Getting the Most from Lantica's Sesame Database Manager
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . September 21, 2020  7:28 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.
 

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January
2020 issue summary. . . [order code JAN20]

Month-End Accounting Reports Made Easy
Following a migration, the company brought up a little something they had neglected to mention ―  a complex Q&A procedure they followed each month to assemble a package of specially-edited reports for their outside accountant. A custom Sesame facility designed to streamline this recurring chore turned a tedious hour-long job into a 5-minute one.

Accepting User Input (or How to Hack a Sesame Database)
There hasn’t been much talk in these pages about validating user input in Sesame. Anyone who has done any web design knows that when visitors to a site submit information, the most important imperative is:  Trust No User Input. The same can hold true in a database.

The Strange Case of the Faulty Field Editor
F6 — the function key that opens and closes the expanded text editor for reviewing / updating lengthy info — makes multiline fields easier to maintain. In Q&A DOS, F6 opens a field editor that occupies half the screen. Q&A Win vertically expands a multiline field a bit on entry. In Sesame, F6 in a multiline field pops up a scrollable editor you can move around the screen and resize to suit. But in the latest Sesame version, some head-scratching behavior occurs if two multiline fields happen to be bound to the same database field.

Supercharged F6 for Multiline Fields
We cooked up a little something that turns Sesame's F6 key into a turbo F6+ key that automatically uses @PopupStringEditor for any and all multiline fields on a form. If you've got a database peppered with multiline fields, this mod is worth a look.

Report Alignment ― Chrome & Edge
When the default browser Sesame uses to display reports happens to be either Google’s Chrome or Microsoft’s Edge, strange formatting issues have been reported in the latest versions of these two browsers. A Sesame report that should have aligned-left wound up aligning-right instead. Here's the scoop along with the fix.


_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Another Milestone — Windows 7 support is about to end. This is mainly for folks who might still have Q&A databases in their system that they occasionally consult for historical information.

  • Get Data from a Previous Record in a Report — For a Sesame accounting reconciliation report, how to go about getting  last month's ending balance from a record that isn't included in the report?

  • Translated Q&A Report Issue — Empty reports, even though the data is there in the report's result set. What's going on here?

  • Misunderstanding Restrictions In Sesame — Talk about a total paradigm shift.

  • PopupStringEditor to Edit fields — A Sesame user had so many multiline fields in his database that he couldn't see straight.

  • Where Are My Q&A Field Templates?  — Sesame's take on  field templates can be a bit wanting. Here's what can be done to smooth things over.


_______________Technical tidbits you can use today
 

  • Beware of 'Min' or 'Max' as Data Values. Strange things can happen.

  • Find Field Data Types Revisited ― A fresh approach to a tip in last year's last issue.

  • Other Sources of Text for @PopupStringEditor ― Normally, this handy Sesame function picks up the text in a multiline field for more convenient viewing and editing. But you can optionally make it grab the text from any plain text source, such as the content of an external Notepad file.

 

April 2020 issue summary. . . [order code APR20]

WordMerge Mini — Just the Basics. A Case Study
A county legal department dealt with wills and estate probate matters for its residents. With new computers on the way, legacy programs like Q&A had to go. Merge documents were central to the operation. We cooked up a scaled-down version of WordMerge just to see what it would take to meet the department's demanding document production needs.

The Strange Case of the Sorted Subform
A company that had been stable on Sesame 2.6 for years finally got around to upgrading to Sesame 2.6.4. A new issue was immediately noticed. A table subform that served as a ledger for charges and payments went wonky when a new charge or payment was added. It took an investigation by Lantica Tech Support  — along with a new bit of code — to get things back to normal.

Old School Label Printing
A company we migrated from Q&A to Sesame a few years back and hadn’t heard from since ran into a little trouble after replacing their aging Windows 7 pc’s with new Windows 10 machines. A label-printing routine they’d relied on for more than 25 years was dead in the water. It couldn’t be made to work on the new computers. We had a solution.

Eye-Catching Quick Reports Revisited
In the May/June 2016 Inside Sesame (Eye-Catching Quick Reports) we showcased a custom program that adds a touch of class to otherwise plain Jane Quick Reports. A fellow Sesame developer recently proposed a few more options to better accommodate his needs.

Fade-Away Input Prompts
Taking a cue from computer prompts that appear briefly then fade out (incoming email alerts, for example), the boys at the InsideSesame labs wondered if a nifty feature like this could be adapted to data entry validation. What would fade-away prompts look like in a Sesame database and how would they work? (Sample databases)


_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Hide, Don't Drag Fields Off the Form — What's the Sesame Designer Canvas? And how can it catch you out if you leave programmed fields on it?

  • Move Multiple Notes Fields to a Single Notes Field — Q&A databases often have repeating fields for notes or comments. Organizing them in a new single multiline notes field can be a tricky proposition. We show how to get it right.

  • Report Retrieve Specs the Right Way — When a report's design contains an embedded sort spec and there's different sort spec in the form for the retrieved records, only one of them will win out.

  • Broken Report Sort Specs — Beware of the Booleans, particularly with sort specs in both a main form and subform.

  • Saved Sorts Locked? — How an unknown/unexpected sort spec can botch a Sesame report.

  • Navigate Your Tabs with a Command Button  — Open the tab group you want from a handy Go-to-Tab picklist.


_______________Technical tidbits you can use today
 

  • Update a Combo Box On-the-Fly — Have Sesame create a new record in lookup database "A" when a Combo Box's lookup list in database "B" doesn't have it.

 

July 2020 issue summary. . . [order code JUL20]

Combo Boxes in a Changing Environment ― A Control Panel for Dropdowns
A  company took a keen interest in a data entry tool that their old Q&A system didn’t have — Combo Boxes. Also called Dropdowns, they were looking to replace a host of text fields in their new Sesame application with these and would need a central facility ― a kind of control panel ― where they could update them as needed in real time without involving Sesame Designer or kicking users out of the application.  (Sample application in this issue's download file).

A Report Sorting Problem & Solution
Similar to sorting on a group of retrieved records, you can sort a report on as many fields as needed. These sorting options are usually all that’s needed to generate readable, intelligent reports. But what if they're not? In this case, an altogether different approach was needed to effectively sort a variety of reports.

Simple Q&A for Windows to Simple Sesame
After 25 YEARS in Q&A for Windows, a job placement company’s luck ran out when their new Windows 10 computers arrived. Part of the solution included a specialized record navigation widget.


_______________You ask. We answer.


  • Fix My Phone Numbers — For a database with a host of phone number fields, here's the trick to keeping them all in the same format, especially when they're brought in from another source.

  • UPPERCASE Not Copying Correctly — How to automatically retain consistent capitalization in fields with the same data type.

  • Yesterday Date Search — A simple trick for finding the previous day's records.

  • Add and Search at the 'Same Time' — How not to lose your Retrieve Spec criteria when switching to Add mode.

  • When @Number Just Won't Do It — Maintaining a meaningful sequential numbering scheme when the numbers are alphanumeric.


_______________Technical tidbits you can use today
 

  • Hiding Command Buttons — There have been numerous Inside Sesame articles about creating and programming navigation buttons. Here’s a different twist on button visibility depending on the Sesame Mode you’re in.

  • Deleting a Record ― What About Subrecords? With Relational linking, deleting a parent record with one or more subrecords ― and not  also deleting the subrecords ― can come back to bite. Here's some sample code that addresses the issue.