1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Nov 7, 2011 2:21 PM by ntay

    FileMaker Go Speed Challenges



      FileMaker Go Speed Challenges


       I'm getting started with FileMaker Go on iPad and am becoming frustrated with the poor user experience caused by how slow the system is in a variety of ways.  My file is on a remote server and it also has an external data source setup to a SQL server.  We have robust WiFi in all our locations so I really don't want to have to delve into sync'ing if it can be avoided. 

      • Screen redraws when switching between layouts or rotating the iPad - you can actually see blocks like a puzzle putting itself together.
      • It's taking up to 4 seconds for a simple pop-up menu choice to actually show in the field after making the selection.
      • Using a checkmark image in a global container field in a utility table and setting up a button to copy that image into the field in list view when a user touches the box (Could FileMaker please give us better looking built in check boxes?) - this is taking about 2-3 seconds from the tap until you can actually see the checkmark AND the redraw of the checkmark is so slow that you can actually see it being drawn in two passes.  The checkmark image is only a 189 byte PNG.  I did try this locally on the iPad and it was faster, but still a little bit sluggish.  It seems like something so simple should be instant.

      It's starting to seem like the only way to get acceptable performance is by having the file locally on the iPad and syncing with the server.  I was hoping to avoid doing that....


        • 1. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges


          Thank you for your post.

          We are aware of the screen tiling, as you can also see this with Safari.  We are working to try and improve this.

          One function that slows down processing is a background image.  Can you explain more about the pop-up menu choice field?  That is, how many choice values do you have?  How many fields are formatted for pop-up menu?  Do you have a lot of images being displayed?

          Any other information you can provide about the checkbox image would be appreciated.

          Naturally, just like FileMaker Pro, data being accessed on a local drive will be faster than accessing data across a network.

          FileMaker, Inc.

          • 2. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges


            I appreciate your reply.  I added some screenshots to my original post of how it looks in Pro.  I don't have any images in the layout except the checkmark image in the 2nd screenshot.  Everything else is built-in FileMaker graphics.

            Pop-up menu (1st screenshot):

            This field is set up as a pop-up menu with a value list configured with static custom values.  The red conditional formatting is actually on an empty text object behind the field.  I used the Text tool in layout mode to create basically an empty box (by pressing spacebar once), applying conditional formatting and placing it behind the field.  This object is also the button for the field.  The user taps the button which runs a script to checks a few things before placing the user into the field which is not accessible in Browse mode.  Once in the field, the user gets the pop-up menu.  After making a selection, an OnObjectModify script trigger runs to "timestamp" the user action by logging the current time into a field that is not on the layout and then performing "Go To Field []" so the user doesn't need to double tap to enter the next field.  This all works almost instantly in Pro.

            Checkboxes (2nd screenshot):

            The 2nd screenshot shows what I'm doing with the checkmark image.  When the user taps the white space (a text object behind the field) a button runs a script to copy the checkmark image from a global container field into the container field on in the local table.  The script is short and basically just turns off allow user abort, sets error capture on, does an If statement to check if its appropriate to allow the user to check the box, and if so, sets the field with the checkmark image and the current time into a time field.  Again, this also works instantly in Pro, even across the network.

            • 3. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges


              Thanks for the information.  For the future, you can add the screen shots to the current post.  That way, when other customers read this thread, they'll wonder why I asked questions about the layout when it is now evident in the first post.  :-)

              For the first scenario with the pop-up menu, the static values are good.  The conditional formatting may play a role.  Also remember that iOS and processing speed is going to be slower than Mac OS X/Windows and Intel/PowerPC processor.

              In the second scenario, having a checkbox image is good, as fields formatted as Checkboxes tend to be slow.  You mentioned that you "copy the checkmark image from a global container field into the container field on in the local table." Try using a global container field set for two repetitions; the first repetition being blank and the second repetition containing the checkbox image.  Then have the button toggle between "1" and "2", and a calculation (resulting in type Container) could reference the first or second repetition through the toggle.  This may help speed up the process.

              If you want, I'll look at your database file to see if I can find other ways to speed up the processing.  Check your Inbox at the top of this page for instructions where to send the file.

              FileMaker, Inc.

              • 4. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges

                Your design is the problem. It was designed to run in Filemaker Pro and not Filemaker Go. 

                It is essential to test any design where it will be used. And during developemnt and not wait until you are finished before you try it out in GO or IWP or elsewhere.

                A developer must test and test and learn how things DO work and adjust to those conditions.

