13 Replies Latest reply on Apr 7, 2016 8:31 AM by JohnrC

    Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard

    Extensitech

      (This was originally posted on the certified developer board, but it's been suggested that not enough people see it there.)

       

      First, let me say off the bat that we love the direction taken with FM14, and the stated intent to let the developer "keep hands on the keyboard" with the new workspaces.

       

      The items below are, I believe, unintentional consequences of other enhancements, which may reasonably have gone unnoticed among developers who are not, in fact, used to keeping hands on the keyboard already. For myself an my team, this has always been a goal. We were (and are) thrilled with the new places we can keep hands on the keyboard, but in several areas, comprising most of the items below, these unintentional consequences have actually taken a large step backwards from that goal.

       

      I'm reminded of when the Inspector came out. The inspector is great, but I wish I still had the menu commands that allowed more granular control of changes to the selected object(s), not to mention keystrokes (and windows hot keys) that again, made it easier to keep hands on the keyboard.

       

      The net effect is that while we've made considerable efforts to just get used to, or work around, these changes, we're still finding it much quicker to do a lot of our work in 13, coming to 14 to test, and to work with new elements like button bars. I know this wasn't the intent of the new version. Perhaps others can point out where I'm still in "13 thinking" and there are actually better ways to keep hands on the keyboard?

       

      Barring that... am I the only one finding these things challenging and getting slowed down? I expect to have to adjust to changes, but I'm having trouble getting our speed back up, given the changes below.

       

      These are all in FMPA14, on Win7 64-bit, but most are evident on Mac, too, or exhibit similar behaviors.

       

      (by "type-ahead", I mean the ability to click into a list, start typing, and have the selection jump to the thing you are typing. Not to be confused with auto-complete)

       

      In the Specify Field dialog

        type-ahead is completely disabled in the table drop-down (see Specify Script, which works as expected, for comparison)

        to click into the field list and type ahead, if the field is from a foreign table, must now type "::" first

       

      In the script workspace

        in the scripts list, type-ahead is completely disabled once drop-down is shown

        in the script steps list, type-ahead is completely disabled

        in the script steps list, it is no longer possible to select and move multiple script steps

        in the script area, it is no longer possible to type ahead to a step in the script

        For Set Field, the two "specify" buttons share a hot key (the letter s). Also, if you have the second specify highlighted, and hit space to select, the first specify comes up.

        I'm still having trouble "letting go" of a script step when I want to get to a new line. Control + Enter works most of the time, but sometimes even that won't allow me to move on

       

        We have a continuing issue of scripts moving in the scripts list. It's hard to catch it happening, but we repeatedly find scripts from the list moved to the bottom of the list through no intentional effort of our own. In the pre-release version, we actually saw this with script steps in a script (!!). I myself have not yet seen this since installing the production version, but one of our other developers has.

       

      In Manage Database

        fields tab, Table selection, type-ahead is completely disabled once drop-down is shown

        on the relationships tab, type-ahead will get to you a TO... unless it contains a "p", in which case the print dialog comes up

       

      In Manage Custom Functions

        (this is true of some other lists, as well) Double clicking on the last item in the list causes the list to shift up one, so the wrong item is opened.

       

      In the calculation workspace(s)

        double-clicking to select a word now breaks on underscores and colons, making this feature essentially useless and requiring (precision) mouse-drag selection. This may seem trivial, but we have eliminated spaces from our naming convention, and we type spaces before and after all punctuation in functions, precisely because this was such a time saver and enabled us to work quickly and with precision in the calculation workspace.

         whether you're going to get the old style calculation workspace or the new seems like a bit of a crapshoot

         you can now use tabs without a modifier key in the old-style calc workspace, which is great!... unless you get the new style and try to work the same way, where it requires a modifier key (control on PC)

       

       

      Chris Cain

      Extensitech

        • 1. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
          siplus

          I always said that an application like filemaker - given its complexity - having barely more preferences settings than teachText (oops it's called TextEdit now) is a shame.

           

          One of these settings could be "start AI autocompletion after [  ] keypresses", which I would for example set to 4, allowing me to see proposals to choose from later in the game and not immediately while I type.

           

          Example:

           

          Typing   g  e  t  should wait for the 4th char before annoying me with alternatives, because that 4th char can be

           

          (    -> a Get( function)

          a   -> a GetAsxxx function

          L   -> GetLayoutObjectAttribute.

