Here I would like to collect all ideas + issues that have an impact on the UX (i.e. developer experience) when Layouting with Themes and Styles to help put them into the big picture. There are a cloud of issues, which together lead to a suboptimal experience (the "Theme and Style Jungle"), so I feel it is necessary to consider them together.
The aim here is not to suggest outlandish new functionality, rather support a rounding off & tying up of loose ends of the existing introduced functionality.
Consider this as an umbrella/orientation page and please vote here and on the individual ideas pages.
Updating Themes & Styles
In FileMaker 13
- THEME AND STYLE IMPOSTORS made theme management virtually IMPOSSIBLE in multi-file solutions:
- Renaming themes or styles broke their updatability.
In FileMaker 14
- things have been/are being improved (but have not been communicated to the community very well):
- you CAN rename styles (link?) -> When you update the theme in a file the style name is corrected.
- you CAN also update styles by name <- discovered 2016-02-01 - but since when?
- 2016-02-10 there are still UNPLEASANT errors when updating styles by NAME, which are still being analysed
- but you CANNOT yet rename themes without breaking their updatability
- furthermore, objects whose style is deleted during a theme update no longer have their appearance reset <- also discovered 2016-02-01
- FMI should Support Renaming Themes without breaking their updatability
- to allow developers toSynchronize Themes (& Styles) by NAME rather than internal ID
- Also it should be possible to copy and Paste Theme without breaking updatability
- Import Theme: Warn of Reset Styles in Confirmation Dialog, Error Log, and Results Dialog <- idea added 2016-02-01
Theme use, changes and information
There is precious little information about themes and styles in use in a solution available to the developer, making it difficult to manage themes. This management problem is exacerbated by the fact that it is too easy to leave unsaved theme changes lying around in layouts.Some good ideas would thus be:
- Show theme information in the manage layouts list
- Make theme + style changes visible (e.g. tool tip) on the little red triangle in the layout inspector
- A Dialog "Save Changes to Theme” (akin to the "Save Changes to Layout" Dialog), maybe with a layout option to Save theme changes automatically
Style Use Improvements
- Save as New Style should copy old name
- Layout objects should retain their appearance when their style is deleted (Solves the problem that when a style is deleted all objects with that style not only have their style set to default - which is unavoidable - but their appearance is reset to default - which in my opinion is unnecessarily destructive.)
Format Painter + Style Copy+Paste buttons
The format painter was broken in fm13 and was believed by some developers to still be broken in fm14, however, the excessive LocalCSS it produces is only present until the layout is saved. Thus FMI need only to
- Improve the format painter to optimize the LocalCSS immediately, so that no confusion occurs during the layouting process
The Style Copy and Paste buttons have lost their ability to paste ONLY formats without changing the style. Strangely, this little known feature has already been implemented in fm4 elsewhere, on the format painter: [ALT]+format painter copies ONLY the formats but not the style name. It would, however, be much better if the two buttons worked the same:
Pasting objects into Layouts
- When pasting objects to layouts, errors & warnings should be written to the import.log file, e.g. style missing
A few further little nigglers remain:
- The right-lick style menu is a bit confusing, so it would be a good idea to Sort Layout object Style menu by name
- The known bug thatLayout text objects get LocalCSS color unexpectedly - is irritating, but being worked on.
The list I am sure is not complete, and I shall add to it or tick off items as they are dealt with by FMI.
So, if you know of any other issues and ideas to fit into this picture let me know in the comments and I shall happily add them to this text.