3 Replies Latest reply on Jul 30, 2010 7:41 PM by RonaldKnapp

    New to FileMaker - List Box Help



      New to FileMaker - List Box Help


      I hope that someone can help me out with a couple of Filemaker questions.I currently do not own Filemaker but have been planning on buying a new MAC and would purchase a copy of Filemaker if it can serve my needs. I already have a new IPAD and the possibly of hosting a Filemaker application using the newly available FileMaker Go for IPAD is another major reason for using Filemaker.

      I currently have a database application I use under Windows that is the culmination perhaps 15 to 20 years of work. I started developing it under the software available at the time and have been able to go through several different upgrades and transformations to different software while keeping my original basic data intact. I would like to be able to do this with Filemaker. The application is for my own personal use but I find it extremely handy to have available and would not do without it. If needed I would run Windows under the MAC but I would like to not have to do this if at all possible.

      The application currently resides on a SQL backend database and I use a custom front end to display and query the information. I can also connect via ODBC to Microsoft Access which I find handy to create the occasional special report. I can move the whole thing under a standalone program like Access but I would have to learn - relearn access programming which doesn't seem like a good idea as I am trying to get rid of Windows completely. I would rather put the effort into learning something I could use on the MAC and perhaps display on an IPAD.

      I have searched the internet for Filemaker information and have been able to satisfactorily answer most of my questions but not all of them. I apologize if I will be asking dumb questions because it is difficult to deal with written description without actually having the program in front of me.

      My first and largest problem is that my current application uses a 'list box' which contains a list of all the records from the primary field of the database. This list is then used to select the desired record for display. When my application first opens it opens a database connection and among other things does a select and populates a temporary record set containing the values to be displayed in the 'list box'. While using the appliction I often need to see just a subset of the records and this is accomplished by choosing the subset from a group of possible choices displayed on the screen and the application then executes another select this time with a where clause and re-populates the 'list box' record set with the desired records. I haven't been able to find a 'list box' control. A drop down is not what I am looking for. I need to see and scroll as many records as I can fit on the screen. I have found reference to some third party controls which seem to be a list box type control but I would be very reluctant to use anything which might cause an IPAD version not to work.

      One possible solution seems to be creating a list view in a Filemaker application and then embedding - referencing this in the primary Filemaker application. If this indeed works it seems a little clumsy to accomplish what I want and I may be misunderstanding what I saw. As I said above please excuse me because I don't have a copy of the program to try and I am dealing with what documentation I am able to find. I should also note the my library sources only contain books up to version 8.5 and of course improvements are always being made so that current versions may be better able to handle this.

      If I can find a way to use a 'list box' to view and select records and to have the application able to change the contents of this list box I feel the rest of my needs can be met with what I have been able to see from the documentation. Indeed it appears there are some things in Filemaker which will make several of the other things I do in the application easy to implement.

      A final mention that I have simplified my description of my application and it is at least somewhat normalized and there are several tables that are part of the application but none of this seems to create any insurmountable problems to Filemaker.

      Thanks for any help or advise you are able to give me in this area

        • 1. Re: New to FileMaker - List Box Help

          Filemaker does not have a "list box" control but you can design something with the same look and feel. A list view layout with each row a click-able button is one approach--not sure what aspect of that is "clumsy" in your eyes but it can do the job. It can even be popped up in a smaller floating window if desired.

          You can also list your records in a portal and with proper scripting and attention to details, this can look and function exactly like a typical list box. It can even do the typical list box one better by having a scroll bar so you can work with more records than fit in the box.

          Either list view or portal can be set up so that you can make a single selection or multiple selections. Scripting would use your selections to either display a single selected record on the same page or bring up a matching group of records on the same or a different layout. These scripts either perform a find or use Go To Related Records to bring up your selected records in a found set that should function as your "temporary set of records" that you mentioned.

          • 2. Re: New to FileMaker - List Box Help

            Your descriptions of "selecting" and "subsets" sounds like a standard Filemaker "Find" which finds records that match criteria which you can specify in numerous ways.

            The way your 'list box' functions actually does sound pretty much like the List View in Filemaker. Filemaker also has a "portal" control which displays related records in a scrollable list format.

            But the best way to find out whether Filemaker will suit your needs or not is to download the trial version and give it a go :-)



            • 3. Re: New to FileMaker - List Box Help

              Somehow in my research I completely missed portals probably because the name did register and being applicable to the problem I was trying to solve. I will have to give this a better look. I had noticed the find command and felt that it would be useful to filter the record set (if you don’t mind my still referring to it that way) used to populate the list. My original question concerns the method for generating a list box type control. Once I have created a list box type control filtering it should be relatively easy. My reference to clumsy concerns implementing the list box concept as an available control not that the methods you point out will not work and probably work well.


              I have to admit to being a little surprised by the small numbers of controls available in Filemaker because of the ease which I have become accustomed to being able to set a couple of properties and get desired results from existing controls available to me. The fault is mine, as I have stated, because I am not acquainted with the way Filemaker does things and once I am aquanted I am convinced it will be fine. I did not want to purchase the program to run on windows which I probably won’t use a few months down the road and then have to purchase the MAC version.


              You have given me enough good hints that I can look into this a little more and clarify some things in my mind before I actually get to work with Filemaker on a MAC.


              Thank you for your assistance I feel that it will do what I want once I get my hands on the program.