A READER ASKS: FileMaker Portal Row Misbehaving

From Dwayne Wright PMP
Certified FileMaker Developer

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
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A READER ASKS

I have been STUMPED & STUCK with an issue in FileMaker - I came across your blog in searching for some solutions so I thought I'd try sending an email. I think I'm probably an intermediate level user of FileMaker... We upgraded from FP5 to FP 9v03 and since then I am unable to enter data into a portal that pulls information from a related class file. I can enter the code that pulls up the class information - class, teacher, room number, etc. in the first row of the portal... When I click into the 2nd row to enter a new class - one of two things happen - the information from the first row automatically clicks into the 2nd row, and I am unable to enter any data. OR, I click into the 2nd row and it's inactive - I am unable to enter any data... Any thoughts? Suggestions?

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DWAYNE RESPONDS
Any thoughts I have are at best ... unqualified. This type of problem would likely need hands on inspection because this is definitely not default FileMaker behavior.

OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD
It sounds like someone might have attached a script to the portal row (via a transparent box) or a script to a field(s) in the portal row. This would be easy to see if you have a copy of FileMaker Advanced with the Script Debugger.

Another option could be that a change elsewhere in the database (possibly the update itself) might have caused the script to break and that is why you are getting the odd behavior.

If there isn’t an attached script, then we might have a field that doesn’t belong in the portal row, due to a relationships mixup. Although I would have to say I’ve seen many relationship mixups in my day and none of them have the behaviors you described.

Then we have the barrel full of monkeys that might be a poorly designed relationship graph and how it is incorrectly applied to the context of the layout itself.

BTW: QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE SCRIPT DEBUGGER
 Called from the tools menu in FMP Advanced
 Always on until you turn it off (and vice versa)
 Allows the developer to step through a script line by line
 Offers buttons to navigate next, previous, to a determined break point
 Debugger can be used effectively with the Data Viewer
 You can see interactions of a particular point and time within a script
 You can step into subscripts or step out to calling scripts
 Great if you have a lot of subscripts and branching actions
 Jump directly from the debugger into the script and quickly edit it

So the way it works is that you activate the Script Debugger by choosing it from under the Tools menu. The debugger will appear in a new window but it will be empty. To fill it up, all you need to do is execute a script. As soon as you do that, you will see the script steps for that script show up and you are automatically placed on the first step.