View History

(Note This applies only to TMG v4.x and earlier)

Recently there was a discussion about the use of  Bookmarks and View History.   Many users become familiar with the Last View feature which allows the user to change from the current view to the view displayed immediately prior to the current view. They either use the Last View icon on the toolbar (the upside down U with the arrow), the menu selection (View=>Last view), or the hotkey (hold the Control key down and press L).  But often you need to go to a different view and/or person.  

Very often the person or view desired in TMG is one that you keep displaying  from time to time during each session for a dataset.  For this purpose, you may set a Bookmark.  Early versions of TMG only allowed one bookmark, but later versions allow up to ten bookmarks to be set to a person and specific view.  Setting, clearing, or choosing a Bookmark may be done from the View=>Bookmarks menu.  Once a Bookmark is selected, you may select it from the menu or the hotkey (hold the Control key and press the Home key).   You may also press just the Home key to return to the last (or highest set) Bookmark.

Very often you want to go back to a view that was displayed two or three (or more) views previously.  You may use the View History feature for something like this.  The View History feature is controlled by the System Configuration Screen (General tab) (Tools=>Options from the menu or the hotkey (hold the Control key down and press O)).   You may select or de-select the View History option on the left of the screen.   While here, you may select the number of items to be retained (Length of Memory).   You can choose from one to thirty-five views to be retained in the View History.   Normally, I would recommend that you start with about ten and adjust the value based on your needs.  When the View History is displayed, you may also select to have it display the name of the person in the view and the ID# or the name, ID# and the specific view.  I usually leave the Remember ID only option un-selected.

Once the View History function is turned on, TMG will "remember" the last ten (or whatever number you selected) views displayed.  You may then select the desired prior view from the View menu. 

Bookmarks are retained for each dataset.  However, the View History is only usable for a specific dataset while the user is using that dataset.  If the user switches to a different dataset, or exits and re-starts TMG, the View History is deleted.  Thus, the better function for a dataset is the Bookmark.  The downside is that the user often cannot remember ten Bookmarks and the View History is somewhat more convenient.  

But the View History, if retained after switching to another dataset, may not be very convenient because the ID numbering is usually very different from dataset to dataset.   For example, two datasets might have the following persons who are the same in both datasets:

Dataset A Dataset B
John Smith ID# 1 John Smith ID# 10
Jane Jones ID# 10 Jane Jones ID# 1
Judith Maupin ID# 20 Judith Maupin ID# 20

Note that John Smith and Jane Jones have opposite numbers in the two datasets while Judith Maupin has the same number in both.  In a situation where dataset A has been used, the View History may be something like this:

Jane Jones #10, Tree
Judith Maupin #20, Person
John Smith #1, Person

Now, if dataset B is selected and the View History is retained, when Jane Jones is selected, the Tree View for John Smith will display because John Smith is #10 in dataset B.  Similarly, if the John Smith selection on the View History is made, the Person View for Jane Jones would appear because her ID number is #1 in dataset B.  But note that selecting the Judith Maupin in dataset B gives the desired display because she has the same ID# in both datasets.

For this reason, TMG was designed to delete the View History from session to session and from dataset to dataset.  This is especially so since the Bookmark feature is retained from session to session and for each specific dataset.

A number of users expressed a desire to retain the View History regardless of the differences in datasets.  Therefore, after consultation with Bob Velke, the below procedure was developed for those who are somewhat computer savvy  and are not afraid to make program changes within your computer.  Remember that some odd behavior may occur when switching datasets as iterated above.

1. Go into TMGW, in the System Configuration Screen (General tab) (from the Tools=>Options menu option), and make sure that View History is turned on.
2. Click on the OK button to exit the System Configuration Screen.
3. Access the Custom Report Writer Log (Report=>Custom Report Writer... menu option).
4. Choose File=>Exit TMG and leave TMG like this (do NOT exit TMG normally).
5. From DOS or in Windows Explorer, create a new directory/folder called VIEWHIST in the TMGW directory (e.g., \TMGW\VIEWHIST).
6. In the TMGW program directory/folder are two files (VIEWHIST.DBF & VIEWHIST.CDX), move these two files (do NOT copy them) to the new VIEWHIST directory/folder.
7. Use WordPad or another editor to edit the CONFIG.FPW file in the TMGW directory/folder. Add the line: PATH=VIEWHIST and save the changed file.
8. Re-start TMG and the View History will be retained from session to session. From now on, just exit from TMG normally and when TMG is restarted, the View Histories will be there.

I am sure that the reason that Bob did not include this in the documentation is that in switching datasets there will seldom be persons with the same ID#s in both datasets. So if you do switch datasets often and they are all different, then this will not help (and can be a awkward -- at best).

If you aren't comfortable with doing what is noted above, I recommend that you forget it and just let TMGW be as normal and drop the history from session to session/dataset to dataset.

After trying this, if you decide that it is not for you, you can restore the normal TMG operation by just reversing the process above. Remove the PATH statement from the CONFIG.FPW file, and move the two files back to the TMGW directory/folder. You may also delete the VIEWHIST directory/folder once it is empty.

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