Tap Forms – Organizer Database App for Mac, iPhone, and iPad › Forums › Using Tap Forms › Issues/bugs with text fields populated by pick lists
May 6, 2015 at 8:43 AM #13572
Mac Version 3.5 (Build 658)
In the newest Mac version 3.5 there are issues/bugs with text fields populated by pick lists.
If an existing value does not exist in a field’s associated pick list, the field is displayed as blank in multi-column view (MCV). The value is displayed in the form view, in single-column list view and within exported CSV records so it obviously exists in the database.
The blank fields show up when an existing database is initially opened with ver. 3,5, when restoring from a backup, or via sync. And there doesn’t seem to be a way to get anything other than a blank value displayed for existing, imported or synced records when the value doesn’t exist in the pick list.
Note that this is totally different behavior from earlier Mac versions and both iOS versions. In those implementations, any value not in the field’s pick list can be entered and will be displayed in any view. And that is the behavior I certainly expect and want from the application, and is the way I’ve been using it since the first versions.
In ver. 3.5 when creating a new record, any value can be entered in form view but that value will never be displayed in MCV. Further complicating things, 3.5 tries to automatically add the value to the pick list! Again, this is totally inconsistent behavior with earlier version and with iOS versions. And, I don’t want these one-time entries junking up my pick lists with values that will likely never be used again.
This is probably caused by the new control you are using for the MCV. Please make it behave like all the other versions, and like we have been accustomed to in other versions. Thanks.May 6, 2015 at 10:03 AM #13579
I had lots of requests for making Tap Forms automatically add new values to the pick lists. But I see now how that might be a problem if your values are simply transient. I’ll investigate the issue with the new multi-column list view not showing values that aren’t in the pick list. Currently the issue is that it searches for the value that’s there so it knows which menu item to select. In the old version, the menu used to be populated only when you clicked the popup button so it could add the current unknown value to the menu. But the way the new control is designed, this could be quite difficult to achieve since the popup button menus are populated when the form loads now, not when you click on them. I will see if I can make it happen though.
Sorry for this change.
BrendanMay 6, 2015 at 11:16 AM #13585
Thanks for your quick response.
Regarding blank fields that aren’t blank… seems to me that if a value exists for field then that value should be displayed everywhere. Otherwise it’s pretty confusing for the user… at least it was for me until I spent some time figuring out what was going on.
I’ve noticed other undesirable things going on with this new implementation.
If you are using a form to enter/edit a record, anything you enter into a text field with a pick list is immediately added to the pick list without any confirmation required. So it’s really easy to add junk entries you didn’t mean to. But if you using the grid to enter/edit values, you can’t enter anything that isn’t already in the pick list. So we are seeing totally different behaviors with data entry for the same field.
Also, as you indicated new values don’t show up in a pick list until the form is reloaded. This means new values entered during a session with a given form aren’t available until the form is reloaded… there is no immediate update to the pick list so that the new values are available in the same session.
Also noticed that using the keyboard to jump to an entry in a pick list is pretty erratic. Use of the mouse is essential, and IMO inefficient.
A possible solution would be to add a couple of additional option columns next to Multi-Select in the Pick Lists Preferences:
1. “Auto add new entries”
2. “Add new entries with confirmation”
Or something to that effect.May 6, 2015 at 6:54 PM #13590
Actually I just fixed the popup issue today, so the multi-column list view’s popup buttons can now display values that are not already in the pick list.
I think the “auto-add new entries” option is a good idea. But I wonder if perhaps a simple + button next to the pick list button might work too?
Or maybe this was just a failed experiment and needs to be removed altogether. But I kept getting requests to have the values you entered automatically added to pick lists because people didn’t like having to edit the pick lists all the time to add their values.May 7, 2015 at 2:24 PM #13602
Thanks for the fix.
I think the ability to dynamically add to pick lists would be a useful feature, and I wouldn’t look at it as a failed experiment. But I believe it has to be be under control of the user rather than some unexpected or unwanted auto-process. The + button does sound like a possible solution, but lots of logic needs to be worked out for it to be a usable implementation.
Thanks again for your efforts on this product… the development process can’t be getting any easier.May 8, 2015 at 2:01 PM #13612
Ok, so I came up with another solution to the auto-add value to pick list issue. I think it works pretty well. It makes it easy for anyone to add a new value to a pick list, but doesn’t do it automatically anymore. So it’s good for people that want a quick and easy way to add new values, but also doesn’t force people to auto-add new values to their lists. Plus I added searching to the pick lists so if you have a long list, it’ll be easier to find what you need.
