1 2 Previous Next 22 Replies Latest reply on Nov 11, 2013 11:33 AM by ibrahim_bittar

    Table View: why all these options?


      While I find the Table View very useful when developing the system & user interface (future List Views), I sincerely must question the wisdom of allowing structural changes via it.


      It is an entirely wrong context for adding, deleting, changing of name & type etc. of fields – even for the developer, not to speak of the end user with enough privileges.

        • 1. Re: Table View: why all these options?

          You are probably using the Full Access privileges and seeing the options available to that account.

          Try the same technique after switching to a different user account with less privileges than the developer.

          For instance, open the file with the Guest account. Guest does not have read write privileges and the menus in the popup should change.


          Filemaker Pro is designed to be easy to use, especially for newcomers, and this is one of the features. Advanced users must deal with some of these issues and many others. Perhaps Filemaker Advanced offers the ability to turn off this popup menu.


          This is like many other features of Filemaker, subject to user opinion.


          Changing the name of a Filemaker field does not affect how Filemaker works since it does not rely on what the fields are named since the Filemaker engine is used in many languages. The field names seem to be maintained in a separate table linked to the field numbers. You can change the field name at any time to anything you want and this does not affect the built in calculations. It may affect scripts and custom functions that are hardwired for a field name. Such as:


          If fieldname = "amount due"


          If you change the field name to "Total Amount Due" then the above script step fails but not your calculated fields, etc.

          • 2. Re: Table View: why all these options?
            Stephen Huston

            In addition to Jack's points, remember that you can control the ability to edit or read-only on each layout via the user permissions (Security) settings, so you can make certail layouts where you allow Table View to be read only.


            You can even make them read only if in Table View using a calculation  which incorporates the Get(LayoutViewState) function to control editing depending on the current layout view.

            • 3. Re: Table View: why all these options?

              Jack, Stephen:


              Yes, of course this is a matter about privileges, but right now I am working on a custom solution that is supposed to replace at least a 1000 Excel-files/worksheets, used by a group of hairy-chested engineers, and at this stage restricting access is not an option since they want to (and must) be able to "get into it" and take ownership. (And sell the concept to their IT people!)


              Now, I have just managed to convince the (still very prospective) client that there is a fundamental difference between Excel and a database: that what you get is not solely determined by what you see.

              My point was (and is) about the context of making decisions: a layout is not where you define the database structure. Fortunately the Form View does not have these options – but does that make FMP difficult to use, Jack? I don't think so, but this is of course just an opinion.

              • 4. Re: Table View: why all these options?

                Thus that's one reason many developers LIMIT user access to the table view.


                Use it carefully!


                • 5. Re: Table View: why all these options?

                  I like the way FileMaker extends lots of options to all of it's features. Everyone works in different ways and as a developer I like the "on the fly" options available in table view. I'm a huge fan of table view and many of my clients who are excel addicts always appreciate that option.

                  • 6. Re: Table View: why all these options?

                    Well, Beverly –


                    I use it carefully (and rarely, only at early stages), but will my engineers?


                    I'd like to see more options in the Properties of Table Views: allow field name changes, allow adding fields, allow deleting fields, allow change of type (NB: by default not allowed.) This would make it much safer to be given to the hands of end users.


                    Now, being a wrong-clicker, I did not even realise that it was possible to ruin the database from a view until I received a couple proposed list views (contents, field order) in a test database that had lost at least a dozen of fields!


                    There are things that should not be easy!

                    • 7. Re: Table View: why all these options?

                      I have over 20 years experience working side by side with users to add

                      to, modify and redesign my database. In my opinion they are an excellent

                      resource but one must work with it correctly. Do not give design

                      abilities to them. That's your job. However, actively sit with them and

                      seek there input, go to a desk and make changes and return to see how it

                      works with them.


                      You can give them a copy if your intent is to let them learn how to use

                      Filemaker and replace you as they grow in experience...


                      Or, design a list view or a portal where they can enter their ideas for

                      what fields are needed and what they should do. You can then use this

                      layout to create or modify your file and return it for their preview.


                      You must remain in charge and retain all rights and responsibilities for

                      your work. If you lose control and turn over design to them you will

                      find yourself out of a job. You won't be needed.


