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Conditional Formatting w repeating field bug


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Since I havent been on here regularly in weeks, I guess I will give you guys a goodie as a post.

I found a bug with conditional formatting when the test is with repeating fields. I am not sure if anyone has found this already but I have reported it to FMI.

Here is a test file.

conditional_issue.zip

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There is however a solution to the problem, although I'm scatching my head as to where such things really are required???

Next issue is if this really is a bug, as Mike indicates is the breakaing of 1NF dissuaded by the introduction of fm7, where lookups from 2nd thru nth repetition have been discontinued as it were before fm7, where you easily could design an invoiceing system entirely flat, if you dared not take the plunge into relational designs.

--sd

DevilsLawyer.zip

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Uhmmmmm Soren, I do hope you were kidding... ???

Anyway, although I always recommend normalizing one's database to a relational structure for real data, I am not a hater of repeating fields. They are very useful when used properly. The examples I posted above was just that; An example.

The point was that it was a bug that I reported to FMI along with about 6 others I have to date.

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Call it joke or whatever, there is no need for this technique to be honest, why do you feel it's a problem???

Meanwhile will I lead the readers attention to David Kachels piece on this:

Cute and Clever Tricks

This is perhaps the second biggest pitfall for FMP novices.

One of the first things FileMaker novices discover is the huge community of FMP de-

velopers willing to answer questions, provide advice, demos, sample solutions and sup-

port of any and every stripe. This is a wonderful support system and is very helpful to

everyone, on many different levels. Many advanced developers spend a lot of hours every

year building demos and how-to instructions provided mostly free-of-charge or for a very

nominal fee, to anyone who wants them. Some even provide free downloadable modules

you can plug right into your solution. You’ll never find a better community of colleagues

anywhere. Of course they (we) are all hoping you may hire them (us) to help you over the

rough spots but still, the generosity and openness cannot be denied.

However, some of these techniques are not necessarily good options. There are many

cute and clever things that can be done in FileMaker that are workable, but not practical.

They may tend to slow your solution considerably, or limit options down the road.

Be very cautious when deciding to use specialized techniques in your solution. If they

seem to require a lot of complicated coding, or manipulate FileMaker into doing some-

thing completely outside the database realm, you may be better off without them. If they

add a slick feature to your database, but don’t really provide a significant functional ad-

vantage, pass them by.

Think of these techniques as decorations on the tree. They can be wonderful and daz-

zling, but too many of them may bring down the whole tree.

One last precaution with these techniques:

Some of them flat out just don’t work! Before you go to the trouble of building a tech-

nique into your file, test the demo thoroughly. Think of yourself as a beta tester and try as

hard as you can to break it. It is surprisingly common to discover that a clever technique

is flawed and is not really workable.

And judging by the wast number of downloads og my fix, are we already in deep deep troubles, explaining what we mean vs. how crafty we actually are!

http://www.fmforums.com/forum/showpost.php?post/267347/

I am not a hater of repeating fields

Neither am I, it's the teaching of bad habits I'm worried by - It's put very very elegantly by La Fontiane:

Nothing is as dangerous as an ignorant friend; a wise enemy is to be preferred.

Nothing is more dangerous than a friend without discretion; even a prudent enemy is preferable.

--sd

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I agree with John! Firstly, repeaters are a wonderful tool if not for data and secondly, it's an example of inconsistent behavior within FileMaker. Understanding these bugs can save us from being bitten elsewhere at different times. To turn our backs on them, as with fearful superstition (holding up garlic and crosses) is simply ridiculous. ???

John is not spouting to newbies to use repeaters ... he is making everyone aware of an inconsistency. Good grief, Soren!

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Call it joke or whatever, there is no need for this technique to be honest, why do you feel it's a problem???

I feel that its a problem because its a FileMaker bug and felt that it should be announced to everyone on here. There are all skill levels of developers on here, in which some know the difference betweeen partical use verses bad design. There are also novices on here that will try and use repeaters but I am not going throw out a disclaimer each time I mentioned the word "repeater". They can go back and check older posts on why they shouldnt be used for true data storage.

I said that I hope you were joking because I was assuming that you would know by now that I wouldnt endorse using repeating fields as true data storage but to use them for utility purposes why not.

Neither am I, it's the teaching of bad habits I'm worried by - It's put very very elegantly by La Fontiane:

Nothing is as dangerous as an ignorant friend; a wise enemy is to be preferred.

Nothing is more dangerous than a friend without discretion; even a prudent enemy is preferable.

