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When is an FM11 layout *really* converted to a 'real' fmp12 layout?

Question asked by mrwatson-gbs on Sep 18, 2012
Latest reply on Sep 24, 2012 by psijmons

Hello all you super-developers (and FMI if you are listenening)!


I've got some very important questions regarding conversion of layouts to fmp12 and their further development under fmp12. In short the question is:


Q1. When is a converted FM11 layout a 'real' fmp12 layout and HOW should this be achieved?


(Note: if you are in a hurry just answer Q3a below!)




Having converted an FM11 solution to fmp12 there seems to be 4 major alternatives for developing fmp12 layouts:


  1. Leave the layouts as they are in Basic/Classic theme - for ever.
  2. Apply layout themes and/or object styles to the converted layout and its content.
  3. Rebuild the content of each layout from scratch.
  4. Create new fmp12 layouts from scratch.


4 is not an option (for us), because it would not only be a monumental effort to create the layouts, it would additionally require every script reference to a layout to be corrected - in total around 14000 changes.

3 is not an option (for us), because we have 1/4 Million layout objects in the solution. We may be able to rebuild certain repetitive standard layouts, but on the whole these are monstrous numbers of objects.


Thus this discussion focuses on (the if, how, why and when of) the first two options.


But first a little background info...


About us/our software (Günther Business Solutions/Advanter)


This layout issue is extremely important for us, seeing as our database solution, Advanter, has got thousands of layouts*.


If we need to give them a workover in fmp12, WE ONLY WANT TO DO THIS ONCE! We have to get it exactly right the first time, because, if we flunk it the first time, nobody is gonna pay for the (tens of) thousands of man-hours to do it again.


Just to make it absolutely clear the proportions we are talking about, here are the options we are looking at:


ScenarioNumber of Layouts to edit (approx.)
After conversion to fmp12 (and a little layout tweaking) no further (blanket) workover is required0 * 3936 = 0
After conversion to fmp12 all layouts get a 'workover' to make them 'real' fmp12 layouts, i.e.'future-safe', e.g. (maybe a new design is applied,...)1 * 3936 = 3936
The 'workover' turns out to be insufficient/the layouts are not 'real' FileMaker 12 layouts, and a further workover is required (e.g. all buttons need to be recreated)2 * 3936 = 7828
FileMaker 13 (or 14, or...) appears, maybe with further new layouting requirements, ... and if that happens we shall begin to cry (and I don't just mean shed tears!)3 * 3936 = 11808


So, maximum 1 workover possible.


(* Yes, it is a long-living solution with a great deal of functionality, tables, etc. We *are* streamlining the product, but I would request you to keep on topic when replying and not nag about the 'proper' size of a database.)


About converting to fmp12 and the Basic/Classic theme:


We can convert FM11 (FP7) files to fmp12.

Our layouts are converted and LOOK more or less the same as before - thanks to the Basic/Classic theme.

With a bit of tweaking they also ACT more or less the same as before too (ignoring problems of full-page background printing, etc.)

However, according to the documentation - and looking under the hood - Basic/Classic ARE NOT 'real' fmp12 layouts.


For example, looking at their internal XML-structure of layout objects copied to the clipboard:

  • objects in the Classic style have the css attribute: -fm-override-with-classic: true;
  • converted buttons - although their attribute -fm-override-with-classic is changed to false they still retain the old internal structure of FM11 buttons, even when a new layout theme or object styles are applied.



Questions about Alternative 1: keeping the Basic/Classic theme


Q2a. Can Layouts retain the Basic/Classic theme - forever?


Is this an option?

Anybody planning to stay in "camp classic" permanently?


Q2b Or is it (or will it be) neccessary to convert Layouts to 'real' fmp12 layouts (alternative theme to Basic/Classic)?


I am aware, that it is *presently* necessary for IWP layouts to remain in Basic/Classic theme. Although this does not interest us directly - because we do not use IWP - I think it would be interesting to know if this is a permanent state-of-affairs?


What is the liklihood that support for the Basic/Classic theme will be completely dropped in some future release of FM?


Any other reasons to convert?


Q2c. What are the particular advantages/disadvantages of leaving layouts in Basic/Classic theme (for the time being)?


The main advantages that I see are:


  • it requires minimal effort at the present moment
  • it supports IWP
  • maybe a future version of FileMaker will be able to convert layouts more thoroughly and effortlessly?


The main disadvantages that I see are:


  • effort required to change
  • no IWP
  • it's not possible to develop you own theme




Questions about Alternative 2: Applying layout themes and/or object styles


Q3a. : What needs to be done in order to make a converted FM11 layout a 'real' fmp12 layout?


  • Optionally design your own layout theme
  • Apply the layout theme of your choice
    • I notice that this does not affect the *look* of buttons.
  • Apply object formats from 'real' fmp12 objects (buttons) to objects (buttons) in your layout.
    • I notice that, while this gives a button the same LOOK as a native fmp12 button, it retains the old internal structure. (-> Q3b)
  • and anything else?


Q3b. Does it (or will it) matter, that buttons retain their antiquated FM11 internal structure?


I have no idea if this is important, but it is a key issue.


(For those of you who don't know what this bit is about, I'll post a picture of the XML-Structure in my next post.)


Q3c. At the end of this process of applying themes and formats, is the layout 100% 'real' fmp12?


I mean, does the layout differ in any (important) way from an identical layout created in fmp12?


Q4. Will it be (or might it possibly be, or what are the chances that...) necessary to give the layouts a workover AGAIN when FileMaker 13 arrives?


Your comments, insiders and/or bets please!




Q5. So, of the original 4 Alternatives, which is the right way to go?


Is there a guru out there?




Thanking you for your help, I would be very grateful for your shared wisdom, experience and knowledge.


Here's wishing you a useful and profitable discussion for all, and to that end please keep on topic!


Greetings, as ever, from Hamburg




P.S. Q6. What is 'real'?