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Reusable Dialogs

Card windows will continue to impact our FileMaker solutions for years to come. Released in FileMaker 16, who would have thought that simply creating a new way to draw windows would be so empowering. We've long been able to create modal windows which force user interaction - but taking off the title bar and dimming the background window was all it took to make things much more powerful. So, what is the most common thing you can do with a card window? Well, create a reusable dialog box of course. In previous videos I've covered card windows for progress bars, menu navigation systems and ultimate card window positioning. In this video, I show you how to take advantage of the new FileMaker 17 feature of being able to target a script based on the name of the script. By doing this, we can create a reusable dialog box system which provides us with full visual control and styling of the content. If you're interested in taking full advantage of the latest features and you'd like to standardize your own custom dialog boxes then this video will have the information you need. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

 

FileMaker DevCon 2018 Recap

FileMaker DevCon 2018 Recap FileMaker DevCon 2018 wrapped up last week in Dallas, TX . The conference was great to say the least. The Gaylord Texan resort was a new location for FileMaker DevCon. Everything was in a close proximity and it had a great lazy river. This year my family joined me. Leanne [...] The post FileMaker DevCon 2018 Recap appeared first on The Scarpetta Group, Inc..
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The Scarpetta Group

The Scarpetta Group

 

FileMaker DevCon 2018: Training Day – Part Two

Last week I wrote about my experience assisting with Bob Bowers’ Advanced session. I also interviewed two other trainers about how their sessions went. That was so much fun I decided to interview everyone who gave trainings this year. I managed to track down three more: Mike Beargie of MainSpring, Jeremy Brown of Geist Interactive, and Cris Ippolite of iSolutions. It was a pleasure to speak with them all. Here’s some of what they had to say. Intermediate - FileMaker Shared Hosting Master Class Many of you know Mike Beargie from his consistently helpful presence in the FileMaker Community. He was kind enough to meet with me at lunchtime, even though he had a DevCon session to give immediately afterwards. We spent a little time catching up on the past year, and then he shared his reflections on his half-day training: “This is the first time I’ve done a training day. I spend a lot of time answering people’s questions in the community, so it seemed like the natural next step. I’ve also been speaking at DevCon for a few years now, and I wanted to try something longer than a session. My class was all about FileMaker hosting, how to install FileMaker Server or FileMaker Cloud so that you can share out your files. It was a start-to-finish comprehensive course on how to install the server, how to secure the server – including generating and installing an SSL certificate – how to figure all the settings in the admin console, how to actually connect to the server once it’s up and running, and finally touching on troubleshooting and getting help. My goal was to show people that they can set up their own server. With FileMaker 14 support ending in September, and multi-tenant shared hosting going away, there are going to be a lot of people scrambling to re-host their solutions. The landscape is changing with hosting companies: now they’re offering their IT knowledge as a service to help set up dedicated servers for people, rather than providing a setup where a group of clients save money by all sharing the same server. When we hit the first break, I spent the whole time answering people’s questions. People were really engaged and just stayed all the way through. They wanted to learn as much as they could. At the end of the training, a lady from the UK came up to talk to me. She was the embodiment of a citizen developer, a business owner who is trying to provide more efficient software for their staff. Up to now she hadn’t considered doing this herself. But her FileMaker 14 hosting company basically told her, ‘We can set up a dedicated FileMaker 17 server for you and help you manage it, but your rates are going to go up significantly’. So she was worried that she couldn’t afford it, and the license was costing her money and maybe she wouldn’t even be able to use it. Now she has a lot more confidence. She told me, ‘You know what, we’re setting up our server as soon as we get home. We just got our 17 licensing and we were really scared about doing the AWS part of this. You made it look really easy’ – and I jumped in and said, ‘It IS really easy’ – but the important thing is that now