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Thread: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

  1. #1
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    Default Drag and drop: FileMaker has done it, when will Alpha?

    Here's a press release which shows that drag and drop is now enabled generally for FileMaker Pro. An earlier posting, showed that the Filemaker calendar permits drag and drop of events from one time slot to another.

    Wouldn't it be nice is Alpha would catch up?

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh, PA

    ========================================================

    Excelisys announces Drag and Drop for FileMaker Pro 10
    South Bend, IN Feb 08, 2009 in FileMaker

    [prMac.com] South Bend, Indiana - Excelisys has announced their new Drag and Drop demonstration and whitepaper for FileMaker Pro 10. With this exclusive technique demonstration file and accompanying white paper, learn how to provide familiar and elegant drag-and-drop functionality to FileMaker Pro solutions.

    "Everyone at Excelisys loves to hear that rhetorical question asked: 'Woah! You can do THAT in FileMaker?' Oh yeah, you can. Well this is one of those moments," cites Christopher Lowe, CEO/Dir. Sales "and we just posted a demo file and white paper about it up on our Excelisys web site."

    With the new script triggers introduced in the recently released FileMaker Pro 10, we all can now deliver a richer user experience to our customers - one that incorporates a familiar and elegant interface mechanism: drag-and-drop. The new demo file we've posted is fully unlocked, requires FileMaker Pro 10, and includes three interface examples of the drag-and-drop technique. There is also an embedded PDF white paper that further explains how the whole thing is built, with sample code.

    The most obvious use is sorting. Let's say you're in a band and you're trying to organize a set list. Just drag the song titles into the order you want, or change it up again just by dragging. How long have we wanted this feature?

    Another great use is building a list. Let's say you're managing the receiving dock in a warehouse and you have two lists: the one on the left shows four items ordered on a PO, while the list on the right is blank but will include the items you are receiving. Today you only received one item, so you drag that item from the list on the left into the list on the right. Easy, right?

    But here's yet another great example: nesting in a hierarchical interface. We've previously posted a tip on how to build a hierarchical interface, so here's how to - BAM! - kick it up a notch. Let's say you have an outline for a presentation, and you decide to move some of your subtopics to another parent topic. By just dragging the subtopic to another topic in the list, you have rearranged your outline - any nested subtopics in the item you moved are automatically moved with it, just as you'd expect.

    These great techniques, examples and white papers are brought to you (once again) by eX-Team Senior Developer Andrew Persons. Can you think of any other great drag-and-drop example ideas? Leave us a comment and tell us about it, and if applicable let us know how this technique helped you in your projects.

    Excelisys
    Drag-and-Drop in FileMaker Pro
    Download Demo

    Excelisys, Inc., a database solutions and consulting organization specializing in quality custom database application design, development, and consulting for LAN, WAN, and Web deployments. FileMaker, the FileMaker Logo, and FileMaker Pro, are registered trademarks of FileMaker Inc.

    ###
    Last edited by rmcgaffic; 12-31-2009 at 04:41 PM.

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    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    drag and drop is now enabled generally for FileMaker Pro
    You'd need to get a copy of Filemaker 10 and try out their demo to determine if this is the case. Filemaker is not adding drag-and-drop, an independent developer company created a plug-in for this. So someone would have to test it out to see what it covers or how it looks.
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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Steve,

    I am at a client site this weekend for an SAP go-live and don't have FileMakerPro on my laptop, it's on my home machine. So I can't try the demo until next weekend. If you have a chance to look at it in the meantime, I would appreciate your comments.

    Here is what really intrigued me:
    http://www.filemakermagazine.com/vid...ag-n-drop.html

    Click on Watch preview video.

    Note that the date of the video is 9/21/2009.

    This looks like native FileMaker; Excelsius may have taken this one step further and got it to work with hierarchies which is what I am really interested in.

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh, PA

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Steve,

    I'm exploring this a little more closely, but want to report the following:

    "If you are like me, you've fielded many client requests like these:
    -- I want to be able to just drag records from one portal (equivalent to A5Browse)
    to another
    -- Can I custom sort this portal by dragging the items up or down?
    -- This hierarchical list is nice, but I'd like to be able to assign
    children to parents by dragging them

    Until the release of FileMaker Pro 10, I was forced to inform clients
    that FileMaker Pro didn't support that behavior WITHOUT a plug-in.
    Now with FileMaker Pro 10 and triggered scripts (A5 Events), it's possible."

