Card windows have changed the way I develop. One of our other developers went over the awesomeness of card windows in this blog post, so I won’t rehash that content.
I was, however, incredibly disappointed when I learned that card windows do not function in WebDirect. Websites are one of the places you see that UI pattern the most! And now I have to script completely different on the desktop than I do in WebDirect! Darn it!
Except… I don’t have to rescript anything! Any step that I can use to open a card window works just fine in WebDirect. The difference is, if I open a card window in WebDirect, it will just take up the whole screen. Other than that, the user experience is almost identical. Closing the window will leave the user looking at the window they were on before the card window opened.
WebDirect has always worked like this. We’ve actually had this design pattern in WebDirect longer than we’ve had it on the desktop. This is because WebDirect only shows one window at a time. The FileMaker documentation refers to these as “virtual” windows. So, in WebDirect, the active window will always be the only one displayed. If the active window is closed and there are other virtual windows are open, it will go to whichever window was active before the current one. When you open a window for a picker, it takes up the whole screen. Close it when you’re done picking, and you’re back where you started. This is exactly how I’ve started doing it on the desktop with card windows.
In the future, I would love to see the dimming effect, close button, and few other card windows’ features make it into WebDirect. In the meantime, I’ve stopped lamenting the lack of card windows and started scripting; secure in the knowledge that what I’m writing will work across all platforms. I also wonder why I didn’t start scripting like this for WebDirect a long time ago!