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Which forum for seeking help on Virtual List Sidebar?


Rick Horowitz
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I don't want to waste time and irritate someone. I'm having trouble figuring out if there's a certain forum where a question about the Virtual List Sidebar might be posted. I'm new here, and wondering if this "General" group is a place to ask for such help, or if I should be going to a specific section of the Forums. 

 

Thanks. 

 

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Rick Horowitz

Filemaker N00b (but with experience on other areas of programming)

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Thanks. I have a subscription for ISO Filemaker, so I've been able to watch the full video. I've watched it so much that I have parts of it nearly memorized verbatim, and yet I can't figure this out. 

 

If I leave out anything necessary just let me know; I am new to Filemaker. (Years ago, when Claris had it, I wrote a program to handle some aspects of a business I had then, but after that I've had no contact with Filemaker until quite recently.) 

 

PROBLEM: 

After copying everything over from the example file, and tweaking the appearance, conditional formatting, and scripts to get thing looking the way I want, I have the Virtual List Sidebar (VLS) appearing to do all that it's supposed to do. I've changed the menu to have different sections, added parts, and it all expands/contracts, and moves between layouts just like it's supposed to do. If I expand a part, or all, of the menu, and click a menu item to go to another layout, it goes there, and the menu bar keeps the appearance that it had on the prior layout, so that it looks like the only thing that changed is the content outside the portal that makes up the VLS. 

 

But one of the layouts that I use it on – which has the context of my "Person" table – shows me one person's record at a time, and I use a button to go to the next/previous records. When I do that, the VLS goes all wonky. Sometimes root areas (with all their submenus) disappear completely; sometimes, they develop different formatting; and sometimes extra "root-style" buttons (only blank; i.e., without a name) appear. Some of those "blank" buttons won't do anything, but sometimes they'll run the script to do something with the VLS, again changing the appearance, but again in a way that is wonky. 

 

If you go all the way back through the records, then it will sometimes return to the proper state. But if you move forward through the records again, it will repeat the errors. 

 

The debugger is giving me no indication of what is happening. I don't see any variables changing, or getting any weird information in them. 

 

My best guess is that I somehow have the sidebar table connected to my Person table incorrectly. But no matter how many times I watch the video, I can't figure out how I'm supposed to connect it differently. (I've created a SIDEBAR field in my Person table, and linked that to my Portal » Sidebar table's "serial" field.) 

 

Any help would be appreciated. 

 

Thanks. 

 

--

Rick Horowitz

Filemaker n00b (but with experience with other types of programming)

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Well, I'm pretty much giving up on this. 

 

Near as I can tell, the Virtual List Portal Sidebar Menu is a bust. It does not work, unless all you want to do is move from one layout to another. If you want to move through records on the layout, it just flat-out does not work. 

 

And, of course, it won't work with in List view or Table view, so you'd have to find workarounds for using it with lists, as well. (Or, at least from where this newbie sits, they'd be workarounds, since the only way I know right now to make lists is with List view.) 

 

And no one else seems to be using it, or to suggest that they know how to fix the bizarre behavior I described above. 

 

Looks like I'll just be using something less "beautiful": regular buttons with scripts attached. 

 

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Rick Horowitz

Filemaker n00b (but with experience with other types of programming)

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Hi Rick,

 

Welcome to FMForums!

 

Can you zip and post your file for us to take a look?  I've used this technique before and it works well.  Are you still using Mountain Lion?  I didn't think that would work with 13.

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Hi Rick,

 

…I use a button to go to the next/previous records. When I do that, the VLS goes all wonky…

 

Just from the sound of that, I wonder if there is a missing or incorrect "OnRecordLoad" script trigger.  Just a thought.

 

Although I use virtual lists, I'm not entirely familiar with the exact technique in the ISO Mag demo that you're following.  (I let my subscription expire a while back, when my credit card company changed the number to ward off a potential compromise.  I'm coming back, Matt — I promise!)