she’s ready to give it a try.” Advanced - JavaScript for FileMaker Developers I’ve known Jeremy Brown for several years now and admire his passion for teaching and willingness to help others. We met in the hallway between DevCon sessions for a quick chat about his half-day training. “My session was JavaScript for FileMaker developers. I wanted to communicate the simple fact that all of us FileMaker developers can learn JavaScript. I tried to give them a clear path in – to demystify it and to show that it’s not too time-consuming or impossible to learn. I covered basic JavaScript concepts in the first 90 minutes and then spent the rest of the session on FileMaker Web Viewer integrations. I was happy that there were 150 people in the session. Shows there’s lots of interest. Even some people from FileMaker, Inc. were there and wrote about it in their blog post. Now I have a SLACK community (fm-js@slack.com) for all the people who signed up during my session so they can continue that conversation in the weeks going forward. One of the participants was a first-time DevCon attendee who has been working on his solution for a long time and is interested in expanding its platform. He sat in the front row and was there the whole time, working hard. At the end of the session he shook my hand and told me that I helped inspire him to continue his study. He was excited to work with the charting library that I had provided and get it fully integrated into his system.” Intermediate – Relationships / Calculations I got to know Cris Ippolite during my time working as the Technical Marketing Evangelist for FileMaker, Inc. I will always be grateful for all the encouragement and support he gave me during that time. And of course he’s a joy to interview — the tricky part for me is to edit down our conversation while preserving his distinctive voice: “I gave a full-day training in two parts. The morning was about intermediate-level relationships and the afternoon was about calculations. Relationships is a topic that I’ve been investigating recently, figuring out why people struggle with it so much. The main thing people can’t seem to wrap their heads around is the relationship graph. The concept of relationships in the abstract makes sense to people, but the different ways you actually use the tool can be challenging. So I’ve been separating the idea of creating true relationships between tables from relationships we use for queries – which is where I see people getting lost. The graph is great for true relationships, but I don’t see the upside of visualizing a query as a bunch of boxes with lines between them. Instead of burdening people with parsing out ‘Is this the same thing as that’, I say separate them so it’s easy to see the difference. People responded to that honest critique, and to learning a way to sort things out. I could tell it was landing with people – you know, when you get the nods and the ah-has as you’re going along. Then, that night, a group of folks I ran into in the bar – I’m assuming they travel together because they were in the class together too – they pulled me aside and all started talking at once, saying, ‘Hey, that was great! Thanks for letting us know that we weren’t the only ones confused by this.’ In the afternoon I talked about calculations. I wanted to impress upon people that it’s not all about calculated fields. Maybe you’re already comfortable creating field formulas like you do in Excel, but there’s so much more – you can use formulas all over the platform, in custom dialogs, replaces, hidden objects, conditional formatting, portal filtering, tooltips, all that stuff. So if you invest in increasing your calculation vocabulary, you can leverage that information in a lot of different ways. At the end of the day, I try not to introduce more boring stuff. You know, people are like, holding their heads in their hands and saying, ‘Make it stop!’ so I always wrap up with something fun. This time, I created a dog-walking app that uses four or five different GetSensor parameters to do things like counting your steps and how far you’ve gone. People really dug it, they were rushing to download it to their phone, and they had a great time playing around with it. What could be more fun than getting people on their feet and putting calculations literally in action?” I had a great time talking to all these folks, hearing how they work and what motivates them as trainers. I hope you got something out of it too! FileMaker DevCon 2018: Training Day - Part One FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 1 FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 2 FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 3 The post FileMaker DevCon 2018: Training Day – Part Two appeared first on Soliant Consulting.
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Soliant Consulting

Soliant Consulting

 

FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 3

Today was the final day of DevCon, and it has an entirely different flavor. It is Customer Day! Rather than technical topics, the majority of today’s sessions show-and-tell client stories of problems solved by utilizing FileMaker. Success Stories of Soliant's Philanthropy Committee The first session I attended began with a presentation by our own Makah Encarnacao. Makah shared her own story of a chance conversation with Chris Manto during DevCon a few years ago. Over a drink at the bar he shared his experiences in West Africa, working as a film journalist in his early twenties, when he witnessed horrific starvation and death, while all he and his team could do was use their vocation as journalists to tell the story. This serendipitous meeting inspired Makah to do something for others. With the support and encouragement of Bob Bowers, our CEO, Soliant's Philanthropy Committee was born. "FileMaker in Action: Non-Profit Case Studies" session presented by Makah Encarnacao Our team of developers, business analysts, and project managers participate on a voluntary basis to provide services to non-profit organizations who otherwise could not afford custom software. The work is done in addition to their normal workload, often after hours and spans across all our practice areas: FileMaker, Web, and SalesForce. Together with Josie Graham, Makah vets the submissions and pairs them with the perfect volunteer. Makah summarized the story of each organization: what they do, what they needed, how we helped, and the difference it made to their operation. The Luke Commission Operation Comfort Rainforest Trust Prince Albert Food Bank St. Francis Center Altadena Mountain Rescue Team Researching Hope Women's Alliance for Knowledge Exchange These institutions do wonderful work, and now they are more effective, more efficient, more nimble with the help of a little expertise. I've never been prouder to be a part of the Soliant team. Visionary Bar I spent my refreshment break answering the questions in the Visionary Bar. The idea is for DevCon attendees to just walk-up to get answers and advise from FileMaker Business Alliance (FBA) members. I've done this for many years and always find it quite rewarding to help others. Helping at the Visionary Bar FileMaker in Action: Media and Arts Case Studies For the second session of the morning, I saw fantastic examples of FileMaker used by two art and media businesses. The first was Bryn Behrenshausen of Kalisher, a design house that creates and curates comprehensive art collections and has remote teams in six US cities. They have tons of information to keep track of: customers, designers, purchasers, owners, specs, pricing, and employee 100+ people. At the time Bryn joined Kalisher in 2014, Soliant Consulting had already built them a solution for managing their projects, quotes, vendors, and suppliers. Bryn shared his story of learning FileMaker development and now has built several modules of his own as well as refresh the original solution. He then shared some great tips for newer developers such as "Be Consistent with schema naming and script structure." It was great to hear Bryn's story. Matt Greger presented the second portion of the session. He shared how FileMaker was utilized to manage the tv spot traffic for 30 years for "As Seen on TV", the company who brings you those great infomercials for Flex Seal, Snuggie, Copper Fit, and so many other products. It was a fantastic example of something I've seen many times: FileMaker can be a fantastic hub for data. In Matt's solution, FileMaker pulls-in data from a variety of sources including Google AdWords, Amazon, Facebooks, YouTube, Microsoft Bing Ads, and tv vendors. The data is processed and aggregated and then accessed by analytic tools Tableau, Power BI, and TIBC Jaspersoft. Lunch Networking During lunch, I met with Mike Zarin. Mike attended my Wednesday presentation "Tackling Sync." He approached me following the session and asked if we could chat about the sync requirements for his project. It was great to hear about Mike's project and make suggestions for easier ways to solve his data posting needs. As the meal progressed others joined our table. We spent the remainder of the time sharing our story about how we got started using FileMaker. Several of us had been developing in FileMaker for more than 20 years while others were relatively new. Networking lunch: (front row) Mike Zarin, Dawn Heady, Lee Lukehart, Matthew Dahlquist, (back row) Jenna Lee, Jowy Romano, and Stephen Kerkvliet. Jim Medema (not pictured) graciously took the photo. From One to Many: Growing Your Consulting Firm Following lunch, I switched tracks and attended one of the FBA Day sessions. David Knight, the president of Angel City Data, presented a great session on growing your business. I especially liked David's message to "Learn to let go!" It's not stealing the boat; it's rowing the boat when you don't let go. Closing Session & Awards Presentation I was thrilled that the Women of FileMaker were awarded a FileMaker Excellence Award for their work in the community! This year, the Women of FileMaker provided scholarships so five first-timers could attend DevCon this year. They've created a Mentoring program and organized a Buddy program to pair DevCon first-timers with a seasoned pro to help attendees find their way around the conference. I can recall attending my first Women of FileMaker luncheon many years ago. There were maybe twenty of us eating at the hotel's restaurant. This year there were several hundred DevCon attendees at the luncheon. The growth of this group has been tremendous! This year Soliant Consulting was an honorable mention for the Excellence Award for education, an award we won in 2017. During the closing session the location for next year's DevCon was also announced: FileMaker Developer Conference 2019 August 5–9, 2018 Gaylord Palms Resort Kissimmee, Florida This year was my 19th consecutive DevCon, and each one is exciting, tiring, and inspiring. I returned with new ideas and determined to learn even more. I love seeing my friends from around the world and my Soliant family from around the country. Hope to see you there! FileMaker DevCon 2018: Training Day - Part One FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 1 FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 2 The post FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 3 appeared first on Soliant Consulting.
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Soliant Consulting

Soliant Consulting

 

