Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fixing the "GoesByName" in ACS

We recently have been focused on getting Ministries' extraneous databases moved into ACS (our Church Database software, or ChMS).

While helping Friend 2 Friend get their reports made, we found that we needed the extra flexibility of the Report Designer (rather than the built-in reports). However this presented us with an issue: How do you make the report smart enough to show the "GoesByName" if it exists, but otherwise show the "FirstName"?

A quick call to ACS support, and I came back with this little tidbit of code:

if People['GoesByName']='' then
value := People['FirstName'] else
value := People['GoesByName'];

This works great (since our text box only shows the first name), and is very easy to setup.

Here is how you make it work:

1. Create a variable box. This is the little button on your toolbar that looks like a calculator.
2. Right-click on that new box that is now in your report. You'll see a sub-menu called "Calculations...".
3. In the calculations window that pops up (on the left-most column), put the above code-snippet into the text box (it is case-sensitive).
4. Click ok, and then preview your report (to make sure it worked).

Notice that you can use the "Code Toolbox: Data" section (upper right) to choose options for your "Fields" view (below the Code Toolbox). This allows you to drag and drop variables into your code.
The drag and drop functionality is nice from a non-programmer perspective. It makes it very easy for your average users to use this functionality. All you have to do is teach them how to use an "If ... then ... else" statement ;)

Don't forget to use the Pascal { and } commands to comment-out portions of your code. I put a description of what I was doing at the top.

Pretty nifty, heh?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Help: Broken keyboard key!

Well, it happened. My incredible IBM keyboard has had an injury.

While installing a RAM upgrade in my T43 (2687), one of my most-used keys, the "\" key came off (this is the second time it has happened).

Unfortunately, this time it won't go back on.
The little white fastener/lever-thingy has broken, and no longer has some of the supporting hinges.

So, it looks like I'll be headed to ebay to pick up an extra key, or ponying up for an entire new keyboard.

Anyone have experience with any shops that sell keys/keyboards?

I'm back!

Well, it's been a crazy couple months since my last blog post. Here's a list of what's happened:

- Purchased, installed, & trained the staff on a new phone system.
- Took a 1-wk. vacation in Kissimmee, FL. Picked a great time to go, as it was less than 40 degrees in STL, and greater than 70 degrees in FL.
- Made it through CTS, Christmas Eve, and the whole season in general. It's joyful, but very draining with a new baby and lots of family visiting!