1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Jul 7, 2012 2:33 AM by codecruncher

    Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working



      Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working


      FileMaker Pro



      Operating system version


      Description of the issue

      Check out this latest bug… see first screenshot below. The inspector sometimes decide to simply NOT WORK AT ALL. When I select ANY field on ANY layout, the inspector doesn't give me the ability to choose the "control style". In this particular example, I'm trying to change a Date field to show a pop-up calendar. FM12's inspector fails to let me do that. (See 1st screenshot below.)

      There is no script running. No Install OnTimer Script running. This is just a simple layout with simple fields and nothing out-of-the-ordinary happening. No custom menus installed. I'm logged in with full access. I'm able to move around the entire database, can switch from layout to layout, can save changes, can add/remove fields onto layouts… everything but access the "control style" in the Inspector.

      The solution? Well, the solution WOULD BE to completely quit & relaunch FM12, but when the Inspector freezes, suddenly you can't quit out of FileMaker either! The "Quit" function is completely dimmed.  (See 2nd screenshot below.) There are no custom menus installed. There are no scripts running. This is a simple, bare bones, basic layout, with bare bones, basic fields. I'm logged in with full access. Crazy enough, I can go into all other parts of FileMaker: Manage Database, Manage Security, Manage Value Lists, Preferences, ScriptMaker, etc… I just can't QUIT out of FileMaker.

      So now I have to FORCE QUIT out of FileMaker 12, which leaves the database in a potentially unstable state.

      Thanks, FileMaker Inc.! :)


        • 2. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

          Sounds like this issue:

          For More Information see:     FileMaker enters a modal-like state on editing

          This is one of many acknowledged bugs that can be found in the Known Bug List thread here in the Report an Issue section of the forum.

          It can also be downloaded as a database file from:    https://www.dropbox.com/s/jt09b82i0xijbu3/FMP%20Bugs.zip

          • 3. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

            My problem is SIMILAR to that post, but significantly different. I can perform ALL SORTS OF FUNCTIONS in FileMaker, just not a few vital functions. So for me, FileMaker doesn't enter a "modal" mode at all... it just restricts certain vital functions until I force-quit the application.

            I also forgot to mention that I can't even close all the open windows (so I could at least force-quit FileMaker with NO windows open).

            Why? Because FileMaker 12 doesn't let me close the final open window, either.

            Although FileMaker 12 lets me close other windows… it randomly determines what the "final open window" is going to be.

            So I'm forced to force-quit FM12 with at least one window open.

            • 4. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

              In my bug report, I have this note: "All other commands are enabled though, so the user can get out of it by switching to another mode (e.g. to Find mode and back)."

              I haven't experienced this one personally so can only go by what others have posted. Does this match your experience? Can you switch modes to escape the "Lock up"?

              • 5. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

                Similar, but not quite.

                Yes, all other commands are enabled and I can switch modes (browse, find, layout, preview). I can even go into Manage Database, Manage Value List, Manage Accounts, etc. 

                However, no matter how many other commands I choose, this DOES NOT escape the "lock up" at all.

                The "lock up" remains for 3 things:

                1. I can't close the final window (FileMaker determines what the final window is).

                2. I can't change values on the Inspector.

                3. I can't quit FileMaker Pro.

                So while I can perform almost every other command in FileMaker, it still doesn't get me out of the "lock up".

                Which is weird, because I thought that maybe toggling between browse & layout mode would fix it, but alas no.

                • 6. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

                  Did you try to create a new database in the 'File' menu to get out of the locked state? By creating a new database you might also have the option to close all windows of your current solution and only force quit the new empty database.

                  • 7. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

                    Tried it... didn't work.

                    • 8. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

                      Hello scott2si:

                      Thank you for posting.

                      I need a little help on how to reproduce this issue. Are you able to reproduce this state at will in this file?  Can you narrow it down to a set steps to reproduce?  If you can reproduce at will inside this file would you be willing to submit the file along with steps to reproduce? 


                      FileMaker Inc.

                      • 9. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

                        No, I can't reproduce it. It does it randomly. Many other FileMaker developers that I'm talking to are having this problem as well. One thing that somebody else mentioned is that it might have something to do with having multiple windows open. Who knows. It freezes up about 5 times per day. (In my personal opinion, this FM12 product should never have been unleashed on the public.)

                        • 10. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working


                          One thing that somebody else mentioned is that it might have something to do with having multiple windows open.

                          That would make a lot of sense. I didn't have a single crash or freezing issue and have used FileMaker 12 quite extensively but my solution has only one window open.  

