Visibility & Indicating Tab Contents

We’re revisiting a nice technique we use in the current calendar to show users if there is anything happening on tabs not currently visible. We use these little green dots to show activity on tabs:

This is a pretty simple thing to implement. In the current calendar we do this by showing a related field from the portal visible on each tab. The field we show is called “_commonOne” and is a calc equal to 1. We have one of these in each of the main tables and use it for all kinds of things– but using it for these kinds of displays is my favorite. Since the field is related, if there are no activity or project records showing up on that tab, we see no “1”. Then all we have to do is use number formatting to format the 1 as a bullet.

We use similar number formatting to format the 1 as an “@” sign when there is a related email address, making the “@” into a send mail button.

Of course this all gets simpler with conditional formatting and I think we’ll use that approach in the new calendar. Using conditional formatting you’d create your icon (a bullet or “@”) as text on the layout and then conditionally format it to show only when a relevant field is not empty. While many people color the text to match the layout background as a way to make the text disappear, that gets messy if you change the layout background or want the text to be invisible over a gradient. We set the text’s font size to something really large, like 300pt, so the text “draws” outside the text boundary. This means it is invisible even over patterns, gradients, or other text fields.

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