 

That said, have you posted your question over there?  Matt is usually good about responding to questions submitted in the magazine's comments section.

 

In the meantime, echoing LaRetta, a sample file posted here will help tremendously in the Dx.  Otherwise, it remains a somewhat abstract question.  (And to be clear, between Wim, Bruce, and LaRetta, you've already got the ears of three of the best around these parts.)

 

hth,

 

Mark

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Thanks, folks, for responding.

I am actually on Mavericks (10.9.5). I guess I accidentally put the wrong OS down when I signed up. I've fixed that.

Attached is the file. I've stripped out all the tables that aren't currently involved in this problem, as well as all additional layouts. I verified that after stripping these things out, the problem still occurs.

To reproduce the problem, you can just go to the "Details" layout. Try moving from one record to another. As best I can tell, depending on which record you're on when the file opens, if you move forward, it might not cause the problem. If you back up, it should. Also, if you expand/collapse and then repeat the moving through the records, the problem will present differently. (That is, one iteration I've noticed creates a bunch of buttons with no text on them (oddly enough, some will do stuff when clicked, although most won't), while another iteration will remove some of the root buttons.)

I can't see any changes in the Script Debugger, no matter what I try to watch. I've tried stepping through; and I've tried just letting things run. I don't see any variables being changed.

As I have mentioned above, I'm a n00b to Filemaker Pro, so maybe I just don't know how to ferret out a problem like this.

I thought it was a Script Trigger problem, but I don't know how to figure out which (if any) is the problem. I did think, as Mark Scott suggested, that it was a trigger that needs to be set, which I did not set. But I wasn't sure which one it could be, being as I'm new to this.

Thanks, again, for any help you can provide. I've started working on an alternative way of doing the buttons, but it's not nearly as aesthetically-pleasing to me.

 

EDIT: I have deleted the file that was attached to this, as I did not realize when I posted it that my modification was of a commercial product which I had a right to use, but probably not to distribute. 

--
Rick Horowitz
Filemaker n00b (but with experience with other types of programming)

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I find the technique complex.

Too complex. I am not a fan.

However, it appears to be working as designed.

 

Which may not be what you expect; or what you want.

 

However - I'm not entirely sure how the design is supposed to work, and the design is a commercial product by Matt released only to his paying customers.

 

The sidebar is set to display records where the value in field SIDEBAR in PERSONS is >= SERIAL in the Sidebar table.

 

So the first thing I did was display the SIDEBAR field on the Person Details layout.

 

There you can see that the value stored in the field varies as you navigate between records.

In your second record, it held the value 3.

 

The value in Person::SIDEBAR is controlled by which sidebar you click on.

So click on the right sidebar element, and it will change what is displayed.

 

This might be an intended feature; the sidebar display state is a property of which PERSON record you are on.

But I suspect Person::SIDEBAR is supposed to be a global field.
 
If so, then it would display identically across all the PERSON records.
 
If LaRetta has experience with exactly the technique file sold by Matt - then she can probably spot the problems.
 
I also note that Person::SIDEBAR in your file is defined as an auto-serial number.
I doubt that that is correct.
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Interesting. 

 

The first thing I learned here is that I was watching the wrong table. I was watching Person » Sidebar because I thought that controlled everything, and that the Person::Sidebar only mattered in terms of whether it was called, or not. 

 

As for the other points, I copied what was in the example file I had downloaded. (And, bad on me, I didn't realize that I was distributing essentially a copy of a file that was meant to be commercial only. I thought I paid for a subscription to a website, and the stuff I downloaded was taken from elsewhere and explained. In retrospect, that was stupid of me, and I'll be more careful in the future. If I'm able, I'm going to delete the file I uploaded here.) 

 

That said, your comment about the global field – and it's not set like that in the example – did resolve the problem. And I don't know why I had auto-serial set, either, so I've turned that off. 

 

And that seems to have resolved all the problems, and the portal is now working as I expect that it should. 

 

Thank you. 

 

--

Rick Horowitz

Filemaker Pro n00b

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