Understanding Flexile

Flexile uses a unique UI (User Interface) that’s designed to help you move around your data as easily as possible. Here I’ll describe some of the main elements of Flexile’s user interface as well as explain some common gestures that make Flexile a pleasure to use.

Two Pane Interface

Flexile’s Interface revolves around a simple two pane layout. Each pane is full screen and you can drag or tap a drag-view to switch between the panes. These panes create a clear separation between creating/modifying your database (left pane) and navigating/editing your data (right pane). It also makes it easy to switch tables by putting your table list (left pane) within close reach so you don’t have to back out of a bunch of screens just to access your tables. This makes it easier to know where you are in the app and helps prevent confusion since Flexile won’t stack a bunch of different types of screens on top of each other.

Overlay / Modal Screens

On both the iPad and iPhone, option screens and record detail screens are overlaid on top of which ever pane you’re currently in. This should be fairly obvious on the iPad as you will see the underlying screen behind the overlay. Because of limited space, you won’t see the underlying screen on an iPhone, but the same basic principles will apply. Overlay screens are designed to be easy to get into and out of. Normally, they are brought up by simply tapping on the item in question (a record, for example) and they can be closed easily and quickly no matter what has been done in the overlay.

Closing Overlaid Screens

Flexile provides multiple ways to close out an overlay. On an iPad, there should be an “X” button at the top-left of the screen to close it. Again, because of space constraints that “X” isn’t on the iPhone, but the iPhone will have a back button on the navigation bar in top-left of the screen you can use to back out of the app.

Probably the funnest and easiest way to close a modal screen is to using a pinching gesture to close the screen. When an overlay is up, simply pinch in with two fingers anywhere on the screen and the overlaid screen will begin to close. This can be useful sometimes because the screen won’t actually close until you’ve lift your fingers from the screen and if the overlay is near full screen it will cancel the close. You can use this to ‘peek’ behind the overlay by pinching it to see behind and then expand it again (pinch out) to restore the overlay. Plus, it’s kinda fun to do.

Editing Content

Flexile has taken a unique approach to content editing by using a full-screen editing system. This means if you tap on a text field, for example, that text field (along with the keyboard) will seamlessly fill the entire screen so you have as much room as possible to edit. This is particularly useful for text/note fields, map fields and image fields where having that extra space really makes a difference. When you’re done editing, you can tap on the “Done” button on the toolbar to finish and Flexile will return the field to its proper place in the view.

If there are multiple, editable fields on screen, the toolbar will show “Prev” & “Next” buttons you can use to ‘tab’ between the fields. You can also swipe left (next field) or swipe right (previous field) on the field to accomplish the same thing easier.

Flexile provides a few gesture to make it easier to navigate through screen you’ve previously been to.

Stacked Views

On occasion, you may end up “stacking” views on top of each other as you visit sub-options. This is most common when modifying a table (changing fields/views/etc). If you’ve ever used almost any iOS (iPhone/iPad) device you’re probably familiar with stacking screens and the ubiquitous Navigation Bar with a “Back” button. Flexile doesn’t break with that (it’s an excellent system and works well) but it does add some extra functionality by easily allowing you to back out of screens by double-swiping (swiping with two fingers) right. I should mention that you might have a little trouble doing this on scrollable views (the view steals the touch input) but if you use shorter swipes it tends to work a little better. Of course, you can always just tap on the “Back” button if that’s your sort of thing.

Record Navigation

While you’re viewing a Record’s detail, Flexile can navigate between sequential records without having to revisit the record list. You will see one (or both) record navigation buttons (shown right) if you can navigate between records. This navigation will occur only within the current recordset (the records displayed in the list). You can also navigate between the records by swiping left/right using two fingers.

When you’re viewing a record, Flexile will also display alongside that record a list of all the other records it’s linked to. You can “follow” a link by tapping on it and Flexile will display the Link’s record along with it’s records. Of course, you can continue to follow links to your hearts content. Flexile will keep track of all the past records you’ve been to and allow you to navigate the link history using the buttons (show right). You can also navigate the link history by swiping left/right with two fingers.

FYI - You can only navigate through a link history or the record list. Once you’ve started following links, you the navigation buttons will change to reflect Link Navigation until you navigate “back” to the original record.

(iPhone Only) On the iPad, Links are placed right alongside with the record. However, the iPhone is a little space constrained for that so the Links are a little “hidden”. There are two ways to access Link.

At the bottom of the screen (the toolbar) you’ll see a set of buttons (show right). Tapping on the left button (the one that looks like the Flexile logo) will take you to the record’s links. Tapping on the right button will take you back to the record detail. If you’re viewing a record you can swipe right on the record to view the Links. I should mention this’ll only work if you’re on the first page (assuming the view has multiple pages), otherwise you’ll switch pages. Conceptually, you can think of the Links view as oriented just to the left of the record. Of course, once you’re in the Links View you can swipe left to access the record. Just be aware that Link Records can also accept a left swipe, so you may have trouble switching to the record view if you swipe on the links themselves.

Deleting Stuff

Whenever you see a list (or grid) of items, you can swipe right on a list item to delete it. You’ll always be given a confirmation to make sure you want to delete it, so there’s no worries about accidental deletion. There is one caveat to the ‘swipe right to delete’ gesture. When you’re viewing records, you may have already swiped left to access additional pages (see Managing Records for more info). If this is the case, then swiping right will access previous pages until you get to the first page. From there you can swipe right again to delete the record.

There will also be an edit button for list items. If you tap on the “Edit” button the list will enter an editing mode with round-red minus signs “-“ next to the list items. If you tap on the “-“ button, there will be a delete button displayed you can tap on to confirm the the deletion.

Finally, you will come across a “Trash” icon in various places. Depending on where you find the Trash can determines what it does. For example, there is a trash icon located in each record, in which case it will delete that record. You will also find the trash icon in toolbars for various controls. In those cases, the Trash Icon will clear the value for that field.