doing it wrong. What amazed me is the length of time these bugs had been there and no one found/reported them.
    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
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  9. #39
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Here is the real rub .... whether or not your coding something the right way or not .... you find a way to make it work with the current version your running on. Then you have to upgrade to a new patch for whatever reason .... now your code doesnt work anymore. Im sure there can be a ton of debate on who should own responsibility for this change, but all I know it sure does hurt the developer ....

    Glenn

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Hi Glenn,

    Quote Originally Posted by peterg000 View Post
    .... you find a way to make it work with the current version your running on. Then you have to upgrade to a new patch for whatever reason .... now your code doesnt work anymore. Im sure there can be a ton of debate on who should own responsibility for this change, but all I know it sure does hurt the developer ....
    As a former President said, "I feel your pain.".

    But this is one of the reason for compartmentalizing your code. When I have code that "you find a way to make it work with the current version your running on" That's the time to take that piece of code and place it into a function or script (see my tips) and isolate the code so that you can handle the idiosyncracy in one place. You can even put version and build specific code (test for build #) and do different things, until you learn a more generic way to accomplish the task.
    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
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  11. #41
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    This type of discussion/post will come back again and again and again.
    Less experienced developers like myself blaming Alpha for releasing buggy versions, experienced developers blaming the less experienced for not taking basic precautionary measures before installing a new patch. Who is right, who is wrong? From my point of view the answer is simple. Take a good look at your market share. Ask yourself why? Why is Alpha's market share 1/8th to 1/10th FM's market share. Why are similar products with much less features much more popular?
    A few months ago there was a post by a long time user of A5 asking Why more IT pro's haven't heard of Alpha? We all know it is certainly not due to lack of promotional efforts. Make no mistake, IT pros are no ignoramuses. It is true that every software has its share of bugs; but with A5 it is something else. Most of the bugs affects the basic features and stability of the product. If the bugs were in the less used or more advanced features, people could live with it. When the basics are not working, that's a serious dent in your market share. Who would buy an F1 car that leaks oil? Not too many.
    A member once said that Alpha is a small company and cannot afford to thoroughly test their software. No kidding; they can't afford to spend the time and money testing and permanently fixing bugs, but they can afford to stay at the bottom of the well and live off a skinny customer base. To me that's nonsense.

    Who is interested in a buggy software at half price? Not me. A $300 price difference is absolutely no object for a business. Offer a stable product with no major bugs and I'll buy the all in one bundle at the full price ($1200) without hesitation.

    What I think, what you think, how clever you are with your codes makes no difference. How the market is treating you tells a compelling story.

  12. #42
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    If an end user of an application you wrote pointed out the possibility that your app was causing data corruption, what would you do? Say to them "Prove it!!"
    I think there is a difference. Alpha provide a tool for software developers who then use it to make applications. The application a developer makes in most circumstances will be a fixed product. i.e. the end user will not be making changes to code and layouts. Therefore when the application is created it is down to the developer to ensure everything is working fine. When a patch for Alpha comes along I would suggest that the software applications in the wild are not updated at all unless a bug has been discovered that is effecting the application that requires the patch.

    Now if the application is something that receives improvements each year or a new version then it is important the developer tests the new patches with the ongoing development and reports any problems. If time permits this should be done whether the application is upgraded each year or not. If the application is a generic one then it would be good to set up a beta testing scheme where those customers who participate are given a discount or some other incentive to take the time to weed out any problems. Something Alpha could probably take on board as well.

    Where I agree with the above quotation is when several developers are experiencing the same issue with Alpha5 but are unable to pin point the cause, Alpha should be more proactive in dealing with it. The un-handled exception errors with V9 is an example of this problem which experienced Alpha5 developers were unable to produce a repeatable sample of the problem but there is no doubt one exists.

    I have noticed on occasion some saying they are too busy to produce a sample of the problem for Alpha. Normally I would suggest it is a false economy of your time not to submit one and still believe that to be true. However, I think that is the attitude that Alpha has created when they ignored all of the issues with V9 including samples provided and the general lack of support given to it. The old adage 'you reap what you sow' comes to mind.

    Alpha need to regain the trust of its user base and one step towards that is being more communicative. In the last couple of weeks it feels like the Alpha staff are getting more involved with the message board. I think this is a good thing and would hope it continues and grows. Also they have been requesting feedback on patches. I think this aspect will take some time for developers to get into the habit in participating but also a good thing and I'm glad and hope they continue with it.

    I am critical of Alpha but also pleased to see them trying to make improvements. Last year I thought all the criticism was falling on deaf ears and was very frustrated with it and the mention of V9 still tends to make my blood simmer (used to boil so a little improvement). They need to build on the communication and be honest with their plans for the future and I know many would like to know where they are going with the desktop side of things if anywhere.

