What this session will not be: A long winded introduction to virtual list, though we will spend about ten minutes reviewing the basics at the beginning.
What this session will be: A fast-paced, advanced-level session looking at a variety of ways virtual list can transform the way you present information in FileMaker.
- Flexible framework accommodates complex challenges
- No need to tamper with table or graph schema
- Easily combine data from unrelated tables
- Faster development time
- Speedy run time execution
A major selling point is that you can design complex reports and charts (including ones that would be "impossible" using standard FM reporting techniques) without defining additional fields in your data tables, or adding extra TOs to your graph... this of course is huge if you work on live systems. Heavy lifting is done at the script and layout levels.
While the overall focus will be on reporting and charting, I'll be showing some other uses of virtual list as well. We'll also take a look at the "Multi-Find" technique and why it can often be preferable to "Fast Summaries", ExecuteSQL and other array building approaches.
About the Speaker: KevinFrank
A frequent presenter at PauseOnError, DIGFM, FM-DiSC, and other user groups, Kevin Frank has been developing FileMaker databases for nearly 30 years. He hosts the popular FileMaker Hacks blog, and resides "behind the redwood curtain" in Arcata, California.
Main meeting discussion thread:
Sorry about the audio & video quality this time. If you like the availability of this video or find it helpful after watching it, let us know. A few people went though some trouble to help provide it. (Notably vince's valiant efforts)
Some useful video time signatures below:
- 0:01:16 Virtual List Benefits
- 0:02:00 Virtual List in a nutshell
- 0:04:00 First Example
- 0:08:30 Admitting There's a Problem
- ... Other examples ...
- 0:25:25 He showed a great trick to get ever growing report widths to fit on one sheet of paper without having to redesign layouts:
Define a custom paper size (once on the developer's computer); produce a PDF on any user's client or server even; magic.
PDF Trickery | FileMakerHacks
- 0:35:00 Typical Sub-Summary Report Vs. Typical Virtual List Report
- 0:36:00 Fast Summary technique
- 0:39:33 Multi-Find technique
- 0:44:50 = @7:50pm: Played with Wolfram Alpha data. See wolfram | Search Results | FileMakerHacks
- ... Other stuff ...
- 0:55:15 Break. vince.menanno laughing while juggling recording devices. What fun watching Vince run out of space on his iPhone and then turn his laptop around to face Kevin and the screen projection so the camera would see them. Kevin stops in the middle of what he was saying and says: "What are you doing?"
- @8:15pm — In relation to virtual lists, covered Thinking About JSON, part 1 | FileMakerHacks
Formatting JSON will increase processing time. E.g.: 28 seconds unformatted vs. 38 seconds formatted.
- 0:56:20 = @8:25pm — Script trigger to clear big global variables for building virtual lists: OnLayoutExit
- ~1:03:00 — Perform script on server advantages: fast and you can fetch data with you don't want the user to be able to see in entirety.
- ~1:13:00 — Don't let FileMaker auto-assign JSON object elements.
- ~1:19:00 = ~@8:45pm — Virtual lists for custom sorted value lists!
Check out "Byte Order Marks"
Virtual List on Steroids | FileMakerHacks
It’s Sorta a Value List Thing | FileMakerHacks
Credit goes to Soliant.
- ~1:30:00 = ~@8:55pm — See the auto-adjusting one-page rows in Release Agreement[new]
- ~1:37 = ~@9:05pm — "display a customer’s artwork in a separate “lightbox” window in either four-column…"
…or five column views.
For these results, see Virtual List on Steroids | FileMakerHacks
Look for the JSON joke here: Thinking About JSON, part 1 | FileMakerHacks
I noticed I can search for a lot of these topics on Kevin's site and find examples or explanations: