1 2 Previous Next 20 Replies Latest reply on Feb 22, 2017 6:43 AM by llamaassemblies

    Dynamicness regarding portals?

    llamaassemblies

      I was curious if there are any tricks involved that could make Filemaker appear more dynamic than it already is. For example, portals are rather annoying because of the requirement that the user drag and drop particularly to the empty row, it would be nice if there was some way to make it automatically detect the row that was empty and move the file to it. I could potentially add an invisible entity behind the portal, but the portal needs to be able to open whatever file the user drops into the containers, so it needs to remain able to be interacted with.

       

      I also am curious about dynamic resizing of portals. Say I have 1 entry in a portal, that is a lot of wasted space below the portal for entries that don't yet exist. Is it possible to make portals see how many records are in a portal and resize appropriately to show just the data and one more field to drop the newest data in?

       

      Are there any tricks that could pull these off? Plugins?

        • 1. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
          philmodjunk

          You might provide a more detailed description of what you are doing? I was three quarters thru this before I figured out that you wanted to drag and drop files into a container field in the "add" row of a portal.

           

          That row isn't an empty record, by the way. It's just a layout object that appears looking like the last row of the portal when "allow creation" is enabled in the relationship used as the basis for the portal on a given layout. It's not the only way to add a record to a portal's table by any means.

           

          You could place a global container field on your layout into which to drag and drop a file and then the OnObjectModify trigger might be used to run a script that creates a new related record in the portal's table and transfer the file from the global container field to the container field in that new related record.

           

          You might look up "MagicKey" as a nice way to add records in a related table without having to change layouts, open new windows etc in order to add that new record and populate its fields with data.

          • 2. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
            llamaassemblies

            The drag and drop method works quite well and is pretty intuitive. I don't exactly see how "MagicKey" or a global container field would help with the limitations I described. In fact, both sound a bit more complicated without really offering any benefits besides being an alternative.

             

            Yes, what I am basically doing is dragging and dropping a file into a portal. The problem is that I need to drop it into an "add" row as you mentioned, which means anywhere else will get an error message that "The file could not be translated using the selected file type". I either need a way to make this message make more sense to the general user, or a way to fix the problem. As the error message is built into Filemaker, it seems like a trick is needed to get around it.

             

            The best solution, if it is possible, is to get the portal to show only the number of related records and the "add" row. Dropping a file into the "add" row will result in the portal rows being resized so that all are visible until a certain minimum is hit, whereby new records shall just be added to the bottom. I am curious if there is a way to get this dynamic nature, using a plugin or otherwise.

             

            If not, is there a way to make this global container field appear as the portal and make it able to be interacted with on any row that already has data? There isn't exactly room on the layout for an extra container field, nor would it be intuitive to require it to be dropped someplace to be accessed in some other location. A drag and drop feels more intuitive, it just has the shortcoming of only permitting the file to be dragged to the "add" row (the rows below that just being unable to be edited until more records are created) when it needs to be able to modify any row with data already.

            • 3. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
              philmodjunk

              Yes, what I am basically doing is dragging and dropping a file into a portal. The problem is that I need to drop it into an "add" row as you mentioned, which means anywhere else will get an error message that "The file could not be translated using the selected file type".

               

              You are mistaken. If the thing that you want to avoid is to not have to drag and drop into the add row, you can do exactly has I recommended and have a single place to which to drag and drop a file and the script associated with that trigger can create the new record and transfer the file.

               

              "The file could not be translated using the selected file type".

               

              Would indicate an error in how you set this up, not that the method that I recommended does not work.

              • 4. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
                llamaassemblies

                "The file could not be translated using the selected file type".

                Refers to the empty rows below the "add" row and the message I get because of the lack of it being a recognized area to input data.

                 

                I think you misinterpret my goals. I wish to add data to the "add" row, I just want the "add" row to instead be the entire portal or be dynamically able to resize so the "add" row is always on the bottom.

                 

                As I said above, the method won't work for my case simply because the end user finds it more intuitive to have a drag/drop interface. A totally different area to drag new files would not be intuitive to the user, especially as they must be able to drag and drop files to replace older files to modify them. It needs to make visual sense to the end user, not just be a global container on the side of the portal where you drop all new content.

                • 5. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
                  philmodjunk

                  And you can use drag and drop with what I suggest. You just aren't dragging to the portal.

                   

                  Currently, the user is trying to drag to something that does not exist and they get an error. In comparison, setting up a field outside of the portal as the "target" to which they drag and drop files gives them a single spot that does not change no matter how many records appear in the portal and allows exactly what you asked for in your original post:

                   

                  it would be nice if there was some way to make it automatically detect the row that was empty and move the file to it.

                  If that is still not to you and your users' liking, I understand, but we can only choose from the list of what is possible.

