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Comments and thoughts of a new user.

Ianwhit
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Comments and thoughts of a new user.

Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:31 pm
Hi All
I've been a LO Base user for the past few years but have become VERY unhappy with the frequent crashes and data loss of this program - using both embedded and external engines. By chance I hooked up with Jaraslow and he pushed me to look at Kexi again - which I did.

Two days back Base crashed on me again and took all my data with it as it always does so I have decided to jump in to Kexi and rebuild my DB.

As I go along I will post comments, observations, problems and ideas as I go. Hope this will be of interest and maybe help out!!

[*] Downloaded the Kexi book and spent the day reading through it!! (needs a bit of editing!!)

[*] Looked for a way to import the data I have in a CSV file. So looked under 'Import and Export' on the opening screen. NOTHING about CSV!!!
Only later did I find that Import CSV is under External Data (Seems strange!!??). Shouldn't these two be together??

[*] Tried the CSV Import and it worked 100%!!! All I had to edit was to delete the old ID column.

[*] Started to layout my Form and I soon got the hang of the differences - some I liked and some I didn't. One big problem is the Combo Boxes, i STILL CAN NOT GET THEM TO WORK!!! I looked at Jarasow's reply to me and others he and other Devs have sent to others but can not make head or tail of it. This should be a lot easier!! I'm used to listing the options in the Properties of the box. Need help with this!!
The other problem I hit is that I can not find a way of enlarging the on-screen image of the Form. I find this VERY useful for getting Labels lined-up correctly and other fine editing work.

[*] Came to the end of the day yesterday and closed-up my work. I got a message - "Do you want to compact your Database?", so said yes and it wiped out all my work wit the message that it had reduced my DB to 0 Bytes!!!!!!!!! THIS IS BAD!!!! What went wrong?? Now I'm back to square one AGAIN!!!

I'm sure this will continue...........
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Ianwhit
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OK - Continuing .....

Today I started again. First I deleted ALL the previous Kexi files to start with a clean sheet.
The first thing I noticed is that even with all the files gone the opening screen still shows the old Projects.
I started a new Project and imported Data from my CSV file - All OK.
I tried a compact and got no error messages.
I started to design a new form and the first thing I noticed is that there are no units mentioned in the size properties. What unit are these - Pixels, Points, mm??????
I set out a Partial Form and saved it.
I ran the Form again but no data shows up!!??
I tried a compact again and once more got the message that it had been reduced by 100% !!!!!!!!!!!
And sure enough the file is now empty!!

I'm beginning to worry that this might not be the robust direction I'm trying to go!!???
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Hi Ian

Today I started again. First I deleted ALL the previous Kexi files to start with a clean sheet.


To avoid confusion, I propose to use proper terms:
- tables (and forms, etc.), not files
- database or project, not sheet
Thanks!

The first thing I noticed is that even with all the files gone the opening screen still shows the old Projects.

This is expected. References are kept there after the files disappear just like in "File->Recent Documents' of LibreOffice or Calligra.
Users would be confused if their context is lost.
However I agree that we can add an option to refresh that shall be explicit command. Feel free to report a wish bugs.kde.org.

I started to design a new form and the first thing I noticed is that there are no units mentioned in the size properties. What unit are these - Pixels, Points, mm??????

Forms are always tied to screen so the unit is and always be pixels. (at least as long as we use digital displays with pixels :) )
If you need units like point, mm (units of printed pages), you have that in Report Designer.

I set out a Partial Form and saved it.
I ran the Form again but no data shows up!!??


Please send the file if you can. We need to see if you assigned the data source.

I tried a compact again and once more got the message that it had been reduced by 100% !!!!!!!!!!!
And sure enough the file is now empty!!


Interesting - is it a file with zero bytes? Or shows no objects after opening in Kexi?
If you have no objects and compact the database, it becomes a 10KiB file after compacting (using Kexi 2.9.11), and the message is:
"The database has been compacted. Current size decreased by 0% to 10,0 KiB."

