An Introduction to Card Windows in FileMaker 16

The new Card Window feature in FileMaker 16 allows you to create overlays within the same window. The card can have its own context different from the background layout. This is going to be a game-changer in how FileMaker solutions are designed and architected.

Video Transcript:

Hi, my name is Martha Zink and I’m with Soliant Consulting.

In this video, I’m going to focus on one of the new features in FileMaker 16, the Card Window.

Now, this is going to be a basic introduction on what the Card Window is, and how you can make it work. Check out Soliant TV, where we’ll be posting other videos on how to take advantage of this technique and tool. We will also be posting other videos related to FileMaker 16.

So, let me show you quickly two examples of how you can use a card window.

I’m going to click on Sheree Brown, who is the CEO. You’ll see that a card window pops up. The background is grayed out, and we have the ability to see details about Sheree Brown. I could go into this record and change anything I wanted.

I also have the ability to add a new employee right from this card window. I click “Add Employee.” Instead of switching to a different layout completely or adding a new row in the portal and having the user enter the data there, I can show a card window where someone could add a new record, and click “Done.” Then, at the bottom of the portal, we’re now going to see that new employee.

So, let me pull up a really basic card window and then we’ll talk about what it’s made up of. All this button, the right upper corner, does is open up a new window in the card style. The card window is really a window style.

The card window works on both Pro and Go but does not work on Web Direct. And it is treated a little bit different when it comes to Pro vs. Go.

Whenever you want to open up something in the card window, your script step will be the new window script step or the go to related script step which incorporates the new window script step.

I’m going to double-click on “New Window”. This window itself has changed in FileMaker 16, in that now when you create a new window through a script step, you can also define what layout it should go to from the get-go. Before, this was two different script steps. So, under “Window Style” is the new fourth option for the window style. We can choose the layout that we want to go to.

This is a smaller layout that I built that has a text box on it. Then you can set the size and the position. If you don’t put anything in these different fields, FileMaker will put it centered to the previous window and it will size it to the size of the actual layout. For the window options, you have the choice to include the icon to close the window, as well as the ability to dim the parent window. Both of these things are turned off by default.

I’m going to go back to my sample. You’ll notice that in the example where I clicked on the employee name, there is no ability to close the window here, and clicking on the background doesn’t do that. The only way to do it here is by a button on my layout. I’ve created a button that does the close window script step here. Note that in FileMaker Pro, clicking in the background or the parent layout won’t actually close the card window. This will work, however, on FileMaker Go, unless the “Close” button is hidden. So, in FileMaker Go, you don’t actually see a “Close” button. You just have the ability to click away by clicking on the background.

Now, let me open up the kind of bland version of the card layout here. I’ll quickly point out there is no title bar, no window frame. There’s no border, there’s no status toolbar, and there’s no formatting bar. So, think of the card window as the most bare-bones version of a new window. It’s also tied to a parent window, so when I move the parent window, the card window moves as well. The card is something that can’t be resized by the user. So, a developer can change the size, like when we were looking at that new window ability, as well as its location. But, the developer is responsible for deciding that, not the user.

When you close the card window, the record is committed. So, if you’ve just done something in that record, closing the record does commit the record before closing.

So, how is this going to get used? Well, I think it’s got a lot of functionality. I showed you two examples here. The ability to show related data, the ability to add related data, and we’ve got lots of other things we could think of. It’s going to be great for navigation. Because it’s a layout within a layout, you can show data that’s not related at all. So, you could show something that’s like a to-do list. Really, with something like this, the sky is the limit.

Another one that I think it going to be really valuable is being able to show custom dialogues or the equivalent of a custom dialogue with a new window. So, you can now throw smarter errors at your user, all with one window because you’ll just be reusing a layout to show what the error message is.

I think it’s a really cool tool. I think it’s going to be a game-changer when it comes to FileMaker 16.

Like I said, we’ll be posting other videos showing off this new technique, so make sure to check it out. Hopefully, you’re as excited about FileMaker 16 as we are. We look forward to sharing more of the tips and tricks we get out of this new version. Thanks for watching.

7 thoughts on “An Introduction to Card Windows in FileMaker 16”

    1. Hi Bryn,

      Thanks! FileMaker 15 will get a little lost. It will open a new window but it won’t change to the right layout (that probably has to do with the changes in the New Window Script step, where now you can select the destination layout). So it can definitely act funny for pre-16 users.

    1. Great question! A popover is an object on a layout. And anything in that popover, like fields, would have to be related to the layout’s context.

      The card window is a new window style. So a card window is really a window within a window and it can show any layout. In the employee details example, the script is opening a new card window via Go To Related Records but going to a layout that shows the People table, not the Company table.

      In some cases, a popover and card window could be used interchangeably. But the biggest difference is that a popover is an object on a layout and a card window is a new window (within a window) that can show any layout.

      More demo videos to come to show off what you can do with it!

  1. Hi Martha

    Can you have two non overlapping cards on the same screen? In a PC environment I want to display 4 Filemaker layouts over 4 separate screens. Could I do this by setting up say a blank window over a 4 screen area and then script 4 cards to show on each of the 4 screens?

    1. Hmm interesting. I don’t think the card window would pull that off. What is it that you’re trying to accomplish? Maybe with a little more info I can point you in the right direction? Thanks!

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