No where in my post did I say go and use repeating fields instead of relational design. However, even FileMaker themselves use repeating fields in their sample files; whether they are wrong or not. If a user tries to use this conditional formatting technique then I am sure that they would be wondering why it doesnt work. So at least now they know that its a bug. Hopefully they will know that they should use a line items table as well and ditch the limited repeating fields.

Furthermore, not everyone is trying use repeating fields for things such as a line items. I came across the bug while I was trying to apply conditional formatting to a UTILITY field in my preferences table. In there I have a message field where the system admin can post messages in the system if down or there are new news. There will never be more than those two message at any given time. Most of the time the fields should be empty except when the system admin wants to notify the users. When something has been posted in there by the system admin, I wanted a field to change color so that it was easily spottable. So I could have created two fields called msg_news and msg_alert. Since they are both messages, I saw no reason to create two different fields when I could just use one. Also, there is absolutely no pratical reason to create a related msg table for only two utility messages. There is a such thing as overnomalization.

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:jester:

It was obvious to me that your example was based upon Developer use, John, and I know you well enough that you'd never use or endorse repeaters in place of relational design. So should Soren.

BTW, the latest version (released 9/12) of Business Productivity Kit has changed to relational design for their Sals Orders to LineItems. Miracles DO happen!

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To turn our backs on them

It's apparently not clear to you that it isn't the object repeating fields I'm after, but the way you use them ....

It does always takes knowledge to improvise or break the rules, it's the difference of being drilled to solve matters in an impeccable certain way each time - no questions asked versus the critical reasoning of what would solve the issue at hand best.

Your shopkeeper'ish, society prevent's you apparently from seeing the order giver as either fool or psychopath ... beleive me the stereotype that such characters only are found amongst simple burglars - and never ever appointed to the highest positions in society, is naive! My take on it is, that sometimes is it occuring several times along the path up and down a hierarchy of tie-clads.

How would a newbe be abel to distinguish a classic approach from a utterly cute fix with very limited scope of deployment??

--sd

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Your shopkeeper'ish, society prevent's you apparently from seeing the order giver as either fool or psychopath

I highly suggest you keep nationality and politics (or I should say ... your personal interpretations of them) out of this forum.

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Good point, but I suggest that - however how ridiculous these disclaimers may be felt issuing, will a newbe always land him/her self in thread like this ...the number of downloads alone suggests it!

ISSUE the disclaimers!!!! I have been exposed to peoples files, wishing a tiny fix to a problem, but where the relational structure was weak or or arbitrary thrown in, solutions even largely deployed on school management on state or county level ... the higly acclaimed checks and balances does seemingly only apply to external developers actually selling a solution as independant business entities, while inhouse developers can appeare apparent busy year in and year out, getting regulary paid as salary for fooling around.

--sd

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It doesn't take a genious to know the example was NOT for regular data. I would bet you that all of the downloads were by advanced developers who were interested in the bug and NOT by newbies wanting to create lineitems using a method which is called a bug. :crazy2:

You do not teach by throwing blinders onto intelligent people. Nor do you teach by using fear tactics and witch-hunting behaviors; to seek out and destroy any mention of the word REPEATER from the face of the planet because of the possibility that someone, somewhere might misinterpret its proper use!

With the FM Business Productivity Kit changed, where will newbies get the idea to use repeaters? Your reign and responsibility for saving the world of newbies should come to an end. No?

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Are you sure? migraters from other tools are hyper sensitive when ever the word bug shows up, will it really be up to all the glorious promises made??

The word bug is used as excuse for not getting too involved. A fair share of newbe questions is usually attempt's to make the tool behave more spreadsheet'ish than catered for ...I can't say if this is due to the mission statement Filemaker Inc. have made ...when they talk about growing out of spreadsheets.

But what we havn't established yet, is if we really are dealing with expected behaviour or a bug, the repating fields were changed by the introduction of fm7 e.g. have Jon Rosens ANDFIND back from the fm5 days lost it's meaning, similar have:

http://www.datatude.net/Demos/ClearAllReps.zip

But why bother, when constrain found set as well as GTRR in both "found set" and "show only" have found their way into the tool meanwhile.

--sd

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fear tactics and witch-hunting behaviors

I urge myself to primarily spread socratic noise, which is an attempt to raise doubt, and if you feel that it's a fear tactics it because it shakes owners of constitutional "wisdom" in the foundations, hence my earlier mentioning of the shopkeepers.

--sd

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You truly can't find anyone more cautious and anal than me, Soren. But even I am amazed at how overboard you can go. It seems to happen in phases - like a full moon. Or sometimes I wonder if you hit periods of personal boredom ... that's what happens to me ... sometimes the devil sneaks out of me and runs around looking for things to get excited about!

