Well written Eric. This is exactly what I'm looking for.
This feature request should not be confused with normal column reordering, which only provides visual placement of the columns. Instead, this has to do with structural ordering of the columns, which is evident when exporting and opening in other applications, or re-opening in Cartographica as well.
At the present time, it appears as though Cartographica structurally orders the columns based on their creation time/date order, whilst it(the app) seems to display the columns in Window > Show Layer Info > [Fields tab] in ascending order based on column names.
Ideally, either in the Window > Show Layer Info > [Fields tab] section, or when manually dragging and dropping(reordering) columns in the table view, said reordering of columns should be made permanent, so when exports are made, like to CSV, and said documents are opened in third party applications, the column order is as was set in Cartographica.
This would be especially nice in Cartographica itself, as often times a shapefile will be worked on for a spell, and then closed, and sometime later reopened to engage more work, thus resulting in the column having gone back to an unordered state, which requires manually dragging and dropping them in the table view, to reorder them in a more conducive manner based on your work flow.
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Well written Eric. This is exactly what I'm looking for.
I don't think we want to give that much precedence to the order I the data viewer at the bottom of the map window, as two users may find themselves going back and forth due tue somewhat different column needs.
What if we were to put in enforced column ordering in the Fields tab (a sortable column, rearranged by drag and drop or arrows when that column is the sort tselector) and then make Cartographica default to the field order in the file when importing files and the field order specified when exporting.
There are two important and distinct features;
The ability to structurally re-order columns so if the layer is exported, the order of the columns remain in tact when importing/opening the file/layer in another application, or when re-opening the file/layer in Cartographica itself. So if we have Layer A, and this layer has the following attributes; LAST_NAME; LAT; MIDDLE_NAME; FIRST_NAME; TEL; LON, and we do not like the order of these columns and wish to change them to; LAT; LON; FIRST_NAME; MIDDLE_NAME; LAST_NAME; TEL, we should be able to do this by simply dragging and dropping the column rows in WINDOW > SHOW LAYER INFO:FIELDS(the Cartographica window I am referring to can be seen in the attached image). Often times a layer will have attribute columns created over time, or as a result of merges, or whatever, and so the column order ends up being what it is based on the aforementioned conditions, which is why we need to be able to go in and edit their order after the fact. This re-ordering of columns if structural... not to be confused with the visual re-ordering of the columns, as is explained in the below item #2.
The ability to re-order columns in the attribute table view. This re-ordering of columns is for session(or mapset) visual usage, not structural as was explained above. Cartographica currently has this feature, and is much appreciated and often used, especially when having to edit data in the various columns/rows. But this alone is not enough, because it is temporary, so we need to have the ability as is explained above(item #1) to permanently re-order columns.
Permanent column re-ordering is one of those features that plays an important role in the overall workflow process, and is much missed in Cartographica imho.
One more feature I would suggest is the ability to turn columns on and off in the WINDOW > SHOW LAYER INFO:FIELDS window, so the user can turn off columns that s/he wishes not to export. Right now, if a user wishes to export a layer, the user can only export all of the columns in that layer, and not just select columns. If the user wishes to export only select columns, the user must first delete/remove those columns(this is a permanent thing) and then perform the export, which is a pain, because if the user wishes to preserve those columns s/he must go back and UNDO(multiple times) in order to get those columns back into the layer. So being able to select specific column rows to export, and select specific column rows to hide/not export, would make a much better workflow.
When working with map layers that contain dozens or several dozens of columns, at present time in Cartographica it is extremely difficult to manage/work with these columns, such as re-ordering them. I have spent hours doing nothing but re-ordering columns on a single map layer in Cartographica, and the reason so much time is spent is that the drag and drop is extremely s l o w, so if i want to move column X that is currently in the column position 150 to the column position 1, I must grab it and drag to the left, and this can take a minute or longer to do(because it moves slowly). But what really sucks is after one has re-ordered several or dozens of columns, if one wishes to copy features from that layer and paste them into a new layer(or create new layer from selection, or create new map and drag the layer from previous map to new map), the new layer is back to the original A-Z column order. So one must re-arrange the columns all over again, and this is a bummer. For map layers that only have a handful of columns, this is tolerable, but still a waste of time as one must do it each and every time.
Ideally, the user should be able to re-order columns and Cartographica should remember/maintain that column order accordingly. Also, to make it faster and easier, it would be nice if the user could go to Window > Show Layer Info menu and be able to drag and drop re-order the columns from there. Also, Cartographica should respect what the column order is upon import of a given layer, so if I have a shapefile I have imported, it should respect the order of the columns that the shapefile has, instead of re-ordering the columns from A-Z. When working with attributable data, it is necessary to group certain columns next to one another so data can be compared/referenced/edited easily, without having to scroll left of right to gain visual access to certain columns, this needlessly adds extra steps to the process, and when performing edits over and over again for subsequent records, the last thing someone wants(or needs) is more mouse and keyboard steps, a it could take a 30 second edit and turn it into a 60-90-120 second edit, and this adds frustration to the whole process.
I will attach a map layer I exported to shapefile that contains many columns. If you take and attempt to move 5 or 10 of the right most columns to the left most position, notice you will spend a significant amount of time doing so.
Also attached is a screenshot of a Cartographica bug(I'll file a bug report) that displays the same column name multiple times(several/dozens of times).