We need a script step to switch into layout mode!
We have script steps which make it possible to script other high-level administrative operations, like
- open script workspace
- open database definition
- open Security
- open extended privileges
...but there is currently no way to script the layout-editing process.
- New Script step: Enter Layout Mode
- Option [ Lock Navigation: On/Off ]
- Option [ Layout Toolbar: Hide/Show/Toggle ; Lock ]
- Option [ Pause: On/Off ]
Enter Layout Mode would be the counterpart to the View Menu Item "Layout Menu"
Scripts would normally halt,… although - IF it is possible within the FileMaker Engine architecture - a Pause Option, allowing the current script to be frozen in the background and which continues when layout mode is exited would be a DREAM ... you could correct/adjust a layout in the middle of a printing process .... and then carry on and print! ... that would be hervoragende UX!)
The 'Lock Navigation' option disables Layout-switching, so that the user can ONLY edit or exit the current layout. (The Navigation Tool and the Layout List would be disabled/grey) =>This would be necessary to ensure the quality of a layout-editing audit trail.
The 'Layout Toolbar' option allows the toolbar to be displayed while in layout mode ... but would NOT effect the standard (browse mode) Toolbar. When exiting Layout Mode, the Toolbar would revert to its prior state again.
- More control over a very important functionality
- More flexibility in layouting rights
- Improved UX around the layouting process
- Vastly improved UX around the printing process
- Edit Layout Function: Print file has an Edit Print Layouts navigation page => Buttons jump to print layout + enter Layout Mode
- Scripted Print Layout Wizard - where users are first guided to prototype layouts, which they can then duplicate and modify.
- Print-preview: user notices error in the print layout => print script can react + switch to layout mode => then continue WITHOUT interrupting the print process
- Legal / Audit Trail: Where power users are allowed to edit layouts (and potentially also screw things up), it may be valuable for purposes of conflict resolution to be able to write an audit trail of who entered which layout, when.
- Fine Tuned Privileges: Regulate layout-editing privilege via custom menus + scripts + data in the user record rather than in priv-sets.
- Demo + Training files: can provide step by step guide to layouting.
- Charting / Export layouts / etc. - Where a script detects that a layout needs extending (more repetitions, text too long, object not found, etc.) it could intelligently prompt the user to fix the layout (....before continuing…)
- Deployment - often Print Files are highly customized, and often NOT part of a new deployment of the software (app). The updater logic could guide end users (or developers) to certain layouts and indicate necessary changes (…indeed, using Plugins (or FileMaker itself, should FMI implement native functions to copy FileMaker fmxmlsnippet XML to FileMaker clipboard objects) ... it would be possible to first create an object to paste on the clipboard, and THEN navigate to the layout where the user/developer can paste it in.)
Anybody got any further use cases or improvements - or benefits (it's rather late )?
(Yes, me - lol!
Another very useful extension for the auditing of layout changes would be a new Function:
Get( LayoutModificationCount )
(akin the Get( RecordModificationCount ) function) ... You could use it before and after entering layout mode to check if a change was REALLY made.
...but maybe that is going too far for today)
Happy FileMaking & Layouting!