I'm beginning to worry that this might not be the robust direction I'm trying to go!!?

I've seen no such events in the past as soon as compacting started to work.
Please note that if you close a form or table (etc.) design without saving it, it won't be saved (I have no idea if you did so but just wanted to assert this is understood).
Are you able to repeat the experiment and/or explain it in step-by-step details.


Best regards,
Jarosław Staniek
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@Ian BTW, I remember your questions about CSVs above, I just need more time after holidays, to handle that, thanks!


Best regards,
Jarosław Staniek
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Ianwhit
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Hi Jaraslaw
Good to hear from you again - hope you had a good holiday!!

Thanks for clarification on Form and Box sizes - I just need to relate this now to my screen size.
Also as asked - can you enlarge the screen image for editing??

Lets try again - I removed all the FILES on my HDD that Kexi created using my File Manager.
Restarted Kexi, selected New, Blank DB, File and gave it a name and location.

Selected External Data, Import from File, Browsed for my CSV file and imported. I can now see the file on my HDD, (this is the CSV file I sent you). Everything is 100%. Size is 908Kb.

I now select Design Form and set the Source to the above Table.
Drop in a Heading Label and 5 fields, each one linked to the correct field from the Table.
Save it and give it a name. File size is now 910Kb.

Close the Project, Select Tools, Compact. Message says reduced by 100% but now the file is still there and when I re-open it the Form now works!!
This is EXACTLY as I did it this morning and yesterday - why the difference in what happens??

I will press on as I would really like to get this working. I will finish designing my Form and advise of any problems...

My two current problems are the Combo Boxes and can I link photos to my Photo SubFolder or is only embedding in the DB available??

Thanks for the help.

BTW - How do I add my photo on this Forum - Can not find an edit option!!??
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Thanks for clarification on Form and Box sizes - I just need to relate this now to my screen size.
Also as asked - can you enlarge the screen image for editing??

I can, the first step is your is to reported it on bugs.kde.org :)
Request and ideas written between lines on the forum are hard to find after a few days :)

Lets try again - I removed all the FILES on my HDD that Kexi created using my File Manager.
Restarted Kexi, selected New, Blank DB, File and gave it a name and location.

Selected External Data, Import from File, Browsed for my CSV file and imported. I can now see the file on my HDD, (this is the CSV file I sent you). Everything is 100%. Size is 908Kb.

I now select Design Form and set the Source to the above Table.
Drop in a Heading Label and 5 fields, each one linked to the correct field from the Table.
Save it and give it a name. File size is now 910Kb.

Close the Project, Select Tools, Compact. Message says reduced by 100% but now the file is still there and when I re-open it the Form now works!!
This is EXACTLY as I did it this morning and yesterday - why the difference in what happens??


Maybe the same .kexi file opened multiple times? We can guard against this by adding a lock file like LibreOffice does. On Windows files are locked for exclusive access, on Linux usually not (what has advantages but apparently not in our case).

All I can say is that .kexi files are based on very solid wildely used SQLite format and SQLite code is used under the mask, having 300.000 tests or so already (!).
It was picked over HSQL/Hypersql and Firebird in 2004.

I will press on as I would really like to get this working. I will finish designing my Form and advise of any problems...

Good, keep going :)

My two current problems are the Combo Boxes and can I link photos to my Photo SubFolder or is only embedding in the DB available??

We will sort out the combo box problem (did you send me a .kexi file with a form?)

Images are possible by embedded only for now, sorry.

BTW - How do I add my photo on this Forum - Can not find an edit option!!??

It's not available inside, people use http://imgur.com or google photos or whatever.
I agree it's very not good approach for archiving because then pictures can disappear.