                   

                  There are other options, such as adding a one row filtered portal at the top of the existing portal to which you drag and drop. I recommended a global filed because such global container fields sometimes are also "optimized for interactive content" and that's not an option for container fields inside portal rows in the first place. Thus, the same filed might be used for more than one task.

                   

                  I also seem to recall at least one plug-in that offered more when it comes to drag and drop as a means of inserting files, but I don't recall the details.

                  • 6. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
                    llamaassemblies

                    And you can use drag and drop with what I suggest. You just aren't dragging to the portal.

                    Yeah, that is the problem. The users in question like the drag/drop functionality with the portal. If you did it to another field, it just wouldn't be as intuitive or have the user's focus as much.

                     

                    it would be nice if there was some way to make it automatically detect the row that was empty and move the file to it.

                    When I said this, I meant it in the context of the not functioning empty rows. The problem isn't having a way to add new records, the drag and drop style is sufficient, the problem is that it just is missing some of the dynamic features I would like it to have. It shows a lot of rows that give the error message shown before because they don't exist beyond as a visual placeholder. Instead of having to drag and drop in order, I am just asking if there is a method to drag and drop to all rows in this portal. Not dragging and dropping at all to the portal makes the situation worse in this use-case.

                     

                    If that is still not to you and your users' liking, I understand, but we can only choose from the list of what is possible.

                    That is mostly what this post is about, finding out if what I am looking for is possible and how to go about it if it is.

                     

                    There are other options, such as adding a one row filtered portal at the top of the existing portal to which you drag and drop. I recommended a global filed because such global container fields sometimes are also "optimized for interactive content" and that's not an option for container fields inside portal rows in the first place. Thus, the same filed might be used for more than one task.

                    The goal isn't to have an easier to insert location for the users outside of the portal, it is making the portal itself more interactive. This design and the other would change where the users would drop the files, but the problem isn't so much the lack of where a file can be dropped as opposed to the method they find most convenient not working. My users often will drag and drop to the portal itself and drop on one of the middle rows, expecting it to just to be added to the portal. The quote you mentioned was saying what the functionality of the workaround needs to do essentially to function, but the problem is that having somewhere else they need to drop the files will not solve the problem of them trying to drag and drop files to the portal itself. If anything, this workarounds sound like they ask more for the user simply because they need to figure out what this extra portion does, while at least currently they can drag and drop to the top row. That is mostly the problem here, it is user expectations and trying to get something that matches what they are trying to do.

                     

                    I also seem to recall at least one plug-in that offered more when it comes to drag and drop as a means of inserting files, but I don't recall the details.

                    That is promising to note, I will have to look around and see if I can find anything about it. I haven't seen anything offering to improve the dynamic nature of my layouts, usually plugins seem to be to connect you up to some other application.

                    • 7. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
                      philmodjunk

                      usually plugins seem to be to connect you up to some other application.

                      That is really not the case. Yest that is one possible function, but there is quite a long list of things that different plug-ins offer that do not involve linking FileMaker to another application.

                      • 8. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
                        llamaassemblies

                        Promising to hear. I guess I started dismissing them too early. I will look around and hopefully find that one you are talking about.

                        • 9. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
                          siplus

                          If you're Mac-only, you can try MBS - the whole window can be the destination of a drop (DragDrop.CreateWithWindow).

                          • 10. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
                            llamaassemblies

                            Sadly Windows only.

                            • 11. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
                              BMyers

                              Sounds like the users are going to have to learn that when they want to drag and drop a new file to the portal, they are creating a new record, and that means they simply need to drag it to the new row (bottom portal row). 

                               

                              'Portal rows = separate records' is a useful thing for them to know in many other contexts as well.

                              • 12. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
                                philmodjunk

                                I can see negatives to this suggestion but...

                                 

                                You could take that global field that I recommended and adjust size and position so that it invisibly covers the entire portal. Then, a drag and drop onto any part of the portal would produce what you've asked for.

                                 

                                Of course this blocks using the mouse to interact the portal in any way but that drag and drop. I suppose that hide object when plus a button that uses that setting to make the global container appear/disappear to turn this feature on/off might be used...

                                • 13. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
                                  user19752

                                  I agree "users have to learn", and it may not be so hard.

                                   

                                  But I also agree OP, the message does not make sense almost all the time. Is there anyone who want to convert excel or csv file to fmp file dragging it onto currently opened file window, especially portal, only other than container field?

                                   

                                  This is off topic, but I found only(?) .zip file doesn't raise the dialog when dropped, silently ignored.

                                  • 14. Re: Dynamicness regarding portals?
                                    user19752

                                    I found that if the global field is befind the portal, it can't be selected by mouse but used for drag&drop. This could be answer for OP, but all place in portal, out of field become "drop area for making new record".

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