Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Simple But Useful VFP Tip: Remote Views with SQL Server varchar fields

Note: This is a feature that's been in VFP for years - but I've often found that useful features often remain hidden until someone points them out. So I'm taking to finding my little VFP tips as I come across them and re-posting them here.

I work in a variety of environments but one thing I always keep with me on my USB drive is VFP. Regardless of the data I have to work with, I always find that a task comes up that is infinitely easier in VFP. The funny thing is that other colleagues on a team who haven't been exposed to VFP are usually amazed at how quickly stuff can be done.

Today, I was working with a SQL Server table and SSMS only lets you edit the first 200 rows on their own - otherwise you have to script it (or use another tool).

For most of these systems, I typically create a VFP Database Container and then create remote views as necessary.

Oftentimes, the problem is that when VFP comes across a varchar field that is longer than 254 characters, it immediately converts it into a memo field so I am left with something like this:

This is annoying as the field I really need to modify is the DisplayText column or the Memo field and while I can open it, I would prefer to be lazy on this end.

So in the View designer, highlight the desired field and choose Properties. Then change the Data Type of your output of choice. Since most of my text in this column will be less than 254 chars, I'm just making that change here.

Now, when I browse my remote table, I can see the contents of the field, make changes and they propagate right back to the SQL table.

Nice and simple.

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