Getting the Most from Lantica's Sesame Database Manager
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . November 19, 2017  5:57 pm. PST

Inside Sesame Issue Index
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As issues of Inside Sesame are published, their contents are added to our Keyword/Topic index and Issue (this) index. The Issue index is organized by year and month of issue and includes a description of the contents of each issue. The Keyword/Topic index is organized by keyword, much like the index in the back of a book. A special Subscriber Express Search Index is also available to Inside Sesame subscribers. This database can be searched by keyword, topic, article title, author and various other criteria to locate the issues in which the search criteria occur. Subscribers can then view those issues immediately.
 

Ordering Back Issues...
Back issues are $25.00 each. (Current subscribers receive a 20% discount.) Note the order code(s) of the back issue(s) you wish to order. At the Order Form, you will be able to select them from the Back Issue pick-list.

January/February 2014 issue summary. . . [order code JAN 14]

Multi-Column Picklists (& Other Prodigious Popups)
Here at the Inside Sesame Labs we call them UFO's (Unidentified Fancy Objects) because hardly anybody knows what they really are, yet they've been spotted performing the most amazing (other-worldly?) maneuvers with ease. Another government cover-up? Reporting from Area 52 on this momentous New Year's day, we blow the lid off the mystery and even include a sample application in the broadcast.

Inform Users with a Cute Little Progress Bar
A little something to keep them entertained (and their hands off the keyboard) while your splendid long-winded procedure runs its course.

Finding the First or Last Day of a Month
Three user-defined GLOBAL CODE functions that take care of some tricky date-related calculations.

Pop-Up Window Builder Redux
You've heard of 3D printing? Nothing like a gizmo that creates gizmos. If you aren't familiar with @OpenWindow / @RunWindow / @AddWidget / WidgetAttribute, they give you a way to prompt users for a lot more information than @QuestionUser's single-line input box. Problem is, they're an absolute bear to get right on the first (or second or third) try. Now you have a tool that helps you nail 'em down in short order. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Instantly Convert a Big XLUSLA Into Any of Four Output Types
That's @XLookupSourceListAll, if you're wondering. Marvel at our compact routine to morph this kind of lookup into handy output file that displays in your (runtime-selectable) choice of Notepad as a delimited export file, Excel as a spreadsheet, or Word or your browser as a table. Included in this month's download file.

Tailoring Lookup Lists for the Task — Two Methods
When retrieving bulk information from databases, lookups alone might not always finish the job. You might have to perform some additional formatting operations on that incoming data before it’s fit for the task you have in mind. We compare XResultSet to @XLookupSourceListAll, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses.


_______________You ask. We answer.

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  • Finding the Last Value In a List — You've got a list of items in a non-keyword field and your programming needs to grab the last one. How do you do it?

  • Text Editor Read Only Problems — A reader finds a bug in the way a read-only Text Editor element reacts at the Retrieve Spec. We react with a solution pending a fix in the next release.

  • Sort by Non-Numeric Fields — An effective way to get a sequence of text items in the proper order for a picklist or what have you.

  • Selectively Show Decimals — A number field might be formatted for three decimal places. But for special forms, you need to be able to set how many decimal places actually show. Q&A could do it. In Sesame you'll need a workaround.

  • Excel Truncates Sesame Report Data  — How to keep Excel from truncating long numbers that aren't really numbers but really long numeric ID's.

  • Report Running Steps in Sesame — We answer a reader's questions on report running in Sesame vs. Q&A.

  • Page Breaks in Reports with Page Headers — A report needs column headings and page headers to show following every page break. How do you do that?

  • Using Mapped Drives — Mapped drives can be dicey. There are pros and cons to using them with Sesame. Here's where they make sense and where they can make trouble.

  • Change Sesame's Time Display Format — Do you flinch when you see a time of day like 02:00 pm in your reports? Why can't Sesame just show it as 2:00 pm? Well, it can. Here's what it takes.


