9 Replies Latest reply on Nov 15, 2012 3:34 PM by philmodjunk

    How to narrow search using pop-up or drop-down menus?

    cirobruno

      Title

      How to narrow search using pop-up or drop-down menus?

      Post

            

           Dear sirs
            
           I'd like to implement a search interface using pop-up or drop down menus. The idea is providing user more comfort to select a record in a very wide table.
            
           I'm using for example a customers' database, using three fields as search key fields: "company", "first name" and "last name". Assuming that a big company should have just one (or a few) with all three matching names and that the user normally keep these information in mind, I think that's a good way of searching.
            
           Back to my task, I'd like to place these three fields for search in such a way that since I fill one of them ("company", as an example), the remaining fields would show only records that match the first criteria. Then I select an option in the second field ("first name", for example) and the third will present the remaining options of registers that match the first two criteria.
            
           Sorry for my bad English. Have I been able to explain it clearly?
            
           Last, but not least, what's the difference between drop-down and pop-up menus?
            
           Thank you.
           Regards,
           Ciro.
            

        • 1. Re: How to narrow search using pop-up or drop-down menus?
          philmodjunk

               I believe that you want conditional value lists, and a hierarchical 'chain' of such value lists.

               Forum Tutorial: Custom Value List?

               Knowledgebase article: http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5833/kw/conditional%20value%20list

               Demo File: https://www.dropbox.com/s/j6qf0z9fnem3uxd/ConditionalValueListDemo.fp7

          Hierarchical Conditional Value lists: Conditional Value List Question

               Feel free to post follow up questions here if those links aren't enough to get your value lists working correctly.

          • 2. Re: How to narrow search using pop-up or drop-down menus?
            Sorbsbuster

                 "what's the difference between drop-down and pop-up menus?" - just try them , and you'll see.

                 One has a drop-shadow, and does not have a scroll bar, and I find more useful for short lists.  The other is more useful for scrolling through longer lists.

            • 3. Re: How to narrow search using pop-up or drop-down menus?
              JimMac

                    

                   The major difference is there intended uses.  I see too often misuse of  their names.
                    
                   Drop-Down LISTS    Pop-Up MENUS
                    
                   The Logical OR Function means Unique  ....  This OR That.... not both
                    
                   MENU = POP-UP MENU = RADIO BUTTONS = OR   [User can select only one unique value]
                    
                   The Logical AND Function means Multiple.... This AND That.... both, one, and none
                    
                   LIST = DROP-DOWN LISTS = CHECK BOXES = AND   [User can select any, all, or none]
                    
              _______
                    
                   There is no such name or functions called "pop up lists" provided by FMP base program.
                    
                   Note: most people don't know that the  User can select mulitiple items using a Drop-Down List.
                    
                   Jim...
                    
                    
              • 4. Re: How to narrow search using pop-up or drop-down menus?
                cirobruno

                     Thank you Phil!

                     I've started with the article in knowledge base (http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5833/kw/conditional%20value%20list). It has been very clear. It describes software concept, as we've been talking about in another discussion. I've started the little example the article itself describes and it has worked fine.

                     Back to my database, things haven't been so easy. I found some interfering attributions and I haven't still figured out all them and how each one interferes.

                     The first interference has been easy to understand. I've placed three pop-up menus: "Company", "First Name" and "Last Name", among those only first and last names were conditional value lists. The matter has been the Relationship set between Customers and Offers tables. The relationship stated the same three matching fields: "Company" AND "First Name" AND "Last Name". So, while filling the pop-up menus, while any of those were empty there was no match to satisfy the relational condition, so no choice could be offered. (Sorry for my bad English, I hope you understand...)

                     Now I wonder what matching condition I should set for these tables relationship. Maybe only "Company", assuming that this will be the first to be filled. Maybe I should set a field that don't take part of searching criteria seelcted for pop-up menus, pehaps "Work_Email_Value". Can someone tell someghing pro and against these ideas?

                     But there are some other issues (still misterious for me). The most chalenging now is to understand one difference between what I've seen in the sample database (suggested by the article) and in my own database. I've implemented both the same way, following step-by-step the same instructions. The sample database presents the pop-up menus ready to fill or to click (on the down arrow) even in Navigation Mode. In my own database, I can't have them ready in Navigation Mode, they look gray and don't accept any insertion. I had to place a button to enter in Search Mode and a button to Run Search. Why (any idea)?

                     But now I can already feel on track with that. it's a matter of fine tunning. I'm gonna read and try more and then (probably) ask again.

                     Thank you very much.

                     Best regards, Ciro. 

                      
                • 5. Re: How to narrow search using pop-up or drop-down menus?
                  philmodjunk

                       Key concept: you can have many different relationships between the same two tables if you create additional occurrences of one of the two tables.

                       Select a "box" in Manage | Database | Relationships. Now click the duplicate button (Has two green plus signs). This creates a new "occurrence" of the table that you duplicated. You have not duplicated the table, just created a new way to refer to the data in that table when creating relationships.

                       Thus, you can link one occurrence of customers to your table by Company and keep that relationship separate from the one already in place for looking up data from the customers table.

                       BTW, a relationship to customers based on company and first name and last name is not the optimum way to link to a specific customer record. Companys and people change their name and its possible for two people with the same company to have identical names. It's better to define a serial number field for Customers and use that to link a specific customer record to the current "offer" record.

                       For more on table occurrences: Tutorial: What are Table Occurrences?

                  • 6. Re: How to narrow search using pop-up or drop-down menus?
                    cirobruno

                         Dear Jim, good Afternoon.

