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Forms

Forms need to be as easy to create and maintain as possible. It should be possible for them to maintained by non-technical persons.

The approach under consideration is inspired by Adrian Smith's galleries and illustrated with Eric Lescasse's function ConferenceDemo5. This function puts up a somewhat complicated and certainly attractive Windows form using his Objects. Adrian's "gallery" approach suggests we can separately store reference data saying that when this "field name" (or "control name") is used, we'll handle it in such and such a way.

All properties can be overridden, so our controls are both highly efficient and also highly flexible. The function qkeFN handles this in a preliminary way using Windows Objects. This has been discussed with EricL. He says this is a higher level of abstraction than he has attempted thus far, but he see no reason why it can't be done. Form specifications are generalized so they can be rendered in any desired environment (Windows, HTML, javascript (jscript), Excel, Access).

It seems that we can write a general facility which will have the following properties. (To allow searching in a workspace, a "q" is placed in front of each of these properties.)

Specifications for the form can be unique to the form as in delta-SS in FORM.w3 (except that delta-SS has fixed columns which must be variable).

Or, specifications can be obtained from (READS 8100 58). Same property specs are shown below. A field named "drug" has valuetype "text". A field called "dose" is right aligned. A field called "sex" has two options, "female" and "male" and female is checked.

drug valuetype text
dose align right
units align right
price valuetype currency
price format $0.00
price align right
desc valuetype text
description valuetype text
check valuetype text
date valuetype date
date colwidth 80
date format MM/dd/yy
coa valuetype text
amount valuetype text
vendor valuetype text
client valuetype text
text valuetype text
number valuetype text
sex celltype combo
sex options Female w
Male    m
sex colwidth 48
sex checked w

Thus it should be possible to create a Windows form with the following syntax.
MakeForm 'Name' 'Fname' 'OKButton' 'CancelButton' 'APL' 'Sport' 'Smoking' 'URL' 'Age' 'WebBrowser'

And it should be possible to create an HTML form with exactly the same syntax, or perhaps with a left argument to MakeForm. (MakeForm is presently implemented with the name "qkeFN". GugScript & qkForm are a highly developed implementation).

Other characteristics of this process include....

  1. the right argument of MakeForm should be case insensitive
  2. aplname values should be special so they can be searched, e.g. fNAME.
  3. to the maximum extent possible, everything should be optional. MakeForm will create an apl function, so there are all kinds of possibilities for customizing the form after it is initially created. However, wherever the generated form is sufficient, that is better in terms of future maintenance and in terms of migration to the web.

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