_______________Technical tidbits you can use today
 

  • Find Upcoming Birthdays — Two ways to generate a list of people with birthdays in the current or following month (your runtime choice). And one of them can sort the list by the day of the month on which the birthday falls. Included in this month's download file.

  • Quick-'n'-Easy Search for Lengthy Text Values — You'll need a programmed retrieve spec for this — right? Nope.

  • New Form Change Programming Not Working — We can't tell you why not. But we can tell you what might fix it.


March/April 2014 issue summary. . . [order code MAR 14]

Build a Radical Report-Running Widget
A visually-oriented report facility can provide the easy access and flexibility managers need and want for their key management reports. This gizmo's point-'n'-click simplicity runs any of three essential sales reports in virtually limitless variations by customers, products or product groups.

More @Popup Madness
@Askuser and @Msgbox don't look so hot (and can be hard on the eyes) when extensive supporting text is needed. We provide the generic code via a custom drop-in @Popup function along with plenty of examples to help you rapidly design your own functionally-equivalent replacement popups.

Marking Records In Table View
Some databases could better serve by letting you mark/unmark qualifying records in Table View with a mouse click. It takes a bit of doing but the dividends can make it well worth the effort. Sample application included in this month's download file.

Color-Code Records In Table View
Can you even do such a thing? We give you the key to getting the colors to work and explain how color coding can simplify data analysis as well as data entry. 


_______________You ask. We answer.

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  • Create a Custom Search Help Screen — Users can have trouble running the right search for the records they need. (Those pesky retrieval codes and criteria can be hard to remember.) We offer up two practical solutions. Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • Triple-Click Buttons for Add / Search — A nifty technique that toggles a field for different search criteria or data entry options.

  • Ditch Annoying WordMerge Message — Say goodbye forever to that spurious "SQL" warning that stops you cold every time you run a document or label merge.

  • Reset Automatic Record Numbering — Got @Numbers? A Sesame application supports just one @Number. If you have several databases that need auto-numbering, you'll be hard-pressed to do it more easily than this.

  • The Penny-Off Problem  — You might have seen this in Sesame reports and other calcs where judicious use of @Round usually cracks the case. But in this investigation the perp was nearly impossible to nab.


_______________Technical tidbits you can use today
 

  • One-Step Combo Box Lookups — A novel way to quickly and intuitively drill down a lengthy lookup list to a manageable range of choices.

  • More See-able Scroll Bars — Simplify your Sesame form navigation with this easy-to-add Sesame.ini file setting.

  • Change Width of Table View Row Headers — Improve the look of Table View (including table subforms) — and get more table real estate — with this one-minute cosmetic tweak.


May/June 2014 issue summary. . . [order code MAY 14]

Packaging Reports
No, this isn't about designing reports for the Packing department. It's a click-'n'-go routine that runs then combines multiple reports into a single package that can be emailed as a file attachment, or saved as, say, "May 2014 month-end reports." In this case, a commercial transport company needs to generate complex manifest packages to email to their remote warehouses. A procedure that once took a macro, printer, page scanner and sweat now takes a few button clicks. 

Copy a Report to Another Database
Copying a report within the same database is a snap using Designer’s Manage Layouts feature on the application design tree. Copying a report to a different database, though, involves considerably more doing (with gotchas). We break it all down and show you how to get it right on the first go.


_______________You ask. We answer.

  •  

  • New Security Options Coming — Sesame 2.6 will sport some advanced security features designed to satisfy even the most stringent requirements, including the HIPPA standards.

  • Sesame and Windows XP — With Microsoft having ditched XP support as of April 8th, folks are wondering what it will take to migrate their Sesame stuff over to new Windows 7 or 8 computers. We boil it down to the essentials.

  • Report Design Management — The essentials on deleting and renaming Sesame reports.

  • Format Report Data — A quick-'n'-easy primer on what to do you when a report isn't formatting your data the same way your forms do.

  • Where Are My Reports?  — and similar basic report management questions.


_______________Technical tidbits you can use today
 

  • Control Access to Reports — Want to put some of your reports off limits to users? Here's how.

