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29 May 2009

M. J. Dallwitz

DELTA Editor

1. Wrong timestamp for ‘.dlt’ file.

The DELTA Editor sets the timestamp incorrectly when saving .dlt files. Occurs in most Windows versions, with the possible exception of Windows 95.

In Windows ME, the timestamp is set correctly when the file is saved, but is changed to an incorrect value when the file is closed.


After saving files:

05/08/04 14:09 test01.dlt

05/08/04 14:11 test02.dlt

After closing the same files:

05/08/04 08:44 test01.dlt

05/08/04 08:47 test02.dlt


Minor bug, ? Delta (editor), Una Smith, 18/10/01

Re: Minor timestamp bug, Delta editor, Una Smith, 19/10/01

Re: Minor timestamp bug, Delta editor, Eric Zurcher, 24/10/01

2. Scrolling of numeric-value boxes.

In Attribute Editor (Trees), numeric-value boxes won’t scroll along with the rest of the characters when the scrolling wheel is used. (Scrolling via the scroll bar is OK.)


Re: minor bug, ? Delta (editor) for Win32 v. 1.04, Laurie Jessup, 18/10/01

Another minor bug? , Matt Buys , 21/05/04

3. Jumbled character states.

The order of states in the character list, and the values and orders of values in attributes may be corrupted. The causes are not fully known, but are thought to be re-arranging, adding, and deleting character states. There seem to be two manifestations of the problem (or perhaps two separate problems).

  1. The descriptions of the states are shuffled, and possibly corrupted, but the attributes are unaltered. For example, if state value ‘2’ is recorded for a taxon, that value remains recorded, even though the description of state ‘2’ has been altered. If the problem is noticed before more attributes have been recorded (which is, unfortunately, unlikely), the data can be recovered by simply changing the state descriptions.
  2. The character and its attributes are correctly displayed and exported, but there are hidden problems. These problems become visible when the character and its attributes are copied (by right-dragging in grid view). In some cases, the new character shows problem 1. In other cases, a state description may be missing from the new character, and corresponding values displayed as ‘0’ in the attributes.

If the problems are still at the ‘hidden’ stage, they can be fixed by exporting to DELTA text files, and importing these files into a new database.

Hidden problems can (at least sometimes) be revealed by the following procedure.

  1. Export to DELTA text files, and save the database.
  2. Save a copy of the database in a new, temporary folder. (Use ‘File > Save Dataset As’, and create the new folder by means of the ‘Create New Folder’ button in the ‘Save As’ dialog.) Export to DELTA text files (in the temporary folder), and close the database without saving.
  3. Open the copy of the database, import the DELTA text files except ‘items’ (in the ‘Select DELTA files to import’ dialog, delete ‘items’ in the ‘Items file’ box), export the DELTA text files, and close the database without saving.
  4. Compare the ‘chars’ files in the original and the temporary folders. It’s best to do this with the aid of a program (I use Araxis Merge: The hidden problems are revealed in the ‘chars’ file in the temporary folder.

The file contains some batch files to facilitate detection of state jumbling, and a file ‘findjum.txt’ documenting the batch files. ‘statenum.bat’ places state numbers as comments within the text of the state descriptions. ‘statechk.bat’ checks the comments against the actual state numbers. ‘stateren.bat’ refreshes the comments after the states have been deliberately re-ordered. To install these files, download ‘’ and unzip it in the DELTA folder.

Before making changes that might trigger the bug(s), the data should be exported to DELTA text files and backed up in a way that doesn’t overwrite previous backups, for example, by zipping to a file with a different name for each backup (e.g. After making the changes, carry out the export-import procedure described above.


