locked Re: Database beta


 

Trish,

Found another suggestion: Ability to prevent certain characters from
being entered into a field (for example don't allow commas so that if we
choose to export, we won't have commas in the data messing up the
conversion of the txt file into a table in Word.
A common solution to this problem is to use a quoting character (often a quote mark) to surround fields which contain syntactic characters such as comma. For example:

Field 1,Field 2,"Field 3 has a , in it",Field 4

But then you need to have a way to quote a quote, etc.

Field 1,"Field 2 ends with a "",Field 3

It has been said that the great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. And that seems to particularly apply to comma delimited format.

OR change the export feature so you can pick a random character to
identify the breaks between fields...allow user to enter the character
at time of export.
A common choice is between comma and tab, but I've also seen vertical bar and other characters used.

I would most likely pull a database table into Excel (not Word), and fortunately Excel has a fairly flexible Text-to-columns feature that allows the user to specify the delimiters and quoting characters used in a given input. I don't know that it could handle a field with multiple lines of text though...

Another container format to consider for database export might be JSON. That generally requires a programming library to parse, but it is better standardized.

-- Shal

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