6 Replies Latest reply on May 9, 2012 11:21 PM by Sorbsbuster

    What are your layout folder strategies?



      What are your layout folder strategies?


      I am interested in learning how people use layout folders to manage their layouts.  Do you mind sharing?

      I am a recent Mac convert who is quite familiar with Access and new to Filemaker Pro.  Access' database container with Tables, Queries, Forms, Reports, and Macros is either logical to me or I am just used to it.  In coming over to FMP, I must admit that I am having difficulty in seeing a logical organization of Tables, Find Sets, Layouts, and Scripts.  I look to layout folders as a means by which Tables, Find Sets, and Layouts can be organized.

      Assuming that layout folders does or can organize such FMP entities, I'd like to hear from others on how they leverage this feature.  I am also open to hearing from (former) Access users on their FMP learning curve experience.

      Thanks in advance.



        • 1. Re: What are your layout folder strategies?

          Tables (and their close cousins, Table Occurances) are 'stored' and organised in the Relationship Graph.  You can call them what you like, but I strongly recommend the 'Anchor-Buoy' method.
          You can add notes and boxes to the graph, and colour-code the table occurances.

          Layouts are organised in the File - Manage - Layouts dialogue, and can be sorted and grouped into folders.  I tend to sort them into folders based on their underlying table, with most-times a Form version and a List version.  Maybe then a few summary versions, but often one summary layout can multi-task.  Then I would have a sub-folder with layouts that the user never sees but are used for printing, say.  Layouts and layout folders can be hidden from the user's view if required.

          Scripts are orgainsed under the Script Menu.  You can choose to display them as menu items.  You can group them into folders and have separators.  I tend to group them by Table (eg: Customer Scripts, Product Scripts, Invoice Scripts) or sometimes I group them functionally (Record Creation and Deletion, Import and Export, Printing, etc.)

          Find Sets tend to be attached to scripts, so they often have a folder of their own inside the Scripts window.  There is another feature that allows the user to Save Finds and re-use them, but I'm ignoring that.

          • 2. Re: What are your layout folder strategies?

            Just adding a few more comments to what Sorbsbuster has shared....

            Here's a link to an article on anchor buoy:

            I tend to organize my layouts in folders by one of two approaches:

            By role:

            All the layouts for data entry by clerks goes in this folder, the boss's report layouts go here, my developler only layouts go here...

            By Anchors from the Anchor Buoy organization of my Relationships Graph

            Every Layout refers to a table occurrence and the Anchor Buoy method orgainizes your TO's by layout--Thus, it's a very logical extension of that method to put all the layouts that refer to the same "Anchor" TO in the same folder.

            And about Found Sets:

            They are Ephemeral, unlike record sets produced by the SQL query underlying a form or report in Access. In Access, that record set can only be changed by using Visual Basic to redefine the Query. In FileMaker, any user can enter find mode, perform an "ad hoc" find and you now have a new found set associated with that layout's table occurrence. And they can sort the records on your layouts at any time also. You can lock them out of these options if you choose, but the default settings permit users to do this.

            Each Table Occurrence in a given window has its own Found set, sort order and current record. Layouts that refer to the same table occurrence share the same found set. Layouts based on a different table occurrence (even if it's an occurrence of the same table) or that are open in a different window (even if it's the exact same layout) do not sahre the same table occurrence.

            • 4. Re: What are your layout folder strategies?

              Hey David. I feel your pain!  :)

              I also started out in MSAccess and had to look for an alternative for Mac users.

              I created my first db in Access and my second had to be in filemaker.

              In the beginning I was frustrated and couldn't figure out the way filemaker worked.

              My savior was a series of filemaker video's (screencasts) they showed me the way :)

              After about two weeks of learning filemaker I was so crazy about filemaker that I recreated my first Access db in Filemaker and it took me about two days.

              It's true that it's a bit of a learning curve but the cool thing about filemaker is that it gives you tiny, little lego blocks to work with. Each block has a certain function and is pretty easy to figure out. But with all of these lego blocks you could build whatever you want, even a lego deathstar :)

              Use this documentation if you haven't already looked at it:

              There are documents that explain all the script steps and all the calculation functions.

              And for all other help, we are here for you   :)

              I can tell you I have not been so exited about a piece of software like I am about Filemaker in a looooong time.
              It takes a little getting used to, and a little help to see the light, but once you get there you'll never go back.

              • 5. Re: What are your layout folder strategies?

                Good stuff here.  Thanks for sharing.  I also appreciate the sentiment.

                One aspect of FMP in particular I see lacking is the ability to save sort specifications.  One can save Finds.  What is the obstacle in saving Sort Specs?

                The workaround in using Scripts seems to me to be exactly that...a band aid.  I was looking at multiple layouts as another workaround but at a cost of numerous layouts.  Hence the need to leverage layout folders as a way to organize them.

                • 6. Re: What are your layout folder strategies?

                  What aspect is using Scripts a "Band-Aid workaround"?

                  Sorts can be saved exactly the same way as Finds.  Also:

                  - you can assign any sort order to a button directly.
                  - you can right-click on any field and perform various Finds (match, constrain, etc) directly, and also sort by that field
                  - in Table view you can sort by header, like Excel
                  - in List view I often make the header text a button that lets the user click to sort by that field
                  - you can have conventional ascending and descending sorts, but also custom sorts by value list

                  What aspect are you trying to leverage by using multiple layouts?