NightWing Enterprises
Demo for FileMaker Pro™

A Layout Technique for 'Nesting' Portal Data!

Cascading Portals v2.0

+ For FileMaker 13 and later +

For the benefit of clients and fellow developers, the following demonstration file is provided for free download.

Screen design for multiple devices and contexts presents some interesting challenges. Allowing users to see and interact with multiple levels of related data can also be a test for the developer. This demo provides examples of two techniques you can use to extend the reach of the portal object, using it to provide a simple yet elegant tool for entering, selecting and editing data across multiple layers of your solution's relational data structure.

In the first place, this multi-faceted demo shows a technique for establishing dependencies between the contents and user selections in one portal and those in another, so that users can readily select a top level record to gain immediate access to its related records (in this case two levels deep) and thereby view, add, edit or delete them. The principle is simple enough to understand and implement once you see it in action - and it's equally simple for users to comprehend and utilize.

Beyond the data management and presentation aspects of the technique shown in this demo, the FileMaker 13 "conditional visibility" of objects is used to show how records can be added to a portal without the unsightly or distracting appearance of an 'orphan' empty row at the bottom of each portal. Instead, below the last row, a '+' button appears at the left, and only when users click the button (while no fields in the portal are active) are they presented with a new row into which to enter data for an additional record.

We've designated this demo of the Cascading Portal as 'version 2.0' because some elements of the multi-portal concept hark back to an earlier demo that we made available a decade or more ago. However this demo extends the concept and updates it to take full advantage of the current feature set of the platform, and to provide added scope for application of the technique to solutions that may be accessed on a variety of devices.

An additional feature of the demo that is worthy of note is the use of indirection - allowing a single script to operate independently of context to generate new rows in any of the three portals provided on the layout. The actions of the script are determined entirely by the multi-line parameter that is supplied by the button object(s) that call it. In fact, using this technique, the same script could be used throughout an entire solution, operating in a myriad of contexts wherever rows are to be added to a portal.

The techniques shown in this file require a working familiarity with the features of FileMaker 13, and a range of solution design techniques. Whether or not you're new to the FileMaker Platform, this demo may offer some challenges, and may serve to illustrate what is possible, to expand your horizons and, hopefully, to inspire you to extend the scope of your solution interfaces!

  ZIP archive
Cascading Portals v2.0 demo download (.zip archive)

Note 1:

The .zip archive download (above) provides a copy of the demo file suitable for all supported platforms.
Note 2: Before opening the demo file, please ensure you extract it from the .zip archive (eg to a local drive) - otherwise it will open in read-only mode and will not function as intended.
CascadingPortals v2.0 demo for FileMaker Pro 13 and later

This demo is provided free for private and educational purposes, and may be licensed for commercial and business applications. Should you require assistance implementing procedures such as those shown in our example files, please consider establishing an account with us for developer support.