It’s Sorta a Value List Thing | filemakerhacks

It’s Sorta a Value List Thing

Editor’s note: Today it’s my privilege to present an informative guest article written by Jonathan Fletcher on the elusive topic of sorted dynamic value lists. Jonathan is a well-regarded, thoughtful and thought-provoking fixture in the FileMaker community, known for his generous and frequent contributions to various online FileMaker forums.

Have you ever had a need for a value list that displayed a generated list of years in descending order? Have you ever had a client ask for a popup of dynamic characteristics or statuses in the order they are most often employed by the users?

Most FileMaker developers can remember times when they were asked to display a drop-down, pop-up or other dynamic value list in a particular sort order. And we have always had to say, “Naw, you don’t want that. Picker portals are way better!”


A little over a year ago, Soliant developer Marcelo Piñeyro posted about his idea of using one of the two “Byte Order Marks” (Unicode 65279, in particular) to control sorting dynamic value lists.

The basic idea is to use a character that has little effect on the list other than forcing FileMaker to ignore its alphabeticity and display it in whatever order it’s provided. The Byte Order Mark fits the bill in that it is a zero-space, non-breaking character, totally invisible to the naked eye, yet still having a useful effect. [1][2].

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