Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: 9 AM and all's well on 9-9-99

Author:Bruce Hoult
Posted:9/8/1999; 3:42:19 PM
Topic:9 AM and all's well on 9-9-99
Msg #:10774 (In response to 10769)
Prev/Next:10773 / 10776

>When we got rid of cards and we put data onto computer discs,
>we kept that same convention of read until you get to 'end of
>file' -- or all nines. Well, the trouble is, september ninth
>1999 is a real date

No no no no. That's *not* the problem!

"All nines" is 99/99/99, which is not September 9th. That convention will work fine.

The *problem* is in program with data entry screens that *insist* that the operator enters a date for something, but the operator doesn't have the required information for some reason.

A reasonable program will allow you to enter null values. An unreasonable one will insist on a value.

What's the poor data entry operator to do? Make something up! 99/99/99 would be good, but maybe the program checks that what you type is a valid date and makes you do it again if it's not. So they enter 9/9/99. It doesn't matter what it is, as long as the data entry operator can recognise it later as meaning "no date" or "invalid date" or whatever.

The program -- and the programmer -- never know a thing about this. It's purely a data entry operator convention.

It's now 10:40 on 9/9/99 here in NZ and all *my* stuff is working fine :-)

-- Bruce

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