1 2 3 Previous Next 32 Replies Latest reply on Mar 14, 2017 10:58 AM by TSGal

    Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15

    scottworld

      I've stumbled upon an interesting bug in the FileMaker Pro 15.0.1.119 client for OS X 10.11.6. This does not happen with FileMaker Pro 14.0.6, only in FileMaker Pro 15.0.1.119.

       

      We are connected to a FileMaker Server (version 14.0.4.412 running on Windows Server 2012R2). We haven't yet upgraded the server machine to FileMaker Server 15, so I'm wondering if that would be the quick fix to this problem.

       

      You can see a video of this problem by clicking on this link:

      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2473414/portal_flicker.mov

      Fast forward to about 17 seconds into the video to see this problem happening more frequently.

       

      And here is the explanation of the problem which you are witnessing in the video:

       

      We have a layout based on the classic theme that has a portal on it. For this particular record, our portal is displaying 1,200 related records. The portal is being sorted by 4 unstored calculation fields in the child table. The portal does have FileMaker filtering enabled, but FileMaker filtering is based on a calculation which currently results in the number 1... meaning that this portal is currently showing ALL the related records in the portal (so no actual filtering is currently taking place). The portal's relationship itself is based on an unstored calculation in the parent table matching a stored calculation field in the child table.

       

      Whenever we move our mouse over the portal itself, the portal begins to flicker. It's almost like the portal is trying to refresh the portal underneath our mouse movements. The parent record is committed, and all the child records are committed. We are not clicking into any parent fields, and we are not clicking into any child fields. We are simply moving our mouse back-and-forth across the screen -- but in order for this problem to occur, we must be moving our mouse OVER THE PORTAL ITSELF.  If we move our mouse around on other parts of the screen, the portal does NOT flicker at all. But as soon as we move our mouse over the portal, the portal flickers underneath our mouse. Sometimes, the flickering will cause the portal to jump all the way back to the very top of the portal, even though our portal options are set to NOT reset the scroll bar when exiting the record. There are no script triggers being triggered.

       

      Thoughts on how to fix this? Perhaps the solution is as easy as upgrading the server to FileMaker Server 15?

        • 1. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
          TSGal

          scottworld:

           

          Thank you for your detailed post and video.

           

          I do not see any previous report similar to what you are encountering, so I don't know if FileMaker Server 15 would fix your issue.  Regardless, I have submitted your post and video to our Development and Testing departments for review.  If possible, I would like to get a copy of your solution so Development and Testing can work directly with your solution and determine why this is occurring.  I have sent you a private message with instructions where to send the solution.

           

          TSGal

          FileMaker, Inc.

          • 2. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
            scottworld

            Thanks so much, TSGal. I will send you a copy of the file in a few hours from now. Also, one thing I forgot to mention is that the problem seems to be more frequent if the portal has been scrolled down a little bit into the middle of the portal rows somewhere. That's what you can see in the video: all the records are committed (both parent and child records), but the portal has been previously scrolled down a little bit. (In other words: the portal was scrolled first, and then the record was committed.)

            • 3. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
              TSGal

              scottworld:

               

              Thanks for the additional notes.  I have added these notes to the original report.

               

              TSGal

              FileMaker, Inc.

              • 4. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
                TSGal

                scottworld:

                 

                Development and Testing have asked:

                 

                1. Does the issue occur with the file locally (that is, not hosted)?

                2. Are any plug-ins enabled?  If so, does the issue occur without plug-ins?

                3. Is there any OnTimer script active/running?

                4. Is this the only file where the issue occurs?

                5. With less related records, does the issue occur?

                 

                TSGal

                FileMaker, Inc.

                • 5. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
                  scottworld

                  Hi TSGal,

                   

                  1. Does the issue occur with the file locally (that is, not hosted)?

                   

                  We have not tested this.

                   

                  2. Are any plug-ins enabled?  If so, does the issue occur without plug-ins?

                   

                  No plug-ins on either the server or any of the FileMaker clients. We are a plug-in-free zone!

                   

                  3. Is there any OnTimer script active/running?

                   

                  None.

