Date Field limits

Discussions for the HanDBase for iPad and it's conduits and desktop add-ons

Date Field limits

Postby Txlandman » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:35 pm

I cannot enter a date prior to the year 1904, is there a fix for this?

Is there a way to enter dates without using the date picker?
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Re: Date Field limits

Postby dhaupert » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:02 am

Hi there,

The date field format we use has a zero value at 1/1/1904 so there is no way to go earlier using the date field type. It also has an end date of 12/31/2031 so that is the full range.

That said, no reason you can't create your own date field using a text field or a series of numeric fields. I have seen a form where someone had:

_____ v / _______ v /________ v
where the ___ are the integers for month, date and year, and the v is a popup indicator so you can include 1-12 for months, 1-31 for days, and whatever you want for years.
If you want all of this stored in a single text field you can then use the external field type for combining text to put it into a single text field.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Date Field limits

Postby makfai » Sat Dec 20, 2014 1:39 pm

I have the same problem.

I wanted to use this app for managing the genealogy research I am doing. Most have dates of birth pre-1904 so I cannot use the date function to input the dob and search.

Does the solution allow me to search and reorganise like I would do if the date function was 'open'?
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Re: Date Field limits

Postby makfai » Sat Dec 20, 2014 1:46 pm

I have posted a query but it is being moderted so I can't edit it.

I am sorry but I have to say I don't understand the process you describe by which I can create a pre-1904 date.
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Re: Date Field limits

Postby Brian_Houghton » Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:37 pm

The date field cannot be made to record values prior to 1904. The suggestion Dave mentioned was to use text fields to store the month, day and year values of any pre-1904 dates.
Kind Regards,
Brian Houghton, DDH Software
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Re: Date Field limits

Postby makfai » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:23 am

Thank you but I knew he was suggesting a work-around just didn't know how to do it! I was sent a more detailed reply which others may find useful:
If you need to store dates prior to 1904, you could add a text field
or an integer field for the month, day and year values.

Regarding the use of an external field to add the values, assuming
that the fields added for month, day and year are text fields, you can
do the following:

1. Add a text field called "old date" (you could actually call it
whatever you prefer)
2. Add an external field to the database
3. Set it to use the concatenate feature
4. Supply the month, day and year text fields as fields to "add"
5. Supply the "old date" field as the field to be used to store the date value

The problem I now have is that the SORT feature does not produce a correct sort when applied to the "old date" field! If I change the nature of the field from 'TEXT' to 'DATE' then all the years change to '2000'.

To get round this I am sorting on the Year and Month fields but as I have selected the Surname as the first sort field - and you can only sort on three fields - I cannot include the Day!
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Re: Date Field limits

Postby uboche » Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:24 pm

Dates in text fields or number fields sort nicely if you arrange the parts of the date in the order "yyyy-mm-dd" in place of "mm/dd/yyyy" or "dd-mm-yyyy".
This trick is so old it has already been used in sorting punched cards :)
Regards,
Ulrich Boche
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Re: Date Field limits

Postby makfai » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:29 am

I have persevered with this app but it requires too many steps to achieve the same results compared with Excel. Pity that! I thought I had found the perfect iPad DB for my research!

However, it reminds me of older software in this category . . . e.g. having to go back to move forward; the form in the in-app purchase looks unattractive and is clumsy to use. It is actually easier to enter data without the form.

I sense that, as this app has developed, it has been limted by being built on previous incarnations. Not as slick as modern offerings and ease of data entry is a key requirement.
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Re: Date Field limits

Postby Brian_Houghton » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:44 am

We appreciate your feedback and are sorry for your frustration.

I think we have visited via email but if not, the rationale behind the lower limit of the date field being 1/1/1904 stems from this date being widely used in computer programming as it allows for accurate date calculations. I do suspect that there are some apps out there that have implemented an internal bypass of this. This isn't something we have plans of changing, though.

Regarding forms, they are a tool of potential. The designer has the freedom to come up with some really elaborate, interesting and data friendly designs. My preference is very clean, minimal user interfaces along the lines of what are illustrated in the screenshots illustrated in the Education listing of HanDBase for iPad. See the screenshots here for an example: http://tinyurl.com/hdb4edu

You will find a tutorial for designing forms on the iPad at http://www.ddhsoftware.com/docs/HanDBas ... rial17.pdf It gives an overview of the essentials to designing a form but we hope you don't see it as a limitation. Like I said, forms are a tool of potential where you can create an interface that is what you prefer, not something we are forcing on you. A little trial and error is definitely encouraged, though.

Hope this helps to explain why the date field does not support pre-1/1/1904 values and also gives some insight into designing forms.

If you have any questions, please let me know.
Kind Regards,
Brian Houghton, DDH Software
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Re: Date Field limits

Postby Alanwestwood » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:18 pm

Hi makfai,

As a user who imports and exports data from HanDBase a lot (to several different office apps, both on iPad and PC), I've been watching this thread with interest. A couple of points come to mind. Firstly, please don't dismiss the functionality of the Forms add on too quickly - its wonderfully powerful, though with that comes a bit of a learning curve, I agree with you on that. So, even if you want to use Excel for your research, you could design an input form for HanDBase for use on your iPad, and just do a csv export to Excel for the data sorting, filtering, analysis, etc that your research needs. You can get a much more customised input form that way than by using Excel or Numbers, and you can design the form to trap import errors, something I do a lot.

If you do that, there are a host of ways of getting over the date problem, because you can use Excel (or of course Numbers) to manipulate the incoming data. I have an Ancestry database which needs old dates, and I use the suggestion made by Ulrich - I'm old enough to remember sorting punched cards in the form 2014-12-23, and to this day its a simple solution providing filterable and sortable data (and of course Excel will happily accept this format and convert it to a date).

I think I've looked at every iPad database over the years, and HanDBase is the best by a streak in my opinion. But in any event, good luck with your research.

Cheers, Alan.
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