1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Jul 12, 2017 7:58 AM by TSGal

    FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals


      Hi, and greetings from Athens. This is by no means a straightforward issue, so allow me to provide some context (and sorry for the long post):


      I've been using (and developing) a freeware electronic medical records database, since the '90s! It has grown considerably over the years, and works very nicely on current desktop systems running FMP 12+ as well as iOS devices; if you want, please have a look at its home page:


      eAtreio homepage (don't worry, it's bilingual - in English and Greek, and the actual fmp12 file is a ~350 Mb .zip download)


      Despite the obscurity of its design (and the spaghetti code maintained by an amateur -- my background is in cardiology --), it provides quite a lot of functionality: deployment in multiple locations, as well as iOS devices, and reliable syncing over Wifi or WAN without the need to invest on an FM Server. It's geared toward cardiology (and electrophysiology in particular), but can also be used in other disciplines. Forgive the plug, but I think it's a very solid EMR for individual physicians with limited resources! I hope you don't mind, but I will also repeat that this is freeware/donationware, so any responses will serve a noble cause!


      Anyways, on with the problem:


      On a particular layout which implements the iOS interface, Filemaker Go 16 (but also the desktop Mac version), gradually grinds to a freeze. A demonstration is available at our (rudimentary) YouTube channel:


      - Youtube: Filemaker Go 16 gradually freezing...

      - a sample file, with fictitious patients, will be available shortly (currently being downloaded on Dropbox) so that one can simulate the issue: it's a 1.3Gb zipped download


      As I pointed out, I'm a seasoned user but certainly not a professional developer. Still, I have tried the following remedies (to no avail):


      - switching from Classic to a modern Theme, didn't work

      - removing script triggers from tabs and portal rows, did not help

      - simplifying the table relationships, didn't do anything

      - throwing an occasional hard "Commit Records" also didn't help

      - getting out and then back to/from the vulnerable layout, delayed the occurrence of the freeze, but did not prevent it


      The only thing I haven't done (and don't plan to, since is would be extremely painful), is to rebuild the layout. My sense is that as everything works without hiccups on FM 15, it shouldn't be an issue.


      So there you have it. I would welcome any suggestions and, deep inside, I hope that FM TS will look into this.


      Once again, thanks, and greetings from Athens!


        • 1. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals

          You may wish to report this:

          Report a Product Issue

          You can post the details as suggested

          Product and version (e.g. FileMaker Pro 14.0.3)

          OS and version

          Browser and version (for WebDirect only)



          How to replicate

          Workaround (if any)

          But in the Description, just link to this thread


          • 3. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals

            I find your post interesting in that we have a major client with a very complex layout that also experiences a slowdown. Like your situation, this client's solution comes from a "legacy-developed" system. In our case it plays well in FM 14, but in 15 and 16 the performance drops substantially.


            Having downloaded your file, let me congratulate you on your build. It took a lot of work for you to get where you are. Have you considered coming to DevCon? I'm sure you are doing well as a cardiologist, but you never know, you may want to expand your horizons some more.


            I want to remind everyone that in the US, you need make sure you follow all the HIPAA rules (I don't know about Greece).


            If the clog is caused by a  layouts issue ( you do have a lot of stuff on your layouts) then you may need to re-build the offending layout(s) from the ground up. We had a similar problem with another client, and some, or one, of the layout objects were (was) bringing the whole thing down. This was a remarkably painful process, but that's what fixed the issue. If you rebuild the layout with one of the new themes–not just change the theme on the current layout–then you will get much better response time, as the the cascading style sheet will be a lot lighter.

            ...if it's the layout which is causing the problem.  If it's a relational issues, where the application is trying to cache too much data, then you have a harder road before you.

            • 4. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals

              Thanks - your response is probably pointing to the right direction. Myself, I think it's my programming, rather than the amount of "stuff" on the layout in question, and the freeze emanates from the FM engine's cacheing behavior.


              Perhaps the FM16 architecture exposes some vulnerabilities that were masked in prior versions.


              Somehow, I think that Technical Support may be able to debug the situation, with the tools at their disposal.


              I'll keep you posted.


              P.S. Thanks for the kind words; on the issue of HIPAA compliance, I've looked into it, but it's too much work and our target audience is small, office-based, cardiology practices (like my own)... Sensitive information is shielded by the usual OS-specific measures, e.g. FileVault et al.

              • 5. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals



                Thank you for your posts.


                I have finally opened your file (using the Debugger).  I see there are 358 layouts.  Which layout(s) is having the issue?



                FileMaker, Inc.

                • 6. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals

                  Thank you so much for responding!


                  The layout responsible for the iOS interface is "IOS_MOTHER_1". When running on a desktop, there is a way to play around with an "iOS simulator" which also exhibits the freeze. Here's a brief video illustrating the procedure:



                  While I'm no expert, my sense is that it's not layout complexity or corruption that's responsible but, rather, my database schema. More specifically, a cartesian-joined table ("PERSONALITYPAK") which provides a way to enter clinical data in an organized fashion, is probably unstable when displayed in portal form. Somehow, some layouts are more vulnerable than others, while FM 13-15 masked this instability. That's my theory, at least.


                  In any case, thanks again for taking the time to respond. For the sake of completeness, "eAtreio" requires the following (free) plugins: ScriptMaster (4.42), Base Elements (current), and DICOM plug-in.


                  Greetings from Athens,




                  P.S. I downloaded a fresh, empty, .fmp12 (available here ), because I realized the Relationships graph was an embarrassing mess -- now it's cleaner!

