Connecting fields in a Template and objects in a Procedure

Purpose in Templates
When a template consists of more than one editable field, you have to specify the cursor movement during data entry i.e. which is the first editable field to be entered and what is the progression thereafter.

Purpose in Procedures
Procedures, in STEP FORWARD, are executable flowcharts. By connecting the executable objects, we establish the order of execution.

Creating the connections
The connection from one field/object to another is achieved by connecting them in sequential order with an arrowed line that exits the originating field/object at a 90 degree angle. During this process, the originating field/object is surrounded by a box:

When the mouse is in area 1 or 3, the connecting line has these shapes (i.e. horizontal from the center of the originating box to the X position of the mouse, then vertical from this point to the mouse):

When the mouse is in area 2 or 4, the connecting line has these shapes (i.e. vertical from the center of the originating box to the Y position of the mouse, then horizontal from this point to the mouse):

Once the mouse emerges from the box surrounding the field/object, the lines are fixed. To actually carry out the maneuver (we are using a template as the example):

  1. Hold down the Control key and drag a connecting link from the first field you wish to complete during data entry (e.g. City) to the next editable field (e.g. State)

    remember to draw a straight horizontal connection, drag the line vertically (up or down) until it emerges from the black border surrounding the field; then pull left or right and swing to the horizontal axis of the original object as you head for the target. A similar approach applies to drawing a straight vertical connection: start out horizontally.

  1. Drag a Hub icon from Draggable objects in the Palette into the Workspace and position it below and between the City and State fields

    the Hub object is used as a non-functional connector that allows the connecting lines to be drawn around interfering objects in the template or to not encroach upon other fields (which would make it visually confusing during template construction - these connecting lines are not visible in the Input windows patterned after these templates).

  2. Connect the remaining fields, with the help of the Hub object, and do the Check Syntax test the Change field, if used, is always the last editable field in the chain of connected fields.

  3. Test your job. If you did well, you receive the No errors message.

If you get the Incomplete connections message, you will have missed connecting the field above which the message is positioned. Or, "Extra" exit point indicates that you have at least two groups of connected fields, each containing at least two fields. In the event that you have multiple errors, the Test will display one error at a time. Correct it and continue testing until you receive the No errors message.


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