Data Entry Overview

The prototypical way to import data into Babase is in bulk, via a plain text file having columns delimited by the tab character. These are easily produced by almost any spreadsheet program; it is expected that most data imported into Babase will be typed into a spreadsheet and then exported to tab-delimited text for upload.

Most data are uploaded into Babase via the Upload program, most often directly into Views. The phpPgAdmin program's import function can also be used, although it does not allow import into views. Data may also be entered row by row directly into the database, either via the phpPgAdmin web interface, or by entering SQL into either phpPgAdmin or any other PostgreSQL front-end.[293]

Babase contains a number of bespoke programs , including some dedicated Data Maintenance Programs. Some few of these programs are utility in nature: a program to logout, a program to automate the steps involved in the creation of a new database user, and so forth. Most of the data entered into Babase is collected in tabular, row-and-column, format suitable for entry into a relational database. As mentioned previously, this data can be imported directly. The purpose of most of the bespoke Babase programs is to transform data files, as part of the data upload process, from the formats easily collected in the field into a tabular format.

Most errors in computer data entry can be caught by the wwwdiff program. This program compares files. Typos are detected by entering the data twice, preferably by 2 different people, and comparing the result. Errors made in the field are more likely to be detected by manual checks of the data, or by the data validation built into Babase.

[293] The psql program runs from the Unix prompt. It allows you to type SQL queries interactively and see the results. (phpPgAdmin submits one or more SQL statements to the database to be executed and then disconnects after getting the results back.) Psql has meta-commands that do things like report on database structure, and it facilities writing scripts to automate a wide variety of tasks. Examples of such scripts can be found in the Babase source code.

Other possible front-ends are discussed in another footnote.

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