5 Replies Latest reply on Aug 23, 2015 8:47 AM by taylorsharpe

    How do you organize scripts/reports layouts?

    user14967

      I'm looking for advice on how to arrange reporting scripts. In the dark ages, I created a "reports" layout in the primary FMP file, threw in a bunch of buttons and attached scripts to them. It's a mess.

       

       

      Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 9.36.11 AM.png

       

      I have a few complaints about how I did this before:

       

      1. It's hard for people to remember which report does what.
      2. Some scripts open other files with their own reports layout (e.g., "Worklog Reports" opens the Worklog file).
      3. Some scripts perform actions on the found set, while others create a new found set. Even I can't remember which does which, so people often end up repeating a search query.

       

      Add to that the fact that some of these reports haven't been used in 5 years... like I said, it's a mess.

       

      Some ideas I'm considering:

      • Use drop-down menus to select reports and show a preview image
      • Provide a workflow to running reports (select the report you want to run, enter parameters, ...)

       

      Before I dig too deep, I'd like to see examples of how others organize reporting scripts. What has worked for you in the past?

       

      Thanks

      Eric

        • 1. Re: How do you organize scripts/reports layouts?
          robear

          Since most people don't remember what was done 5 years ago and I am no different, I like to name SCRIPTS, LAYOUTS, TOs... in an Alpha-Numeric fashion.

           

          The idea behind using both text and numbers is simple

               - up to 4 numbers is easy to remember

               - adding descriptive text to the names is also useful

           

          Where scripts are concerned, I'll name a single report script something like 6101-6109

               - if the report only takes a few scripts (6101-6103), I leave 6104-6109 for some future need

               - since it is easy to double click a button on any layout to show the SCRIPT Name, the #### is always first (followed by the text description)

           

          Next, when it comes to using the same script for several reports,

               - there are some scripts like Printing & Page Layout which you may want to affect all Reports, so you use the

                    ~ for this purpose I use 9000+ as SYSTEM scripts (which affect all scripts in a solution that calls it)

               - there are also scripts that are similar to (say 6102) but may change over time,

                    ~ these types I will duplicate and rename (i.e. 6112_desc)

                    ~ this might include a different layout

               - in this way, all the scripts related to a given report are found next to each other

           

          The same exists with numbering Layouts

               - contacts table may use L101-L199_CON_desc

                    ~ contact reports could be L160-L180_desc, which fall within the 99 #s designated for contact layouts...

               - invoices may look like L501-L599_desc

                     ~ invoice reports could be L560-L570_desc, which fall within the designated for invoice layouts #s

           

          When I come back 5 years later, the breadcrumbs are there for me to follow

           

          all the best

          • 2. Re: How do you organize scripts/reports layouts?
            Markus Schneider

            if some of the reports need quite some calculation time, a FileMaker preview won't help much. What about 'full' examples of an output stored in container fields that could be viewed if one's not sure? Together with an brief description

            (probably what You mentioned under 'ideas')

             

            Scripts: Using naming conventions (differ by customers) and some description in the header of the script (what it does, from where (other scrit, layout,) it's started, etc.

            • 3. Re: How do you organize scripts/reports layouts?
              robear

              Hi Markus

               

              Anything that helps you remember a process or objective "years later" is worth the effort, IMHO.

               

              In the numbering scheme I used above, the first script in a sequence is always "pseudo code" and is numbered like 6100_report_name.

                   - the pseudo code is also the basis for commenting the other scripts

                   - the pseudo code is just made of comments and acts as an overall description of your process

                        ~ i.e. open this, go to layout, calculate this, summarize that, run this sub-script, go to this report page, print...

              • 4. Re: How do you organize scripts/reports layouts?
                siplus

                If you are serious about that, you must analyze your users.

                 

                a book comes into my mind about this.

                 

                The choices you offer must frame their expectations, use their wording and be grouped accordingly.

                 

                Of course, some basic 101 common sense does have to kick in, i.e. if you have a section called "Selected job lists", then the entries below it must avoid the repetition of "Selected jobs by"... in every available choice.

                • 5. Re: How do you organize scripts/reports layouts?
                  taylorsharpe

                  If you want to have a lot of buttons on a layout like this, why not make them popovers where you can give a more detailed description of the report and a run button.  You can also do tool tips.