I agree with your cautions; I agree with Socretes. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing and even cautions hit this level sometimes. The fact that you are also beginning a rant about spreadsheet-ish behaviors backs up the impression as well. I like being shaken. I like being confused so I have to re-hash things I thought I've resolved (because there is no such thing in reality).

But you weren't talking about whether we've found a bug or not - you went off on a rant about poor repeating fields who get the blunt of every bad joke and every curse upon mankind. They are not rats (oh, I can't help myself ... it makes me laugh so much and those that know that joke are laughing now as well). We don't need to call an exterminator nor do we need to wear bullet-proof vests nor hide in dark alleys every time they are mentioned. Move on. Please. Let poor little repeaters have some dignity. They are nice little critters. And they actually can do spreadsheet-ish things as well.

John simply pointed out an inconsistency and I am glad he did. Let it go before you drive everyone here to drink.

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:backtotopic:

It seems to be a refresh issue - refreshing the screen restores the proper formatting. If you want to see something amusing (and a hint to a possible workaround), change the conditional formatting to affect the field's background, then place a copy of the repeating field underneath the problematic field (partially overlapping).

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Lol, I'm suprised at you guys, this is even more off topic than I'd go!!

For any newbies floating around, if you've really gotten this far and didn't get bored after the second post... general rules of thumb:

1) DO NOT USE REPEATING FIELDS TO ALLOW USERS TO ENTER DATA - i.e. Line Items, Phone Numbers, Names and any other situation you can think of that involves entering multiple items for one record - this should be done relationally...

2) If you are new I recommend you ignore their existance until you have a good grasp on relational structure so that you are never tempted to use them as a substitute.

3) Repeating fields are not the devil... they have many wonderful uses when they are manipulated correctly but those uses have nothing to do with data storage

I'm pretty sure I just repeated my self!! ahahahahaha. I have a strange feeling that's not a word, though maybe its just been used so many times in this thread its lost all meaning.

PS. Soren, if you are trying to use conditional formatting in a repeating field being used for utility (and you have posted repeating examples before) then this bug is an issue - not that I'm on FM9 anyway but still.

Now everybody, play nice.

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Soren I think you may be confusing what everyone else is saying.

At no stage has anyone in this thread condoned or encouraged using repeating fields for anything but utility purposes.

The reason John's example had a simple text based repeating field with two items of data within it was to illustrate the bug, not to demonstrate how repeating fields should be used. When demonstrating bugs or samples, it is important that the issue is clear, there is no point in creating some sophisticated calculations thereby adding unecessary complications and variables making it more difficult to see the actual issue at hand.

We as more advanced developers cannot simply refrain from discussing topics that are important to us because someone new to FM may read the topic and get the wrong idea about the correct usage of repeaters - though where within this thread they may even get such an idea from is beyond me.

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The issue was that John didn't include a disclaimer. It still makes me belly laugh (and I don't mean that in a disrespectful way, Soren, not at all).

Okay kids ... scissors are great. But DISCLAIMER: Don't stick the darned things up your nose or shove it in your eyes. Warning labels be damned sometimes, folks. We can't protect the world.

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In a sense this is not a bug. The conditional formatting DOES work but there must be some action which causes a window refresh. One way to do that is by using a calc that refreshes with record mod time, see attached.

conditional_issue.zip

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It is a bug in the sense that it doesn't work as expected. You shouldn't need to resort to adding a field, or even a less 'expensive' workaround.

---

It seems I am unable to post a full reply, so the workaround would be to make numfield auto-enter =

numfield + 0 * Msg[2]

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We can't protect the world

True, but parents teachers, friends and instincts, provides the new one with a complex of cautions, from which interpolations usually solves problems with dangers involved - abstract dangers are much tougher to be aware of, non metaphoric decoys are just as likely as the metaphoric ...and usually are we our own, worst enemy by being not quite as hessitant as required.

--sd

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In a sense this is not a bug. The conditional formatting DOES work but there must be some action which causes a window refresh.

I tend to agree here, every object must have a algorithmic workorder or we would be back in fm6 and earliers silly circular reference alerts for fields definition.

It's must be so that the first field is the most lively one, the most urgent refreshed since it's what it has in common with non repeating fields, I used this in my template, by letting it autoenter monitor the going ons in the other repeaters, much to our luck shall it not be shown - just referenced by the conditional formatting calc's.

My guess is that the fix of this behavior, would jeopardize the ability to define and use custom functions ...but on the other hand have I noticed that the "Self" bypasses or reverse the order things are done by not even requiring the user to commit the record when converting pasted font and style into the layouts intended:

Evaluate("Self")

...if put in an autoenter (update)

--sd

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