Animated Gifs and Filemaker 6 pro

Posted on 2004-11-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
I would like to make a "Please Wait..." animated gif for a layout, in a currant project of mine.

I've made the gif and it works, however when i load the image to filemaker it does not work.
I have also read on a few help sites that filemaker does not support animated gifs... yet.

My question is, does anyone know away to get around this limitation?

Thank you,
Question by:criss_mce
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 12606027
FM6 won't display animated GIFs, and FM7 doesn't either. Actually, very few programs support this feature natively, most programs that display animated GIFs do so via a browser control of some sort.

If you're looking for something sort of like a progress bar to run while a long script is running, you can use a repeating container field to simulate the effect of an animated GIF. Create a global container field with one repetition for each frame of the animation, a global number field, and a calculated field that uses the GetRepetition function to display the repetition based on the value of the number field. In the script that's running, occasionally increment the value of the counter by 1, and reset it back to 1 if it exceeds the maximum frames.

If you want something to display during a long import, export, or sort, this won't work. You can embed an animation file such as an AVI or QuickTime file, but it's going to have controls on it and won't look very satisfactory.


Author Comment

ID: 12618576
Has anyone ever done anything along this line?

I am open to suggestions for other ways to show the user that the system is busy.
I would really like an alternative to static text, Im sure my users will also.

Whatever I end up doing it needs to run for at least a minute.

any help would be great.

LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 12618948
FileMaker has its own animated "busy" mouse cursor. You may want to educate your users to look for that.

What is the specific task that needs to run for a long time? Is it a looping script? A single long sort? This will affect what options you have available. If what you're doing involves a loop in a script, you have way more options. You can always launch some external program to display your graphic, though that's not the greatest solution. If you're on a Mac, you can do this easily with AppleScript. If you're on Windows, you can use an automation tool such as AutoIt to do similar things.

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Author Comment

ID: 12619546
Educating my user is not an option..

The program i am creating is soo fisher priced, there is no more then 2 buttons per layout. and even at that, they seem to have a hard time figuring it out.
The built in animated curser has been used by the same users before and they failed miserably. and managed to break the system. (dont ask me how but they did)

The please wait layout will be used for when the PLC dumps its data, then when filemaker retrieves it.
My DB goes to the please wait layout for one minute to give the system ample time to dump and retrieve the data.
The problems is that I have a feeling that when the system goes into the wait and they get impatient,
that they will attempt to exit, press buttons or do something dumb, thinking that the system stalled.

An animated gif or something along those lines would hopefully detour them from taking matters into there own hands.
All the systems will be run on Windows also.
LVL 19

Accepted Solution

billmercer earned 600 total points
ID: 12620756
It would be helpful to know more about what your program is doing. It's hard to tell from your description, but it sounds like  your FileMaker app is sitting idle during the PLC download, and that's when you need the animation.

Basically, you've got two options:
1. Create an animated field in FileMaker itself as I described in my first response.
demonstrates the concept

2. Run an external program to keep the user entertained while waiting for the transfer to finish. Here is a generic countdown utility I created using the AutoIt script language that does this.  

It takes one argument, a number of seconds, and counts down that many seconds before exiting. Default is six seconds if no time specified.

If the download from the PLC can be controlled by software, you could do something more sophisticated such as monitor the content of a window and run an FM script when the download is finished.


Author Comment

ID: 12627263
Its sounding like instead of making my users wait one minute, im going to have to make them wait up to 45min -_-
But yes my filemaker is idle during the PLC download, and because the PLC is slower then we thought we will have to wait even longer..

So its looking like the AutoIt will be perfect.  :)

Thank you for your help.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 12627610
Yikes! 45 minutes is quite a long time... I can easily see someone forgetting what they were doing during such a long wait. Glad I was able to help.

I have found AutoIt makes a great companion to FileMaker. If you haven't already, you should download the package. It's free, and very easy to use.

You can create AutoIt scripts that work around some of FileMaker's limitations, and if you install the AutoIt application on all your workstations, you can actually use FileMaker to build a custom .au3 file and execute it, allowing you to do all sorts of interesting things.

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