6 Replies Latest reply on Jun 29, 2012 12:38 PM by DrewTenenholz

    Do you share my pain?


      Did anyone else feel the same pain I'm currently experiencing in layout design in FM12, and if so, do you have any pointers as to how to overcome them?


      My layouts look amateur because I simply cannot accurately place items. So I can't keep the gaps between fields constant. And I'm spending way, way longer getting to not being happy with them than I did to reach a satisfactory result in 11 (and previous).


      I used to temporarily add a tall field with base lines showing and then align individual field to it, using the dotted extension as a positioner for the text baselines. That doesn't work - no dotted baseline extension.


      I would drag copy a field with option and shift and its movement would be limited to the starting axis. That doesn't work.


      I used to use the arrow keys to nudge a field or text by a pixel. That doesn't work - sometimes it nudges more than a pixel and I can find no way to get it to the required position.


      I have never been enamoured with 'dynamic guides' - there are so many instances where the particular item I wish to align to isn't detected. And I am in a frame of mind, right now, where I feel that the arrogance of some people who work in the banking sector seems to have spread to those who write application generators.


      Sure, add new tools to improve the way things work, but surely also allow folks who've come on the journey with you to continue to be able to work. Like Apple with the idiot opposite vertical mouse movement in Lion - they've had to back peddle and allow users to switch it off. I just hope and pray that a soon to be released FM12 update will offers a similar checkbox; 'Revert to a working Layout design regime [x]'. I'd check it.


      But, if you know of any ways around these (hopefully, short term) shortcomings, please will you point me towards them - 'cos my business is suffering!


      Thanks in advance


        • 1. Re: Do you share my pain?

          Hi John


          I have just one suggestion to make, which may apply to your current issues …


          I set up an experimental FMP12 database and put it straight onto my FMP12 server.


          Now each time I open the file and start to work on layouts, I notice that the rulers are set to 'Cms' and I can't position anything accurately.


          So until I find the time to open it in single user mode and change the ruler settings, I have to do this manually each time I start.


          The easiest way is to use the 'Position' pane of the 'Inspector' and click on the 'Cms' label until it changes to 'Pts'. 


          Once I've done this - all is calm …


          Best wishes - Alan

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Do you share my pain?

            John -


            One thing I've found helpful with the issue of consistent gaps between fields is to use the "distribute" tools in the Inspector. This does tend to help.





            • 3. Re: Do you share my pain?

              Hey Alan, you're a marvel and no mistake, guv'nor. Setting dimensioning to Points does indeed allow a better class of nudge. I still maintain that the transient horizontal baseline dotted line that was implemented in the Stone Age (FM2) was good - but at least now I can nudge more reliably.


              Hey Mike, thanks for your suggestion - my main objection to the distribute option is; if there aren't the number of elements to exactly divide the total space between the objects, then the spacing isn't exact as the modulus can only be applied to some of the spaces. But thanks for the suggestion!


              I'd still like the option to just work the way I used to - I have never before had a problem (or made any feature requests) for the way the layout design tools work. There are any number of much more pressing aspects that imho would far better be given a higher priority.



              • 4. Re: Do you share my pain?
                Stephen Huston

                And you can set your own grid spacings for  layouts and use that for aligining instead of  dynamic guides, which may be providing too much snapping.

                • 5. Re: Do you share my pain?

                  Hey Stephen! Thank you for your help! I hadn't realised I could switch off the 'blue flickering lightshow'; that's a relief - ta! I'll work with the grid spacing options tomorrow. Good calls. Thank you!



                  • 6. Re: Do you share my pain?

                    John --


                    You've gotten some good suggestions about using points, guides, and grid spacing to help.  I'd add that there is an option ot 'share this guide with all layouts' (right-click the guide).  That will help you with consistent spacing throughout the entire solution (and tab panels within a layout).


                    But the ability to hold optionshiftdrag object to create a duplicate item and constrain its movement is something I sorely miss.  When I whipping through a layout and dropping fields, I can drop fields with uniform distribution without any other help.  (OK, I'm not perfect at it, but I've surprised myself more than a few times when I applied the 'distribute' command and nothing moved.)  I can keep my mind focused on the purpose of the layout and the subsections instead of on the annoying interruption that seeing misplaced objects produces and trying to remind myself that I can go back & fix it afterwards.


                    So, please drop a note in the suggestion box.  Really.  Someone really does read them. 


                    We got a cute anecdote from the FMI engineers at a meeting held at MIT last week.  Suffice it to say that if Dominique uses the 'Help>Provide Feedback' menu option, then you should use it too.


                    The URL is http://www.filemaker.com/company/contact/feature_request.html


                    -- Drew Tenenholz