A solution that comes to my mind is as follows:
Let's say you have a table called Actions with an ID number field set to auto-enter a serial number every time a new Action record is created. Each project partner can create a new record in this table and enter text into a field called "Action". A timestamp field will indicate the time the record was created and a calcualtion field can be created to auto-enter the name of the user who created the record.
Then you have another table called Responses. This table also has an ID number (a plain number field, not an auto-entered serial number) which is used to relate the two tables. The relationship is set to "Create records..." in the Responses table. The records in the Responses table also have a timestamp field and a calculation field that is set to auto-enter the name of the user. Naturally, the Responses table also has a text field called "Response".
Then on the Actions layout (in Form View), you create a portal to the Responses table. Each portal row shows the timestamp field, username field and Response text field from the Responses table. The portal is sorted by the timestamp field. Each user can then enter a response in the blank row at the bottom of the portal which will automatically create a related record in the Respones table. Responses will appear sequentially in the portal, with the timestamp and the name of the user for each response automatically entered in their respective fields.
The Actions table will also have a radio button field called "Status". A Value List with two custom values (say, "Approved" and "Pending") is attached to the radio button field. This field is set to auto-enter the value "Pending" when the record is first created. Another timestamp field in the Actions table is set up to auto-enter the date & time whenever the radio button field is modified. The Actions table also has a text field called "Decision" next to the "Status" radio button field.
As a basic solution, I think this would work and it wouldn't be too hard to set up. Does it sound workable to you?
I've never come across portals, so I will have to do more homework before I can fully understand and try to follow your suggestion.
Would the usernames and timestamps show up in the fields - so that someone reading them could see at a glance who and when the info came from?
What we really want is all the info for one item to be visible on a single screen, complete with timestamps and usernames.
That's particularly important for colleagues who are still very much at the novice stage of PC use and others who are top engineers, but for whom English is their third language.
The screengrab shows my original version.
Thanks for all your help.
> I've never come across portals, so I will have to do more homework before I can fully understand and try to follow your suggestion.
Here's a good place to start: http://www.filemaker.com/help/html/create_layout.9.24.html
Once you know how portals work and how to set them up, you'll find that they're an invaluable way to organise and view your data.
> Would the usernames and timestamps show up in the fields - so that someone reading them could see at a glance who and when the info came from?
Yes, you would put the username and timestamp fields (from the Responses table) into the portal so that they're visible for everyone to read.
> What we really want is all the info for one item to be visible on a single screen, complete with timestamps and usernames.
You would set it up so that an "Action" record is displayed on a layout in Form View. You add the portal to that layout and it displays the "responses" in a list format so it will look very much like a "conversation list" with users' responses appearing in a timestamped sequence underneath each other. If there are lots of "responses" in the portal, i.e. more than will fit on the screen, then the portal can be scrolled to reveal the responses at the bottom of the list.
> The screengrab shows my original version.
There was no screengrab attached to your post. Perhaps try again?