Goldenseal Pro- Smart Fields & Tables (Nov 9)

In the original Goldenseal, our staff spent 3 or 4 months programming clairvoyant fields. They are complicated.

Clairvoyant fields (soon to be called smart fields) have three different ways to data enter. You can click on a popup button, type in, or start typing and then select from a scrolling list. They show lists that may come from several different places. They also let you edit list items, or add new ones, or jump to a different record.  Or if they are disabled, you can double-click to jump to that item. It took a lot of fiddling and testing to get everything working smoothly.

Programming breakdown tables took even longer. We spent 2 or 3 programmer-years on those. It was like re-inventing Microsoft Excel, but with special features for estimating and accounting.

Then, even worse, clairvoyant fields act differently when inside a table cell. They need extra coding to handle the quirks.

Last week our staff got so frustrated with Cocoa smart fields, that we went back and tried for the third time to build them from NSComboBox. It’s Apple’s version of a list-choosing field, and it is so-o-o-o close to what we need. This time we set things up so it’s easy to switch back and forth. After a few days of testing and modifying, we gave up for the third time.

The good news is, regular smart/clairvoyant fields now work very well. There probably are some obscure problems still lurking, but they perform as they should in all possible combinations of tabs, clicks and typing.

Breakdown tables are mostly working, but the smart fields inside them still have problems.  Our staff is on that now.

Once those are done, we should be ready to start using Goldenseal Pro to run our own daily business. Though we will be cautious, and keep using old Goldenseal in parallel for a while. It’s almost guaranteed that we will find bugs. That’s why we do it.

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director


Author: Dennis Kolva

Programming Director for Turtle Creek Software. Design & planning of accounting and estimating software.