What a hoot!
Though FBA members and a select group of others have had pre-release versions of FM12 for a few months now, we haven't been able to chat about it. Now that it's released everyone is posting the questions that have been many of us up at night!
One of the conversations I've seen in a few places has to do with the new Layout Themes and people asking how to "roll their own". Richard Carlton Consulting's developer, Garret, posted a nice video telling us how to get to the themes (http://bit.ly/HxMpmu).
While it would all well and good for everyone to learn CSS and XML, aside from the relative minority of FileMaker developers who already do, it's just not going to happen for the majority of folks - will go about their layout work the way they've done before. Note that this opens a great niche market for "FileMaker Theme Developers"! You know who you are and we are all looking forward to some great things from you!
One of the comments Stephen Huston made in another thread hit the nail on the head (and I paraphrase): "What would be great is a way to 'Create a Theme from this Layout". He hit another nail on the head when he commented that there would be many difficulties to address - especially if the developer has either a complex or a poorly constructed layout. For example, how would this new function handle the creation of the CSS and XML for:
- Multiple text fields that are formatted differently (replicate a similarly for other field types)
- A mixture of tab controls contained within and, of course, are formatted differently
To that end, here are some ideas to start thinking towards solving potential issues with the "Create a Theme from this layout" idea and a simultaneous feature request for FileMaker 12.5 or 13.
- To create a layout theme, the developer would first create the layout
- There would be a mode within Layout Mode called "Create/Modify Theme"
- In that Mode, users would need to identify each object on the layout and give it a name
- When assigning a name to a layout object, every other similarly formatted object would receive the same name
- Similarly formatted would need to evaluate each layout object for uniqueness based on the following:
- Type – field type, inserted layout object (text, shape, line, image...)
- Formatting – Text (font, size, style, color...)
- Control Style – drop-down, popup, radio buttons...),
- Inserted images – by unique name
- Formatting of layout objects – like a rectangle with a gradient fill
- Every unique object would require a name before the theme could be saved.
- Upon Save, the user would be asked if they want to reapply the theme to the current layout, or to all layouts with the same theme.
So, that's a first cut at a new feature request! Other ideas or enhancements to making these cool new Layout Themes more accessible to the masses?
Love to hear your thoughts!
Surefoot Database Consulting