Vince Menanno AKA @vmenanno did a very interesting and important DIGFM presentation demonstrating that there is a "force field" around a "Layout Field" that causes Layout Text to change when the matching Field name changes. Lots of testing included in the presentation!
DIGFM: Discussing Roadmaps and App Maps (9/14/2023)
It is nice to understand a bit better this behavior.
I will attempt answering your questions (not in the same order).
Is there a risk to this feature? Yes, like with anything that automates something, there can be cases where this will transform something you would otherwise like to see preserved.
What do you do to mitigate the risk? I believe this is all about field naming. I use field names that do not involve spaces, start with a lowercase and use capital letters to mark where spaces would normally be. This means "Phone Number" as a field name becomes "phoneNumber" something I won't ever use as a label.
Useful feature? On a dev (or API call) layout, if I have a label next to the field, I want that to be the field name. If the field name is updated, it is nice not to have to revisit the dev layout(s) involved
Thoughts? Perhaps claris should have a layout level flag that let us specify for a whole layout if we want that layout to be impacted by this feature or not. I would like created the layouts to default with that flag (or default to a dev preference about it, that would be even better), and would flag all user-facing layouts. If I forget to remove the flag on a dev layout, it is of less incidence. I would like the same flag to prevent newly defined fields to be added to the layout. Basically, I want something that let us tell FileMaker "I'm the one in charge of this layout, do not mess with it thank you very much."
Interesting. Is there any documentation of this feature?
Way, way back in time text objects that were place automatically as a field label carried a flag that was modified when the text field was modified. Any modification meant that you owned the field label and it no longer changed.
At the time I had asked why we couldn't control that flag ourselves in the inspector. I never received a response, nor has the option been made a user setting.