Just click the pick list button, then click the + button to add the new value. Or even change it and type in a new value. or type a bunch of values separated by commas and you can add them all in one click.
See the attachment.
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.May 19, 2015 at 6:03 AM #13750
Sorry… been out of the loop for a few days.
Wanted to add this to the conversation.
IMO, pick Lists in iOS are done right…
– A value not in the pick list can be entered for a field and it is NOT automatically added to the list.
– Using the search field to find values in a large list is efficient and intuitive, regardless of the list’s order.
– New pick list values can be entered by simply tapping the + icon.
– Pick lists can be ordered as desired by the user, e.g. most frequently used at the top.
As I said, this implementation is done right! It’s usable, intuitive, and efficient. Please don’t change it!
So the goal is to make the Mac version behave the same as the iOS versions.
When using forms to enter/edit a record:
-Your solution described in your previous post seems to address the issues of adding new values when entering data in a field that has a pick list. It also mimics the iOS implementation… a good thing.
– But I’m also assuming a user would then be able to enter a “one-time” value that isn’t in the list. Correct?
– Searching for an entry in a long list is currently painful. Typing the first few characters of an entry jumps all over the list, or thinks it’s an invalid keystroke. There’s some sort of timing issue going on. Hope your changes to search address this.
When using the multi-column list view to enter or edit a record:
– How will the user enter a “one-time” value in a field that has a pick list? That seems to be currently impossible.
– Will your proposed solution be implemented in the multi-column list view to easily add new values to a list?
Thanks. Let me know if I can be of help in testing these changes.May 19, 2015 at 7:43 AM #13751
Mac Version 3.5.1 just popped up on my update list. I’ve installed it and done some basic tests.
It appears the problems I mentioned earlier are resolved when using the form to enter/edit records. The new pick-list dialog works to add new values, and a one-time value can be entered. Search is also much better!
These features still don’t seem to be possible when using the multi-column list view to enter/edit a record, though. Perhaps the control you are using makes this impossible?
Thanks for your efforts.May 19, 2015 at 9:59 AM #13752
Tap Forms uses just an NSPopupButtonCell for the pick lists in the multi-column list view. It’s possible for me to switch it to use the same basic popover view like on the record details screen, but I felt it was quicker for the user to enter their data using the popup button. You can press the space bar to bring up the list and then type the first character of the text and use the arrow keys to navigate up and down. Are you needing the new pick list popover view in the multi-column list view too?May 19, 2015 at 11:07 AM #13753
The popover in multi-column list view isn’t essential, and would be mostly for compatibilty with the form view.
But the ability to enter a “one-time” value in a field on the multi-column list view is more important, IMO. Is this possible?
JimMay 19, 2015 at 12:03 PM #13754
Ah I see now. Well, it may be possible, but it would break the ability to press the space bar to display the selection of items. I recently changed the popup button from an NSPopupButtonCell to an NSComboboxCell. This is actually just a text field combined with a popup button, so it should be possible to let you type into that field. But you’d have to click on the arrows to display the popup instead of just pressing the space bar. There’s always a tradeoff.May 19, 2015 at 12:53 PM #13758
Here’s what is described in the Mac Developer’s Library under How Combo Boxes Work:
“A combo box is a control that gives the user two ways to enter a value: entering it directly in a text field, or choosing it from a pop-up list of pre-selected values. Use this control whenever you want the user to enter information that can be selected from a finite list of options. Note that while you can construct your NSComboBox so that users are restricted to only selecting items from the combo box’s pop-up list, this isn’t the combo box’s normal behavior.
While the pop-up list is visible, typing into the text field causes an incremental search to be performed on the list. If there’s a match, the selection in the pop-up list changes to reflect the match.”
I guess that’s why I’m expecting to be able to either enter a value that’s not in the list, or pick from the list. Obviously, you can click on the arrow, but as a keyboard alternative to the space why not use the down-arrow key to pop up the list? Or is there another standard keystroke built-in to the class to invoke the list?May 19, 2015 at 1:41 PM #13763
I’ll do some investigations. Changing it to an NSComboboxCell was a change I made in the 3.5.1 update because previously when I used an NSPopupButtonCell, it wouldn’t display the values if the value didn’t exist in the popup itself.
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