Specify 5.2 and my quest to import lots of data

I’ve been unable to figure out how to get a username and password to login to the Specify forum; I’ve requested help with that but until I get a response, I’m going to shout my questions out to the ether and hope I get some echos of answers back.

UPDATE: Apparently you have to email specify@ku.edu to get a login (source).

1. When is Specify 6 coming out? Originally it was early 2008, then it was mid 2008, and I haven’t seen any updates recently. I hope it comes out soon.

2. Is there a Specify mailing list? If there isn’t, there should be, especially since it seems like nobody is able to log into the official forum. I might be interested in getting one going depending on interest, since there are supposedly lots of people using the software. There is a mailing list here.

3. The big question: is it possible to add more than the default offering of a few new fields to each form? I’m on the cusp of moving over a great deal of data, and I’d like to be able to include everything and add fields as necessary, but that doesn’t seem to be an option.

I’ve tried adding fields to the database itself (through Server Management Studio Express), but I think the number and name of each field is hard-coded into the Specify program rather than being stored as an expandable list in the database, because the new field doesn’t show up when I go to edit forms. For example, each field has both a name and a set of properties–the properties (such as what kind of data is allowed, how long it is allowed to be, etc.) are described in the database tables, but I have not been able to determine where the name of each field is stored. Hold up. It has to be stored somewhere, because it can be changed by the user. I may have to dig deeper. Sometimes talking through things does lead to answers. We’ll see what I can dig up.

In any case, I’m very comfortable with messing with the database tables themselves in order to get the data in, which is what I’m going to have to do anyway, because the data will be coming out of a tab-delimited file when I’m done with it and should be easy to get into SQL. It’s just a question of making sure those columns exist in the tables first…

Anyway, that’s where I stand. I’ll update when I know more.

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