September 16, 2014

2 Ways to Manage Blank Status Fields


Do you ever get tired of having to create a workaround so you can avoid showing the ‘blank’ condition description for your status fields? By default, you have to enter code to retrieve conditions for display on a screen and then, if it is a blank condition, you must handle that separately so the word ‘blank’ (or whatever you have called ‘blank’ in your model) doesn’t show on the screen. There are a few ways to take care of this issue. Here are a few I find useful.


1. Create a derived field for the condition and manage the retrieval of conditions inside of the derived field. Any time the blank condition is retrieved, just replace the condition description with a blank. This works well if you do not mind having derived fields for most of your condition fields. The result will add the derived field to a screen; it will take care of the grunt work of displaying the correct condition description as well as not showing a description if the result is blank.

2. I ran across another nice way to handle this as well. First, when you create conditions, never create a ‘blank’ condition. Second, create a text field that is longer than any field you will come across and call it ‘blank.’ Now you can use this blank field for comparison with any of your condition fields and you do not have to worry about the word ‘blank’ showing on your screen because you do not have any actual condition called ‘blank.’


In one of the last models I worked with, we used the ‘blank’ field as the primary way to manage blank conditions. In the beginning, I found it a bit strange to do this. I was used to having to create a blank condition for any fields I wanted to compare with ‘blank’. However, as I got used to it, the idea grew on me. I now think it is a pretty good method. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Feel free to share your preferred method of managing the blank field condition.