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Reset User View Sizes and Positions
Background

For a truly polished, professional Helix database, operating in User Mode is a must. User Mode is required for Helix Client/Server and Helix Engine, and is available by creating one or more User icons in the main collection window.

Creating User icons in Helix RADE give the collection designer the ability to create distinct user environments. Each user icon features a customized menu bar with menus of logically arranged commands, with optional command key equivalents. Designer-controlled permissions give increased security to the data.

Working in User Mode, each person arranges their own workspace according to personal preference: view sizes and positions are retained, as are which windows were left open when the database was last used. Queries (Quick, Form, and Power) are saved as well. (And in macOS, System-defined Command Keys are retained.)

This power has one drawback: when the collection designer modifies a form, it is often desirable to be able to force the user icons to adopt the new size and position. (This is particularly true when the form uses a window type that does not have resizing capabilities.) Unfortunately, this can be in conflict with the user-preferred settings, and Helix has traditionally provided no way to override the user’s settings.

In the past, collection designers have had to resort to elaborate tricks (such as embedding every view in a sequence) to avoid this problem, at the cost of eliminating the user’s ability to set their own preferences. Applying these techniques throughout the database is time-consuming, but when this is applied sporadically it gives the database an overall inconsistent feel.

Solution

In Helix RADE 6.0, a feature was added to provide collection designers with a way to work around this problem. If the Option key is held down while clicking the OK button in the Helix User Editor, Helix RADE copies all of the current Design Mode view sizes and positions into the user icon. This resolves the problem, but requires that the designer exercise caution when working in Design Mode to make sure all views are sized and positioned logically.

And so, in Helix 6.0 and later, when a view is redesigned and the users need to be forced to use the new design, the designer (working in Design Mode) sets the view’s preferred size and positions, then opens each User icon and (after making other desired changes) closes it while holding the Option key down. Helix RADE beeps once to indicate a successful reset of the view size and position settings.

Additional Information

macOS native Helix RADE is expected to improve upon this situation by giving the collection designer the ability to reset window size and position attributes on a view by view basis.

Recent versions of Helix RADE have added many capabilities to User Mode: more commands, command key support for Shift and Option key modifiers, F-Key support and more. Collection designers revisiting old collections are encouraged to drag out a new User icon and study the default menus, as they have been updated significantly. New commands have been added, obsolete commands removed, and industry standard locations and command keys applied. Apply these new standards to give your existing users a more intuitive User Mode experience.

Technical Footnote

Each User icon contains a position property that contains a list of every view that is found on the User’s menus, along with the last size and position for each. The size and position of views not on the menus are not stored, and are taken from the last used size and postion as seen in Design Mode.