Database Fields Custom Validation - e.g. regular expression, IBAN Bank number, phone
While I am pleased with the site overall, it's clear that it does lack some features that I consider essential, although not critical.
One such feature is field validation of database records.
Currently there is very limited field validation.
I would request more robust import and user entry field validation capabilities to keep data clean. Without this capability, the database very quickly starts to contain garbage fields.
For example, currently a user may enter their phone number in any format they choose, including completely invalid phone number entries. The same is true for zip code fields and others.
Bulk mailings require a zip+4 code. A lost of membership applications include only 5 digits and a street address. Adding a lookup to check/add the additional 4 digits should be straightforward and would be helpful. Tal Day, Alexandria Historical Society.
Thank you, Jim. We have this requests in our forum already, I've merged yours here.
So far, we're have no actual plans on doing something about this, but when we do, we will comment here and you will be notified.
Jim Bradley commented
It was suggested that I ask my question here, to wit:
Jun 8, 7:45 PM EDT
My name is Jim Bradley. I am the Membership Chairman for the B-52 Stratofortress Association and maintain the Membership Database. I have a question: Most database allow setting a field so that only certain appearances happen or that certain characters may be entered in certain fields. Example: Only CAPITAL letters or only a specific date format, etc. Is this possible with our database? Or is it something planned/wished for in future? If it can now be done, where will find the instructions?
Thanks for any Help given.
Jim Bradley, Membership Chairman
B-52 Stratofortress Association
Cindy Cooper commented
Phone and email fields are quite important. State (in US) could be done as dropdown I suppose but that is not as user friendly as allowing only a two digit state entry typed. The directory and lists are not very "professional" looking when phone and state are all different formats. The map service we use won't accept the wide variety of state entries we get and we have to edit them by hand.
Field validation is important to our organization to keep our data clean and organized. Common fields (e.g. phone, zip code) would be a great start, but I agree with Evgeny - giving the administrator a way to input custom validation via regular expressions or js is the way to go. Then a help page could be created that shows a list of common expressions/code snippets that Admins can enter. And if an Admin needs a validation that's not on the list, they can ask the community for assistance creating the code they need. This way the WA coders aren't baking in every possible validation to all instances of WA.
As soon as we have, we publish it here. So far, we have no plans yet.
Any updates on this requested feature?
In particular I would like to see the phone field:
Phone number -- (###) ###-#### Ext ####
with the Extension #### being available either for an office extension OR where an international phone number is longer than 10 digits
Maurine Killough commented
have input masks for phone numbers so it looks good like (xxx) xxx-xxxx, for example
I agree. I would like to be able to add a mask feature to membership fields; example: if I'd want a member to enter a phone number into format (###) ###-####, I'd like to specify that on the field so that error entries are not accepted. Our members don't follow the text that explains the field's format. Would also like to set a field's maximum length of data/characters.
I have to concur with my fellow users. Without controls on how data is stored - you get messy data. I spend hours going through exports to clean up phone numbers especially.
Goldmine jody commented
We do a printed roster so having the contact details stored in the database in a uniform fashion is important. Phone numbers and postal codes especially.
I'd like to add another vote for this request.
Within our membership, we have some members for whom second emails (they have an official role email, as well as their personal one) and second phone numbers are required.
Also US zip codes (we request this in lieu of land addresses - allows us to map membership location while respecting some members' wishes not to make land address information available)
Joined to existing thread - it belongs here, to custom database field validators.
Arthur Barton commented
In Europe in order to be able to collect Membership Fees by direct debit it is necessary to record the IBAN Bank number of members. (There are other safety conditions that need to met but they need not concern us here.)
The IBAN number has a specific format , for example:
DE11 7016 9619 0000 0699 99
Because it such a long alpha/numeric input, spacing the input into groups of 4 characters will help to avoid mistakes and subsequent confusion.
It would be useful to have a field which has this input format as a pull down option for Bank Account Details.
Arthur Barton, MELTA Germany
Adding my vote in favor of edits on form fields. My example: Ability to make an event registration field that accepts only whole numbers. When we register our members for art shows, we always have to go in and edit their entries to make the show labels...very time consuming. Other fields not edited in membership fields make the database messy. For example, initial caps on names and phone number formats.
Jarren Kinch commented
I concur -- validation is an issue for me.
Fields that could use validation:
Name -- capitalization rules
Phone number -- (###) ###-####
Zip Code -- limit to 5 numerical digits or 5+4
Other ID -- Our organization is a local chapter of a national organization with membership numbers that are always 5 numerical digits
I think that we need to have some kind of common validation patterns plus ability to use regular expressions. And admin (in fields management form) can choose if he want the field to be validated and choose a proper validation pattern or defined custom (regular expression). Then the system will just validate the field against the pattern.
In more ideal situation I can think of a special system page (or may just some theme override configuration file?) where admin can control validation patterns himself somehow (e.g. through regular expressions or even providing some js code) and then use them in fields customization. This approach would require advanced skills from administrator.
Dmitry Buterin commented
Thanks for bringing this up Steve.
I would appreciate comments from others, especially specific examples of fields where validation would be beneficial. So far phone numbers and zip codes have been mentioned.
Also, some questions:
1) How to handle validation:
a) post-input (allow any entry, validate and display error)
b) display formatting and enforce valid input only. E.g. .'('&[field_for_three_digits]&')-'&[field_for_3_digits]&'-'&[field_for_4_digits]
2) How to deal when records are imported
3) How to deal with records already in the database
Maurine Killough commented
Yes, I am surprised Wild Apricot has not seen this as a priority. Inconsistent formats on phone numbers and zip codes looks unprofessional.