FileMaker 16 and Animated Progress Bars

I wrote a blog way back detailing a wonderfully basic and simple (ok, dirty) way of creating a Progress facility within FileMaker for the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS operating systems. You can read it here should you wish: Easy Progress Bar -be warned, it’s quite corny.

But what if you want something a little more polished? How about an animated progress bar rather than a window title trick? FileMaker has started providing us with animated windows and sliders and the like but still no progress bar. We keep asking, and I’m sure that someday they’ll get to it but until then, you can apply this technique to create an animated progress bar of your own. Please be aware that this process makes use of the Card window type first seen in FileMaker 16 so if you’re using a version of FileMaker preceding that, this isn’t going to work for you - at least not without some adjustments.

Here's how to do it.

1. Create a small layout around 400 pixels by 150 pixels - or whatever size suits your needs.

2. Add a Web Viewer object to the layout and keep this small as well. In the Web Viewer Setup dialogue, disable all of the checkboxes aside from “Automatically Encode URL”:

3. For the Web Address, use this code:

4. You might want to include a few other visual elements such as a global field so that you can call the layout from anywhere, with any text to suit the current requirements:

5. To call your progress bar, you’re going to need to wrap your script or code with a few lines, like this:

Set Field [ Link::Glob_PopoverMessage1_g; "Updating records" &¶& "This may take a few moments." ]

Close Window [ Name: "Processing..."; Current file ]

New Window [ Style: Card; Name: "Processing..."; Using layout: “Processing....” (UserDevice); Close: No; Minimize: No; Maximize: No; Resize: No; Menu Bar: No; Dim parent window: Yes; Toolbars: No ]


Close Window [ Name: "Processing..."; Current file ]

Set Field [ Link::Glob_PopoverMessage1_g; "" ]

The first line sets the global field so you can skip that if you’re using generic text. Next we close the progress bar window should it already be open - better safe than sorry. After that, your progress bar window is opened as a Card (one of the next features introduced in FileMaker 16) - you’ll need to make sure that your new progress bar layout is called here. Now you run your script or include your code. Finally, once your script is complete, you clear the global field and close the Card layout. All done.

Yes, the progress bar is dependant on your operating system (Microsoft Windows users will see their default progress bar and Mac OS users will see theirs - here’s the Mac offering:

The bar doesn’t tell the user how long they have left before whatever process completes but it’s a lot better than an hourglass or spinning beachball!

If you notice anything wrong with this blog, think that you can do it better or just want to discuss it, then please get in touch.

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