  13. #43
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    This is getting a bit worse I believe.

    I was reading about 3523 and thought I'd better back off that as well... I didn't want any more data corruption. I put in the release from Jan. Well that one has Calculated variable problems. I have a few form calculations and they just do not work. If I press F5 a couple of times they calc but otherwise no. So, I've gone back to 3523 and I have to hope for the best. This has been quite a mess.

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    David, letting others look over your shoulder can often be a big help. Consider posting an example here that we can run on our own machines. -- tom

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    No time right now... I just know that under 2659_3515 released Dec. 26 calculations on my forms fire but the results are not displayed... even with an <object>.refrech(). When I put in 3523 they do... pretty straight forward. The releases between 3515 and 3523 don't mention anything about this type of problem.

    The form calcuations are based on calls to UDFs. I just don't feel like re-installing 3515 again. I'm exhasted from the days and days wasted on this stuff and trying to catch up on corrupted data.

    Right now these is no stable release in over two months. Maybe between 3515 and 3523 but I don't have the energy to find out.

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Dave ..... sounds like you have been going through a bit of a nightmare .... maybe a little you, but most definitely a little(or more) Alpha. Just surprised Alpha hasn't jumped in on the conversation to try and communicate their acknowledgment of existing issues and when that they are currently working to resolve. Might even be wise to email people like Dave and Myself to try and head off the possibility that there are some real issues that have been introduced by patches that hit very basic functionality in Alpha. Maybe just me, but I have always been a more pro-aqctive support person .... obviously there has been enough chatter on this forum to indicate there are issues .... again, just my opinion.

    Glenn

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Quote Originally Posted by csda1 View Post
    Hi Manuel



    How did you ascertain it was the V10 software and not your code? Just because it works with one patch and not another does not mean you don't have a latent (not showing/invisible) bug in your code waiting to be found.

    I have found problems/bugs using different versions of A5 that required me to correct a lot of code, not because it was wrong, but because I was doing it wrong. What amazed me is the length of time these bugs had been there and no one found/reported them.
    Hi Ira,

    First: What the program routines do: I basically have a master database that has account details like name, owner, and credits, debits, encumbrances type of info. I have a transaction file which contains single transactions that need to be posted to the master database. The account number is the key I use to match transactions records to master records. The posting code was first generated from the operations genie. I then take the XBasic code and create scripts that do the posting activity with some modications to the filter or posting expressions.

    The accounting system has run under V8, V9, and under V10 prior to the latest patch.

    Trouble-shooting:

    First I needed to determine what was happening. I found that the major posting script that did the posting was creating and deleting records in the master database once it ran. This main posting script has 19 posting conditions.

    I would run the database utility function to check for duplicate records in the master database. After marking the duplicate records, I would delete them and then pack the master database. For deleted master records: I would manually check which records were not there and then recreate the missing master records. Thereby start with a know good master database.

    Techinque:
    Each time I would run the posting scripts, accounts would be duplicated and/or deleted. Most of the time it would be the same accounts being duplicated or deleted.

    Next step: I reviewed my posting scripts coding to see what could cause the problems. I could not find any reason why posting data from a transaction file would create/delete a master record unless the posting function was malfunctioning. (Something wrong when V10 posting function runs: Reads a master record, updates a value, and then writes the record back to database, I believe is where the problem).

    Testing:
    I then ran each posting script separately to see how each one affected my master database to determine which ones were causing problems. I found that 5 out of the first 8 caused the problems (I did not test the other 10 routines. I restored the master database between test.)

    I then choose a simple, not complicated posting script routine that produced a duplicate records to run further tests: made modifications to the posting expresion and check the results.
    It was consistance in re-creating the errors.

    Next Step:
    I checked the forum and read user comments. I then decided to removed the current V10 with latest patches and re-install the original V10 I got from AlphaSoftware (The only one availabe I had to restore that did not have the latest patch.) I then ran the posting scripts several times restoring my master database between tests. After re-installing V10, the duplication and deletion of master account records ceased after each run.

    I am not expert in AlphaFive, I know what I need to know to get what I want to happen. I have programmed in assembly language, fortran, COBOL, and Microsoft basic. I used my previous trouble-shooting techniques to resolve my issues. Hopefully, this helps.

  18. #48
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Quote Originally Posted by jrbpdad View Post
    Hi Ira,

    First: What the program routines do: I basically have a master database that has account details like name, owner, and credits, debits, encumbrances type of info. I have a transaction file which contains single transactions that need to be posted to the master database. The account number is the key I use to match transactions records to master records. The posting code was first generated from the operations genie. I then take the XBasic code and create scripts that do the posting activity with some modications to the filter or posting expressions.

