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.


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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