Expand all | Collapse all

Problems / Struggles with new Formula Editor

  • 1.  Problems / Struggles with new Formula Editor

    Posted 10-04-2017 17:55
    Is anybody else having troubles with the new formula editors?

    When they announced the update I was excited, but after fighting the editor for the last 2 weeks I thought I'd ask if was just me or if other had the same problems.

    They are using "Ace Editor".  It is JavaScript editor that has been inserted to the application.

    I've used a lot of different code editors, and this one is just messy.  To the point its almost easier to right it in a text editor and paste it.

    I understand that most people don't use formula fields too often, but I'm in them all day everyday so I thought I'd share/ask.  

    1. Inserting a field looses your spot:  Whenever you select a field to insert into the formula, you lose the 'active' courser in the editor, so you have to click back to the end of new field, to continue editing.

    2. The Container that is used doesn't properly size when you are editing the field via the form modifications.  (i.e. You are adjusting the form, and want to update the field properties right then).  This was an issue that started during the July/Aug release, but it compounded with the editor.

    3. Scrolling Jumps: When you want to highlight a portion of the formula, the auto scrolling withing the editor jumps inappropriately.

    4. Automatic wrapping that inserts "/n" and causes some formulas to fail.  It only does it sometimes and has been causing some issues.  Still trying to determine when and why.

    5. Are they using IOL to change the editor?  Why I ask, is because the page loads with the old text field, and then the new editor is inserted for that field.  It looks as though rather than updating the source it is just slapped on top.  Not sure, but curious.

    6. Inserting and extra quote (or parentheses)) .  I know that in most editors when you start a line with " it will add another.  Which makes sense.  But, when adding a " in the middle of a formula because of a change earlier.  It should not be adding another quotation.  Again, just a little thing, but curious.

    I think the Ace Editor is a step in the right direction, and I'll get used to it eventually.

  • 2.  RE: Problems / Struggles with new Formula Editor

    Posted 10-04-2017 18:00

    My pet peeve is inserting the quote or parenthesis for me. Argh, hate that, because I have to then use the right arrow key to jump over it. I noticed also it does not color code the field names consistently. Some are magenta, some are black. I noticed if you use hyphens in the field name, the editor turns the field name black. I've also experienced 'loosing my spot' when inserting a field too.

    Anyway, I do like the format and color coding and the line numbers. I just wish it would not insert the extra quotes and parens for me.

  • 3.  RE: Problems / Struggles with new Formula Editor

    Posted 10-04-2017 18:05
    I have the same experience. It was not adequately tested by real users or configured although it is more of just an annoyance as it does not prevent you from getting the job done.

    It would be simple enough to write a Service Worker to cripple the ACE Editor and just use an unadorned <textarea> for formula entry. I would create a public demo to do this but I think the application would have to grant admin access to allow everyone on the internet to edit formulas.

  • 4.  RE: Problems / Struggles with new Formula Editor

    Posted 10-04-2017 18:09
    >Are they using IOL to change the editor?

    There would never be a need to for QuickBase developers to use IOL as they control the entire stack and can implement anything they want. IOL is a workaround used by QuickBase users.

    The flash you see is just a remnant of how ACE bootstraps itself into existence as in layman terms they basically "convert" the plain <textarea> into more of a rich text editor. Almost all of the editors operate in a similar fashion.

  • 5.  RE: Problems / Struggles with new Formula Editor

    Posted 10-04-2017 18:33
    Have a look at the screenshot of the formula editor I created for another thread:

    Are There Any New Pre-Service Worker Disruptive Techniques?

    The code to mockup this interface and make it operational is minimal. Although I mentioned that you could do this with a Service Worker one thing I did not discuss is where the information defining the JavaScript function is stored once the user saved the formula. All you have to do is store a blob of text in a new table named say "Page Enhancements" using fields that referenced the (1) table dbid and (2) field ID. So the Service Worker when opening QuickBase's Field Editor page would just grab the JavaSrcipt and other info saved in the Page Enhancements table through an AJAX call and slop the retrieved info into the modified page. In this fashion, it would be simple to modify or enhance any aspect of the page. If you want to auto-generate your formulas from some more convenient description you can do as I did in converting the JavaScript function on formulas function. If you don't like the ACE editor - just substitute your own favorite editor.

    You may be thinking have all the enhancements such as IOL played themselves out? Hardly - there are going to be an ever increasing cornucopia of enhancements that are possible. The one I am outlining here might be called a "QuickBase Page Plugin" architecture where you could come up with your own mini forms and widgets to supercharge the interace.

    Why not?  We have reached singularity and fully converged now and everything is now possible.

  • 6.  RE: Problems / Struggles with new Formula Editor

    Posted 10-04-2017 18:34
    My two problems are losing the cursor position after inserting a field and auto insertion of the closing quote.