Random Thoughtfulness
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ContactFX :: Field Linking

  30/09/10 01:16, by scribbly, Categories: Development, Software, VB.Net, FARR, ContactFX

One of the main (if not neat) features that's driven ContactFX is the ability to enter data once and be able to link to it from other records: thus saving time when making changes.

There will be two methods of linking or rehashing contact data:

  1. Field Source
  2. Link Fields

I'll leave Link Fields for another time and concentrate on Field Source for now...

ContactFX allows you to use the field value of another field, either from the same contact or a different contact (and eventually even a different addressbook) to the field being edited. The Contact / Field is specified using a source string.

To demonstrate the functionality I've set up two fictitious contacts, Sandi and Perry. The data from Sandi's record being displayed on Perry's record. Sandi's record has been set up with Given, Additional and Family names, I've added an extra Additional name and changed the label to Maiden Name:

Perry's record has his own Given and Family names plus links to Sandi's Formatted Name, middle name and her maiden name:

Links can be created by using the Link Effect when dragging and dropping:

...or by typing directly into the Field's text box (link source must be prefaced with an equals character "="). Once links are created they will update automatically when the contact is opened or manually using the Refresh button on the menu. Source links can reference fields that are themselves referencing other fields, and so on...

Sandi's Formatted Name demonstrates linking to the same contact's fields:

Link references can be in the form:

  • ContactID#FieldID
  • ContactID#FieldName
  • ContactID#FieldName( index )
  • ContactGUID can be used instead if ContactID

When dragging and dropping ContactID & ControlID are used:

The "wife's middle name" field demonstrates a typed-in link in ContactGUID#FieldName format:

The "Sandi's Maiden name" field demonstrates using the FieldName() format. Because multiple "Additional Name" fields were used, this format gives the ability to reference a particular field.

Note that the label on that field linked to Sandi's dislayname:

ContactFX does simple error checking on the source string and highlights the first problem area. The following example shows a misspelt function name:

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Scribbly is derived from the common name of one of the 10 Eucalypts that have insect trails (scribbles) in the bark. Eucalyptus haemastoma is a dominant species where I live and is commonly known as "Scribbly Gum".

The scribbles on the bark of these magnificent trees often reminded me of the journey of many of my projects: somewhat random, but beautiful in the end.


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