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Database Server (DBS) API

FDA: Format of Data Passed to and from VA FileMan

Data is passed to and from the DBS as values in the FileMan Data Array (FDA). The FDA contains the file, internal entry numbers, and field information in its subscripting scheme.

The format of the FDA is:



The number of the file or subfile to which the data belongs.


As explained in the "IENS: To Identify Entries and Subentries" topic, a comma-delimited string of entry and subentry numbers. The IENS always ends with a comma.


The number of the field being accessed.


The internal (and verified) or external (and unverified) value of the field. The specific call that you are making along with the way certain flags are set determines if the internal or external value is appropriate.

The values for word processing fields are stored in the FDA differently. Instead of setting the node equal to the actual value, set it equal to the root of an array (local or global) that holds the data. The word processing data must be stored at nodes with positive numbers in the designated array or at the 0-node descendent from those nodes. The subscripts need not be integers. For example, if the value of an FDA node were "^TMP($J,"WP")", the location of the word processing data could be:

    ^TMP($J,"WP",1,0)=Line 1
    ^TMP($J,"WP",2,0)=Line 2


    ^TMP($J,"WP",1)=Line 1
    ^TMP($J,"WP",2)=Line 2

For word processing data, the file and field numbers should reflect the file (or subfile) and field of the word processing field, not the subfile number of the pseudo-multiple where the word processing data is actually stored.

Nodes in the FDA can be set in several ways. The Validator call (VAL^DIE) optionally creates nodes in an FDA for valid user input. If the Validator is not being used, programmers can use a call (FDA^DILF) that creates an element in the FDA. Finally, the application developer can set the nodes manually in the client application's code.


Reviewed/Updated: March 10, 2007