Re: OT: Why do so many forms require numbers be entered without hyphens or spaces?

Doug Miller wrote:
In article <hghi2u$7ei$1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Jerry Stuckle <jstucklex@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Doug Miller wrote:
In article <hghegv$sq2$1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Jerry Stuckle
<jstucklex@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Doug Miller wrote:
In article <hgg7d9$1sm$1@xxxxxxxx>, r0g <>
Mr. Nonsense wrote:
I have never understood this since any programmer can add one line of
code to remove hyphens and spaces from a number. Are the coders that
inept, or is there some other issue I am overlooking?
You are overlooking the fact that numbers do not include spaces, and
that most of the time forms do not want negative numbers to beinput
Most numeric validation routines and regular expressions are set to only
accept strings of numeric characters, with is pretty reasonable when you
want to verify something IS a number. Sure they could strip out non
numeric chars (you'll find many forms that accept phone numbers do this
as this is one case where people will commonly type spaces in) but why
should they?
Because computers are supposed to serve human beings, not the other way around. People typically write telephone numbers as 123-4567 or (123) 456-7890, social security numbers as 123-45-6789, and so on. These are typically stored in databases without any of the extraneous characters. Why
should the user have to guess which format you store it in? It's a simple matter to remove the characters space, hypen, (, and ) from a phone number,
hyphen from a social security number, and then validate what's left.
to do so is simply laziness on the part of the programmer -- or perhaps a
of forgetting who's working for whom.
I will disagree here. There is no "normal" way of storing this information. I've seen phone numbers stored many ways in a database; same with social security numbers. Both are especially true if you're talking a database with international entries. How it's done is completely dependent on the data.

Remember - not everyone in the world lives in the U.S.!
Massively missing the point, which is that the person visiting the page neither knows nor cares, and should not NEED to know or care, what format the
designer has chosen for storing the data. Any system which forces its users
know the details of its data storage formats in order to do something as simple as filling out a contact form is incompetently designed.
No, YOU are missing the point. Different countries have different formats for phones - and typically like to see the phone numbers in their own format, not a string of numbers or the U.S. format. Many times for this reason I have stored phone numbers as strings.

How are you going to handle this with your U.S. centric system? Get your blinders off!

And non-US citizens don't have SSN's.

You seem to be unable to distinguish between examples of a principle, and the principle itself. The point remains: computers are our servants; we are not theirs. If a program requires its users to input data in a form other than the form(s) those user(s) are accustomed to using, and cannot perform such simple adaptations as stripping out common punctuation characters, then that program has been incompetently designed and coded.

No, I'm not. They are YOUR examples, not mine. I'm replying to YOUR comments. If the example is faulty, then it's YOUR problem.

But the point YOU fail to understand - there are many times those "common punctuation characters" are important - and should NOT be stripped.

And in a case like this, any program which does strip the characters is bad, and it's programmer is blind to the ramifications, if not completely incompetent.

This in no more the fault of the coders being inept
Oh, yes it is.

as the users ineptly
filling in the forms.
Nonsense. Far too many web forms give no indication at all that phone
must be entered without any punctuation at all, and cannot be entered in
formats which people commonly use for phone numbers. That's not the fault
the users -- the user's expectation is that a web form should accept a
number in the format(s) that are commonly used for writing phone numbers.
is *entirely* the fault of inept coders and designers.

No, that is *entirely* dependent on the needs of the program. Again - you are thinking from a U.S. only perspective. The world is much bigger than that!
Again, you've completely missed the point: computers are here to serve us,
the other way around. The alleged "needs" of the program should always be subordinate to the needs, desires, and convenience of the human beings who
it -- and in nearly all cases those alleged "needs" are the direct result of
programmer who either fails to understand that concept, or lacks the wit or imagination necessary to adapt his program to the humans who will use it.

Computers should adapt to us, not we to them.
No, I have NOT missed the point. However, your attitude shows a complete ignorance of real world problems when you're non-US.

Yes, you have totally missed the point. This has *nothing* to do with the conventions for writing telephone numbers in any particular nation, and *everything* to do with the principle that computers should adapt to us, not we to them. Evidently you disagree.

No, you have your U.S.-centric blinders on and fail to see there are many ways to do something.

Please show me how your program can adapt to every possible phone number format in the world, accepting AND REDISPLAYING those numbers in the common format of that locality, after you've stripped out all of the punctuation characters. This is, after all, YOUR argument!

Another idiot who thinks the world has to revolve around the U.S.

Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.