Simple Layout Changes to Make Your WebDirect Solution Faster
There are lots of ways to make your FileMaker WebDirect solution faster; here are some ways that focus on the layout. A huge part is simply creating a custom theme with custom styles. Using the new button bar in version 14 will cut down on build time as well as layout loading time. Try to create a simple layout design with the need of pictures or images.
Custom themes and styles can be time consuming but if you want your solution to run smoothly and quickly this is the route to take, unless you prefer a custom solution that has a non-custom theme. The first and most important part to creating a custom theme is creating a master layout. The master layout will have all the examples of your fields, objects, shapes, and portals. Now you don’t need to know all the examples that you are going to need, but whenever you need a new example style be sure to place one in the master layout. In the master layout you will need to have a header, description, and a name for each example.
One of my favorite new features in FileMaker 14 is the button bar. This bar will make it faster to line up and maintain a proper looking line of buttons. It will only count as one object on the layout but can consist of multiple buttons. You also have the option to make one or all of them a popover button. This button bar can greatly diminish the amount of objects on your layout by allowing you to place your label and or an icon on each button without using multiple objects. To get the same effect I had to use three objects stack on each other, which we all know does not work very well on WebDirect. Now, you can use a button bar with multiple buttons, several icons, and text for each, while only requiring the FileMaker engine to read it as one object. Pairing this with your theme will only help to make your solution run faster.
A huge problem many WebDirect solutions have is that they are either downright ugly or they tend to run slow. Most of the WebDirect solutions out there are littered with images to help make them look better but this slows the layout loading, and can make clients upset and even stop using the site. The best solution I have found is to create an open and simple looking layout that’s easy on the eyes and light on the layout. Also, the page navigation must be easy to see and should stand out, as the user may find it difficult to make any sense of the solution which might lead to loss of interest.
Choice of colors that blend well and are easy on the eyes will allow for user friendly web solution. Do not use a horde of different fonts and colors, as this will only make it hard to style, which eventually reduces the speed of your solution, and at the same time, will make it hard for the user to know where they are or what to look at.
Themes and styles are probably the most time consuming part of a completely custom solution but if done correctly and maintained they can make any WebDirect solution faster, most especially when paired up with the new button bar and a simple clean looking layout design. These are just a few things to keep in mind when designing your WebDirect layouts.