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FileMaker GO’s layouts, Slide a block method – FileMaker Today

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In this article I wish to introduce a new layout design method, specific to FileMaker Go for iPad. My aim is to find a better practice than the resizing one in order to deal with the display rotation issues. following the device rotation I move some of my layout elements out of a hidden background into a viewed area. This practice allows a better and richer GUI experience, closer to the iOS look and feel.

The result

An example of the same layout in the both landscape and portrait mode on iPad.

How does it works ?

My layout is build with separate groups on different «layers». Each group has specific sliding attributes.
The front layer is permanent while the ones on the back can slide horizontaly/verticaly following the device rotation.

A group is never resized following the rotation of the device. The available space is filled by a sliding group.

the colored boxes represent my different groups. In the previous screenshots, my groups have the following sliding attributes :

the «red» group  attributes, the ones always displayed on the forefront

the «blue» group attributes, the ones displayed in landscape mode.
his «start position» on the layout is in the background, hidden by the «red» group in portrait mode

the «green» group attributes, the ones displayed in portrait mode.
his «start position» on the layout is in the background, hidden by the «red» group in landscape mode

Step 1, on the layout

one group on the forefront, the other ones in the background…

Step 2, in landscape mode

the «green» group doesn’t move, still masked by the «red» group
the «blue» group slides into the right side of the screen

Step 3, in portrait mode

the «green» group slides into the bottom of the screen
the «blue» group remains behind the «red» group

Size matters

For best results, the group’s sizes and positions depend on user interface elements such as :
FileMaker go toolbar on/off, iOS status bar on/off, FileMaker kiosk mode, etc…

I use these sizes for my groups

One practice, 4 designs
my top 4

3 groups, blue on the right side

3 groups, blue on the left side

2 groups, blue on the right side and red resizing in portrait mode

2 groups, blue on the left side and red resizing in portrait mode

These four designs respect the iOS look and feel with most of the iPad Apps.

Pros & Cons
Pros :
Compared with the resizing method everyone uses – including FileMaker with its examples -, with the «slide a block» practice :
you gain available «space» to be use for your objects (fields, button, portals…)
objects size is not altered between portrait and landscape mode

Cons :
layout is no more wysiwyg
the iOS status bar activated by the user can be an issue if you don’t design specific layout for.

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