Dracoventions News

Gap_filler Brings Unique Drawing and Color Replacement Features to Mac Filemaker

May 31, 2009

After hundreds of hours of experimenting, developing, and testing, the biggest Gap_Filler release of the year brings unique drawing and color replacement features to the Macintosh and improves them on Windows.

What can you do with drawing and color replacement?

* In one database, set up a single field containing a picture of tabs and a single script to control it. Use Gap_Filler to draw and recolor the active tab in that image and detect which tab the user clicks. Use a reference to the same image and same script in any number of databases.

* Your users always miss the little checkbox that indicates some important condition in a record. Use Gap_Filler to recolor the whole background in unmistakable red when that box is checked. Or have Gap_Filler change the color of a particular area according to the type of each record. It's surprising how much nicer this can be than reading the type of record from a text field.

* Say you're limited on layout space. Use Gap_Filler to draw a button that turns into a field only when there's useful data to display. Or when the field is blank, draw grey text inside it to explain its purpose.

* Preview a set of labels to print and let the user choose where to print them. While still in Preview mode, Gap_Filler can draw a grid where each label may be printed and detect where the user clicks to place a series of labels. Use Gap_Filler to draw buttons they can click to print or cancel.

Gap_Filler started as a part-time project, but people love it enough that I've decided to work on it full time. With more time spent in development, I'm also considering raising the price, so don't delay if you've been thinking about buying. Coming up next will be the ability to automate printing on Macintosh - a feature already available in the Windows version.

Still confused about what Gap_Filler is? It could use a better name. I'm considering calling it "All-in-One FileMaker Extender" or "15-Plugins-in-One", but if you have a better name, send it to support@dracoventions.com. If I use your name, I'll give you $100 off your plugin-purchase. If you think it should be split into separate plugins covering utility, drawing, dialog, printing, and keyboard/mouse functions, let me know and maybe suggest names for those as well.

Also in this release:

* Ability to limit FileMaker's sort order window to display only the fields you choose, making it possible to handle the few fields chosen programmatically. This Windows-only feature was developed as a commission for a client and is in the public release with their permission.
* Better compatibility with Windows Vista.
* Windows drawing will no longer draw the same thing repeatedly which sometimes caused jagged edges on smooth shapes or text.
* Fixed uncommon cases where replaced colors on Windows could be drawn in the wrong place after the layout scrolled.
* Improved developer licensing support that allows multiple licenses from different developers to coexist with a single standard license.

About Gap_Filler
Originally developed for private use at The Children's Nature Institute, the plug-in became so useful that I wanted to make it publicly available. Everything in Gap_Filler was created to address a real business need at CNI, so it's well-tested and not bloated with features that merely sound nice but serve little purpose in the real world. Gap_Filler saves CNI development time, automates repetitive tasks, and creates a more intuitive and functional user interface.

Gap_Filler combines the best features of some existing plug-ins along with features not seen anywhere else, including:

* Search to find a string across all scripts or database metadata
* Dialogs with unlimited controls - you choose where they go
* Pop-up menus in dialogs or anywhere in your FM layout
* Hotkeys in whole files or specific FM layouts
* Key-press simulation lets you open menus and automate the UI
* Draw shapes and text
* Replace one color with another
* Automate printer selection and many printer options
* Log detailed information after an error and optionally show a dialog box
* Progress bar dialog
* Change the mouse cursor and find where it was last clicked
* Read and write clipboard data including RTF and FM data types
* Regular expression search and replace in strings using Perl-compatible syntax
* Generate a hash of data using SHA512, MD5, TR1, etc.
* Run SQL Statements
* Get/set variables that can cross databases, even in FileMaker 7
...and more!

You can purchase individual features or get them all for a discount. Please visit www.dracoventions.com/products/gap_filler to learn more and try out Gap_Filler for free. There's no limit to how long you can try it - just a nag dialog reminding you to buy it if you use it.