Usually referred to as something like "Where am I" from the perspective of your FileMaker application. Usually, it follows a hierarchy like this (anyone should feel free to make edits to improve):

  • File
  • window & window mode
  • layout & matching table occurrence
  • found set & sort order
  • current record
  • active layout object (field or other)

Invitation to a discussion: Do you if you feel like elements of the environment (win/mac, pro/go/server, 64/32 bit, ...) are part of the context or not? Please elaborate.

Environment and context are different. Context occurs within the window. The window occurs within an environment. mf.

Context is everything. FileMaker uses windows (most databases don't use windows) which render a layout. Every layout is linked to a table occurrence (TO). It is the TO that creates context. In short, every window in FileMaker has a context (a table occurrence) and all operations are performed in that context.

The context can extend well beyond the TO that is linked with a layout. If the TO has relationships with other TOs in the Relationship Graph (RG) then the related TOs are also "in context" for the layout.

This is an incredibly powerful behaviour. It saves us from having to assert a context for every action we perform within a layout - we take it for granted. The trade-off is that we cannot access data that occurs outside the context (aside from global fields).

For several versions now, the inclusion of SQL functions within FileMaker allows us to access any TO, regardless of context.