8 Replies Latest reply on Jan 20, 2014 11:41 AM by simplybooksltd

    Mimicking Bento Smart Collections in Filemaker Pro 12

    RichardMolnar

      Title

      Mimicking Bento Smart Collections in Filemaker Pro 12

      Post

           I have been a Bento user for years, and with its end, I am investigating Filemaker Pro.  

           How can one easily mimic Bento's Smart Collections, so thaty, like in Bento, you can ajust click on something and that collection shows up (which you can then display, search further, or whatever?)

           The absence of this, and Bento's simple list fields are the main stumbing block with adopting Filemaker for me.

            

        • 1. Re: Mimicking Bento Smart Collections in Filemaker Pro 12
          philmodjunk

               If your "collection" is a set of records, then you can click on a button in FileMaker and that button can perform a script that finds those records. You can also set up a value list in a field so that you can select a name from the value list and a script can perform a find to pull up the records with that name. There are also ways to get similar results using protals and a relationship between two tables.

               

                    and Bento's simple list fields

               Not being a Bento user, I don't know exactly what those are or how you use them, but there are any number of ways to produce and interact with a list in FileMaker--including producing such a list inside a single field though that is far from the only option.

          • 2. Re: Mimicking Bento Smart Collections in Filemaker Pro 12
            RichardMolnar

                 This is not very helpful.  What I really need is a simple example to show how to create a button and a script for it which will allow me to select one of the known values of a particualr field, and just find that collection of records.  No simple example I can find shows how to do this.

                 All my smart collections in Bento are just the records which have a particular value in a field, and I just want the find to get those.  Nothing complicated, no error stuff needed, etc.

                  

                 Thanks.

            • 3. Re: Mimicking Bento Smart Collections in Filemaker Pro 12
              philmodjunk

                   Before I can post a simple example, I need a clear understanding of what you are trying to accomplish and how you have decided to design your layout. There is more than one way to get the result that you want and I do not choose to list all of them in hopes that I guessed correctly about one of them.

                   Say you have a field named "Fruit" in your table and you want to be able to click that field or a button next to it to find all records with the same text in that field as that of the record where you clicked it.

                   Set Variable [$Fruit: Value: YourTable::Fruit ]
                   Enter FInd Mode [] ---> clear the pause check box
                   Set Field [YourTable::Fruit ; $Fruit ]
                   Perform Find[]

                   But this is far from the only possible way to do this. There are also ways that use a portal where you click a button inside the row of a portal and those methods will differ from this.

              • 4. Re: Mimicking Bento Smart Collections in Filemaker Pro 12
                RichardMolnar

                     I tried the suggestion, but got some error.

                     At the risk of going on too long, let me explain.  The way Bento works, in a file I have of objects of various types and values, I can set up "Smart Collections" for each of the 5 or so types. Each type (say, Hardware) has a type value--its type name, here "Hardware"-- in the "itsType" field I made up.  The smart collection basically "Finds" based on the value.  When I click the "Hardware" smart collection icon, it just lists all the Hardware items (and at the bottom, gives a summary, total value, which I want to see.)

                     Ideally, I would want a button (or buttons) which will allow me to toggle (or enter) the desired type name, then do a search and give me a list of all the items of that type which I can scroll through, and also somewhere give me a summary total of all their values.

                      

                     I don't want scripts or buttons to change things (one trial wanted me to enter new data) or generate reports, just organize and navigate through the data.

                      

                     Thanks.

                      

                     It would be nice if htere were a tutorial with basic examples of scripts and steps t develop them, as nothing I try based on the help or the manuals seems to work.

                • 5. Re: Mimicking Bento Smart Collections in Filemaker Pro 12
                  philmodjunk

                       Since you don't share what error message you saw. I am unable to help you resolve that error.

                       

                            I don't want scripts or buttons to change things (one trial wanted me to enter new data) or generate reports, just organize and navigate through the data.

                       That's a bit contradictory. In FileMaker, what you describe in your last post is a basic summary report that a modified version of the script that I posted earlier can produce. The simplest approach is often to perform a find for a group of records and use a summary field to display the total for that found set of records.

                       And performing a find does not modifiy data. The set field step shown above enters search criteria into a field while in find mode. This will find records. It will not modify any data in your file. A modified version of this script could use a global field set up with a value list of these types to find all records of the selected type. And a script trigger on that field can perform the script so that all the user does is select a value in the drop down.

                       Here's thread of scripted find examples that you may find useful: Scripted Find Examples

                       Here's a thread on summary reports. It goes way beyond what you describe here, but does show you how to set up a summary field to report totals basd on your found set of records--a found set that can be produced by your scripted find: Creating Filemaker Pro summary reports--Tutorial

                       And FileMaker is a relational database system. Much is accomplished by defining relationships linking different occurrences of your tables via match fields and operators you select in Manage | Database | Relationships. It could prove very useful to have a second table where you have one record for each "type" that links to your current table by those "type" match fields. This opens up may ways to work with related sets of records--including getting a summary total. A portal to your current table, for example, can be placed on a layout for this new table and it could list all records with a matching value in the type field and a calculation that uses the Sum function can compute the total of the records shown in the portal--that's just one of several options for getting this type of thing to work in FileMaker.

                       And with a bit of web searching and maybe a visit to Amazon.com, you can find a number of books and tutorials--even free videos on YoutTube that teach about FileMaker and Relational Database Design. No one resource is the best option for everyone, it depends on the experience and skills that the individual brings to the learning process.

                  • 6. Re: Mimicking Bento Smart Collections in Filemaker Pro 12
                    simplybooksltd

                         Another Bento user here, considering switching over to Filemaker. Richard, did you ever find a satisfactory answer to your query about Smart Collections? They are very important to my business and everything I find about these Filemaker scripts looks difficult and cumbersome and is making me reconsider Filemaker. Would you mind sharing what your learned?

                         Thank you,

                         Laura

                    • 7. Re: Mimicking Bento Smart Collections in Filemaker Pro 12
                      RichardMolnar

                           Laura:

                           I found sort of a workaround (I think) which seems to give me what I want, without having to actually build any scripts. (I have programmed & taught programming for years, but all the script examples I have seen are next to useless.)

                           In Bento the Smart Collections I used were based on attributes of the data in the table (e.g., a code, like a letter of the alphabet or an acronym or tag, just call it/them the item's "Code"), and the collection would collect all those which met these criteria.

                           In Filemaker, the data records are the same as in Bento, with the same "Codes".  Produce a second table (call it "Collections") in the file which has one record for each "Smart Collection", and which contains the "code field(s), and any other info about the collection you want, and a Portal field.  

                           Make a relationship between the Collections table and the original table of data based on equality of the "Code" fields, and enter into the Portal field the fields you desire from the data  fields (You don't have to use all).

                           Presumably you could write a script to then show the collection you want, but I just select its layout.

                           It is more work than smart collections (especially in formatting the layouts), but there is more flexibility.  And with Filemaker 13 you can use "Popups" to show interesting aspects of the data fields.

                           I hope this helps.

                           - Dick

                      • 8. Re: Mimicking Bento Smart Collections in Filemaker Pro 12
                        simplybooksltd

                             Dick, thank you so much for your reply. This is so very helpful and makes sense. I was afraid I was going to have to ditch my Filemaker plans, but I think you've saved me

                             I appreciate you time,

                             Laura