As a developer of any complex FileMaker solution, the need to retain a clear picture of how the solution is structured becomes increasingly critical as the size of the solution increases. In attempt to reduce potential confusion and to increase solution comprehension, a developer perspective of the data is often VERY helpful. In order to achieve this, you should use Developer layouts.
A Developer layout is simply a dedicated layout which is used internally within your solution and never shown to end users. It serves as a canonical location for scripting and a visual reference for the underlying data in your solution.
Following the standards outlined in Table occurrence naming for developer tables. This best practice suggests you create a correspondingly named layout with the following features. Keep the names the same because a unified structure is easier to follow.
- Always hide the layout within the Manage Layouts dialog by unchecking it. (Don't allow it to be viewed)
- Use the color Green in the header to indicate the table resides within the current file.
- Use the color Red in the header to indicate the table resides in an external file (data separation model)
- Identify external tables within the header by adding the file name (including .fp7)
- Use a sub-section below the header in order to fully document the purpose, function and any special details about the table (since you can't do this within Manage Database). This area can be as large as needed.
- Limit the view method to Table and turn on the headers and footers (image 3 & 4)
- Use a mono spaced font such as Courier, Monoco or (my favorite) DejaVu Sans Mono for all fields (this helps with zero (0) versus "O" type issues)
- Specify the body part to use an alternating color for easier row identification (double-click on body part to set)
- Assign the OnLayoutEnter trigger for each Developer layout to a script which enforces table view and sets the window title (image 6 & 7)
In attempt to keep your Developer layouts as quick as possible, it's suggested you do not include summary fields (because of long calculation times required) within the list of fields shown. You can either use the footer area or the sub-section within the header to indicate their existence.
You can also use the sub-section or other layout parts to indicate fields which are identified as deprecated or scheduled for future deletion.
When working with the Mange Layouts dialog, you can select multiple developer layouts and click the Open button in order to open all selected.
Image #1 (local-to-file developer layout)
Image #2 (external table developer layout)
Image #3 (limit to Table view)
Image #4 (turn on show header and footer)
Image #5 (set body part to alternate colors)
Image #6 (set OnLayoutEnter trigger to same named script)
Image #7 (use an OnLayoutEnter Developer script to enforce table view and set title)