Best regards,
Jarosław Staniek
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Ianwhit
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Ok - Thanks for reply

I was just working on my Form and got the message that KDE had crashed!!
Re-started Kexi - but it now shows a blank Table and of course no date in the form.
Tried a couple of Kexi re-starts and then a FULL system shutdown and re-start.
No luck - the FILE on my HDD is still 910kB and if I look at it with an editor data is there but Kexi seems to have lost all contact with its contents!!
The Table still shows up on the Kexi first screen but is empty when you click on it!!

Any ideas!!!???
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Ianwhit wrote:Ok - Thanks for reply

I was just working on my Form and got the message that KDE had crashed!!
Re-started Kexi - but it now shows a blank Table and of course no date in the form.
Tried a couple of Kexi re-starts and then a FULL system shutdown and re-start.
No luck - the FILE on my HDD is still 910kB and if I look at it with an editor data is there but Kexi seems to have lost all contact with its contents!!
The Table still shows up on the Kexi first screen but is empty when you click on it!!

Any ideas!!!???


Please define "KDE" :)
Also please provide a screenshot before we proceed.

EDIT: can you please send it to me? Don't remove it.

And what's your Kexi version?


Best regards,
Jarosław Staniek
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As I understand it 'KDE" is my Desktop Manager - The error box came up and said "KDE has crashed"!!
I do see this from time-to-time since I stared using KDE some years ago but have never seen this produce a problem.

My versions are -
OS - PClinuxOS (last updated a few days back)
KDE - 4.14.3
Kexi - 2.9.10 (Ive looked for the .11 version but can not find it at all!!)

What screenshot do you want. If it's the "KDE has crashed" one I will have to wait for it to happen again.
What don't you want me not to delete and send to you - the Kexi file??? Or what??
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Ianwhit wrote:As I understand it 'KDE" is my Desktop Manager - The error box came up and said "KDE has crashed"!!
I do see this from time-to-time since I stared using KDE some years ago but have never seen this produce a problem.


Like this?

https://techbase.kde.org/File:Kde-crash-handler.png

If so, I's here for you to report bug, then please do so. I need the backtrace. Thanks.

My versions are -
OS - PClinuxOS (last updated a few days back)
KDE - 4.14.3
Kexi - 2.9.10 (Ive looked for the .11 version but can not find it at all!!)

What screenshot do you want. If it's the "KDE has crashed" one I will have to wait for it to happen again.
What don't you want me not to delete and send to you - the Kexi file??? Or what??


Very well, good version, I thought you have some older :)

I'd like to see the .kexi file that according to you has the data missing.


Best regards,
Jarosław Staniek
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Ianwhit wrote:I've been a LO Base user for the past few years but have become VERY unhappy with the frequent crashes and data loss of this program - using both embedded and external engines. By chance I hooked up with Jaraslow and he pushed me to look at Kexi again - which I did.

Two days back Base crashed on me again and took all my data with it as it always does so I have decided to jump in to Kexi and rebuild my DB.

As I go along I will post comments, observations, problems and ideas as I go. Hope this will be of interest and maybe help out!!

[*] Downloaded the Kexi book and spent the day reading through it!! (needs a bit of editing!!)

True, this is on the wishlist. Maybe we need a fundraising for that or something :)

[*] Looked for a way to import the data I have in a CSV file. So looked under 'Import and Export' on the opening screen. NOTHING about CSV!!!
Only later did I find that Import CSV is under External Data (Seems strange!!??). Shouldn't these two be together??

Depending of how we look, you may be right. The main pul-down menu is for the context of the whole databases: all actions you have there are related to entire databases/projects. They are not context sensitive. One question someone would ask: the Compacting action could be moved from the main toolbar to the menu. Because compacting is also in a global scope. But compacting also works as "compact _this_ (current) database" for me.
More research needed but I take all your notes very seriously!

[*] Tried the CSV Import and it worked 100%!!! All I had to edit was to delete the old ID column.


Please note the warning message box you got then:
Saving changes for existing table design is now required.
Do you want to save the design now?

Warning! Any data in this table will be removed upon design's saving!


For now there's no way to delete table column without removing data using 'mouse clicks' in Kexi. Only more complex scripts allow that.

