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Thread: Beta 10: alter change field name/length/type

  1. #1
    Gert-Jan Van der Weijden
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    Default alter change field name/length/type

    I'm still mising a tool to change a fields name, type or length. In the shapefile years external utilities could handle the dbf, in the pGDB years (or: months?) MS Access could do the trick, but in the forthcoming fGDB years no 3rd party tools are avaiable (yet).

    Gert-Jan
    Gert-Jan van der Weijden
    blog: www.gisnederland.nl (in Dutch)

  2. #2
    Allison Rost
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    Hi Gert-Jan,

    Having the ability to change a Field name and type is logged as enhancement request ID NIM041480.

    The reason you will not see this added at 9.4 is because the database schema in ArcGIS was designed not to be changed. Making edits to PGDB is not a supported workflow and can cause database corruption.

    If you need to change a field name or field type then all you need to do is:

    1. Create a new field with the new name/type
    2. Calculate the new field equal to the old field
    3. Delete the original Field
    4. Using the new options in your feature class properties to re-order your field
    Thanks,

    Allison...
    ESRI Support Technical Lead

  3. #3
    Kim Ollivier
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    Smile Changing a field name, type, width or whatever

    If all that is required is a new/copy-typecast/delete, then surely that is what the [change field] tool would do under the hood for us?

    I am completely frustrated every time I open an Excel file when some fields are interpreted incorrectly because its such a pain to fix them.

    It seems that ET GeoWizards has these functions under the "Basic" tab. But I don't want them put out of business.

  4. #4
    Allison Rost
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    Hi Kimo,

    It would be great if you could contact support and have yourself added to the bug listed above. A customer count is kept for bugs and the more people added the more weight a bug will have when being considered for upcoming service packs and releases.
    Thanks,

    Allison...
    ESRI Support Technical Lead

  5. #5
    Kim Ollivier
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    Smile Reporting bugs from overseas is impractical

    If there is a way to force a spreadsheet to use particular data types for columns I would love to know. Primary keys as doubles instead of longs just will not do. Is it a bug or a feature?

    Unfortunately it is not possible for beta users to report bugs because normal support is localised.

    It would be great if I was able to report a bug without going through the "support channels" to attempt a wetware upgrade for not understanding the software or providing a workaround.

    I know pretty much when a problem is intractable, so all I need is a simple way of feeding back without requiring any response at all.

    I used to be the 'local support' myself and remember how hard it is to track down a bug well enough to be reproduceable. "Its not a bug until it happens 3 times on different data and different machines."

    I thought this was the purpose of the beta forum.

  6. #6
    Ted Cronin

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    Quote Originally Posted by alnicole View Post
    Hi Gert-Jan,

    Having the ability to change a Field name and type is logged as enhancement request ID NIM041480.

    The reason you will not see this added at 9.4 is because the database schema in ArcGIS was designed not to be changed. Making edits to PGDB is not a supported workflow and can cause database corruption.

    If you need to change a field name or field type then all you need to do is:

    1. Create a new field with the new name/type
    2. Calculate the new field equal to the old field
    3. Delete the original Field
    4. Using the new options in your feature class properties to re-order your field
    Quote Originally Posted by alnicole View Post
    Hi Kimo,

    It would be great if you could contact support and have yourself added to the bug listed above. A customer count is kept for bugs and the more people added the more weight a bug will have when being considered for upcoming service packs and releases.
    You can add me to this limitation/BUG. This is definitely a frustration of mine. I love that I get to add field2, calc field1 = field2, delete field1, then repeat the process just to get a field that is 2 characters wider and needs to be called the same thing. Whats not to love about this functionality. I would surmise that anyone you ask, would ask to be added to this bug. Everyone that works in GIS, at some point has had to do this incredibly fun maintenace task. It gets better, the bigger the datasets happen to be in your schema. I actually am looking forward to doing this come close of roll. In fact I get to do it about once a year. This is why I never thought to log this as a bug, because it is so much fun.

    Seriously, please add my name to this design limitation. I am certain that this functionality will not make it into a . release, this is more of a Major release requirement.
    Last edited by Riverside; 12-08-2009 at 04:45 PM.
    Regards,

    Ted C
    County of Riverside - Assessor/Clerk/Recorder
    ValueGIS

  7. #7
    Gert-Jan Van der Weijden
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    Quote Originally Posted by alnicole View Post
    Hi Gert-Jan,

    Having the ability to change a Field name and type is logged as enhancement request ID NIM041480.

    The reason you will not see this added at 9.4 is because the database schema in ArcGIS was designed not to be changed. Making edits to PGDB is not a supported workflow and can cause database corruption.

    If you need to change a field name or field type then all you need to do is:

    1. Create a new field with the new name/type
    2. Calculate the new field equal to the old field
    3. Delete the original Field
    4. Using the new options in your feature class properties to re-order your field

    To make it a bit more robust a few more steps have to be made in this process:
    - check whether the table is editable
    - check whether the field is editable (non-shape, non-oid etc.)
    - check whether te new fieldname and type are supported by the underlying DBMS (that is including shapefiles,coverages etc.)
    - check whether the contents of the old field fit in the new field (becuase of typecast and because of width)
    - and all of this within a kind of try-except-finaly block to make sure no data is lost somewere in between.

    Can these wishes and suggestions be attached to NIM041480?

    Gert-Jan
    Gert-Jan van der Weijden
    blog: www.gisnederland.nl (in Dutch)

  8. #8
    Lars Huttar
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    Default Re: Beta 10: alter change field name/length/type

    Quote Originally Posted by alnicole View Post
    Having the ability to change a Field name and type is logged as enhancement request ID NIM041480.
    I just searched for this NIM but no results were found. (http://resources.arcgis.com/content/...roupName=Bugs&)

    Quote Originally Posted by alnicole View Post
    If you need to change a field name or field type then all you need to do is:

    1. Create a new field with the new name/type
    (etc.)
    Unfortunately, this breaks linkage to any feature-linked annotations that use the field. At least, that's what happened when I tried it just now -- even though I ended up with the same field name as before.

    This is a reason why it's important to us to have a tool that properly supports changing field length. I would add my name to the bug if I could find an accurate ID for it.
    Last edited by huttarl; 05-12-2011 at 12:19 PM. Reason: added info about results of test: cannot use this method without breaking feature-linked annotations

  9. #9
    Lars Huttar
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    Default Re: Beta 10: alter change field name/length/type

    Quote Originally Posted by huttarl View Post
    Unfortunately, this breaks linkage to any feature-linked annotations that use the field. At least, that's what happened when I tried it just now -- even though I ended up with the same field name as before.
    Actually, it doesn't seem to break feature-linked annotations, at least not permanently. It seems that you have to restart ArcMap, but after that, FLA's update correctly again when the underlying data changes.

  10. #10
    Lars Huttar
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    Default Re: Changing a field name, type, width or whatever

    Quote Originally Posted by kimo View Post
    If all that is required is a new/copy-typecast/delete, then surely that is what the [change field] tool would do under the hood for us?
    There is a user-contributed script that automates this, i.e. changes the length of a text field: Change Text Field Length

    I had to tweak it slightly for ArcGIS 10, but it works, and is less error-prone than doing all the steps manually.

  11. #11
    Ian Chapling
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    Default Re: Beta 10: alter change field name/length/type

    This is sounding like exactly what I'm after, could you please specify the changes that had to be made in order for it to work within v10?

    Thanks.

  12. #12
    Chalermpon Lertsakdadet
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    Default Re: Beta 10: alter change field name/length/type

    Might want to check this one for 10.0

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