Andy Hibbs

FileMaker v16 Groupitis

Discussion created by Andy Hibbs on Sep 1, 2017
Latest reply on Sep 1, 2017 by Andy Hibbs

First, I love FileMaker 16 on Windows.


However, here's the 'however'. I question whether we should be reporting some of the behaviour as bugs, or perhaps question the backward compatibility decisions that have been made.


The one that has had the biggest impact on us has been the way poor old 'Classic' theme has been maligned. Used as the default in every version in memory, now it is the root of all evils, in particular creation of PDFs. Officially, change all your layouts in all your versions to Enlightened or some other awful looking theme to solve this. Even the very nice understated 'Cool Grey' (sorry I'm English, perhaps 'Gray'?) has gone. This alone would probably wipe off a year's amount of work if we were to change every layout on every solution we've created over the last 15 years.


Then the conversion of buttons, check boxes, tooltips. Before the (excellent) new button tool we used text as buttons for, say sorting columns in list view and used a global field for conditional formatting, so that the text became bold or underline to show which field had been sorted.


Now, if we wish to change that conditional formatting we can't, without first ungrouping the text button, reset the conditional formatting, then reconnect the button. Oops, that script had a load of parameters, darn it what were they? At least for now we have a more productive way of doing this: close the file, open it up in v15, simply click on the text, change the conditional formatting on all the buttons, close and open up again in v16 to continue - progress hey?


Then there is the tooltip icon on the object, but no tooltip is shown when selected - unless the object is ungrouped and now the tooltip can be edited. I believe I've also had the same with check box fields.


v16 seems to have a serious dose of 'groupitis' and it is affecting productivity and that gets our attention.


Yup, we could reinvest the tens of thousands of hours and rewrite all the solutions from scratch in the latest version (as has previously been suggested), but with upgrades now annual, is that going to be the advice each year as more backward compatibility issues appear?


I'm all for progress, but in business continuity is also very important. Apple has never understood this, just watch a Mac graphic designer quiver when told they have to update their OS so we can install the latest version of FileMaker - "yup you can use FileMaker but say goodbye to Suitcase, old fonts you use in every publication and please wait for the 3rd release of InDesign or QuarkXpress before you can use it again". Microsoft have historically been very good at this, but are on the slippery slope with potentially 2 upgrades a year and now only 18 months support for previous versions. I hope FileMaker doesn't keep reaching for the perpetual new feature tree at the cost of good solid, reliable, backward compatible, software.


It's been a long week!