    The accounting system has run under V8, V9, and under V10 prior to the latest patch.

    Trouble-shooting:

    First I needed to determine what was happening. I found that the major posting script that did the posting was creating and deleting records in the master database once it ran. This main posting script has 19 posting conditions.

    I would run the database utility function to check for duplicate records in the master database. After marking the duplicate records, I would delete them and then pack the master database. For deleted master records: I would manually check which records were not there and then recreate the missing master records. Thereby start with a know good master database.

    Techinque:
    Each time I would run the posting scripts, accounts would be duplicated and/or deleted. Most of the time it would be the same accounts being duplicated or deleted.

    Next step: I reviewed my posting scripts coding to see what could cause the problems. I could not find any reason why posting data from a transaction file would create/delete a master record unless the posting function was malfunctioning. (Something wrong when V10 posting function runs: Reads a master record, updates a value, and then writes the record back to database, I believe is where the problem).

    Testing:
    I then ran each posting script separately to see how each one affected my master database to determine which ones were causing problems. I found that 5 out of the first 8 caused the problems (I did not test the other 10 routines. I restored the master database between test.)

    I then choose a simple, not complicated posting script routine that produced a duplicate records to run further tests: made modifications to the posting expresion and check the results.
    It was consistance in re-creating the errors.

    Next Step:
    I checked the forum and read user comments. I then decided to removed the current V10 with latest patches and re-install the original V10 I got from AlphaSoftware (The only one availabe I had to restore that did not have the latest patch.) I then ran the posting scripts several times restoring my master database between tests. After re-installing V10, the duplication and deletion of master account records ceased after each run.

    I am not expert in AlphaFive, I know what I need to know to get what I want to happen. I have programmed in assembly language, fortran, COBOL, and Microsoft basic. I used my previous trouble-shooting techniques to resolve my issues. Hopefully, this helps.
    Meant to say: Assembler language

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Quote Originally Posted by peterg000 View Post
    Dave ..... sounds like you have been going through a bit of a nightmare .... maybe a little you, but most definitely a little(or more) Alpha. Just surprised Alpha hasn't jumped in on the conversation to try and communicate their acknowledgment of existing issues and when that they are currently working to resolve. Might even be wise to email people like Dave and Myself to try and head off the possibility that there are some real issues that have been introduced by patches that hit very basic functionality in Alpha. Maybe just me, but I have always been a more pro-aqctive support person .... obviously there has been enough chatter on this forum to indicate there are issues .... again, just my opinion.

    Glenn
    I received confirmation from A5 about the bug report I submitted. They confirmed the problem and indicated it would be fixed in the next release.

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Dave ..... hopefully you didn't mean next "release" .... please tell me you ment next "Patch" ........

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Hi Glenn,

    When I do an "about alpha five" it says "Version 10, Build 2526, System Addins Build 3536".

    This is the download app I got back on Oct 23, 2009 when I ordered Version 10.

    The current patch numbers, I did not write down. However, I downloaded the patch on March 10, 2010. I would need to update my V10 to this download patch to get the number. I will do it next week if you need to know what it is.

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    yes... sorry... next released patch

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Dave ..... did they give you any ETA on the next patch release?

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Has there been an official statement from Alpha about this problem and a timeline for solution?
    Lee Goldberg
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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    I received an email from Alpha with a link to a patch that fixes the problem I submitted. Can I post the link here?

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    David, you're asking the wrong folks. Suggest you discuss that with the person who sent you the private patch. Managing patches for the entire community is problematic enough without others getting in the act, if you see what I mean. Thanks. -- tom

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    David,
    Was the fix for your calc field issue or the DB corruption issue?

    Im starting to lose track of the issues ...

    Glenn

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    The fix is for an embedded browse on a form.

    I had an event - CanRowChange - that updated all records in the browse based on values entered in the current row. The updates would take place but then any movement to another row would update the last row of the browse with the values in the first row.

    Jeff Kletrovets made a suggestion about moving the code to the OnSave event and making it a UDF. I moved it to the OnSave and that overcame the behaviour I was seeing and made the process better since I don't need to update records that haven't changed.

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Hi Glenn,

    My current patch version I was having trouble with was "Version 10, Build 2787, System Addins Build 3538"

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    Default Re: 3523 .... lots of issues

    Hi Glenn,

    I am not sure if this makes a difference, but my Alpha Five Version 10 is the "Developer Edition" (Build 2787, System Addins 3538). Hopefully, I am posting in the right forum.. If not, sorry all you guys.

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