No time for Textworks date fields

by Peter Tyrrell Friday, June 01, 2007 12:33 PM

Ha ha! That was a pun, that was. "No time for Textworks date fields." Phew... that is the kind of half-inflated rubber-mattress-smelling type of humour I am capable of, here on this highly informative forum.

So I discovered the other day, quite by accident, that Inmagic textbase Date fields are exactly that and no more. By which I mean: Date fields are not DateTime fields.

Perhaps on the surface this seems a trivial distinction. Let me assure you, my dear confidant, it is not.

You can enter time information in a non-strict Date field, or one that has trailing text enabled, but the time you enter is just a string. It is not understood as a chronological statement. You might as well type "blah blah blah" instead of "09:00:00 AM" for all the good it does you, because you can't search for, or sort by, time. You and I know that 1:00:00 PM comes after 12:00:00 PM, but Inmagic doesn't.

Here's an example where I told the report to sort by a date field. Note that it is NOT sorting chronologically, but rather, numerically.

CropperCapture[4]

I'm so surprised that there is no way to handle chronological data. In the languages, programming environments, and database systems I work with, it's just assumed that Date fields, classes, and variables are date-plus-time: DateTime objects. The assumption is such that you can call a DateTime object a Date, in fact, and everyone already knows you really mean DateTime but aren't pretentious enough to have to say it. (The javascript Date object is an example off the top of my head.)

A DateTime object can of course show a date without time, but that's just a matter of formatting. The information about time is still in there. And, even if you instantiate a DateTime object with a date string and don't include the time, the time defaults to 00:00:00.

Anyway, I'm not sure what to do about this.

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