    This is from a white paper entitled "Drag-and-drop in FileMaker Pro 10" by Andrew Persons
    of Excelisys downloaded from the site mentioned in my previous posting.

    The coding in his white paper looks all most trivial. But I want to take a
    look at it in his actual application and see what it looks like.

    Hope to report back to the forum in a couple of days, maybe with a JING,
    and then see if there is any interest in pursuing this with Alpha Development.

    I would be very interested in learning from Alpha Gurus like you,
    what kind of effort would be required to replicate this in A5.

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh, PA

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Here's the online FM help link:

    http://filemaker.custhelp.com/cgi-bi...37&p_topview=1.

    This confirms that drag and drop is native; not an add-on or plug-in.

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh, PA

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    I just subscribed to FileMaker magazine so I could see the whole video cited above.

    I was disappointed that near the end the video author noted he had used a plugin from 360Works. So I said, ugh, Steve Woods is right. Then I read the web page more closely for the following comment added by the author:

    I was just informed that this particular topic of Drag-N-Drop has been covered by a developer who's technical skills I highly respect.

    If you jump on over to this link

    http://www.excelisys.com/web/downloads/index.php

    You'll find a Drag and Drop example technique which uses some of the same principles as my own method, yet does it with 100% FileMaker. I looks a bit more refined, but it's essentially the same method which we both arrived at separately. I had not seen this file prior to implementing my own solution. Both methods have merits and, as with all possible solutions, it's a matter of preference.

    Thanks Excelisys!


    Bottom line: We have now documented native FileMakerPro permits drag and drop for moving entries from one list to another, sorting items in a list simply by grabbing them and repositioning them, and reorganizing hierarchies in the same way.

    For desktop developers, this is a significant advance. We can only hope Alpha isn't sleeping.

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh, PA

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Hasn't Access used drag and drop for years? I have used that process in an Access designed database since 2004, at least...
    "Ollie, remember how dumb I used to be? Well, I'm much better now."

    Pete

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Pete,

    You are right.

    Have you ever done the following with Microsoft Access 2000:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/209891

    This allows you to build a tree of bosses and subordinates and then reorganize the tree by dragging and dropping employees as needed. With MS access you can do corporate reorganizations to your heart's delight.

    Users have been able to use this feature for at least the last 10 years with Microsoft Access. Give yourself 10 minutes to throw a tree control on an Access form and run it against the Northwind Traders database.

    Alpha Five time and time again claims technical superiority to FileMaker, and mostly those the claims are well founded.

    So am I unreasonable to conclude that if crummy, 98 pound technical weakling Filemaker can now support drag and drop, how hard can be for Alpha Five offer similar functionality?

    Why does Alpha Five continually stonewall Drag and Drop? I know they have been phenomenally busy with the web side of the house, but please let us know that this will be available in the future, and hopefully sooner rather than later.


    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh, PA

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Example.

    Using the Alpha Five v10 event model to tie into a JQUERY JavaScript Calendar directly into an Alpha Five v10 Application

    http://www.screencast.com/users/remo...b-97cbc5ff050f
    Richard Rabins
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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Using the Alpha Five v10 event model to tie into a JQUERY JavaScript Calendar directly into an Alpha Five v10 Application
    I thought this thread was referring to drag and drop for desktop applications. Does that calender example work with desktop applications? i.e. with Alpha forms?

    I find it hard to believe Alpha have not added drag & drop years ago but the most annoying thing is they never comment on whether it will be added. It has been requested in the wishlist for the desktop on more than one occasion over the years.

    Maybe somebody at Alpha would like to answer Bob's request below which I believe he was referring to desktop functionality not web.

    Why does Alpha Five continually stonewall Drag and Drop? I know they have been phenomenally busy with the web side of the house, but please let us know that this will be available in the future, and hopefully sooner rather than later.

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Although true drag-drop would be the way I would like to have things, it can be emulated I believe for the most part. Bob/others...There are so many various ways in which to use drag-drop that each would have to be set up independently of each other. Such as a simple copy/paste of text, copy/paste of a complete record, copy/paste of a tree node (similar but betting quite a bit different from just doing a record).

    Here is a small example of a text copy/paste emulation---probably not something everyone could do, but shows that it can be done. I may even be able to make it possible for users to do this without code....would have to work on that as doing that for any project many times will take more time than figuring out and actually doing it!! Even just the instructions (help file) for something like this will take quite a bit of time.

