Periods at the end of fact sentences

I have just run into a most curious problem. It might be a bug, but if it’s a bug then it’s a bug in both RM7 and RM9. Namely, I was just adding a 1950 Census fact for someone in my database who was enumerated in 1950 in Washington, D. C. The sentence template of my own design ended with

<,< [Place:Plain]>>.

Note in particular that the last character in the sentence template is a period.

The result when I run a report that includes the 1950 Census fact for Washington, D. C. is that the sentence ends with a double period. The first period at the end of the sentence is from the second period of D. C. and the second period at the end of the sentence is from the sentence template itself.

If there is a bug, then the bug is that perhaps RM itself should identify the double period and should convert it to single period as the report is being produced. I do realize that’s a stretch, and I’m not sure if I were the RM developer that I would want to make this sort of change.

I’m not willing to enter the place name as Washington, DC nor as Washington, District of Columbia nor as Washington, D. C., United States nor as anything like that - even though any of those place name variants would solve my problem. It looks as if my best solution is that both RM7 and RM9 support a one off customization of a sentence for one particular fact for one particular person. Much to my surprise, this particular customization was not lost when I tested it with a drag and drop operation. So that’s what I’m going to go with.

By the way, similar customizations of citation sentences do seem to be subject to problems during a drag and drop. So the drag and drop support for fact sentence customizations seems to be a bit more robust than is the drag and drop support for citation sentence customizations.

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The solution would be to replace the final period with the value switch

<?[expression]||.> where expression would be (in words): if last character of [place:last] equals "." If true, no period would be printed, since it is already present. If false, a period would be printed. The big question is how to actually write the expression. The help manual does not give any examples of the correct syntax for the expression. To see what expressions might be used by RM, I performed a search for any fact as follows: fact place exists AND fact place ____ ____ where the most relevant options for the two blanks are "contains" and "." So, based on the search criteria, one might expect RM to allow an expression for the value switch, such as: [place:last] contains "." This would work for D.C. and other abbreviations, but would fail for county names like St. Joseph. I have tried writing this expresion many different ways, but can't find the right syntax.

The RM Sentence Template language has no capability to test for a specific value in a field. It only tests whether the field is empty or not. Or, in the case of the gender switch, whether 0 or 1.

The earliest request for such an enhancement was placed within weeks of the release of the STL feature which goes back to RM4 and maybe earlier.

Bummer! Perhaps we should try again. Expressions are implemented in the search engine.

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Earlier this year I reiterated the need to correct this to development and to add two additional tests.

If I have a citation that ends in a punctuation mark, such as ?! it should not add a period.

If I have a citation that ends in a Quotation Mark (… phrase.") It should not add a period.

Maybe by RM14 we’ll see something on this!.