[*] Started to layout my Form and I soon got the hang of the differences - some I liked and some I didn't. One big problem is the Combo Boxes, i STILL CAN NOT GET THEM TO WORK!!! I looked at Jarasow's reply to me and others he and other Devs have sent to others but can not make head or tail of it. This should be a lot easier!! I'm used to listing the options in the Properties of the box. Need help with this!!


TODO: a video and docs

The other problem I hit is that I can not find a way of enlarging the on-screen image of the Form. I find this VERY useful for getting Labels lined-up correctly and other fine editing work.


Noted already: wishes "Add support for zooming in forms/reports" exists since 2014:
https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=335688
https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=330217

[*] Came to the end of the day yesterday and closed-up my work. I got a message - "Do you want to compact your Database?", so said yes and it wiped out all my work wit the message that it had reduced my DB to 0 Bytes!!!!!!!!! THIS IS BAD!!!! What went wrong?? Now I'm back to square one AGAIN!!!


1. Was "Do you want to compact your Database?" displayed automatically on existing Kexi? I am too old to remember we have this feature :)

2. Please note my red alert above... I suppose it's not compacting that wiped the table's data, it's editing of columns that did this.


Best regards,
Jarosław Staniek
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OK .... On we go .......

With my (approx) weekly OS update on Fri I got an automatic update to Kexi .11. GREAT!!
So this weekend I decided to see what differences - if any that I could see/find.

I was left from previous tests with my .kexi file, (that DOES contain data), but Kexi only opens it as an empty Table. It's many years since I last did any programming but I remember back then we had a problem with a DB that removed the 'End of File' marker and re-wrote it when you re-saved the file. However if the system "crashed" the file now had no 'End of File' marker and so could not be opened by the Program. Could something like this be happening???

I started Kexi .11 it still sees the old file but still opens as blank like before!!
So opened it in design mode and selected to import my CSV file again.
It would not append to the file so I selected to make a new file - this worked and I can see all the data again.
I worked on the Form as I did before and did NOT get any Crashes like I had before.
I saved it and exited the Program - Looked on the HDD and found NO new file!!
So I started again and selected a NEW Project, imported again, and saved.
Looked on the HDD - No file!!
Opened Kexi again and found it "sees" the missing new file.
Tried to open it and the whole screen greys out and the program stops!!

As my Partner says, "This does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling"
My needs are not to be a Kexi expert but to be a DB user of a stable, robust DB system that just works!! And I don't need fancy features just an approx 2000-3000 record system, each record having about 70 fields and 4 pictures, a few of the fields are drop-down option boxes and Tick boxes.
BUT it has to be rock solid!! I don't need Server or Internet access - single user on a single machine!!

Am I going in the right direction???? - This past week seems to indicate not.
Databases are so fundamental to modern day business and work there has to be an answer to this!!!

I do wish I could report otherwise!!!
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Ianwhit wrote:OK .... On we go .......

With my (approx) weekly OS update on Fri I got an automatic update to Kexi .11. GREAT!!
So this weekend I decided to see what differences - if any that I could see/find.

Good. You have them listed them as always in the project's change log -- instead of guessing please appreciate this extra work being done :)

I was left from previous tests with my .kexi file, (that DOES contain data), but Kexi only opens it as an empty Table.

Let's see. I really want to help you but need not to mix things. Did you confirm that you actually had data in the file? E.g. using tool other than Kexi: sqlite3 or sqlite manager?

Have you read the red text above in this thread?

Now I am improving the message even more in Kexi 3.0: http://i.imgur.com/8YEPeaw.png I guess it can't be much better than that.

The file you sent me privately contained no data, it just contained records explicitly removed by the user. Presumably after deletion was confirmed as I explained in the red text.

It's many years since I last did any programming but I remember back then we had a problem with a DB that removed the 'End of File' marker and re-wrote it when you re-saved the file. However if the system "crashed" the file now had no 'End of File' marker and so could not be opened by the Program. Could something like this be happening???