    I kind of wonder if another developer has already done just this and simply has not spoken up!! I say this as it really was not that difficult...just a whole lot of searching for how to utilize API calls.

    Definitely not even finished with this small example for text--need a few more limits on when the No-Drop cursor/Drop-cursor appear. Am certain this could also be done for entire records as well.

    This is an avi file in a zip.

    Attachment 23413

    Bob, is it just the looks of drag-drop you want as I showed?? Always have been curious about that really as a copy/paste does this as well.
    Mike
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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Mike,

    I don't really want to "reinvent" the wheel or struggle with workarounds when users of tools such as FileMaker Pro and MS Access don't have too.

    The drag and drop capabilities that I am referring to is the drag and drop that is enabled by commercial ActiveX controls such as Codejock calendar control(that Don L is blazing the path with) or DBI-tech's ctTree control. Both of these are designed to provide end users with drag and drop.

    I spent some time on the phone with Rod Miller at DBI-tech last week about this problem. His opinion was the Alpha Five most likely has not sublicensed OLE controls.

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh

    PS What is starting to drive me bananas is that Alpha can't recognize all the events of a given control. Take a look at my Deja Vue posting of today.

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Bob, in what types of applications do you see drag and drop being essential for the end user experience? i.e. what kinds of things would be easier for the end user than are presently possible? While this would be wonderful in a scheduling application, where events could be dragged from date to date, I'm having trouble seeing how this would help for CRM or accounting type applications. What am I missing?

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Bob,
    I don't really want to "reinvent" the wheel or struggle with workarounds when users of tools such as FileMaker Pro and MS Access don't have too.
    I agree, but what makes you think that some hoops do NOT have to be run through in order to create drag-drop in other platforms.....maybe I have misread many of the hits about drag-drop functionality, but I remember quite a bit of code to write (or copy/modify) in order to even get containers placed on an object such as a form...and even more coding afterwards to make it fit the specific circumstance! But then maybe that is only when developing from scratch....

    Are you saying that every object in Alpha should easily have drag-drop? That certainly would be a nice feature but only if it is as EASY as you contend it is! I hope you are right and I am incorrect regarding this.

    Regardless, Drag-Drop does exist within at least some activeX controls....I am actually experimenting right now with a scheduling control that does just that.....Does CodeJock have drag-drop that works in Alpha?? I have only looked at the surface of that control really.
    Mike
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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Tom,
    what kinds of things would be easier for the end user than are presently possible? While this would be wonderful in a scheduling application,
    I see drag-drop being very advantagious for not just scheduling, but also for any kind of "Route" or "Storage" application that is used....which means: service oriented, shipping of any kind, warehousing, delivery......
    Mike
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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Tom and Mike,

    Drag and drop hierarchies are often found in commercial CRM packages where it is necessary to build "mini-organizational" charts of a customer's organization, especially for complex sales cycles when there are many influencers on the deal.

    Drag and drop hierarchies are often found in commercial accounting packages for such things as cost center hierarchies, profit center hierarchies, projects and work breakdown structures, etc. These are true parent-child relationships.

    Don't confuse these with information that may be represented in a hierarchy, but does not have a true parent-child relationship.

    For example, a product hierarchy probably would be structured something like this: Material class | product group | channel.
    Alpha's trees are typically constructed like this -- building up a hierarchy based on values from the underlying material masters.

    Drag and drop is worth its weight in gold for such applications as scheduling, manpower planning, document management, personal productivity including time management, brainstorming, "Getting things Done", etc.

    Please don't understand me, I'm not asking that Alpha Five change any of its controls. All I'm asking is that Alpha Five allow me to use commercial ActiveX controls which permit drag and drop operations with surprising little code if the development environment permits it.

    Specifically, here's the list of controls I am current working with from www.dbi-tech.com:

    ctCalendar
    ctDayView
    ctExplorer
    ctList
    ctListBar
    ctMonth
    ctTree

    Can you believe that all of these permit you to give your user the ability to move around its in a list, a tree, or a calendar to suit their own needs.

    I am focusing currently on the ctTree and have a workaround in mind, but what gets me is -- why do I need a workaround? Isn't it time Alpha developers could use controls like these to their fullest capabilities?