          • 2. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
            jrenfrew

            >>  We have a continuing issue of scripts moving in the scripts list. It's hard to catch it happening, but we repeatedly find scripts from the list moved to the bottom of the list through no intentional effort of our own. In the pre-release version, we actually saw this with script steps in a script (!!). I myself have not yet seen this since installing the production version, but one of our other developers has.

             

            I have. ALL the time on the Windows laptop I take out to a client where we are doing work on his QuickBooks integration.

            It is THE most dreadful thing in the world, which makes the software UNUSEABLE.

            • 3. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
              Mike_Mitchell

              "I'm still having trouble "letting go" of a script step when I want to get to a new line. Control + Enter works most of the time, but sometimes even that won't allow me to move on."

               

              I've adopted the habit of using the arrow keys. If the entire script step is highlighted, you can just hit "Return" to get a new line. Pressing right / left arrow will get you there. You can also highlight the particular bit you want to edit (the text of the If clause, or the calculation widget), where pressing "Return" will spring open the necessary editing window.

               

              Not much of a help (given your long list), but a little bit.   

              • 4. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
                ryantittle

                >  in the script steps list, it is no longer possible to select and move multiple script steps

                 

                I am able to do this in 14 using Shift+ arrow keys to select, then Ctrl+ arrow keys to move. This DOES NOT work for me on 13.

                (Ctrl+Down with 3 steps selected repeatedly toggles the 3rd step with the one below the selection)

                 

                I had never even tried to do this before reading this post. Is this the method you used? Can you suggest one that does work with 13. This is certainly a time saver.

                • 5. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
                  ibrahim_bittar

                  I think the FileMaker (developer) user experience on Windows just sucks, to say the least.

                   

                  I'm a mac user since MacOS 3 and TeachText. On mac, most of type aheads are there and in general the developer experience is wonderful. I've been working with FileMaker 14 for several months and now I feel totally clunky in FM13 .

                   

                  Not the same with Windows, partly because of the OS itself. I don't know what things the FMI engineering team had to sort out in order to write FM14 in Windows. All I can say is that experience with Windows is not even close to the mac experience.

                  • 6. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
                    BowdenData

                    FMP14 on Windows added the ability to move script steps in a block as you discovered. This is not available in prior Windows versions unless you use the Dracoventions Developer Plugin.

                    • 7. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
                      Extensitech

                      After drafting my reply, I think I've realized what you mean. You're talking about moving script steps that are already part of the script which, as BowdenData noted, is now possible in Windows.

                       

                      However, what I'm talking about is selecting steps to put into the script, from the script steps list (right panel in the scripts workspace).

                       

                      In FM13 and prior, I can select multiple script steps using control and shift, as you would in other lists.

                       

                      In FM14, I cannot select more than one script step at a time using those methods, nor with the keystrokes you suggested.

                       

                      Chris Cain

                      Extensitech

                      • 8. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
                        Extensitech

                        Your personal preferences are noted.

                         

                        I began as a Mac user, and switched to Windows. I can still work on a Mac, but not nearly as quickly.

                         

                        These issues are not inherent in the Windows OS. You can run the windows machine, and most applications (FM being a notable exception) entirely without a mouse. It's very rare to find anything that can't be done with a series of keystrokes, although FM has introduced new exceptions to that rule with the last few versions, and especially this one.

                         

                        I'm sure you can click around with a mouse faster than I can. It's just that we work differently, and your way works better on a Mac.

                         

                        If you don't think it's possible to work quickly on a Mac, look at the results of the Developers' Cup last DevCon: 16 participants, 8 of whom scored no points at all (the challenges were widely agreed to be a bit too tough for the time limit). There were two Windows users, who took a bunch of ribbing from the Mac-dominated room. We took first and third.

                         

                        Years ago, we Mac users railed against the PC users, who were snobbish, inconsiderate and condescending to Mac users. We kept reminding people that "different" doesn't mean worse. Hmm.

                         

                        Most of the time, it's just harmless ribbing. It's another thing to dismiss an issue that affects a huge percentage of developers, and possibly a majority of users, with "It's only broken on a PC".

                         

                        I realize that FM is an Apple subsidiary, but it's cross-platform, and needs to work well on Windows, too.


