About displaying and validating data

When InfoMaker generates a basic report or form, it uses the extended attributes defined for the data and stored in the extended attribute system tables.

For more information about the extended attribute system tables, see The Extended Attribute System Tables

In the Database painter, you can create the extended attribute definitions that specify a column's display format, edit style, and validation rules.

In the Report painter or Form painter, you can override these extended attribute definitions for a column in a report or form. These overrides do not change the information stored with the column definition in the extended attribute system tables.

Database painter is required

You must have the Database painter installed to define display formats and edit styles in your database.

Presenting the data

When you generate a new report or form, InfoMaker presents the data according to the properties already defined for a column, such as a column's display format and edit style. 

Display formats

Display formats embellish data values while still displaying them as letters, numbers, and special characters. Using display formats, for example, you can:

  • Change the color of numbers to display a negative value

  • Add parentheses and dashes to format a telephone number

  • Add a dollar sign and period to indicate a currency format

For information, see About display formats.

Edit styles

Edit styles usually take precedence over display formats and specify how column data is presented. For example, using edit styles, you can:

  • Display valid values in a drop-down list

  • Indicate that a single value is selected by a check box

  • Indicate which of a group of values is selected with radio buttons

In the Report painter, an edit style is simply a way of presenting data. You can change data in a form; you cannot change data in a report. In the Database painter and in the Form painter, an edit style enables users to change data in the database by means of an edit mechanism, such as a check box or radio buttons.

For more information, see About edit styles.

About display format masks and EditMask masks

The differences between display format masks and EditMask masks can be confusing. A display format mask determines the appearance of the column when the focus is off the column, or when the report is in print preview mode. When you apply an EditMask edit style, the mask you use determines the appearance of the column when focus is on the column.

If you want data to display differently depending on whether the focus is on or off the column, specify an edit mask (on the Edit property page for the column) as well as a display format (on the Format property page for the column), then check the Use Format check box on the Format property page. The Use Format check box displays only when an edit mask has been specified.

If you want the data to display in the same way whether focus is on or off the column and you have defined an edit mask, you do not need to define a display format. The edit mask is used for display if the Use Format box is not checked (the default).

Validating data

When data is entered in the Database painter or in a form, InfoMaker evaluates the data against validation rules defined for that column. If the data is valid, InfoMaker accepts the entry; otherwise, InfoMaker displays an error message and does not accept the entry.

For more information, see About validation rules.