    I just want Alpha to let us do what other environments permit which offer ActiveX compatability. If this is not possible, then I think Alpha needs to carefully qualify its recent competitive comparison grid for ActiveX use.

    Bob McGaffic
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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    double posted
    Last edited by gmeredith17; 01-19-2010 at 06:33 AM.

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Personally I would like Alpha to provide us with the events to create our own drag and drop functionality. Please see this wishlist item. I can already think of a couple more events that would be needed but at least this would give the Alpha developer the tools to implement drag and drop without resorting to API calls.

    Access and Filemaker have obviously targeted this functionality as important. So the question is 'Why doesn't Alpha think it's important?'.

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Geoff, I can't speak for Alpha, but drag and drop functionality of the type Bob is discussing is not important to me. It has nothing to do with data storage or retrieval. It's strictly a matter of providing a different input mechanism for the end user. The prospect of permitting the user to sever links at mid-branch to move a group of related records to a different branch in the same set with a click, drag, and drop, makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The complexity of scripting this is one thing. Dealing with the complaints of "disappearing records" will be another. Heck, I can't even get them to double click rows in browses ! For me, at least for now, keeping the data input sequences simple and understandable is far more important.

    Now pardon me as I must excuse myself to don my flame retardant clothing in advance of the withering critiques that will follow.

    -- tom

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    No criticism from me Tom and I'm betting your not the only one who would not use it. I think Alpha is much more than just a RAD tool for accounts and booking applications. Its not just about the data storage and retrieval but also about the user experience, ease of use and visual representation. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

    For me drag and drop would not necessarily be used for just moving data as per Mikec video. Personally I have some application ideas where I would use it to move graphical elements. I'm not the only one as I recall (if memory serves me right) a post some time ago by a dentist who wanted to be able to drag and drop different types of teeth on to a set of gums to emulate his patients. This for me is a good use of drag and drop with a good visual result for the user. Customers (users) have come to expect drag and drop functionality with software they are using everyday. For all the plus points of Alpha and there are many (otherwise I wouldn't spend my time discussing these things) there are some significant shortfalls. I wish Alpha would discuss these issues more and maybe tell us why certain functionality is not available. There maybe some fundamental reason due to the Alpha5 core design that means they will never be able to implement things like drag and drop but they seem unwilling to engage in such dialogue. This is what disappoints me the most. The lack of feedback regarding the wishlist. I posted a wish for some feedback to be given but I amongst others suspect that nobody at Alpha puts much time into reading the wishlist. I think one Alphaholic described it as more of a place to vent your frustration.

    I know many of you have been using Alpha from the very early days of its inception and I get the feeling that Richard and Selwyn were a little more interactive with the Alpha 5 community back then. Maybe it is time for them to start telling the A5 community exactly where it is going with the product with regards to the desktop and web design environments.

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Geoff, thanks. I appreciate your comments. The phrase "implementing drag and drop" is too imprecise. Our discussion will be aided if we are more specific. Some want to use this functionality to facility data entry. My opinion on that has been expressed already, and my flame proof underwear are firmly secured. Others, such as yourself it seems, think this functionality would make it possible for us to use images and diagrams to represent the underlying data. This is already available through a variety of 3rd party tools, is it not? I am concerned that adding this core functionality to an already huge product would unnecessarily dilute the efforts of the research and development team. Far better, it seems to me, would be to do a better job of supporting a greater variety of 3rd party controls. I think it would be a mistake to turn Alpha Five into a general purpose development platform.

    Improved communication is always a worthwhile goal. Requesting sneak previews and guidance on future plans that may or may not be implemented is more problematic and often comes at the cost of current sales.

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    The phrase "implementing drag and drop" is too imprecise. Our discussion will be aided if we are more specific. Some want to use this functionality to facility data entry.
    That is why I suggested Alpha gives us the tools to implement our own drag/drop solution which would allow the developer to decide how they want to use it, whether it is for data entry or the moving of objects.

    Far better, it seems to me, would be to do a better job of supporting a greater variety of 3rd party controls. I think it would be a mistake to turn Alpha Five into a general purpose development platform.
    For many things this is probably the right way forward but Alpha5 seems to have problems playing nicely with 3rd party ActiveX products. Although they advertise ActiveX support in reality many 3rd party tools just don't work properly with Alpha5. You then get into the debate whether its Alpha5 at fault or the 3rd party product which was most likely designed for VB. Also, many new addons are .net only which Alpha5 doesn't currently support.