                      A developer has an interest in their job and in the US and many other

                      countries the copyright. Account names and passwords not only protect

                      the client's property but the designers right of ownership of the

                      copyright. If you protect your project with passwords, you cannot be



                      The engineers have their job and knowledge and you have yours. Avoid

                      helping them to take over your project.

                      • 8. Re: Table View: why all these options?

                        pantarhei wrote:


                        a group of hairy-chested engineers, and at this stage restricting access is not an option since they want to (and must) be able to "get into it" and take ownership.


                        If you give full access to people who don't know what they're doing - hairy-chested or otherwise - you must be prepared to face the damage they will inflict. The table view options are just one more opportunity for them to do so - it's not the real problem here.

                        • 9. Re: Table View: why all these options?

                          Dear me... A junior consultant teaching me lessons!


                          After almost 40 years (anniversary in July) in the creative consultancy business I must have forgotten more about copyright issues than Jack Rodgers will ever know.


                          Or maybe the US legislation is not at the level of the civilized world where copyright is retained regardless of this or that – except explicit action. An open system is just as much copyrighted as a closed one.


                          Now, I have been tentatively retained to develop a system that the users can modify. If I would insist on charging for holding their hands (I'm not exactly cheap) and producing a closed system, I'd be out of a job.


                          Because of my superior conceptual etc. skills (and pretty good knowledge of this particular field of engineering, too), replacing me would be very expensive. I gather replacing you would be cheap and easy.


                          Anyway: thank you very much for your contribution which does not contribute to the issue at hand at all.

                          • 10. Re: Table View: why all these options?
                            Stephen Huston

                            Even in a system which needs to be modified by end-users, there needs to be at least 3 levels of access: a Database Manager who can modify schema; power users  enabled to write new scripts or design new layouts, and those who are just supposed to use what's there. For all but the Database Manager (full access), table view will not allow them add fields to the schema.


                            Leaving it wide open to all end users eventually results in a situation where

                            Count (End Users) = Count (Database Managers)

                            and then nobody will ever know what all it's doing or be able to control it.


                            There must be some overall control, even if it's not the original developer; it can't be wide open to everyone who opens it or it will get trashed regardless of layout views or anything else.


                            I only have 25+ years experience with FM and about half that as a consultant, so I guess I will have to defer to those of you who've been in the field longer than FM has been in existence.


                            One thing I have learned and will contend is true: you don't give end users everything they want -- you give them everything they need, and teach them the difference.

                            • 11. Re: Table View: why all these options?

                              Did I say that I would have done creative consultancy work only with & in relation to FileMaker? 


                              You FileMaker Cult members are funnier than Hare Krishnas!

                              • 12. Re: Table View: why all these options?
                                Stephen Huston

                                And you've provided us with a chuckle as well.

                                Thanks for playing.

                                • 13. Re: Table View: why all these options?

                                  What else can one do with people who are at the playground level?

                                  • 14. Re: Table View: why all these options?

                                    Perhaps if someone who asks a question would first display their credentials and what they think of themselves we might save a lot of time... 


                                    I don't understand how you can design a system that users can modify and then be upset if they do?


                                    One learns how quickly others can acquire skills to match one's 'superior' set of skills...


                                    Oh, I remember when I was 20 providing an easier way of doing something (after looking at it for a few minutes) to the doers and management in a corporation and being told "We've been doing it this way for 20 years." and replying "Well, you've been doing it wrong for 20 years. This way is faster and easier."


                                    I also plotted the correct course an airplane took based on doppler over water by staring at my hand... The pilot was amazed that a 20 year old kid with no navigational training came up with the correct answer.


                                    Gads, again... I remember designing a pipe inside another pipe, at the request of a fellow Mensa member, that would exhaust gases into the flow of gases in the larger pipe without those gases entering the smaller pipe when its pressure was less. He'd worked on it for weeks and I solved it in 5 minutes.


                                    Gads, I am recalling thanks to your post all kinds of times when I found a better answer with only minimal exposure to a subject... such as my original reply to your question where I showed how to adjust the privileges.


                                    Or, don't use a table, use a list view... Or use the privileges to make a table non-viewable by a given account...


                                    Or, do the right thing and train people how to use Filemaker, what the problems are, etc. but put limits on this and make it known your full services are available for a fee. Once you've opened the Pandoras box of giving away free information, you may end up not needed.

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