Frustrating dialog data entry in X

In Pan 6 a procedure I have has this line of code: GetText “Vehicle number?”, search

Every time I enter a number and hit enter the procedure then performs some functions then returns in a loop to the dialog to get the next entry number. The cursor is always ready in the dialog box. It’s very handy since I attached a number pad and just wisk away entering data.

WELL IN PAN X IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY! Whenever the dialog comes back I have to click in the entry field which is a ROYAL and I mean ROYAL pain in the ass which slows me down to a crawl. Isn’t there a dialog entry that will works like Pan 6?

To be honest I’m getting so frustrated converting EVERY database I have that have worked for years under Pan 6. I’m sorry but I really find it difficult to understand why we have to go through this when switching to PanX.

This is due to a change Apple made in macOS. If you install Panorama X on an older version, (I think 10.10 or earlier), you’ll find that the GetText statement works the way you want it to. Then in OS X 10.11 (or maybe 10.12) Apple made a change, and it stopped working correctly.

Fortunately, at WWDC this year I was able to consult with an Apple engineer and together we were able to figure out how to reprogram Panorama to get around this change in macOS. So when the next version of Panorama X is released later this year, this frustration will go away.


YAY!! Now for my other frustration complaint Jim… Why whenever I choose a form or procedure to view from the menu I get a new window. After a while I’m littered with windows! Can’t the open window simply change based on the selection like previously? Or somehow offer an option?

Sorry, flipping within the current window is not an option.

Well that’s a bummer and hopefully will be addressed. Switching from DATA to a FORM to a PROCEDURE then back to DATA leaves 3 windows cluttering the screen. Then even more as things progress. There’s no way around this clutter?

As Jim says, you can’t flip within the current window. However you could emulate doing so…

Write a procedure which records the current window’s rectangle to a local variable, closes that window, then opens the desired new window at with the same rectangle. Make however many such you wish and you’ll be able to look like you’re flipping withinr a window via your Action menu. Or with some more work you could use PanX’s menu tools to move such procedures to a new menu or submenu.

However you should consider whether your new window’s rectangle would make since within the range of possible locations and dimensions of the current window. You may wish to complicate such procedures with some contingency planning.

Alternatively, try to build a habit of typing ⌘-W before choosing “a form or procedure to view from the menu.”

You can also make a hotkey to close the window immediately under the new window. Here is some code for a control-W hotkey that you can add to your .Initialize procedure:

definehotkeys "Global", "CONTROL-W",
|||if array(info("windows"),2,cr()) beginswith "Panorama Help"
window array(info("windows"),2,cr())

I have added a trap so you do not close an open Help file window by mistake. I think if you get in the habit of hitting control-W whenever you open a new window and want the previous one removed it might relieve some of the stress. Of course you can assign whatever hotkey combination you prefer.

Seriously? Why do we have to go through this just to emulate what we’ve had for years? Why is this the case? After all, no other apps that I have exhibit this behavior. At the moment I’m paying for PAN X but my money and time are going to trying to convert all my databases which I have yet to fully utilize. I’m sorry guys, why do we hav to go through this? Other apps updated and it was totally seamless. IMO converting to PAN X is like buying an inferior competitor to Panorama which I’ve been using since the Omni days.

I wasn’t clear before, so let me elaborate (at some length, as it turns out). This change to how the View menu works was an intentional change, and I’m not planning on changing it back. I can’t think of any other modern app that allows switching window types within the same window. Not many programs even have multiple types of windows, but those that do, when you open a new type of view, it generally opens in a new window. Earlier versions of Panorama did many things that ultimately turned out to be non-standard. In Panorama X I strived mightily to make the user interface as standard as possible, even if this was different than how Panorama 1 to 6 did things. This is one of those areas that is now different from earlier versions but I think much more clear for new users (and some existing users as well). I can tell you from years of tech support experience that the way it worked before caused a lot of confusion, and many users never even discovered that it was possible to have multiple windows per database. Like virtually every other app, Panorama now always opens each new view in a new window, and it remembers the position and size of each view even when it is closed. (There are also technical reasons why flipping different kinds of views in a single window is much more difficult in OS X than it was in “classic” MacOS, I’m sure it can be done, but I’m not going to spend the significant engineering time required (probably weeks) to create a non-standard, confusing feature.)

I do understand your frustration with having a lot of windows open, I think that myself sometimes, but I don’t think the way Panorama used to do it was good either. I found it constantly frustrating that it didn’t remember the position and size of each view, and I would often flip to a different view when I meant to open a new window. I think a solution might be to come up with methods for closing a bunch of windows quickly. I’ve had some thoughts on this but haven’t hit on a solution I’m in love with (and there are many other competing priorities).

I know there is a vocal contingent of Panorama 6 users that just don’t want anything to change, ever. However, I also know that that contingent is a tiny fraction of what is needed to sustain an ongoing business. Definitely far too small to justify the enormous investment required to write a new version of Panorama that would continue to work when Apple dropped the APIs originally introduced in 1984. Those APIs are being dropped as soon as next week. In the near future, it won’t be possible to purchase a new computer that will run Panorama 6.

In creating Panorama X, a colossal effort wast put into making it as compatible as possible with previous versions. Panorama X seamlessly brings over all of your data, and the bulk of your graphics and programming. And though the user interface is very similar, it does not recreate the exact same user interface as before, because that is not where the future is. The Panorama 6 user interface was mostly unchanged since the late 1980’s, and what other unchanged product from the 1980’s are you using? Where it made sense in creating Panorama X, existing user interface idioms were kept, but many of Panorama’s existing idioms are awkward and confusing in a modern app. The design of Panorama X is ruthless, if it isn’t modern and clean, it had to go.

