table design view handles field length non-intuitively

Bug #1016603 reported by Csipak Attila on 2012-06-22
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
libreoffice (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Table design view handles field length non-intuitively when picking different field types. For example:

1. Choose VARBINARY field type, the Length input field below gets filled with 2147483647.
2. Now pick CHAR field type, the Length input field remains the same (2147483647).
3. Pick SMALLINT, the Length changes to 5.

This behaviour _may_ be acceptable (some field types can have min-max lenghts, others are defined to be fixed length, etc.), but for the novice user it appears confusing.

I suggest that:

- For fixed length field types (TINYINT, BOOLEAN, REAL, etc.) the Lenth field should be _visibly_ disabled (grayed out). Right now, it is disabled, but this is not indicated by any shading, coloring, whatever. The average user won't understand, why the Length field is disabled.

- When field types with min-max length restrictions are chosen, the GUI should clearly indicate the length limits. (Do not expect the novice user to read into the SQL standard for this.)

- Have a default length value for every field type, and overwrite the length with it whenever the field type is changed. IMHO this is especially useful when the user is creating a new the table and skimming through the varius field types. Accidentally assigning a CHAR type length to be 2147483647 instead of 100 (see 1-2 steps above) should be avoided. I guess that there are scenarios where the current behaviour (only touch the length value when changing to a field type, for which the current length value is too high/low) is only safer when modifying an existing table structure - changing a CHAR field to VARCHAR for example. But that small safety is also lost after the user accidentally picks a BOOLEAN or a VARBINARY type. So I guess if we're creating a brand new table column, then the length should be overwritten by a default tied to the field type, whenever the field type changes. And if we're in the middle of editing an existing column, the GUI should always remember the original length value and try to set it as a default, whenever a different field type is selected, and the length constraints of that field type allow the original length value. Otherwise it should set the length to the value that is closest to the original length.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 12.04
Package: libreoffice-base 1:3.5.3-0ubuntu1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.2.0-25.40-generic-pae 3.2.18
Uname: Linux 3.2.0-25-generic-pae i686
NonfreeKernelModules: nvidia
ApportVersion: 2.0.1-0ubuntu8
Architecture: i386
CheckboxSubmission: e665592ec356650b8c1e4f41698ed522
CheckboxSystem: 4ed15c40009aa6f7770f606350a390a2
Date: Fri Jun 22 16:47:26 2012
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" - Beta i386 (20120301)
SourcePackage: libreoffice
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Csipak Attila (corphicks) wrote :
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in libreoffice (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Rolf Leggewie (r0lf) on 2015-07-25
tags: added: enhancement trusty
tags: added: base
removed: i386
description: updated
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