What is the purpose of creating groups in Master Files? I've looked online and it sounded like an easy way to group information (Employee Group --> First, Last, Initial, etc.)
I can't seem to get more than one field to show up under the group. Are there some rules that must be followed to try to use these?
WF 5.3.5 / SOLARS 2.9 / Apache / Tomcat / Oracle (9.2/10g)
One good reason is that it allows you to referance the fields that make up the group as a single field.
There are a few reasons to create a GROUP field in a master file. The prime reason, as mentioned, is to be able to reference a set of fields as a 'single' field, while STILL being able to reference the individual components.
As you mentioned, a good example is a FULL name, made up of last name, first name and middle initial. I can:
get the full name, by referencing the group
get individual components, by referencing them
While I COULD get the same effect by use of DEFINEs, in a FOCUS file, if I needed to INDEX both a component and the 'group', a DEFINE would not work. Or, if I needed an INDEX, for JOINing purposes, to multiple fields, I could use a GROUP.
Another reason for GROUP fields is to make data extraction easier and more efficient. If I have many fields, which need to be extracted for some external process, by creating a GROUP field spanning all fields in the file, I can reference a single field (the GROUP), and extract ALL the fields. We don't interpret the components, so it's very efficient.
Now, one of the limitations of a GROUP field is it's declared as an ALPHA, as it just 'spans' the internal storage of the component fields. Being ALPHA, the 'component' fields can be any format, because, with ALPHA, no conversion is attempted. However, if your component fields are NOT alpha, what gets displayed does not show the non-alpha components correctly. This may be why you're experiencing problems.
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