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Unique value constraint

Paul Wickman's Avatar

Paul Wickman

11 Aug, 2014 07:09 PM

Would be great to have the option to make sure that a particular field value is unique across all records. For example, each sign in our Sign Inventory has a unique serial number, assigned when the sign is first installed. Currently, we must wait until the record gets downloaded into our backend database to see if the user accidentally repeated an existing sign serial number.

  1. 1 Posted by Zac McCormick on 16 Sep, 2014 04:03 PM

    Zac McCormick's Avatar

    Hey Paul,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I can definitely understand that's a problem. This would be quite tricky to implement because of the 'asynchronous' nature of Fulcrum. When working offline, or sync'ing data later even when online, we couldn't detect the constraint violation until the data is sync'd. Resolving such a conflict would be difficult or impossible for the field user unless they're still at the location, so rejecting/failing the sync would be very problematic since all the rest of the record data is at risk (attributes/photos/etc). Having unsync'd data on the device is a liability, so it's best for data to get uploaded to the server as soon as possible to prevent data loss even if it's not perfect (device gets broken/lost/stolen/etc). Currently we only prevent a record from sync'ing if there's a very serious low-level problem. It wouldn't be too difficult to get into a situation where there's unsync'd data that violates the constraint and no one has enough information to resolve it.

    We'll continue to think about a workable solution though.

    Thanks!
    -Zac

  2. 2 Posted by Paul Wickman on 23 Sep, 2014 10:37 PM

    Paul Wickman's Avatar

    Yep, definite complexities with the async/multi-user nature of Fulcrum. I guess bigger picture, it would be great if there was a way to simply pass back messages to the user via the back-end API. For example, if we could get a message back to the mobile user saying, "Hey, the record could not be added to your application for the following reason.... Please fix accordingly"

  3. 3 Posted by Jim Horton on 30 Sep, 2015 07:01 PM

    Jim Horton's Avatar

    I feature that would prevent duplicate entry of field values across different records would be very helpful to us too!

  4. 4 Posted by chris.sheehan on 08 Jun, 2016 10:37 PM

    chris.sheehan's Avatar

    At least preventing duplicates based on existing data would be a huge step forward. You can flag duplicates for resolve later on in the web app. Can you please implement this?

  5. 5 Posted by toryalaihart on 10 Jun, 2016 02:24 PM

    toryalaihart's Avatar

    I'm running into this big time at the moment.

    For one app, I had to even make a status flag (BLACK) "DO NOT USE" as a way of flagging duplicate records while I engage in manual back-end record and child record merges. In this case, these were unique equipment ID's (barcoded tags).

    For another one, I pre-created all records and "blocked" record creation by hiding all fields in the app if the first key field is blank (freshly made). In this case, it was facilities are which equipment gets installed -- so list is somewhat predicable and doesn't need to be dynamically expanded by users in the field.

    Short of doing something in an external web script via the API (outside of my current skill level, and definitely out of budget in terms of my own time), or running a vb script on my excel Dashboards (queries with pivot tables & sliders dynamically generated from the CSV share) and somehow getting excel to send an email warning to the user... not sure what can be done in the short term to keep the database clean without a full-time data-bot like myself in the system.

    The syncing complexity is understood though, but hope that in time, something can be figured out.

  6. 6 Posted by Simon Jakobsen on 19 Dec, 2016 11:47 PM

    Simon Jakobsen's Avatar

    Agree, a much needed feature, from my side as well

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