                   

                  4. Is this the only file where the issue occurs?

                   

                  This is the only file which we are using at this company, so we have no other files to test it with.

                   

                  5. With less related records, does the issue occur?

                   

                  Yes.

                  • 6. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
                    TSGal

                    scottworld:

                     

                    Thank you for the additional information.

                     

                    Our Testing department is unable to replicate the issue, so they would like to get a clone of the file to determine why it is flickering.  I have sent you a private message with instructions where to send the file.

                     

                    TSGal

                    FileMaker, Inc.

                    • 7. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
                      scottworld

                      Thanks, TSGal -- I will get you this file soon. Sorry I didn't get it to you earlier... the last few days have been crazy busy. It turns out that this portal flickering issue has also been happening during the EXACT SAME TIME PERIOD as our FileMaker Server's scheduled backups freezing/stalling!

                       

                      We didn't realize that our scheduled backups weren't working until today, but all of our FileMaker Server backups since September 14th have been stuck on the status of "running". See screenshot below. We haven't gotten any failure emails from FileMaker Server, because FMS apparently thinks that the backups are still running (so no need to send us a failure message yet). FMS also lists "Disabled" for one of our backup schedules, even though it is actually set to "Enabled" within its settings. Very weird.

                       

                      So it's extremely possible that this freezing/stalling issue is somehow interrelated with our portal flickering problem -- just something weird happening with the server machine or the FMS software in general. We'll be restarting the FileMaker Server late tonight after all the employees go home, and then I should be able to get you the file tomorrow. Plus, I should be able to see tomorrow if the portal flickering is still happening as well, after a server restart.

                       

                      Thanks,

                      Scott

                      Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 7.35.04 PM.png

                      • 8. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
                        scottworld

                        So just to follow up on this issue: We believe that the flickering problem was the "canary in the coal mine" warning to us that something was wrong with our server machine. The flickering problem was happening at the same time that all of our scheduled backups were frozen in FMS, but we couldn't stop FMS. This was probably caused by another problem happening at the exact same time: our Windows Server 2012R2 FileMaker Server machine's operating system totally froze up on us... couldn't use Windows Explorer or click on anything on the desktop, etc. The IT Department tried some advanced Windows troubleshooting stuff, and they couldn't gain control of the OS either. They unsuccessfully tried a bunch of IT tricks for about an hour, and they finally gave up and force shut down the machine. (The force shut down damaged our  FileMaker database, which was unrecoverable by FMP, so we had to resort to our last good backup copy.)

                        • 9. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
                          scottworld

                          Ack, well it wasn't a server OS problem, it wasn't a Windows problem, and it wasn't a FileMaker Pro 14 issue. We moved to a brand new Mac Pro server, running FileMaker Server 15.0.2, and all of our client machines are running FileMaker Pro 15.0.2. Same portal flickering problem. I will send you a sample file.

                          • 10. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
                            scottworld

                            You know, I don't know if a sample file will help or not, because the issue of the flashing line items seems to only happen during peak times when the FileMaker Server is very busy -- we have 70 people accessing the server at the current moment, and the issue is happening at the current moment for all users.

                             

                            You can see this problem in my newly-updated movie here:

                            Dropbox - flashing_line_items.mov

                             

                            Some interesting observations:

                            - The line items only seem to happen when the mouse cursor moves over the portal.

                            - Nobody is editing any of the child records (line items) at the current moment, and nobody is editing the parent record either. So this record, along with all of its line items, are completely static... yet the flickering or flashing continues.

                             

                            Thanks,

                            Scott

                            • 11. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
                              TSGal

                              scottworld:

                               

                              Thank you for the movie.

                               

                              When I observe the movie, it looks like a field is being activated, and when you click outside the field, even though no changes have been made to the field, the record is committed, and a refresh occurs.

                               

                              Are there any layout script triggers?

                               

                              Using your remedy from your last postings, I assume the rebooting of the server had no effect this time?

                               

                              Regardless, I have sent the link to the video to Development and Testing for additional review.

                               

                              TSGal

                              FileMaker, Inc.

