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Since Monday 03 October 2005 04:30 pm

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I hate MS Access

Wednesday 22 March 2006 05:20 pm

Not much going on in SPIDER developments. Fixed a minor problem with 57205 electronic lab submission, but other than that, have been taking the departmental Access database used for electronic ordering (EOS) and hooking it up to MSSQL server. Access is proving to be as big a pain as I remember (used to program Access in my first job), but at least MSSQL server seems to behave itself (so far). This project is going to take a long time, as there is lots to be done to fix the Access front end app to play properly. The reason I hate Access? Was just trying to get it to put a total of prices into a report. This should just use the sum function e.g.

=sum([unit_price])

But good old Access decides you can't do that in the "footer" of the report, and just shows a handy #Error instead. Much trawling of Google reveals that there is a MS Knowledge base article (#Q132017) which notes you can't use sum in footers. Aaaagh. Why not? And why doesnt it just say "cannot use sum function in footer" instead of just #Error which is far from useful.

At some point will migrate the whole shebang onto SPIDER, but for now have to wrack my brains to remember how to do stuff in VBA. Well, when I say remember, I really mean look up Google to see how to do it

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Bad filenames

Friday 10 March 2006 03:06 pm

People seem to insist on uploading files that are named with illegal or special meaning characters like [ ! + % $ etc. SPIDER replaces these with an underline "_" . Just fixed a bug as { } and [ ] were not being replaced, which was causing error messages on the PDP coursework area. Also added these character replacements to the file upload for classes. Why people name their files with these I dont know....

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Accessibility

Thursday 09 March 2006 03:52 pm

Access keys
SPIDER has had access keys for a while (since v5 went live) but hadn't actually put this information anywhere on the site. There is now an accessibility link on the login page and on the bottom navigation links (short cut key alt-0/ Ctrl-0/ apple-0 depending on browser/ OS) which lists what these are and how to use them. Also went through all the nav options making sure the keys all work in buttons and text only nav interfaces (classic and menus just don't lend themselves to have these working)

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Questionnaires

Wednesday 08 March 2006 04:35 pm

bug-fix
Fraser let me know the questionnaire email 'nag' was adding in / when it saw ' , and each time it emailed, was adding another /, resulting in /////// appearing after 5 or 6 messages. After much scratching of head, worked out what was going wrong (urlencoding the message at the wrong stage before passing the message to the next email) and fixed it.

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