    Others, such as yourself it seems, think this functionality would make it possible for us to use images and diagrams to represent the underlying data. This is already available through a variety of 3rd party tools, is it not?
    As far as I'm aware there isn't an activex product that would allow the drag/drop of objects(images/icons) on a Alpha 5 form.

    I am concerned that adding this core functionality to an already huge product would unnecessarily dilute the efforts of the research and development team.
    Unable to comment on whether what they are currently doing should be deemed more important than drag/drop. I have no idea what they are working on as they do not communicate with the Alpha5 community. I know there will be some developers with inside knowledge but the community as a whole remains in the dark.

    I think it would be a mistake to turn Alpha Five into a general purpose development platform.
    I'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I think Alpha5 has been moving towards being a general purpose RAD tool for a few years and to be fair you can get a lot done with it. What I really want is some honesty where the product is going. It would seem to me that the desktop side of the product will receive less and less attention. At most we will see the introduction of using some more of the web tools like they have done with the grid. Not a bad thing but not the same as dedicated work to improve/add desktop features.

    Improved communication is always a worthwhile goal. Requesting sneak previews and guidance on future plans that may or may not be implemented is more problematic and often comes at the cost of current sales.
    True, but it would be nice to know if they have no intention of adding certain things on the wishlist. At the moment it feels like the wishlist is a black hole for ideas/requests to be sucked into oblivion.

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    Default Improving Richard's Jing

    Richard above provided a very nice jing video of what he admits is a work in progress.

    On the basis of the video, does anyone see how Richard could improve the appearance of his calendar?

    Of the four basic design principles of proximity, alignment, repetition, and contrast, which do you think needs more attention in Richard's example?

    Specifically, what would you recommend Richard do before this functionality is released to the masses, recognizing that Alpha has a weak track record of fixing cosmetic issues after the fact?

    Bob McGaffic
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    Last edited by rmcgaffic; 01-23-2010 at 07:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Improving Richard's Jing

    Quote Originally Posted by rmcgaffic View Post
    Richard above provided a very nice jing video of what he admits is a work in progress.

    On the basis of the video, does anyone see how Richard could improve the appearance of his calendar?

    Of the four basic design principles of proximity, alignment, repetition, and contrast, which do you think needs more attention in Richard's example?

    Specifically, what would you recommend Richard do before this functionality is released to the masses, recognizing that Alpha has a weak track record of fixing cosmetic issues after the fact?

    Bob McGaffic
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Bob,

    I think you missed the point of the video. The video shows using a calendar WHICH IS NOT an Alpha product. The product has already been released to the masses. I believe Richard was presetning the video as possabilities with A5. The video was not created by alpha but by a developer (Bob Moore)
    Bill Griffin
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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    The video was not created by alpha but by a developer (Bob Moore)
    Actually, Bob is right there in the Alpha office and has direct contact with the Alpha group.
    "Ollie, remember how dumb I used to be? Well, I'm much better now."

    Pete

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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Quote Originally Posted by trackmanpete View Post
    Actually, Bob is right there in the Alpha office and has direct contact with the Alpha group.
    I'm not sure what your point is??

    I was pointing out that the video is using a calendar that is not an alpha product.
    Last edited by Bill Griffin; 01-26-2010 at 03:33 PM.
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    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Just that Bob can work directly with the Alpha group in providing some suggestions from the forum. He spends quite a bit of time on here and is very enthusiastic about developing new things with Alpha 10. He is also very creative from a design point of view and can relate to some of the more aesthetic aspects of form design. I hope I am not speaking out of turn, but I have enjoyed a lot of what Bob has put together over the years.
    "Ollie, remember how dumb I used to be? Well, I'm much better now."

    Pete

  28. #28
    "Certified" Alphaholic
    Real Name
    Bill Griffin
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Edgewood, NY
    Posts
    1,201

    Default Re: Filemaker now allows drag and drop. Why not Alpha Five?

    Pete,


    Bob asked the question "On the basis of the video, does anyone see how Richard could improve the appearance of his calendar?"

    I was just trying to point out to Bob (McGaffic) that the calendar in the video was a control from another vendor. Alpha has no control over the aesthtics over someone else's control, that is up to the person implememting it (Bob Moore) and the manufacturer.
    Bill Griffin
    Parkell, Inc

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