Browse Prior Art Database

Display of Nulls Fields for Input and Output

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000035128D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-28
Document File: 1 page(s) / 12K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Conner, HK: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for allowing the user to select a character to visually differentiate between null and blank values when viewing or inputting data on a screen.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 72% of the total text.

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Display of Nulls Fields for Input and Output

Disclosed is a method for allowing the user to select a character to visually differentiate between null and blank values when viewing or inputting data on a screen.

In SQL databases, there is a concept of a field being "null", or empty. This is different, for purposes of searching or sorting, than a field that contains blanks. With this implementation, a user-specifiable character is displayed in input or output fields to indicate a null value. The user may select (e.g., in a user profile) one of two valid options for the null indicator: the "-" character or the "#" character. That way, if the user has a need to use one of these characters in his data fields, he may select the other character to be the null indicator, and yet the program maintains control by not allowing the user to specify a very commonly used character (e.g., "A") to be the null indicator.

When data is displayed to the user, null fields are indicated by this character so that the user can distinguish between null and blank values. In addition, when the user is adding or changing data, if this character is the only character in the field, the field will be set to null. Blanking out the field with the space bar or using the "delete to end of line" key from the first position of a field will not set the value to null since the dialog manager used in this case will pass a blank to the program and the program cannot determine whether to set the field to...