Feedback during import with Streets

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Jerry
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:11 pm

Feedback during import with Streets

Post by Jerry » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:44 pm

Having wasted a bunch of time recently trying to import data that had some problems way out of the range I was looking at, I would like to suggest that the feedback process provide better detail while inventory data are being imported.

I guess it would depend on how the import checking is written. [strike]If the data being imported are checked row-by-row, then I would imagine two possible positive feedback messages during importation: 1) "Headers OK" and 2) "Data OK."[/strike] If the process goes by columns, then perhaps there would be a running response such as "Column A OK" etc.

If errors are detected, then it would be vastly easier on the end user with even a moderately large data set if the row/column were identified with something such as "Format errors detected in Column H header/data" or whatever.

EDIT: now that I think about it some more, I figure it must be checking by column since data formats are field-specific.
Last edited by Jerry on Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
azelaya
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Feedback during import with Streets

Post by azelaya » Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:13 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll run it up the flag pole and hopefully we can find a way to make the process easier to diagnose problems.
Al
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dellings
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Post by dellings » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:15 am

The import process in i-Tree Streets processes records by row and then by column. That is, it goes row by row, one column at a time. If there's an error during the import process it usually means that the database format/structure is wrong. In other words, a column in your database has the wrong data type. IE you have a text field that should have been a Yes/No(Boolean) field, etc.

Whenever an incorrectly typed field is encountered, i-Tree Streets will automatically attempt to convert the data to the correct type. In most cases, the conversion is straight forward. However, there are a few instances that are simply impossible to handle.

For example, lets say you've defined DBH as a Text field, rather than a Number/Double type as specified in the i-Tree Streets manual. If every row in of your data contains a decimal number in text format for the DBH field then the conversion will succeed without fail. However, if one of your rows has a DBH value similar to 'abc' the conversion will fail since it will be unable to parse a valid number for that row.

An example that will always fail is defining something like NoteThisTree, a Yes/No field, as Text. The reason such conversions always fail is due to the lack of meaning in regards to what should be considered True(Yes), and what should be considered False(No). For instance, if all the data in the column was numeric then we could convert the text to a number, and then possibly correctly convert that to a Boolean yes/no value. However, if the data in the column are the actual words: Yes/No or True/False then the same conversion routine would yield unexpected results.

Lastly, i-Tree Streets only imports data from columns you have defined and will use the appropriate defaults for unspecified columns. Given this flexibility, the best thing to do when this error is encountered is to start by removing all unneeded columns from the import database and then reattempt importing the data. If the import fails again, you should verify your column types match those as specified in the i-Tree Streets manual.

I hope this clarifies things for you.
Jerry
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:11 pm

Post by Jerry » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:00 am

I hope this clarifies things for you.
Thanks, but I was not confused about the source of the problem.

In the OP I was concerned with the possibility of more specific feedback, as I tried to indicate by starting the title of the post with that word. I suggested it would help the user if the problem location could be indicated, at least by column. So let me try to remove any remaining confusion by making this a single direct question:

Is it possible to alter the import error message to provide the user with some indication of the problem's location?
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dellings
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Post by dellings » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:27 am

Is it possible to alter the import error message to provide the user with some indication of the problem's location?
The simple answer to this is: No.

As stated before, there are many ways in which the automatic conversion process can fail. The best way to avoid such failures is to avoid conversions in the first place. The easiest way to do that is to follow the database import specification as detailed in the manual.

The error message as is, is pretty descriptive about the location of the error. It tells you that your database format/structure is invalid. A quick glance at the database import specification in the manual would reveal the cause of the error. If your database exactly matches the specification in the manual, there's absolutely no way the import would ever fail with this error. You might still have invalid data, but i-Tree Streets will happily import it for you.
Jerry
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:11 pm

Post by Jerry » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:33 am

The simple answer to this is: No.
Too bad--thanks.
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