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Scripting the Creation of a Layout

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I am migrating a moderately complex database (18 tables, 104 layouts, etc.) to version 7, and am practically ecstatic over the improvements in FM7.

In the process of building my new structure (and applying the ideas of the Separation Model discussed elsewhere), it occurred to me that it would be really cool if I could allow my end clients to modify some of the reports *without* giving them the ability to change the core UI. This can be relatively easily achieved by creating a separate Reports file, and giving my clients full access to THAT file, while locking down the basic UI database. Problem is, if my clients modify a layout that I distributed, their changes will get overwritten when I send them an upgrade. So, I was trying to find some way to script it so that my clients could copy and rename one of my reports and modify it to their hearts' content. Unfortunately, FM doesn't include a "Duplicate Layout" script step.

Does anyone have any ideas?



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I don't think this can be accomplished. It would be great to allow end users to modify layouts but I agree, would make upgrades very difficult. I have a similar problem in products with office specific items such as printing, faxing and have felt that I should have a file for each office with these items that would not be affected with upgrades.

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There is a "Duplicate Layout" command, but it cannot be invoked from a script. Users going in to a database to modify a layout in a live production database had better know what they are doing! If they don't know how to duplicate a layput using the menus then they should not be in there. Hence the whole problem I have with letting "users" into solutions at all. I have no problems letting other "developers" there to make modifications, but I charge by the hour to fix whatever they break.

FMP 7 allows lots of access control over layouts: you can for instance lock all existing layouts (prevent editing) but allow them to create new layouts or duplicate existing ones.

The problem however is linking these new user-created layouts into the existing navigation system. If users create new layouts they may also need to create new scripts (or modify existing ones) to be able to use them. Which will require somebody with developer FMP skills anyway.

Of course there are ways of using records as letter templates to do reasonably simple mail merge for letters, but this is quite different from what you are asking about. Do a forum search for mail merge.

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