Jumbled chars in DLT file, George (Buz) Wilson, 18/10/01

Re: Combining DELTA databases, Julia-Maria Hermann, 27/11/01

Re: Combining DELTA databases, Mike Dallwitz, 01/12/01

Help with corrupting Delta files, Jeremy Bruhl, 06/05/04

Re: Help with corrupting Delta files, George (Buz) Wilson, 06/05/04

Re: Help with corrupting Delta files, Michael Bayly, 07/05/04

Re: Help with corrupting Delta files, Eric Zurcher, 07/05/04

Re: Help with corrupting Delta files, George (Buz) Wilson, 07/05/04

Re: Help with corrupting Delta files, Kerri Clarke, 07/05/04

Editor bug and open source comments, Robin Wilson, 12/05/04

Delta’s ‘character jumble bug’, Kerri Clarke, 20/05/04

Re: Delta’s ‘character jumble bug’, Mike Dallwitz, 20/05/04

Re: Delta’s ‘character jumble bug’, Matt Buys, 21/05/04

Re: Delta’s ‘character jumble bug’, Kerri Clarke, 24/05/04

Re: Delta’s ‘character jumble bug’, Joe Kirkbride, 24/05/04

Re: editor bug: work-arounds, Michael Bayly, 20/06/04

Re: editor bug: work-arounds, Kerri Clarke, 21/06/04

Detecting characters 'jumbled' by the DELTA Editor, Mike Dallwitz, 13/08/04

4. Nesting in ‘Taxon Images’.

An inaccurate error message is generated when a ‘Taxon Images’ directive contains an image-file name, and its annotation, that have been enclosed within an additional set of angle brackets.


The example ( is based on the DELTA sample data, with the addition: ‘<cy00.gif <@text ... >>’. (This syntax is accepted by Confor.)

# \i{}Cynodon\i0{} <Rich.>/


          <@subject Habit and ligule - \i{}Cynodon dactylon\i0{}>

          <@text x=120 y=898 w=350 h=-2 m

           t=\i{}Cynodon dactylon\i0{}>


          <@text x=96 y=650 w=800 h=-2 m


The error message is:

Directives file: timages

File type CONFOR

Error while reading attribute data for taxon "Zea <L.>"

Line number: 27

Error type: Closing bracket not found

‘Closing bracket not found’ is misleading, because the brackets are matched. ‘Error while reading attribute data for taxon "Zea <L.>"’ is misleading. It may be carried over from the ‘items’ file, in which Zea is the last item. The line number correctly refers to the end of the item in timages.


The intention in the above example was to add notes that would not be seen by Intkey users. This can be done using

<cy00.gif xxx>

in which case the note is associated with the previous image; or



5. Ctrl+Del in rich-edit control.

In rich-edit controls, Ctrl+Del deletes all the text (instead of just the word to the right of the cursor), and ‘Undo’ doesn’t work.


Another editor bug, George (Buz) Wilson, 12/05/04

Re: Another editor bug, Eric Zurcher, 12/05/04

6. Changed state order is ignored when a character is copied

If the states of a character are reordered (by dragging the states), and the character and its attributes are subsequently copied (by right-dragging the character in grid view), the order of the states in the copy is the original order. The data are not corrupted, i.e., the state values in the new attributes correspond correctly with the new character states.


Re: Help with corrupting Delta files, Eric Zurcher, 07/05/04

DELTA Editor 7. Data buffer size poorly handled.

An empty DATA BUFFER SIZE directive (or omission of the directive) should be allowed. Currently, a default value of 4000 is inserted, which frequently becomes insufficient, and is difficult for the user to fix (the required value must be inserted in the external specs file, and the directives imported to a new database).

DELTA Editor 8. Dependency error importing variant items.

The Editor incorrectly interprets missing values as taking the master values for these characters, instead of being inapplicable, as required by the values of the controlling characters in the variants. (Confor interprets the missing values correctly.)

DELTA Editor 9. Empty comments in attributes ignored.

Empty comments in attributes (e.g. ‘4,2<>’) are removed when items are imported, or when they are added in the Editor. Workaround: ‘4,2<<>>’ or ‘4,2<<!>>’.

DELTA Editor 10. Some non-ANSI characters not handled correctly.

Some non-ANSI characters (notably Greek letters apart from ) are not handled correctly by the edit controls.

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