9 Replies Latest reply on Nov 5, 2012 1:29 PM by wsvp

    Shifting of layout objects in FM Go


      I'm having quite a bit of difficulty with layout objects appearing in different places on the iPad than they do on my desktop machine. Text blocks need to be taller. Lines and boxes seem to shift up and down in unpredictable ways. On some layouts they need to appear a jumbled mess on the desktop machine in order to look right on the iPad. All object are anchored to the top and left with nothing causing them to stretch based on screen width.


      Is there some way to make the two views more consistent with each other?


      Jonathan Stars

        • 1. Re: Shifting of layout objects in FM Go

          Should be a FONT problem. Have you tryed to change it?

          • 2. Re: Shifting of layout objects in FM Go

            I have, without success. I'm using the fonts that the templates seem to prefer.


            But it's not just that. I want to be able to put lines and buttons at various horizontal locations along the layout. But they don't line up with the text they're supposed to be next to. Surely others of you have run into this.


            Jonathan Stars

            • 3. Re: Shifting of layout objects in FM Go

              Lining up objects with text is not a good practice.  This not only applies to FileMaker but Graphic Design in general.  Different operating systems will have slight or sometimes drastically different ways of handling Font Metrics (Leading & Kerning.)

              • 4. Re: Shifting of layout objects in FM Go

                If lining up objects with text is not a good practice, then what are we doing with FileMaker in the first place? I have field labels lined up in boxes next to fields on all my layouts. Now that my rant is out of the way...


                How do we go about making text blocks and layout objects behave? I'm working with contract forms that need merge text with underlines. Also checkboxes need to line up with choices in the text blocks.


                J **

                • 5. Re: Shifting of layout objects in FM Go
                  Steve Wright

                  Whilst not a solution to the problem directly, its of my opinion that you should design multiple layouts depending on the target, so one for iPad, one for iPhone and one for Desktop and perhaps one for IWP.   Depending on the solution, you may be able to make some multipurpose.  After all, they are interacted with in a different way.  If only Microsoft Agreed   (win8)


                  Admittedly, I have (and do) use desktop layouts on the iPad but its apparent when using it that I should re-design them.

                  • 6. Re: Shifting of layout objects in FM Go

                    It is difficult to know exactly what you are trying to do without seeing it...


                    If text is contained within a button ot text block it will generally behave fine, though (within the box) it will display a bit differently between operating systems (Leading, Kerning and Baseline.)  The placement of the box or button should remain consistent, the text within the box will experience these variations.


                    If it is just field merging, then inserting merge fields into body's of text should also work fine.  If you are having problems with the position of the boxes or buttons you may want to take a look at the way your Anchors are set, or if the layout is doing something with different parts resizing.


                    As to text alignment... If you were to type a paragraph of text on a layout and expect the text to maintain the exact position (vertically or horizontally) on all operating systems you are in for a world of pain.  If you need this level of precision, you will need to convert the text to an image (of course this will not help if the text needs to be dynamic.)  This would even be true in graphics applications like Adobe Illustrator or InDesign.  Many of the "Best Practice" methodologies in Graphic Design also apply to FileMaker layout design, we just don't have as many tools in FM.


                    By the way... I was not aware that FileMaker was about lining up objects with text.

                    • 7. Re: Shifting of layout objects in FM Go

                      Hi Steve


                      While there are some situations where a different layout may be helpful, Usually to deal with aspect ratio differences.  I don't believe this situation would suite this.  The problem here is that the concept of "precision" WYSIWYG across platforms does not exist yet.  What would eventually happen is he would have to build different layouts for every variation of an OS... IE... Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OS X... Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, iOS 5, iOS 6.... I could go on all day.  Each one of these "can" wind up altering font metrics slightly differently.

                      • 8. Re: Shifting of layout objects in FM Go

                        You know, wsvp, I had toyed with the idea of turning some of these blocks of text into images—maybe even PDFs. That might solve the problem for me, although I'm trying to get the client to put these large blocks of text (contract verbiage) into fields that I can limit their acess to.


                        About not being "aware that FileMaker was about lining up objects with text..." Would you be satisfied if you worked hard on your Mac creating a beautiful layout with fields, field labels buttons and graphics only to find that everything slid all over the place on a Windows machine? And even worse on the iPad? My standard layouts look wonderful from platform to platform. I've just been caught in this one situation where it's not working so well. Aside from the images, I may indeed need adifferent layout for the iPad. Just looking for some clever answers from people who may have solved this already. We have so many smart people on this list, I'm looking forward to what else comes up here.


                        J **

                        • 9. Re: Shifting of layout objects in FM Go

                          Hi JStars...


                          While I sympathize with your current situation.  I can tell you "without any doubt" that it is simply not a good practice (in any situation) to place objects in relation to strings of text.  The position of text in a string is not a constant.  Thus you should never try to align objects to specific words in a sentence or a line in a paragraph.  FileMaker does not have the tools to allow for the inserting of images into text the way a page layout program would allow.  The insert merge data allows you to insert dynamic data into text strings, but that is the end of the line.


                          Unfortunately you are finding out "the hard way" the importance of testing things across multiple platforms and seeing the result.  I have been working in FileMaker Development and Graphic Design for close to 25 years, and I still get surprised by things sometimes.  The problem "I think" you are experiencing has nothing to do with FileMaker itself, it is related to how Fonts are handled by the OS.  There are simply some things we have no control over, for example in FMGO the text in buttons and tabs are pushed slightly higher in the baseline than on Mac and Windows... This type of thing can be annoying, as I am very picky about the look and feel of my layout designs, but there is nothing (performance friendly) I can do about it.


                          It is important to keep in mind that while FileMaker has some graphics tools, it is NOT graphic design software.


                          Basically, I think you will be better off taking a different approach to your layout/interface design.  You can make layouts that look correctly across all platforms, but not always "perfect."