                              • 12. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
                                scottworld

                                Hi TSGal,

                                 

                                For some reason, that link above takes me to a very low-resolution version of my video. Here is a link which seems to take me to a much higher resolution of my video: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2473414/flashing_line_items.mov

                                 

                                No fields are being activated. The record (and all of its line items) are fully committed/closed the entire time. (What you might be seeing near the beginning of the video is that I accidentally clicked on an invisible button, which doesn't do anything. That button is hidden by conditional formatting, because this solution was created before we had the native ability to hide objects.)

                                 

                                You are correct -- rebooting the server has absolutely no effect.

                                 

                                Yes, there is one layout script trigger upon committing the record, but since the record isn't being committed, the layout script trigger never fires.

                                 

                                After studying this problem for several months now, I have come up with the following 6 pieces of additional information:

                                 

                                1. The issue is that the line items in a portal are constantly flashing/flickering, whenever users move their mouse over the portal. If the users DON'T move their mouse over the portal, everything is fine.

                                 

                                2. This problem NEVER HAPPENS with FileMaker Pro 14. It ONLY happens with FileMaker Pro 15. The problem happens with both FileMaker Pro 15.0.1 and FileMaker Pro 15.0.2.

                                 

                                3. The problem happens with ALL 4 of these server configurations:

                                - FileMaker Server 14.0.4 (OS X 10.11.6)

                                - FileMaker Server 14.0.6 (Windows Server 2012 R2)

                                - FileMaker Server 15.0.2 (OS X 10.11.6)

                                - FileMaker Server 15.0.2 (Windows Server 2012 R2)

                                 

                                4. No users are modifying the record at the time of the flashing/flickering (i.e. nobody is editing the line items, and nobody is editing the parent record).

                                 

                                5. The portal is sorted by an unstored calculation field, so that might be causing the problem.

                                 

                                6. This problem only seems to happen when the FileMaker Server is very busy, and when the user is looking at a portal that has over 1,000 line items in it. For example, we currently have about 85 users accessing the database right now, so right now, the problem is happening for all users. But later on, when there are only about 40 users accessing the database, the problem will disappear.

                                 

                                SOME THOUGHTS:

                                 

                                A.) REPRODUCING THE PROBLEM ON YOUR END:

                                 

                                It might be difficult for you guys to reproduce this problem on your end without logging in live to our system (because of the criteria I outlined in #6 above), so if you'd like, I can give you access to log in directly into our system to see this problem happening live within your own client copy of FileMaker Pro.

                                 

                                B.) MY EMAIL CONVERSATION WITH JAMES:

                                 

                                I emailed all 6 of the items above to James at FileMaker Inc., and he emailed me back with this information: "FileMaker Pro 15 client changed the way we redraw (for performance). I suspect you’re triggering a redraw / state change by moving the mouse over the portal."

                                 

                                I wrote him back with this question: "Is there any way for me to prevent the redraw / state change from happening when moving the mouse over the portal? In the Appearance Inspector for the portal, the state is already identical for both "Normal" and "Hover". Although we are still using the Classic theme, so maybe that's causing the problem."

                                 

                                So maybe this is a problem that only affects CLASSIC THEMES?

                                 

                                C.) NEW INFORMATION:

                                 

                                I also forgot to mention above that sometimes, the line items DISAPPEAR ALTOGETHER (INSTEAD OF FLASHING) until we switch layouts and come back to the layout again -- at which point, all the line items reappear.

                                 

                                Thanks,

                                Scott

                                • 13. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
                                  TSGal

                                  scottworld:

                                   

                                  Thank you for the answers and additional observations.  I have sent this information back to Development and Testing for review.

                                   

                                  Since the Classic theme has been removed from FileMaker Pro 15, try duplicating the layout, change the theme in the duplicated layout to Minimalist, and then make any additional adjustments.  See if the issue still occurs.

                                   

                                  TSGal

                                  FileMaker, Inc.

                                  • 14. Re: Portal flickering in FileMaker Pro 15
                                    scottworld

                                    Thanks so much, TSGal... I will definitely try the theme adjustment the very next time this issue happens! That might solve the entire issue right there!

                                     

                                    Also, please let me know if you would like direct access to this solution, so you can log in directly yourself while the problem is actually happening.

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