                        Chris Cain

                        Extensitech

                        • 9. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
                          flukey

                          To add another thing to the list, I hate the way the new script window auto scrolls when you are working near the bottom of the window.  If you have more lines than the window can accommodate and you are working near the bottom, every time you do anything to a line the window scrolls and you have to re-scroll it back to where you were working. It is very annoying.  That also happens with the list of scripts as well.

                           

                          Also,  we need an undo function for the script editor.  If you accidentally delete something there is no way to get it back.

                           

                          I too have had scripts steps and scripts move around on the screen for no apparent reason.  There is a bug there somewhere.

                          • 10. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
                            ibrahim_bittar

                            Hi Chris

                             

                            In my case I'm not just a mac fanboy, I've working closely with Apple for years. I worked for the biggest Apple VAR in Venezuela as Tech Support manager and before that I've been giving support to Apple products, so yes, I'm biased .

                             

                            However, I use Windows too and finally I decided that it is just a matter of taste. You can be extremely efficient regardless of the platform you use and it depends on your talent and skills rather than the computer brand you use.

                             

                            In the case of FileMaker, i think that the Windows version lacks key features for expert users who need keyboard shortcuts and better window behavior. May be because a lot of people at FMI uses mac?, maybe.

                            • 11. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
                              steveallen0112

                              You've outlined just about every complaint I've had with the new version.  I'm a Windows guy, and I'm totally enamored with using the hotkeys in FM13 to do just about everything.  I frequently do stuff so fast that it's just flashing screens (my boss is constantly telling me to slow way down when I'm doing internal coding demos), and any time I work on the Mac, or in FM14 on Windows, I feel like I'm slogging through mud.

                               

                               

                              I'm getting used to the new setup in FM14, which is still pretty usable -- just in a completely different way than what I'm used to already.  However, "it's the little foxes that spoil the vine", and this is true with the new experience.  Things like putting the same hotkey ("S") in a certain dialog or two different buttons, tell me that no one in the development chain at FMI actually uses Windows, because it's so obvious to a real Windows user that such duplication is a really dumb idea and completely contrary to the purpose, intent, and actual use of hotkeys.

                               

                              Granted, with the new version, I am significantly faster on Mac (when I'm forced to use it, for various reasons) than I was in previous versions.  But I don't use Mac regularly; I use Windows.  These little things, when combined with the significant bugs (script lines moving around on you, etc.) make all the difference, and I think this vine is spoiled.  I am going to continue to use FM13 until these are fixed or I'm forced to use FM14.

                              • 12. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
                                LSNOVER

                                I'm having the same problem with script lines jumping around.  I'm sure it's something I'm doing, but I don't know what it it is.

                                • 13. Re: Unintended consequences - Why FM14 takes my hands OFF the keyboard
                                  JohnrC

                                  Chris I've taken the liberty of anointing you Ambassador of Efficiency. Thanks for your time in outlining these issues. It would behoove the folks at FM to utilize your comments and experience.

                                   

                                  My FM14 trial expires today and I'm officially on the fence. If FM worked like any other Windows program I'd have started purchasing weeks ago. As it is, I'm not sure I can put up with the high degree of frustration. Kind of like telling me that any time I moved forward in my car, even a couple of inches, I had to put it in reverse and back around the block first.

                                   

                                  I'm afraid I can't hold my breath hoping... aside from the fact that you started this post nearly one year ago, and obviously nothing's been done, I've added to Apple.com "Feedback" for iOS functionality --- sometimes related to accessibility/disabilities --- to no avail. Either it doesn't work, or my brain simply does not work like an Apple brain should.

                                   

                                  I thought there were code libraries to make these things easy to implement for developers like FileMaker/Apple and that it would actually be difficult to bypass these inherent/systemic attributes.

                                   

                                  Anyway, one can clearly see that this is an Apple OS product. Even the KEY + MOUSE object selection doesn't work right (you know... CLICK + SHIFT to select a bunch of contiguous objects, while CLICK + CTRL to select non-contiguous objects. Or am I missing something). If it's to be a Windows product, why not make it a Windows product. Keep everything as is for Mac people who don't care about these things.

                                   

                                  To the point of the contentious Office ribbon, at least one click of ALT and you get the explosion of superimposed letters for your next click