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[Gnumed-devel] Re: [Gnumed-bugs] Measurements plugin display uninformati

From: Karsten Hilbert
Subject: [Gnumed-devel] Re: [Gnumed-bugs] Measurements plugin display uninformative when no measurements exist
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 11:45:41 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

On Tue, Feb 02, 2010 at 10:23:51PM -0800, Jim Busser wrote:

> >From the waitlist I activated
>       Musterman
> then "Measurements".
> Presumably the essentially blank screen means none exist for the active 
> patient.

Exactly ! And quite apparently that was not at all hard to conclude ;-)

> If there is no easy (tidy) way to display in this area
>       "No measurement records for this person."

I disagree. "Nothing" should mean "nothing". Empty
nothingness should not explicitely be confirmed to be
nothingness except in very exceptional exceptions (such as
when we to the best of our knowledge *know* there's no

Richard stressed that principle in his design docs. He
attested that the brain needs to parse less if nothing
simply means nothing rather than something (such as the
oxymoron [?] "this is nothing") sometimes meaning nothing.

A possible compromise might be to use a *symbol* typically
associated with nothingness such as "ø".

I would not oppose someone implementing something as
unobtrusive as:

When there's no lab results display a large "ø" in the
middle of the plugin in a grey-on-grey watermark type

That'd be a wishlist item with medium complexity.

> might users who have gotten to know GNUmed look to the
> bottom left "status line" for reassurance?

That's to be expected, yes.

> If so, can I
> suggest that queries that return no records at least inform
> this non-result into the status area?

It needs to be done on a case-by-case base rather than
"queries that return no records". It is technically unwise
(I, too, have fallen into that trap several times in the
past) to return dummy records from queries the output of
which is in an expected well-formed format. Mind you, GNUmed
still does in a few places. It even has a gmNull pattern. In
the long run it usually brings more pain than gain,

OTOH, a question remains when to display the message in the
status line. The answer seems to be: when the query did not
return any results. However, consider this scenario:

- user activates patient w/o lab results
- user switches to measurements plugin
- thereby GNUmed invokes a fetch-results (because the
  patient was changed)
- no results are returned
- the status line shows "no results"
- user switches to another plugin and does some work
- status line gets updated by other things
- user switches back to measurements plugin
- in the meantime no changes to measurements on this
  patient happened hence GNUmed will NOT fetch the
  already-fetched (but empty) result list again


- the plugin is still empty
- but the status line shows something else

Re-fetching unconditionally whenever we switch to the
measurements plugin is not a passable solution.

Any suggestions ?

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