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Make null numeric values zero? 
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: -14
: 5
: 19
: Domino Designer
: numeric, number, field
: Ben Poole1705 07 Aug 2008
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Having just spent an age in maintenance mode tracking down a dodgy numeric field in a MASSIVE form, a simple suggestion for the Notes team is that if a numeric field is empty (i.e. in doc properties its value is ""), treat that as being the same as zero for the purposes of subsequent calculations and comparisons.

Notes is normally very forgiving re missing data, so I've never understood why it gets truculent with numbers.

If there are no plans to ever address this (emphasis added for the hard of reading), fine, at least give us error messages which indicate the problematic field / calculation: messages like "Comparison operators must be supplied two values of the same data type" don't cut it!!



1) Larry Helwig1720 (07 Aug 2008)
Null <> 0
2) Ben Poole1705 (07 Aug 2008)
I know null != 0. But that's irrelevant. Contrary to popular belief, null is not a construct in the Notes formula world. If you're going to treat field values a certain way, you must be consistent. Notes is not consistent when it comes to numeric (or date) fields, compared with text fields. It is not consistent to say that a NUMERIC field has a value of "".
3) Jeff Gilfelt1049 (07 Aug 2008)
I agree with this idea in principal, certainly in the field specific error alerting, but at the end of the day I think it is just one of those quirks we have to live with in the schema-less world of Notes. Plenty of validation formulae in existing apps (@If(MyNumberField = ""; ...) would presumably break if they changed this.

On more than a few occasions I have seen formulae where the developer used NULL, presumably thinking it was a language keyword (which of course would evaluate to "" as long as there is no variable or field in the document context with the name "NULL").
4) Ben Poole1705 (07 Aug 2008)
Yes it's certainly been in the product a long time... in which case more useful error reporting would be fab for us poor maintenance coders :)
5) Peter Presnell26659 (07 Aug 2008)
I think it is a great idea but wonder about the "backward compatibility" angle of this. Perhaps some sort of Notes.INI variable etc. could be used to allow this feature to be turned on. The ability for a numeric field to be either a number of text "" causes a lot of unnecessary processing when you try to do basic tasks as simply adding two "numeric variable values. A + B.
6) Ben Poole1705 (11 Aug 2008)
Yeah, backwards-compatibility is a big one. Oh well, just a thought. The community has spoken ;o)
7) Sjef Bosman2089 (11 Aug 2008)
This wouldn't be necessary if the error message were a lot clearer. There should be a switchable option to give every detail of an error in the log database or so (for b/g agents), or on the screen.

Notes makes you think... (pun intended)
8) Paul Davies12381 (11 Aug 2008)
I've promoted, not because I want Null to equal zero, but because this issue is a real pain at times, and I woudl like to see some resolution

I would rather have IsNull(myField) return true for number fields that are ""

Null doesn't equal "" either!

Perhaps an 'Option Null' clause in the declarations to change th behaviour - that way backward compatibility will not be an issue (I think!)

9) Ben Poole1705 (03 Sep 2008)
In the fit of demotes that this idea is receiving, people seem to be overlooking the point I make at the end… do people really not think it would be handy to have a more explicit error message—i.e. tell us which field / variable is the dodgy one? I guess I just want things easy(ier) eh ;o)










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