The FileMaker 16 Card Window is a new user interface tool which will not only make your application look better, it will help you reuse your layouts. Using the Card Window Style you will be able to display unrelated record data, related record data, and transform the look of currently viewed records. At the same time, it just might make window management easier.
Improved New Window Options
FileMaker 16 improved the New Window script step interface by placing the Window Style at the top of the setup screen. Prior versions exposed the Window Style option only after selecting the “Specify Advanced Style”. In addition, FileMaker 16 includes a Layout selector within the New Window script step further streamlining the setup process.
Window Card Option
The New Window script step offers the Card style from the drop-down menu. When the Card style is selected, you are given the option to include a “Close” button and to “Dim parent window.” All other Window Options are grayed out for the Card window style: users are unable to Resize, Minimize nor Maximize a window when a Card window is displayed. This also includes the Parent window.
Tip: if you opt to exclude FileMaker Pro’s default Close button, make sure you include a way for the user to close the window by including a custom close button or other scripting method. Otherwise your user will get stuck.
Displaying Unrelated Data
One of the exciting uses you will find with the FileMaker 16 Card Window is the ability to display data that is unrelated to the data in the layout of the current parent window without making your users leave their current layout. Why? You could do this to create picker lists for such things as picking: contacts for invoices, contacts for email messages, parts for orders, etc.
List View Pickers
When using a list view layout, you will most likely want to specify the size (especially the height) of your new window. The default size of the FileMaker 16 Card Window is based on the layout’s window content. The default position is based on the center of the parent window. In the case of a list view where the body part is relatively short, the window would only show one record and be short — not ideal for a picker.
Example: Using Layout’s Default Sizes
In the following example, the sizes for the Card display will use the defaults which are based on the layout’s sizes…
Example: Using Custom Sizes
In the following example, the Card’s window has been customized to give a more desirable picker window height.
Displaying Related Data
The FileMaker 16 Card Window is also available in the Go to Related Record (GTRR) script step giving you another manner in which to display related records from a parent record.
Example: Setup GTRR Script Step for Company to Contacts
Example: Using GTRR Script with Card
Transform Current Record View
Previous versions of FileMaker Pro Window Styles gave us the ability to display data, related or unrelated, in a new window (Document, Dialog, Floating), however the Card is different. Using the Card window has the feeling of unification, dependency and attachment. The Card creates a canvas for displaying alerts, pickers, call to action and for transforming the display of currently view records.
Things to consider
If you are anything like me, you will want to add the FileMaker 16 Card Window to all of your solutions. But before you do, consider the following:
- For the best unification appearance, that is making the Card window appear it is part of the parent window, it looks best if the parent window is larger than the Card window that will open. A Card window can overlap the parent window.
- Once a Card window has been opened, the Card window (nor the parent) can be repositioned or resized by the user. The Card window can be manipulated by scripts.
- The record navigator is only applicable to the parent window; not to the record or records displayed in the Card. This is the tool that shows the current found count, previous record, next record, etc. If your users will need to know how many records are being displayed, you may have to add a custom indication.
- The Toolbar buttons and options (New Record, Delete Record, Find, QuickFind, etc.) are grayed out when displaying a Card. If your Card solution requires these functions, you may have to add custom buttons to your Card layout, however the Menu commands are available. For example, entering Command/Control + n will create a new record in the context of the Card’s layout.
- Closing a Card window will commit the data for a record if a record was being edited within the window.
- You cannot open a Card window within a Card window, however you can open any other type of Window Style (Document, Floating, Dialog). The windows can look a bit unwieldy so make sure it fits a specific use case.
- Backwards compatibility. If a script that was written with FileMaker Pro 16’s Card window is run in an earlier version of FileMaker Pro (Ex. 15), a Document window will open with the title that was specified in the FileMaker 16 Card window setup.
- FileMaker 16 Pro/Advanced Card is compatible with solutions hosted with FileMaker Cloud and FileMaker Server 15.
- FileMaker 16 Card window style is compatible with FileMaker Go, although the behavior is slightly different. If the window option Close is checked, FileMaker Go will not display a Close button, but will allow a user to tap on the parent window to close the Card (a similar behavior to dismissing an open popover). Unchecking the Close button will disable this behavior and require a user to click a button you provide in order to close the Card window.
- FileMaker 16 Card window style will appear as a virtual window similar to other window styles when using the New Window script step.
Jay Sayers is a FileMaker 15 Certified Developer at Skeleton Key in St. Louis, Mo.
About Skeleton Key
Skeleton Key helps turn complex, complicated, and outdated systems into true information platforms. Our team of consultants and developers do this by developing custom-fit software tools and reporting dashboards that help businesses find, use, and understand their data, freeing them to focus on and grow their core business.
In addition to custom databases and applications, we also provide training and coaching for getting the most out of your existing systems and understanding your unruly data. Skeleton Key is an open-book management company and active player of the Great Game of Business.