                  • 7. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals



                    Looking at "IOS_MOTHER_1" layout, I don't see a portal with "PERSONALITYPAK".  The only portal I see is "Dimografika stoixeia UNLINKED".


                    The only field that I see allows entry is "Spotlight.In.Portal" from the current table.  I am able to enter information.


                    Are there specific buttons you want me to press?  If so, what buttons and in what order?



                    FileMaker, Inc.

                    • 8. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals

                      Once again, thanks!


                      In order to get to the (most) vulnerable layout - "iOS_MOTHER" -, one can follow the procedure outlined in the video just above, or run the database on an iOS device.


                      Once there, here's how to get to a "PERSONALITYPAK" portal (there are more than one):


                      - first, select a patient from the list, say "Helen Taussig" (she was a pioneering pediatric cardiologist at Johns Hopkins)

                      screen 1.png


                      - then, press the "play" button to get to her progress notes list:


                      screen 2.png


                      - click on the date of an entry (sorry about the Greek dates):


                      screen 3.png


                      - now you're on a specific entry, say during hospital rounds; there is a lot of data to enter, but the button on the top left switches to a tab for numerical data entry (the afforementioned "PERSONALITYPAK" portal):


                      screen 4.png


                      - clicking on a (blue) header, expands the list to allow, say, lab results or x-rays and stuff; clicking on the date switches to the "hospital rounds" tab


                      screen 5.png


                      - after a few back-and-forth iterations (again, the video illustrates that), Filemaker 16 crashes


                      I would take a moment to repeat how grateful I am for your help; this is a public-domain Filemaker application, maintained by a non-professional developer, and resolving this issue would allow deployment on FM16 (currently runs reliably only on 13-15).





                      • 9. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals



                        Thank you for the instructions, but how many times do I need to go back and forth?  I'm already up to 30 times without any issues.  Do I need to go to 100?  500?


                        Also, what layouts are involved?  I still cannot determine the name of the layout that is causing the crash.  It doesn't appear "IOS_MOTHER_1" is the cause.



                        FileMaker, Inc.

                        • 10. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals

                          This is kind of unexpected; on my desktop (OS X 10.12.4, language #1 is Greek #2 U.S. English, and dates are in Greek) as well as the iPhone (10.3.2, again localized for a non-U.S. locale), "IOS_MOTHER_1" (which simulates an iOS device) stalls/freezes after no more than 3 iterations of going back-and-forth the "PERSONALITYPAK" portal and the progress notes screen.


                          I am running FMPA "for Central Europe" (purchased from WinSoft International), but the FM Go app is the generic, U.S., one, from the App Store. Both crash, while FMPA 15 and FMG 15 work as expected (on a similar setup).


                          The .fmp12 file resides on an HFS Plus volume, with regular permissions and no encryption. Both my machines are localized for Greek, but this should only affect keyboard input and date display. BTW, all Filemaker fields have "Default" language storage.


                          In any case, I guess you should stop clicking, as it appears the freeze does not manifest on your setup!


                          Thanks SO MUCH for your time!!!


                          I'll keep trying to figure this out, and keep you posted. If you have any pointers, please let me know.



                          • 11. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals

                            Interesting. So far this is leading to an environment issue. Not the direction I wanted it to go, but still interesting. Still remaining is the fact that it worked before, and now it doesn't.

                            • 12. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals

                              Well, I've tried to troubleshoot this issue, and it does not appear to apply to my particular environment/circumstances, but, rather, may indeed represent a bug.


                              The problem, as far as I can tell is that:


                              • Portals with cartesian-joined references, residing on multi-tab (or slide control) layouts, gradually cause Filemaker to hang.
                              • On some layouts, this is preceded by a “Records remaining to sort...” dialog (and a hang, without an application crash). In most cases, however, a spinning beach ball ensues and FM eventually becomes unresponsive.


                              Based on my (trial and error) testing, it affects:


                              • Filemaker Pro 16 (on OS X, El Capitan, Sierra) - tested both the localized Winsoft EE version, as well as the generic application available from the U.S. store
                              • Filemaker Go 16 (on an iPhone, running localized iOS 11+)


                              I've tried FMP16 on Windows 10, and it appears NOT to be affected. Plug-ins, the Classic Theme and all the environment variables I could think of, are also irrelevant. It appears that the "Refresh w/flush join" script command has some effect, but can't figure out whether it's deleterious or not.


                              Please download this sample file (it's ~340 Mb).


                              Once you get to the startup screen, please go to the lower left-hand corner, where a drop-down "service" menu will allow you to test the following layouts:


                              click me.png


                              • Exhibit A (does not crash)
                              • Exhibit B (crash on FMP/FMG16)


                              They contain a set of portals, either spread out on a single form (Exhibit A), or incorporated on a tab control (Exhibit B). Following the on-screen instructions will hopefuly illustrate the problem, after a few minutes of testing.


                              I apologize for the trouble, but it appears that indeed may affect others!


                              TIA, TSGal (and to all that helped)


                              • 13. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals



                                Thank you for the file.


                                I am able to replicate the freezing following the instructions in the file.  The issue appears to be line 9 in the script "layout.refresh flush join" (Set Field).  I have forwarded your file along with my findings to our Development and Testing departments for review.  When I receive any feedback, I will let you know.



                                FileMaker, Inc.

                                • 14. Re: FMG 16 freezes on complex tabbed layouts with portals

                                  Thanks for the update!


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