  • Up/Down Arrow Key Navigation in Forms — Remember in Q&A how you could hit the  keys to move rapidly down or up a long database record? How come this doesn't work in Sesame? Well, it does. You just have to know how to turn it on.

  • Change List Box Titles to Mixed Case — Fussy, fussy.

  • Tidy Up Those Unused Variables — Leaving declared but unused variables — not to mention custom functions and subroutines — in your code could throw you off when you return to that programming later on. Avoid that with this simple check.

  • Add Handy Search Option to Slate Messages — Not only can you use Sesame's WriteLn window to advise users when records need checking, you can include search values they can copy and paste right into the Retrieve Spec.

  • Use Type-Ahead to Quickly Open Apps — Type-ahead works in Sesame's File Open dialog. Take advantage of it to simplify opening your applications.


July/August 2014 issue summary. . . [order code JUL 14]

Automate PDF Invoicing
Electronic business documents continue to gain on their paper counterparts. Trees are being “saved,” along with toner/ink, printer wear-and-tear, envelopes, stamps, labor, and round trips in the snail mail. If you do lots of invoicing (or sales or purchase orders) and have thought about taking the e-plunge, you’ll want your PDF-making process to be as easy as it can be. 

Importing Fixed ASCII Files
Sesame’s export facilities can export to Fixed (table) ASCII files, but its Import facilities can’t import them. Fortunately, if you’re migrating a Q&A database with Fixed ASCII import Specs, it’s pretty easy to adapt them to a custom Sesame program that can handily get the data from such files into your database.


_______________You ask. We answer.

  •  

  • Function Keys in Sesame — Sesame supports Q&A's customary navigation keys. But new computers are making these F-keys increasingly hard to use. Is it time to stop relying on them?

  • Automatic Pop-Up Reminders — Instantly find out if any stock items have dipped below their safe reorder levels.

  • Export Excel to Client Computer — Sesame automatically saves exports to the server's file system. But you might like them saved to the local machine instead. 

  • Q&A Translation Naming Issues — A reader translated a Q&A database only to get inexplicable program "compile" errors. This one was a real head-scratcher.

  • Troublesome Date Range Retrieves  — Replace those arcane date range search formulas with this pop-up helper.


_______________Technical tidbits you can use today
 

  • Undocumented StringArray Sort Options — Sesame's @SortStringArray function has options for text and numeric sorting. But it can also numerically sort a two-dimensional string array, such as one returned by @XLookupSourceListAll.

  • Who or What's Knocking Off the Subrecords? — Got disappearing records in an unsecured application? How do you find out whodunnit?

  • Localize a Lookup Database to Improve Performance — XLookups can impact performance when filling in records or running a report or programmed procedure.  Here's an unexpected Global Code "add-in" that can speed things up.

  • Add a Hyperlink to Your Sesame Email — One simple step to placing a clickable link to your web site in your outgoing emails.

  • Working with 'Stacked' Form Elements — Frequent form designers will appreciate this who'da thunk? timesaving trick.


September/October 2014 issue summary. . . [order code SEP 14]

Run All Reports From Your Main Menu
Once a company sees how their new Sesame startup menu gives them centralized click-'n'-go access to all their databases, the next question is, “Can we run our reports from it, too?” Yes they can. And so can you. The trick is in a little generic program you can drop into any database with reports. Folks new to Sesame will find report running "intuitive," which means "like Q&A."

Using Checkboxes to Filter XResultset Searches & Reports
With a logical range of options, such as small, medium, large and extra large, using checkboxes to specify your search criteria enables you to get a report on any one — or any combination — of them.

'Customer-First' Order Entry
In an order entry system, processing rightly begins with a check of the customer's record to see if it's already there or needs to be added, and to find out if any key customer information has changed. A button click should then take you to the orders database with all the customer-related info automatically pre-filled. Ditch those ungainly picklists and multiple lookups. You don't need them anymore. We reduce order entry to brutal simplicity and boost accuracy.


_______________You ask. We answer.

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  • The Wait Is Over — Sesame 2.6 is here with a host of fixes and improvements.

