Field configuration and decoration

Form fields can be customized with specific decoration and settings.

Data formatting in fields

Data format for input and display of numeric (DECIMAL, INTEGER) and DATE fields can be defined with the FORMAT attribute.

A default data format can be defined with environment variables (DBDATE, DBFORMAT, etc)

Forcing the input pattern

User input can be controlled with the PICTURE attribute, to force alpha-numeric or numeric characters at a given position. This is typically used for formatted data, such as credit card numbers or vehicle identification numbers.

Form field display size

If the default size of the form field widget is too large, provide a text example with the SAMPLE attribute, to let the front-end compute a specific size.

Define field description

Form field description can be displayed to the user with the COMMENT attribute.

Hide text for password input

In order to hide characters typed by the user, define the INVISIBLE attribute in the form field.

Force user to input value twice

When the VERIFY attribute is define for a form field, the user must enter the value twice before leaving the field.

Force uppercase or lowercase input

To force uppercase input, use the UPSHIFT attribute, and to force lowercase use the DOWNSHIFT attribute.

Default form field values

When the input dialog is not using WITHOUT DEFAULTS clause, the default value of a form field can be set with the DEFAULT attribute.

Tabbing order of form fields

To bypass the default tabbing order, use the TABINDEX attribute, as described in Defining the tabbing order.

Value input limits, boolean correspondence and steps

Depending on the form field item type, control the value limits with VALUEMIN / VALUEMAX attributes (SPINEDIT, SLIDER), the incremental and decremental gap with STEP, and boolean correspondence with VALUECHECKED / VALUEUNCHECKED (CHECKBOX).

Form fields with button

To identify the action to be fired typically in a BUTTONEDIT field, define the ACTION attribute.

Defining the TABLE/TREE column TITLE

With form fields used in a list container like TABLE / TREE, it is possible to define the column title with the TITLE attribute.

Consider using a %"ident" localized string.

Control TABLE/TREE columns resize, visibility and sort selection

Form fields used in a TABLE / TREE list container are by default resizable, hidable and can be used for sorting. This can be denied with UNSIZABLE, UNHIDABLE and UNSORTABLE attributes.

CHECKBOX caption with TEXT

With form fields defined as CHECKBOX elements, labels can be defined by the TEXT attribute.

Consider using a %"ident" localized string.

The KEYBOARDHINT attribute

Especially for mobile devices, consider using the KEYBOARDHINT attribute, to get a specific keyboard for phone numbers, emails, URLs, etc.

Using a presentation STYLE

Additional configuration and decoration can be define for a form field with the STYLE attribute, pointing to style attributes defined in .4st files. Form field text and background colors are a typical decoration that can be achieved with styles.


The selection items of a COMBOBOX or RADIOGROUP form field are defined with the ITEMS attribute.

Consider using %"ident" localized strings for item labels.