Posts from July 2010.

Autoscaling Behaviors of the FileMaker Pro Chart Object

Ever have a FileMaker Pro chart “mysteriously” change its scale setting on you? Ever wonder how the FileMaker Pro chart object decides to set the y-axis scale? The FileMaker Pro documentation doesn’t provide that level of detail, so following are the behavior “rules” I’ve deduced through experimentation:

Scaling Behavior “Rules”…
(The following assume the y-scale min-max has not been set to static values.)

  • If the spread of values is less than 20%, the y-axis min-max will automatically adjust to show just the top portion of the plot.
  • If the high value is more than 90% of the y-axis max, the chart draws to the next larger grid line (which has its own set of display logic, by the way).
  • If the low value is less than ~14% of the visible scale, the chart draws to the next smaller grid line.

To experiment with settings on variously-sized charts download the demo file.

Happy exploring, and stay savvy!


Fun with FileMaker Pro 11 Charts, v1.5

Knowing how to represent data visually often draws upon quite varied skills. A data visualist ideally possesses some of the traits of information architect, graphic designer, mathematician, statistician, web designer, teacher, user interface designer, cognitive psychologist, and storyteller. One could argue that these skills are essential to thriving in our future information-rich society. Until the future arrives, however, we must manage with whatever we have. And one thing we now have is FileMaker Pro 11 Charts! Charting is the feature that will drive a new stage of success.

The demo file explores using the chart object in new ways… Read more… »

A Startup Subscript: Checking version/platform/device

Funny how a new platform (FileMaker Go for iPad, in this case) helps you tighten your code design. While putting together the Charting on the iPad demo file (updated), naturally I rewrote the subscript that checks versions at file start to include mobile devices. For each variation it can specify minimum version and whether to enforce, allow/advise, or deny any access. The script is more modular and easily extensible by app version, OS, OS version, or device form factor. It has four parts, essentially:

1. You decide your desired behavior rules:

# Whether to advise & allow, enforce version, or deny ANY access
# ( 0 or null=ignore, 1=advise but allow, 2=enforce version, 
#   3=deny ANY access, 4=unsupported platform but allow )

# Min version & enforcement level of FM Go for iPad
Set Variable [ $minVersion_FMGo_iPad; Value:"1.0" ]
Set Variable [ $enforceLevel_FMGo_iPad; Value:1 ]
# Min version & enforcement level of FM Go (for iPhone)
Set Variable [ $minVersion_FMGo_iPhone; Value:"99" //will assure test fail ]
Set Variable [ $enforceLevel_FMGo_iPhone; Value:4 ]
etc., etc., etc.

2. Then you query the computing environment:

FileMaker Go (Charting?!) on the iPad

Charting with FileMaker Go on the iPad[ Update Note: As of Oct 7, 2010 the demo file links return an updated v2 file that was released at DevCon in August. This was discussed in a subsequent blog post, Charting in FileMaker Go for iPad — what’s new in v2 (ChartingWithWebTech.fp7). ]

Web technologies have added functionality to FileMaker solutions since the Web Viewer layout object was introduced in version 8.5. The web viewer has proven especially useful for displaying Flash-generated charts from FusionCharts, Maani, AnyChart, and others.

FileMaker Pro v11 introduced a built-in chart layout object with 5 basic chart types. Charts suddenly became much easier to implement in FileMaker Pro!

However, with FileMaker Go for iPad and Phone (separate apps) built-in charting is not supported and Apple’s iOS doesn’t run Adobe Flash. Sure, you can load static images from the Google charts API into a web viewer — but what is really needed is an interactive and self-sufficient (as in no internet connection required) charting solution.

Luckily, the potential of