  • Double-Duty Text/Date Field — Q&A let you to store non-date text in a date field. Here's a non-recommended way to get the same effect (well, almost) with a single Sesame field.

  • Making Good On a Mass Update/Restore disaster — How bad can it get? Imagine somebody fouling-up a mass update big time, then adding insult to injury by restoring a backup while the botched application was still in use. This happened. We break down the correct steps that should have been taken. 

  • Common Report Design How-To's — How to remove report elements,  add group page breaks, and center the report header on the page.

  • Running Multiple Sesame Servers On the Same Server  — Yes you can. Here's what you need to know to get it right.

  • Set Column Data Lengths in Reports  — Remember that old Q&A H(nn:) formatting code you could use to control the width of a report column and the entries in it? How do you do that in Sesame?

  • Design a Daily Success Report  — How to create a simple counts-only by day-of-week report


_______________Technical tidbits you can use today
 

  • Send Email From Your Records With Outlook or Thunderbird — If Sesame's @Sendmail doesn't meet all your emailing needs, our drop-in alternative works with either of two popular desktop email programs. Sample application included in this month's download file.

  • Genericize Database Access Buttons — Simply make the labels on your database access buttons match your database/form names, and this generic drop-in program will open any database in the system in Search or Add mode.

  • Use Visibility for a Unique-Names Report — You might need a report some day that shows unique records only, even when run against all the records in the database. Use it to find misspelled company names, or to get a list of customers who ordered last month to send "thank-you's."

  • Managing Lists in Code — If you store lists in programming, make them easier to read and update by listing the items one per line rather than in a hard-to-read string array. Then simply have your program convert them to a valid string array at runtime.

  • My Password Doesn't Work! — A little something you might want to take into account when translating a secured Q&A database.


November/December 2014 issue summary. . . [order code NOV 14]

When Speed Matters — XResultSetCreateNewRecord
vs. 'Enhanced Import'
Sesame's powerful XResultSetCreateNewRecord programming command gives you a way to add new records to a database under the hood. But on a big batch of records we found it too slow for our liking. Here's how we slashed a sluggish 10-minute procedure to a mere 30 seconds by combining built-in Sesame features with a bit of simple user interaction.

Let Users Customize Their Own Sesame Experience
This isn't about the Sesame.ini file, but a technique that enables users to set their own default data entry options.

Adding New Customer Records On-the-Fly
A slick approach that lets you add a new customer record to the system using a handy popup in the invoice form. Sample application included in this month's download file.


_______________You ask. We answer.

  •  

  • Where Are My Reports? Redux — Installing Sesame 2.6 might make your new report files disappear. But they're not really gone.  Here's what to watch out for.

  • Turn On Auto Select — The real lowdown on this perennially confusing feature.

  • Report Column Spacing — Here's what you can and can't do to increase a report column's width to prevent data from wrapping to a new line. 

  • Blank Column Help Fix — Don't like the Sesame User Guide popping up when you press F1 on a field that has no custom help? The fix is quick 'n' easy.

  • Translating a Q&A Lookup Table  — You might not like what Sesame's Translator does cosmetically with your Q&A Lookup Table. But it's a one-minute fix.

  • Extended Calendar Placement  — How to precisely position Sesame 2.6's new calendar popup on your screen.

  • Quick Print Alternate Forms  — Hands down the easiest and fastest way to print a record from an alternate form.


_______________Technical tidbits you can use today
 

  • Pushbutton Record-Copying — The easiest way we've seen so far to copy the record you're on to a new record. Handles things like invisible fields, read-onlies and auto-assigning a new ID number to the new record.

  • Hide Unbound Layout Elements at Retrieve — Unbound LE's can come in handy in a variety of situations, but allowing them to be searched will only frustrate users.

  • Reset @Number Without Designer — If you need to set a higher starting @Number for a database, you can do it without a trip to Designer.

  • Progress Message a 'No Show' in 2.6 — A custom message programmed  to reveal progress might not display as expected after upgrading. Here's the fix.