7 Replies Latest reply on Feb 5, 2015 1:39 PM by philmodjunk

    Contextual info



      Contextual info


      I have a solution that in addition to providing answers to calculations I'd like to provide contextual info. This is easy enough when limited to Tooltips or limited amounts of text. The problem I have is that effectively I'd like to reference to a book, complete with tables and figures. I can break this book up from it's current word processor or pdf format. However, I wondered if anyone had tried using filemaker to reference a large, in-built text.

        • 1. Re: Contextual info

          That depends on what you mean  by "large in built text". Using FileMaker, that could be:

          a) A large text field
          b) A completely different layout that pops up in a floating window
          c) a Website that opens in either a web browser or a web viewer
          d) A PDF file that opens in an interactive container field
          e) a file that opens in the default application for that file type

          • 2. Re: Contextual info

            Reject a) As there's too much info and c) because I would like this to work off-line too and e) probably not because the pdf would open at the contextually correct page.

            b) Are you suggesting a layout that pops up with the info and the user can shift the layout out of the way and it will simply update as per context? Presumably with this I'd have to chop the 'book' up into text or container fields and these would be 'called to the window' when the context elsewhere did the calling (by relationship?).

            d) Interactive container field with a pdf: I've not come across this yet. How is the interaction handled? Any example files?

            BTW, I've previously asked whether there's any way to secure a pdf within Filemaker (once the FM file is secured) and the answer was 'NO'. Is this still the case with FM13? [I'm still on 12, but it would be invaluable to be able to lock an eBook inside an FM file].

            • 3. Re: Contextual info

              For e) you would use a separate PDF for each such section of information.

              b) would typically use a floating document window. This is an option with a very broad range of possible variations as you can bring the full range of FileMaker relational database, scripts and interface design features to bear on the issue. It's very likely that you would so break up the info. I will point out that it's easy to import a text file into FileMaker and each paragraph of text will automatically import into a different record. These records can then be organized into chapters and the text from these paragraphs can be displayed in a variety of formats--including a standard "book page" format where the selected paragraphs "flow" back together to form the "page". There are interface design challenges, but it can be done and such text can even include an option were specifically formatted text forms a "hyperlink" that can be clicked to drill down to more detail or to cross reference to other information.

              d) Interactive Container fields are a standard feature of FileMaker 12 and 13. You can look this feature up in FileMaker help. It allows you to insert a PDF into a large scale container field and it will function as a Web Viewer, but customized to the controls for paging through a PDF file.

              Not sure what you mean by "secure" and what level of security is acceptable. You can certainly embed a file into a container field and limit users to password controlled accounts that do not allow the user to export the contents of that file and then the only means of access is via gaining access to open your file.

              But: If the user can acquire a physical copy of your file and knows what they are doing, there are utilities that can hack open the file giving them full access and then they can extract the PDF's. This is not something the non-tech user will know how to do so it's a matter of value of the PDF's content vs the level of risk you are comfortable with. And PDF's generated by FileMaker will typically allow users to access the text in them by copying the text to the clipboard.

              • 4. Re: Contextual info

                Those are some good leads.

                b) Those text paragraphs can be imported into records, what would happen to tables/ figures embedded in either a wordprocessor or pdf?


                Security: You mean if a hacker got hold of the FM file they could hack it open? I assume that would apply to anything within the FM file, not just any pdf's I'd embedded?

                I'm not so bothered by users copying bits of info, as this would often be for personal notes, perfectly honest. It's more the problem of someone accessing the whole lot to then distribute.

                • 5. Re: Contextual info

                  What I described with importing paragraphs of information would be text only. Graphics, special table formatting wouldn't work . But inserting such data into container fields or related tables could be used to add them back in to some degree. But FileMaker is not by any means a desktop publishing system. It won't, for example flow text around a graphic object like you might do with something as simple as MS word. Keep in mind that what you lose in the formatting department, you gain back in ways to cross reference your content via relational database techniques.

                  The first line of database security is to restrict access to physical copies of the database. By this, I mean downloading a copy of a file off of the server that hosted it or getting access to a back up copy of the database. It wouldn't take a "hacker" to do this, just someone that knows a bit about how FileMaker works and does a websearch for this utility.

                  • 6. Re: Contextual info

                    Security: What I had meant was, if the solution was secured using the NIC, will the pdf files within the solution be easily copied once the file is open?

                    • 7. Re: Contextual info

                      I don't follow what you mean by "secured using the NIC". If the user's access permissions and your design of the file permit it, they will be able to. If your design requires opening the file in a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader instead of leaving it stored in an interactive container, they will be able to save a copy as far as I know. But they should be fairly secure if you restrict them to only viewing the pages of the PDF inside a large sized container field. You can set up access permissions in their privilege set that prevent exporting data from the database and this should, as far as I know, keep a user from exporting the PDF from its container field.