                         Regarding Pop-up Menu and Drop-down Lists, maybe you've picked up the most important aspect to discuss. I'm Brazilian and you can see my English isn't that good, so I'm not sure I understood it right. I'm in doubt between two understandings:

                         1st possibility) A single Pop-up Menu allows the user to select only value at once. A Drop-down List allows the customer to check multiple options at once for the same field.

                         2nd possibility) In a conditional search (multiple fields used for sequequential narrowing) Pop-up Menus would offer to the user the record(s) that match ANY conditions selected, like "Company" OR "First Name" OR "Last Name". Drop-down List would restrict user choices to the record(s) that match ALL conditions selected, like "Company" AND "First Name" AND "Last Name".

                         I guess you ment the first one, but I haven't realized exactly how it would be implemented or how it would work.

                         Thank you.

                         Regards, Ciro.

                          
                    • 7. Re: How to narrow search using pop-up or drop-down menus?
                      JimMac

                           Your english is great.  I used the FMP words for Logic but I will put in Portuguese also

                           OR.. 

                           This or that ...  unique selection not both

                           Isto ou aquilo ... seleção única, não ambos

                           AND...

                           This AND That.... both, one, and none

                           Isso e aquilo .... ambos, um, e nenhum

                           Your possiblity 1 is correct.yes

                           My comments are directed at using the Field Inspector | Data tab | User interface type

                           ______________

                           Your possiblity 2 is mixing a FIND records search using the Logic AND OR  with that Field interface.

                           To do a  AND  function in FINDing Records in a Conditional Serch in your database.

                      like "Company" AND "First Name" AND "Last Name".

                           You will create a layout with those example fields, enter find mode, set those field with values for search and the Find will do the conditional logic as you discribed.

                           ______

                           To do a  OR  function in FINDing Records in a Conditional Serch in your database.

                           like "Company" OR "First Name" OR "Last Name"

                           You will create a layout with those example fields, enter find mode, set field Company with values for search, then create another Find Request immediatly then set field First Name, then create another Find Request immediatly set the Last Name Field.  You now have 3 different Find Requests to do the OR. then Perform Find will do the conditional logic as you discribed.

                           Jim....

                           like "Company" OR "First Name" OR "Last Name"

                      • 8. Re: How to narrow search using pop-up or drop-down menus?
                        cirobruno

                             Dear Phill, good Evening.

                             I agree "Company"AND "First Name" AND "Last Name" isn't the best searching criteria. Maybe I'll change this condition to "Work E-Mail Value", which won't leave any ambiguity. The reason I wouldn't like to dreate a "Customer_ID" like field is that I would like to keep correspondence between my Customers table with Mac OS / iOS Address Book. Further I'll try to find somehow make them share records. I guess it would be a matter for a new topic.

                             Regarding the narrowing itself, I've started it all over, deleting my Offers table and creating a new one. I keep trying to narrow the customer by "Company"AND "First Name" AND "Last Name". Then I've placed three pop-up menus as follows:

                             - "Company", showing data from Offers Table itself, using value list from Address Book, including all values;

                             - "First Name",  showing data from Offers Table itself, using value list from Address Book, including only values from Offers Table;

                             - "Last Name",  showing data from Offers Table itself, using value list from Address Book, including only values from Offers Table.


                                  The relationship between these tables is "Company"="Company" only.

                             When running, I click on the pop-up "Company" and I can see all companies present in Address Book, so select one. Then I click on the pop-up "First Name" and I can see first names restricted to people who work in that company. I select one of them. Then I click on the pop-up "Last Name", where I expect to see only last names restricted to the Company and the First Name I've prior selected. But the pop-up shows all last names restricted to he same company only. It means that, I can fill my choice chain with any combination of first and last names of people who work in the same company!

                             What does it mean? Is there ony one step narrowing? I mean Condition_1 AND Condition_2, but not ... AND Condition_3?

                             I've tried many combinations, but I couldn't achieve any better result. I've tried to:

                             - stablish relationship between tables with "Company AND First Name" as well as "Company" AND "First Name" AND "Last Name", but the only consequence is that "First Name" and "Last Name" pop-ups don't show any value at all;

                             - stablish relationship between tables with "Work_Email_Value" and then not even Company pop-up shows any value;

                             - switch between Browse Mode and Search Mode, but no difference happens.

                             In the article "Creating Conditional Value Lists" (http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5833/kw/conditional%20value%20list), there is: "Multi levels of conditional value lists can be configured much the same way as outlined above.  For every additional level of value list you want to create, you also need to create a corresponding table and relationship.". I haven't already digested completely the subject "additional occourence" between tables, would be that the way out for the search I intend to do?

                             Last, but not least, would pop-up menus be an alternative for Search Mode? I still don't think that switching between modes is an elegant way to offer search means to the end user. I think the end user shouldn't bother with modes, should just click and tap...

                             Thank you.

                             Regards, Ciro.

                              
                        • 9. Re: How to narrow search using pop-up or drop-down menus?
                          philmodjunk

                               What you are describing is what I call a "hierarchical conditional value list" selecting a value in each value list narrows the list of values from which to select in the next value list. If you go back to the very first post I made, look at the very last link in that thread--which is a thread that discusses this very technique. You need an additional relationship from "offer" to a new occurrence of Customer in order to get a system such as you describe to work.

                               You might also find examining these two demo files to see some other approaches for selecting a value from a value list. These methods all are text based, yet the scripts that they use establish serial number based links to the records that correspond with the selected names.

                               A simple Name Lookup Demo:

                          https://dl.dropbox.com/u/78737945/SimpleNameLookupDemo.fmp12
                          https://dl.dropbox.com/u/78737945/SimpleNameLookupDemo.fp7

                               Auto-complete drop down and partial text matching selection portals:

                          https://www.dropbox.com/s/0pm1gdqcfi2ndpv/EnhancedValueSelection.fp7