LCFM Guide ETS 361

Why Your App Isn't Quite What You Expected

Updated Oct 09, 2020

It may sound obvious, but a mobile app isn't the same as a desktop app. If you've just taken your FileMaker solution to a mobile device for the first time, you may be surprised at the results. This article tries to cover some of the top issues you may encounter, and how you can resolve them.

Design Issues

These can come under a variety of headings. For example, you might have a screen with 20 fields on it the user has to fill in. On desktop, this is ok. On mobile, the user is playing "get me a magnifying glass" and frantically scrolling in all directions to try and complete the form. Consider breaking such a form into several screens for your mobile user.

Another issue might be described as "hunt the button". On desktop you have lots of real estate and you put your essential "next" button at the bottom right of the screen. On mobile, that might be completely off screen, and the user has to drag or scroll to locate it. They may not even realise it exists. Consider leaving good margins around your essential content, and ensure that your vital next button is front and center, where it can be found. Remember mobile devices, especially Android, come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Target the smallest common denominator for your audience.

Filemaker offers iOS layouts and its a good idea to use them if you are targeting Android. Check this advice.

Permissions Issues

On mobile devices, the user has a lot of control over what you are and are not allowed to access. If your app relies on taking a photo for example, then you need to have turned on a request for Camera permissions when building the app. If you're using GPS, you need location permissions, etc.

Missing Data

If you aren't seeing the data you expected to see in the native app, check that you turned on syncing, extracted data and that your FM Server can access your app and vice versa. Top issues here are that the gateway and the original solution are not both on your FM Server, that their passwords do not match, the fmrest permission is not enabled, or the Data API is not turned on.

User Can't Enter Data

FileMaker does not allow entry of data into non-global fields unless there is a current record. Since LCFM Native emulates FileMaker's behaviour, If you have not extracted data, enabled syncing or there is no data to sync, then there will be no records and your user will not be able to enter data. You can work around this by including New Record in a script or start-up trigger.

My App is Slow

Bear in mind that mobile devices have a lot less memory available than a desktop. If you've just converted a large solution, you may need to look at optimising for mobile. Keep as much data as possible on the server, only download what you need when you need it.

Other Functionality Issues

You may be using a feature we don't yet support. Please check this link for the latest document on what is and is not currently supported in LCFM Native.

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