Form-level validation rules

Form-level validation rules can be defined for each field controlled by a dialog.

Form-level validation can be specified at the form field level with attributes such as NOT NULL, REQUIRED and INCLUDE. These attributes are part of the business rules of the application and must be checked before saving data into the database.

Implicit validation rule checking

An INPUT or INPUT ARRAY block automatically executes form-level validation rules in the following cases:

  • The NOT NULL attribute is satisfied if a value is in the field. NOT NULL is checked:
    • when the user moves to a different row in a list controlled by an INPUT ARRAY. However, if the row is temporary and none of the fields is touched, the attribute is ignored.
    • in a DIALOG block, when focus leaves the sub-dialog controlling the field.
    • in a DIALOG block, when NEXT FIELD gives the focus to a field in a different sub-dialog than the current sub-dialog.
    • when the dialog instruction is ended, for example when a procedural DIALOG is ended with ACCEPT DIALOG, or when an singular INPUT is ended with ACCEPT INPUT or with the automatic accept action.
  • The REQUIRED attribute is satisfied if the field modification flag is true, if a DEFAULT value is defined, or if the WITHOUT DEFAULTS option is used. REQUIRED is checked:
    • when the user moves to a different row in a list controlled by an INPUT ARRAY. However, if the row is temporary and none of the fields is touched, the attribute is ignored.
    • in a DIALOG block, when focus leaves the sub-dialog controlling the field.
    • in a DIALOG block, when NEXT FIELD gives the focus to a field in a different sub-dialog than the current sub-dialog.
    • when the dialog instruction is ended, for example when a procedural DIALOG is ended with ACCEPT DIALOG, or when a singular INPUT is ended with ACCEPT INPUT or with the automatic accept action.
  • The INCLUDE attribute is satisfied if the value is in the list defined by the attribute. INCLUDE is checked when the target program variable must be assigned. This happens:
    • when UNBUFFERED mode is used, focus is in the field, and an action is invoked.
    • when the focus leaves the field.
    • when the user moves to a different row in a list controlled by an INPUT ARRAY. However, if the row is temporary and none of the fields is touched, the attribute is ignored.
    • in a DIALOG block, when focus leaves the sub-dialog controlling the field.
    • in a DIALOG block, when NEXT FIELD gives the focus to a field in a different sub-dialog than the current sub-dialog.
    • when the dialog instruction is ended, for example when a procedural DIALOG is ended with ACCEPT DIALOG, or when a singular INPUT is ended with ACCEPT INPUT or with the automatic accept action.

Performing validation rules explicitly

Singular input dialogs (INPUT / INPUT ARRAY) create default accept / cancel actions. The form-level validation rules are typically performed when the accept action is triggered.

The DIALOG procedural instruction can be used as in singular interactive instructions, with the typical OK / Cancel buttons (accept / cancel actions) to finish the instruction. The accept/cancel action handlers would respectively execute the ACCEPT DIALOG and EXIT DIALOG instructions. This solution allows the user to input or modify one record at a time, and the program flow must reenter theDIALOG instruction to edit or create another record. Alternatively, the DIALOG instruction can let the user input / modify multiple records without leaving the dialog. In this case, you need a way to execute the form-level validation rules defined for each field, before saving the data to the database.

To validate a subset of fields controlled by the DIALOG instruction, use the ui.Dialog.validate("field-list") method, as shown in this example:
   ON ACTION save 
      IF DIALOG.validate("cust.*") < 0 THEN
         CONTINUE DIALOG
      END IF
      CALL customer_save()

This method automatically displays an error message and registers the next field in case of error. It is mandatory to execute a CONTINUE DIALOG instruction if the function returns an error.

Within singular input dialogs, form-level validation rules can also be explicitly performed with the ACCEPT INPUT instruction, or with the DIALOG.validate("*") API call, followed by a CONTINUE INPUT in case of error.