Let's not guess. Kexi files are SQLite-based, with full transaction support. There's no risk of truncation if the HDD isn't faulty.

From the feedback you sent me privately we now know it's not the system that crashed. It's the app in certain scenario that's so far unknown to me. It may be the english language in the dialog (https://techbase.kde.org/File:Kde-crash-handler.png) that made you think the system crashed, please read all the message from that window - it did not say the system crashed. It's the system dialog, like on Windows, but just much more functional than a plain "OK" dialog.
It gives you opportunity to report the crash using the Report Bug button, I'd appreciate you're doing that as always.

I started Kexi .11 it still sees the old file but still opens as blank like before!!


Could we please use correct versions, for the record? This is confusing for the readers: your version is 2.9.11, not .11.

So opened it in design mode and selected to import my CSV file again.
It would not append to the file so I selected to make a new file - this worked and I can see all the data again.
I worked on the Form as I did before and did NOT get any Crashes like I had before.
I saved it and exited the Program - Looked on the HDD and found NO new file!!
So I started again and selected a NEW Project, imported again, and saved.


Confusing, no project listed in the Welcome screen?
Do you store files on a working HDD or maybe on an unreliable network (NFS)?

Looked on the HDD - No file!!


Opened Kexi again and found it "sees" the missing new file.
Tried to open it and the whole screen greys out and the program stops!!


Please send me the file.

As my Partner says, "This does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling"


From the info you gave me off the forum, the PCLinuxOS you're using isn't supporting debug information nor such things. We're _this_ close to use a "business approach" to the thing and say "we're not supporting PCLinuxOS officially". How does that sound...? It's just too expensive to support OSes that don't support their users. :)

My needs are not to be a Kexi expert but to be a DB user of a stable, robust DB system that just works!! And I don't need fancy features just an approx 2000-3000 record system, each record having about 70 fields and 4 pictures, a few of the fields are drop-down option boxes and Tick boxes.
BUT it has to be rock solid!! I don't need Server or Internet access - single user on a single machine!!

Good. I've yet have to see a report that confirms (really confirms) data loss, since 2003, on a working hardware. There are logical errors in the software, as always, for corner cases, as in any software. But here they are fixed in hours or days, not in months, in the next service pack.
Also in this thread we've not confirmed data loss for now. 2 000 000 records per table isn't something unusual. Here's sample with 1 000 000 records to test: http://kexi-project.org/download/tests/ ... 1M.kexi.xz if you want :)

Am I going in the right direction???? - This past week seems to indicate not.


I think yes, just extra care is needed when clicking "OK" to confirm.
I propose that you run share your desktop screen using KRFB and I'd connect for a minute to see what's the issue. https://www.maketecheasier.com/remote-d ... with-krdc/

Databases are so fundamental to modern day business and work there has to be an answer to this!!!


Yes, and that's the Kexi very mission!


Best regards,
Jarosław Staniek
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Ianwhit
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Thanks Jaroslaw

I'll answer the other questions etc just now but two things pop up to me ..........

The Red Text you sent me first

"Saving changes for existing table design is now required.
Do you want to save the design now?

Warning! Any data in this table will be removed upon design's saving!"


This makes no sense to me!!!! "Saving is now required but all data will be removed"?????? Is this a bad English translation??
How can you SAVE the data and REMOVE it at the same time?? And why??
I already had this "strange" Error Message written down on my pad here to ask about this!!!

Secondly - I hear your comments re: my OpSys so what would you recommend or what do you use yourself? Once I moved to Linux after I retired my path was Ubuntu > Kubuntu > Mint > PClinuxOS. I use the LO suite, Scribus DTP, Thunderbird, Firefox, Bluefish and many other small programmes on a daily basis and have never had OS problems. Nevertheless I'm happy to download and test another system here to see what results I get.

I really would like to use Kexi, I feel good about it, BUT IT HAS TO WORK!!

 
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