Layout woes

Discussion created by CICT on May 4, 2012
Latest reply on May 10, 2012 by CICT

To share our first observations of the new layout tools in FMP 12 and apparent issues we're experiencing on a FMP 11 converted database, the layouts being our own styles.


First minor annoyance was trying to restylise a field formatted as a pop-up menu, but it seems as if we've the Henry Ford policy of a drop shadow colour being any colour as long as it's black - even with newly created fields with line set to None. Gave up on this and moved on to portals.


The first portal is now formatted as 'drop shadow' in the line format menu, but no matter what line/colour combination we change this to within the insepctor, it reverts to 'drop shadow', or at times the line format menu is completely blank. To play safe, we decided to replace existing portals with new ones created in v12. Having created the first new portal to the same size as the original, we positioned this to the right of the existing in the 'working area'.


We tried to move the fields and headers to the new portal. Selecting these was an art, as the new selection method selects any object it touches including background objects, so we spend time deselecting these, before we discover the 'command' drag option that selects as per previous versions.


Now we've got the correct fields and headers selected, we can no longer set the left/top position for these due to the way position works for multiple selected objects. Next step was to temporarily group these to set the new location. However, we now get the 'Objects that are not in the same tab panel or portal cannot be grouped together' message, so we decide to leave the headings alone, move the fields to the right, delete the old portal, then move everything back on the main layout.


However, using Position to place the grouped fields in the correct relative position appears to put them behind the new portal, except they aren't, they just seem to disappear into the portal somewhere, never to be seen again. Further tests without the portal shows that fields within a layout set to coordinates in the 'working area' using position disappear, although if you do a select all you can see their outline. Expanding the layout to the right doesn't bring them back. Dragging fields to this location works fine.


Reverting the layout we try again by dragging the fields, which works successfully. Now all we need to do is to delete the original portal and move the new portal/field combination to the correct location. Oops, can't use position settings on multiple selected objects, must group the grouped fields and portal or drag again.


We do appreciate that this is version 12.0, but do worry about some of the revised techniques that have been introduced. We don't want our databases to look like everyone else's using standard themes. The solution described above has 107 layouts to resolve, but our biggest concern is that we work frequently on RDP remote systems and rely heavily on selection and position techniques, as dragging objects can result in long 'hour glass' pauses while screen redraws try to catch up.


We are continuing to convert existing solutions to FileMaker 12, albeit slowly!