There are times in which it is handy to show a message to your FileMaker users. This can be an informative action (hey there!) or conditionally branch the database workflow (do this, do that or do the other). There are at least three ways this can be accomplished. One is to create a new layout that looks like a dialog box and then you take the user there. Another way is to purchase a third party plug-in product that gives a developer an array of robust options. My favorite and the point of this posting is to discuss the third option. This being the Show Custom Dialog box script step. This handy method has many features such as ...
- the ability to show a customized title and message
- the ability to add data into three possible fields
- the ability to include three buttons that branch a script accordingly.
Other features include the ability to use literal text or a calculation to show the dialog box title, the dialog box main message and the labels for the input fields.
An example file can be downloaded by clicking (here)
ABOUT THE TITLE AND MESSAGE AREAS
You can hard code information or use calculated values in the title and message areas. Using a calculated value, you can craft almost any kind of message for any type of situation you can imagine.
Here you can see the General Tab of the Specify Custom Dialog Box. Notice how you can choose to enter in your own Dialog Title and Dialog Message information ( either a literal text string or via a field in the database solution ). You can also see how you have 3 tabs for allowing input fields into the database.
ABOUT THE DATA ENTRY FIELDS
The fields that you use for data entry do not have to be on the current layout and field validation you have setup for the selected fields will still take place. The same is true for any access privilege settings you might have for those fields, although those settings can be overridden using that check box option in the script itself.
If you use global fields for data entry in the Custom Dialog Box, you might want to clear them of data at the start or end of the script. Otherwise, they may contain the data the user had included in a previous execution of this script in the same session.
Here you can see the second tab of the Show Custom Dialog box is activated and you can click a check box to enable the feature of entering data. These options pass data to fields in the database as the user types in content. You can specify which field that data goes to and even show the password dot characters as the user enters the data. You can also specify the label name for the input field ( either literal string or a calculated value).
ABOUT THE BUTTONS
How about we go back and discuss those buttons we can include in our dialog box? We can add up to three buttons in the dialog box and ultimately these can be used to execute different operations. Under the hood, FileMaker has the ability to tell the script which button the user selected. Here we need to discuss the Get(LastMessageChoice) function.
In the dialog box, the users selection of the first choice on the right will return a 1
In the dialog box, the users selection of the middle choice will return a 2
In the dialog box, the users selection of the first choice on the left will return a 3
It is kind of weird but the order is reversed when the developer is setting up the Show Custom Dialog. In this case, the option to the far left is the default and returns a 1 by the Get(LastMessageChoice) function, then then goes to the right.
The way the Get(LastMessageChoice) is used in a script is that after the Show Custom Dialog script step, the developer would include a set of branching IF statements. Depending on the result returned from the Get(LastMessageChoice), aka the choice made by the user via the dialog box, the script will perform a set of script steps.