General transparency control of layout objects

Discussion created by on Oct 2, 2012
Latest reply on Oct 3, 2012 by jrenfrew

Many applications need to incorporate diagrams and graphical elements that only apply under certain conditions. For example, we have a Filemaker application that shows the flow of signals between broadcast equipment. But this applies equally to maps, kiosk applications, product or store availability and countless others. This is a feature with thousands of visually impressive and useful applications.


This would be hugely simpler if any object on a layout, including graphical objects (PNGs with alpha, JPGs, etc.) could be programmatically made visible, invisible or partially transparent. Script steps could refer to an object by ID or name and set its visibility to a value between zero and one. A useful additional tool would be an inspector panel listing all obects on the current layout and their visibility status, allowing the user to manually locate and change even invisible objects.


Imagine a map showing stores in your area that carry a certain product with some stores translucent (dimmed) if the item is out of stock. Imagine a kiosk that shows a floorplan of a mall that can highlight or dim stores as you choose criteria (show dining, electronics, clothing, etc.)


In one of our applications, we diagram signal flow between equipment at various sites. We have to cobble together masking fields to hide equipment that isn't present at some sites. This gets extremely messy and fragile very quickly. And it only works on simple backgrounds of a single color (like white). We would also love to show partially transparent arrows to indicate signals from inactive equipment. Sometimes signals take a different path, so we need to be able to make a graphic showing one path visible and hide the graphic showing the other path.


This feature would not only open up a huge range of applications, it would also demo extremley well and look great in Filemaker promotional material.