                          • 11. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

                            I've long made it a practice to limit my solutions to no more than two windows open at any given time--one as the Main window for browsing and one that appears as needed as a "feature enhanced" modal dialog box. This isn't an effort to avoid crashes, just see it as a less confusing interface for the user then what a multiple window solution can easily become.

                            • 12. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

                              I disagree. All the single-window solutions I've seen are way too limiting for the user, especially intelligent users. I know that there's a trend amongst FileMaker developers to limit users to a single window, but I am very vocal about being against that trend.

                              If a multi-window solution is designed well (and mine are designed EXCELLENTLY), then they are extremely intuitive & easy-to-use for the user. It's not any more difficult that someone having multiple Microsoft Word or Excel documents open at the same time... or multiple Safari windows open at the same time.

                              For example, I have a solution that is being used by a large company of almost 100 employees, and they almost always need to have multiple windows open to quickly bounce back & forth between all the information that they want to see quickly. Each major module lives in in its own window (Quotes, Invoices, Contracts, Rental Equipment, Purchase Orders, etc.).

                              Sometimes they themselves will manually create multiple windows for the same module -- so they can compare 2 or 3 quotes side-by-side, for example.

                              • 13. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

                                The thing I most dislike about multiple window formats in FileMaker is the awful "window inside a window" format you are stuck with on windows systems. With a single main window design, you can keep the windows in a maximized state to eliminate that format and leave maximized state with the main window resized to "nearly" maximized for the short times when a script has opened a second window as a dialog. Not really how I'd like to do this, but has been the best compromise I've been able to come up with when developing for Windows systems.

                                And I don't think having multiple windows open in Word (which I used to do frequently when my job required more tech writing), is a good example to use for a database. Even with multiple documents open, I almost always only wanted to see one window at a time--getting more than two document windows open at the same time quickly became quite annoying as import document details disappeared behind overlapping windows or disappeared off the edge if the windows were sized to not overlap...

                                • 14. Re: Vital FileMaker Functions Suddenly Stop Working

                                  I've only ever used FileMaker on Mac, and all my clients are 100% Mac-based businesses, so the multiple window thing isn't a problem on the Mac. But I have seen a Windows PC a few times in the past, and I totally understand what you're saying about that "window within a window" problem.

                                  The Mac, in general, handles multiple windows better than Windows... it's built right into the operating system with tools like Exposé, Spaces, Mission Control, and the command-tilde function for cycling through open windows. As a Mac user, I think it's more confusing to use the same window to bounce back & forth between completely separate parts of a system... because there's so many times that you need to see two things at once or compare two things side-by-side.

                                  However, the vast majority of FileMaker developers have a difficult time doing multiple windows correctly, because FileMaker doesn't necessarily make it easy to make an outstanding multiple-window solution. Developers often get themselves in trouble with multiple windows... they don't know how to cleanup after themselves and end up with hundreds of spawning windows that multiply all over the place like bunny rabbits.

                                  Some of the tricks to good multiple window management are:

                                  - Each window represents a different table, and each table only has one window open at any given time. (Unless the user manually chooses the "New Window" command, which is enabled for advanced users.)

                                  - Each window should always be named appropriately with a distinct name so you can always find that window when necessary. 

                                  - Whenever "going to a related record" in another table, that table's window should always be closed & re-opened with the exact same coordinates to prevent multiple windows from spawning out of control. The usage of the same coordinates enables the user to place their windows exactly where they want them (particularly in a multiple-monitor setup) and they can rest assured that their windows will stay where they placed them. 

                                  - Each table's layouts can optionally have a distinct background color to make it easier to distinguish in Exposé or Mission Control.

                                  - Developers often fret about multiple windows being open if a different user logs in with a different privilege set that doesn't grant them access to all the previously-open windows, so there has to be a re-login script that automatically cycles through all the windows after a re-login and closes the inappropriate windows.

                                  - There should always be a central "Main Menu" window, which is the first window that opens up in the solution. Each button on the main menu corresponds to a different table and will always launch that table in a new, appropriately named window. Unless that window is already open, in which case, it just goes to the already-open window.

                                  It takes some time to perfect the art of multiple window management, but I've got an entire workflow that I've been tweaking & perfecting over the last 10 years to make the art of multiple window management work really well. It's so much easier now that I have a blueprint to follow, but it took a while to figure it out.

                                  Below is an example screenshot of a simple script that "goes to a related record" in another table.

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