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Chapter 13. Advanced Layout Techniques > Showing/Hiding Contextual Layout Eleme...

Showing/Hiding Contextual Layout Elements

In addition to presenting various windows for your users, there are times as a developer that you'll want to control whether or not users have access to specific functions on a current layout. A simple example might be a Delete button: Not everyone who uses your database should be given delete privileges. If you have placed a button on your layouts for deleting records, you'll need to either trap for an un-authorized attempt to use it (and likely present a graceful, “you're not permitted to do that” message with FileMaker's security settings), or craft separate layouts that offer both the “full” and “limited” functionalities you need.

Creating a new layout for each case in which you want to hide or display specific layout objects is obviously a technique you'll want to use sparingly. Any change made on one of these duplicated layouts requires that you change all versions. This quickly can become a maintenance nightmare. Conversely, there are many useful applications of being able to conditionally display information and functions. Imagine a social security field that appears only for members of your HR department. Another scenario might be a tab in your user interface that only administrators can see or click. A third possibility could include Submit and Cancel buttons appearing on screen only after someone has modified available fields. You certainly won't want to have to create separate layouts for each of these cases. Pragmatism will be at odds with UI design.


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