Valuelists Usability Feature

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Valuelists Usability Feature

Postby ellenmeserow » Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:50 pm

I have some trouble still with the way comboboxes versus typeahead/text fields work in Servoy. It comes from my days with FileMaker -- and before I get anyone mad about the comparison, I did a project in FileMaker 8 for a friend recently and MAN it sucks in comparison to Servoy.

But there is a difference between the implementations of valuelists in FM and Servoy that FM works better on. I am not sure I can verbalize this perfectly, but basically I end up choosing combobox WAY more often than typeahead for simple cosmetic reasons.

1) Comboboxes have that little arrow at the right that makes a user realize there's a choice involved. I know that sounds trivial, but it really does lead to better data if the user is visually cued to click there.

2) Comboboxes popup menu extends to the entire width of the field, whereas text field/typeaheads often are quite short. I've had to handle this several different ways -- using comboboxes for valuelists that need more width to see long entries, and even using text field popups with an image that makes it look like a combobox layered behind it for tiny areas where the text field popup is bigger than the space I have for the field. Pictures attached (only three though -- the forum rejects more jpg attachments apparently).

This seems like something Servoy could fix for me, if I can explain it properly. Because, by choosing combobox I lose the typeahead functionality -- and I hate having to choose design over function. So my users, to find a name on a combobox, have to hit the first letter of the name, then scroll around looking for the name, say throughout the Ms.

Later versions of Filemaker allowed us to add the little arrow icon to the right of most types of popup menus/lists. It is quite handy. And can't the valuelist popup be better designed to show more of the value that is being displayed? I have VERY long value list entries and they are almost always cut off by either choice, making it very difficult for users to see what they are choosing. Note, I've attached pictures of a place in my system where as you typeahead, the box is fairly short and eventually it redraws even bigger -- for no obvious reason.

Finally, using type ahead or text field valuelists means the user can edit the values involved -- so if they choose Ellen Meserow off that first image attached, they can change the item to make it say Ellen Mes and then the id disappears (rightly so) but they get an error. I have to add an onDataChange property to every valuelist that I use as typeahead/text field to prevent this. Don't have to do that with combobox.

Hope others can elaborate on any troubles they have with this issue since it's kinda complicated to post.

Thanks in advance!

This shows how combobox defaults to show a valuelist for the width of the field. But the users can't typeahead to the name they're looking for. On that list I'm trying to find Meserow -- I can hit M and jump to the Ms but I must scroll to find me.
valuelists3.JPG (28.39 KiB) Viewed 2044 times
This shows that typeahead pops to the width of the field SOMETIMES, since this is the same valuelist as shown in the below picture where you see the valuelist starts quite short.
valuelists2.JPG (15.35 KiB) Viewed 2044 times
Short valuelist compared to values contained.
valuelists.JPG (32.3 KiB) Viewed 2043 times
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Postby david » Fri Dec 21, 2007 8:01 pm

3) when you enter a type ahead field (or text field with a value list) that already has a value, the chosen value in the value list is the first item -- not the value in the field. with a combobox the selected item in the value list is the field value.

4) style sheet settings for comboboxes are tricky and don't cover all the property settings you can do manually.

5) comboboxes are a major pain to handle cross platform visually. much easier to attach a value list to a plain text field to get the same look but then you lose out on the non-editable combobox property and your location in the value list.

in agreement here -- comboboxes and how value lists are displayed/handled could definitely use some tweaking.
David Workman, Kabootit

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