                Popup menus work fine and data fills in even over a remote connection asap because that is the way Filemaker works. This speed can be slowed terribly by use of graphics that must be loaded, custom functions, triggers and so on. 

                Oh, did you use on record load for your trigger? That fires every time one of the records in the list loads which can really slow thing down. And there's more...

                • 5. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges

                   Jack, thanks for your reply.  Like you suggest, I certainly am testing on iPad as I go on this.  Since I'm running the solution from Server, I can see the effect of any changes I make immediately on the iPad sitting right next to me.  I came to the forum for help because I had already tested and tested and tried everything I could think of to make it work faster. 

                  I have a hard time accepting that what I'm trying to do (see my screenshots in the first post) is a design that won't work well on Go.  If I have to strip out all graphics (which in my layouts are just simple rectangles drawn with built-in filemaker tools), all script triggers (mine is OnObjectModify), all conditional formatting, all pop-up menus, and everything else that makes FileMaker such a nice development platform just to get acceptable responsiveness out of FileMaker Go then I just won't use FileMaker Go. 

                  TSGal's suggestion of using repititions and other such tips and tricks that may not be obvious are the kind of thing I'm looking for to see if I can get a good user experience on the iPad.  If you have experience designing solutions that work well on Go, I welcome any specific suggestions you may have.  It would be helpful if these kinds of tips and tricks were documented in the FileMaker Go Development Guide.

                  • 6. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges

                    Hi NTay,


                    You may be able to replace the containers with the checkmark image by a text character equivalent (✔) which will display much faster in FM Go.

                    • 7. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges

                       Hi Jade,

                      I tried that, but my iPad doesn't have the Wingdings font on it, so it just displayed as a box.  Maybe I'm missing something...

                      • 8. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges

                        It's not a Wingdings font.  It's an extended character of the Arial set.  If you are using FMP on a Mac, use the "Show Character Viewer" in the keyboards.  It works on both my iPhone and iPad 2 in FM Go.

                        • 9. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges


                          I received your file.  Thank you.

                          As you surmised, I don't have an ODBC connection to the data, so I trying to make speed improvements were a bit challenging.

                          Several of your fields have script triggers, and conditional formatting.  Again, keep in mind that both the processor speed and the iOS interface on an iPad are slower than the processor speed and Mac OS X interface on a Mac.  The most noticeable performance differences are with graphics, so the more you can simplify or remove graphics from the iPad/iPhone layouts, the better the performance.

                          IF you use the repetition example mentioned earlier, there would be only two Set Field script steps in the "Breakfast" script.  That is, the first Set Field would toggle the field that would reference the appropriate global Container repetition, and the existing second Set Field step (to set the Container field) would be unneccessary.

                          Also keep in mind that a Startup Script could be used to check the platform.  That is, Get ( SystemPlatform ) will return the value 3 if the platform is iOS.  This will enable you to have certain layouts for Mac, and other layouts for the iPad.

                          FileMaker, Inc.

                          • 10. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges

                            I tried the repetition suggestion, removed some conditional formatting I could live without and removed some rectangles that I had behind the fields.  Now the checkmarks are displaying in about a second, which is an improvement and might be good enough.

                            Next I'm going to try Jade's idea to see if that will be even faster.  I on a PC and can't seem to find which character in the Arial font is the checkmark.  Jade do you know the Char() value?

                            • 11. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges



                              It' s identified as "Arial Unicode MS" if that helps (try Unicode 2713 or 2714).  If it displays as a checkmark below, try copying it from here and pasting into FMP:


                              • 12. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges

                                 Got it, thanks.  Alas, it doesn't seem to be any faster for me...  I also changed the script so the Set Field puts the "✔" character right into a text field without using any calculations and it still takes about a full second to display. 

                                I am also noticing something else interesting... in my list view of about 15 records, the checkmarks appear slightly faster for the records at the bottom of the list.  For example, when I tap the box for record 15 or 14, the checkmark appears pretty quickly, like about .5 seconds.  But when I tap record 12 or lower it seems to take about 1 second.  I can't tell if it gets progressively slower or just gets slower starting at record 12. 

                                Oh well.  I appreciate everyone's help.

                                • 13. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges

                                   Does it help any if you disable the colour backgrounds on alternate rows?

                                  • 14. Re: FileMaker Go Speed Challenges

                                    Glyphs is a free app that lets you copy one or more characters to be pasted elsewhere such as an email to yourself or inside a Filemaker field.


                                    On Windows the Character Map utility is similar to the one on Macintosh.


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