To make FM GO solutions more app-like

Discussion created by CarstenLevin on Aug 14, 2012
Latest reply on Jul 6, 2013 by sechrisman

I am giving a few inputs here, and hope that some of you can come up with more issues and chalenges and/or even better work-arounds and good ideas.


We want to distribute smaller and larger solutions - stand alone or integrated - using FileMaker GO to make our FileMaker based desktop and server solutions even more interesting for our customers.


But when developing for iOS and other mobile platforms we need to make sure that our UI and UX are at least as good as what you would expect from the better 20% of the apps out there.


The challenges

With GO 11 and 12 there are still some issues that are causing us some problems. But we have found work-arounds for most of them. Just want to mention a few of them:

  • The field changes size even when it is already very large challenge. Point to enter a standard text field: The textfield expands and is getting larger. This is confusing to the user and makes the UI very disturbing. Is it a bug?
  • The menu and your field takes up all the available room challange. On the iPhone, when entering a field and writing the keyboard will take up a lot of room. And when you have finished writing it can be very difficult to close the keyboard ... you can close it by pointing to a "passive" area outside the text field - but with the keyboard and your text field, there may not be a lot of free space to point to.
  • The Tripple menu challenge. Other apps wil usually not expect the user to understand a framework and other app-irrelevant-interface-elements. With an "out of the box" FileMaker Go solution from you, the user vil see a menu at the top and another at the bottom with a lot of active or passive options. + Apples top menu with time, network and battery status. This is a serios set of information overload - taking focus from your "app".


Some solutions to the chalenges mentioned here

  • The text field getting larger when opening for editing: Activate scroll bars and make the right line invisible. The right line will still be visible on FileMaker Pro/Advanced on the desktop, but will be invisible on iOS/GO. Now the field will not expand.
  • We have tried to solve the problem of the keyboard and the field you are writing into taking up all the space by not letting the user enter data directly in the display fields on the layout. The field is a button that takes the user to another layout where the field takes up the upper part of the screen, then there is a continue button that brings you back to the original display when editing is done. The space taken up by the keyboard is left empty. This works fine and is giving a very easy/steady flow.
  • The tripple menu issue are also easy to handle with FileMakers own tools. First create a custom menu set - probably absolutely empty. Now you are in charge and have to make the options available in a standard app way. Secondly use FileMaker Pro Advanced and the developer tools. Generate a new version with Kiosk mode enabled. If your solution is intended to work as a stadard app, then consider to set login as guest as default. After implementing Kiosk mode the menus will still be available when the file is opened with full access.



What is your experiences, your tips and ideas - or unsolved issues when it comes to making FileMaker GO as applike as possible?



Would it be good if we could save a solution as a runtime - a full selfcontained FileMaker GO based app that could be distributed through App Store or installed via dragging into iTunes (the last option is probably not possible for security reasons ... Apple)?


Tip of the day:-)

When using Kiosk Mode, remember to give your end user an easy way out. A quit button should probably be available on all layouts unless they are a part of a work-flow-procedure where you do not want to permit the user to stop before being finished.