Of course there were hundreds of design decisions involved in creating Panorama X, and there’s no way all of these decisions will please every user. A lot of user input has gone into Panorama X, and it has evolved considerably over the past 4 years since the first betas appeared. But ultimately, I’m the person responsible for investing tens of thousands of hours in this project, and in the end these decisions are my call, for better or worse. In the past two years, Panorama X has attracted more new customers than earlier versions did in the previous 20, so I’m hopeful that Panorama X is for the most part is heading in the right direction, even if every individual design decision isn’t met with universal acclaim.

I know my response tonight will be disappointing to some. I hate disappointing old users, but I also hate disappointing potential new users, who probably won’t be heard here. For decades Panorama development was entirely tilted towards old users, but that became untenable and now Panorama X has shifted the focus a bit in favor of new ways. I did want to take the time (nearly an hour!), however, to convey that the reasoning behind the way the View menu works was a well considered position, and not laziness or carelessness. I’m open to suggestions, but not the suggestion that it should work as it did before, I’m convinced that on balance that was not a good user interface.


The one comment I will make about this is that Panorama is the only application I think I use that will have more than one window per file, so this is an unusual situation. Even presentation applications, like Keynote, only have a single window which changes. We could do that in Panorama 6.

Well, I know at least another one: MS Excel. You can open two or more windows of one Excel document. Additionally Excel opens a new window when you switch to VisualBasic macros. You can edit VB code of an Excel .xlsm document in the VisualBasic window only. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)

Maybe I am missing something, but I have a procedure that switches between two forms in the current window, which may or may not do what LeoC2 wants, using goform. It won’t help if you pick the new form from the menu, but you can easily program your way around the problem. This example switches between form List and form ViewingList.

closeactiveobject  /to make sure any edits are saved
if info("formname")="List"

    goform "ViewingList"  //switches the current window to a different form
    formxy 0,0  //this makes sure the form is scrolled all the way to normal.
    fixwindow //this is a custom statement that resizes the window
    alignform "right"  //this aligns the form where I want it on the screen.

elseif info("formname")="ViewingList"

    goform "List"
    formxy 0,0
    alignform "right"

As for the GetText issue, until Jim releases the fix, you can download and use Gary’s Additions1. The statement GetTextSheet solves the problem and I like it better than Gettext.

I can learn to live with the the multiple windows, I’m sure I’ll automatically switch to the old window and close it but my point is the ENORMOUS amount of time needed to convert to PanX and how nothing “seems” compatible. The time being spent eats into our purchased time which annoys the daylights out of me since I still can’t use PanX to it’s fullest. Here’s an example, silly as it sounds I spent over an hour having to recreate some forms that had lines drawn in then. None appeared in the PanX load no matter what I tried in the settings. I then had to redraw the lines and even that was a pain because the lines start at 45 degrees for some weird reason and to make straight horizontal or vertical lines you would think all the user needs to do is hold down the shift key as in 99% of all Mac software but no, that does nothing so it’s a matter of rotating the line and trying to make it straight. Seriosuly?

I’m not sure if I should even mention this trick after your response to previous suggestions. Ok, I’ll put it out there anyway - maybe others might find it helpful. You can easily make a line perfectly horizontal or vertical by setting it in the Options Panel.


I do agree however that the standard handle shift drag should orientate a line horizontal, vertical or diagonal 45º as most programs would.

Keynote is one of my favorite programs, I use it a lot. In fact, I have it open right now.

Keynote documents have only one kind of content - slides. You can flip between slides in the window, but you are always looking at a slide, not something different like code.

As far as I know, Keynote does not allow you to open multiple slides from the same document in different windows. That might be kind of nice in some cases, then you could look at two slides side-by-side. But it doesn’t do that – you can only flip within the same window.

Earlier versions of Panorama allowed both flipping and opening multiple windows. On further reflection, I believe that choice is where things get confusing. For example, suppose you tell it to flip to a different view, but that view is already open in a separate window? I think trying to combine both of these options into one app is problematic and confusing. For a consistent user interface, it needs to be one or the other. Although for simple databases it might be ok, I don’t think forcing Panorama documents to have only one window would be a good option. So that leaves us with the way that Panorama X works now – consistently opening a new window.

I’m not much of an Excel user, but this would appear to confirm my thinking on this.

I agree with this as well. There are quite a few small enhancements that would really improve the graphic editor when time allows. I have a list.

In the meantime, thank you Gary for your excellent demonstration that Panorama X already has a method to do this pretty seamlessly. And once the Horizontal or Vertical option is checked, the line will stay in that orientation whenever you resize it.

Over the past four years many users have sent in Panorama 6 databases that had some sort of conversion problem, and in almost every case, the problem has gotten fixed. This is the first I’ve heard of a problem with bringing over line objects. If you still have the Panorama 6 database that has this problem, and are willing to send it in, this issue can be investigated.

Yes I’ll do that but I don’t recall how to send you the files, it’s been YEARS since I sent you one!

I have a simple one I use to tally some scores. The lines do not appear so I had to create new ones in PanX. Some of the lines I recreated in PanX do not show on the form thouhgj. Also, I can’t find any setting that adjusts line thickness. I thought it would be the “height” setting in lines but that just moves one end up or down. And thanks Gary I did know about the line options settings.

Under next icon tab to the right of where you found the height setting is listed “stroke width” which sets line thickness.

The line thickness is set in the Appearance pane of the Properties panel.


Oh here’s a thought regarding the multiple window clutter. I understand you can’t make a window change as you describe but how about this idea: Maybe when switching to a different view from the menu (form, data, procedure) PanX automatically closes the present window and opens a new one with the chosen content. Perhaps even make this an option in Preferences?