Thinking About JSON, part 3

This a quick followup to last month’s part 2, because today I want to to dig a little deeper into JSONSetElement and take a closer look at the first argument: As I wrote last time… Part of what makes JSONSetElement so powerful is that it can be used both to create new entries, and to […]
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FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 2

After a busy first day of FileMaker DevCon 2018, day 2 continued the theme of FileMaker being a Workplace Innovation Platform. FileMaker + Tableau, a Match Made in Data Heaven! The morning sessions included an eye-opening Tableau integration session from Vincenzo Menanno. In his session, Vincenzo demonstrated how one could use Tableau charting and graphing tools inside a FileMaker WebViewer and subsequently use Tableau's URL Actions, to call specific FileMaker scripts within your solution, which provided a seamless integration between FileMaker ("The Data Curation Tool") and Tableau ("The Data Slicing Tool"). Under the Hood: FileMaker WebDirect Scalability “Under the Hood: FileMaker WebDirector Scalability” session presented by Emmanuel Thangari (click image to enlarge) The late morning sessions continued with Emmanuel Thangaraj’s session. This session was great for learning the inner workings of FileMaker Server 17’s Multiple Web Publishing Engine (MWPE) and FileMaker Load Balancer (FLB), which increases the number of users that WebDirect can support and enhances server stability at the same time. I find I always come away from FileMaker’s “Under the Hood” sessions with something new and tangible that I can apply to my development projects. Data Cleansing for Data Managers and Consultants “Data Cleansing for Data Managers and Consultants” session presented by Molly Connolly (click image to enlarge) Following a delectable lunch, Molly Connolly had an insightful session on using FileMaker to scrub bad data from dispersant data sources. Using FileMaker’s calculation and scripting capabilities, Molly walked users through how to cleanse text formatting in specific fields and from spreadsheet data. This session was excellent for beginner and intermediate developers, and Molly organized her presentation in a linear way that built upon each technique that she has used over her many years of experience. Under the Hood: Data Migration My second "Under the Hood" session of the day (did I mention I love "Under the Hood" sessions?!?) was with Clay Maeckel on FileMaker's new Data Migration Tool. Earlier this year I wrote a blog post on this tool. He went into detail about the internal implementation of this tool and provided clarity regarding the Rules of Schema Matching between your source and clone files, and explained how this tool could be so fast at migrating your data to a new production file. Clay is one of the original authors of FileMaker's Draco engine (he started working for FileMaker the year I was born!) and his experience shined through in this session. Tackling Sync Later in the afternoon, our very own Dawn Heady presented her session, "Tackling Sync." Dawn started with focusing on five specific strategies for designing your sync solution: such as minimizing historical data, pre-populating the mobile app data, and pushing actions to server side when possible. She then discussed three scripting methodologies for completing a sync, which can be completed using import script step, transactional scripts, or web services. Dawn then uncovered how to use an external data source on the server using a global variable. What a creative solution to this challenge! Next, she demonstrated a working transactional sync solution that will be included with the session materials. From there, Dawn went into well-known FileMaker Sync solutions and discussed their setup process, along with the benefits and drawbacks to each. "Tackling Sync" session presented by Dawn Heady (click image to enlarge) Attendee Dinner Party After our Wednesday sessions, we went to the Attendee Dinner Party and had a wild Texas time! A live band with line dancing lessons, billiards, darts, and ping pong were some of the highlights from this event. Overall, this has been one of my favorite DevCons yet. The variety and polish of sessions have been so impressive and inspiring. The food has been consistently delicious with the bacon being truly remarkable, and I'm a man that knows good bacon. Click to view slideshow. I'm looking forward to what the final day of DevCon can bring to inspire us to create innovative workplace solutions. FileMaker DevCon 2018: Training Day - Part One FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 1 The post FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 2 appeared first on Soliant Consulting.
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FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 1

The FileMaker Developer Conference has become, for me, a bit of a reunion. As a remote employee, FileMaker DevCon is a chance to hang out with my co-workers… and it feels like the FileMaker community at large is just an extension of that group. The sessions are good, too. Workplace Innovation Platform The morning kicked off with a Special Session, where Andy LeCates introduced FileMaker as a Workplace Innovation Platform. This framing hits the nail squarely on the head. They’ve summed up what we’ve always known—what we love to do—turning a complex conversation into a succinct story (and a sweet little video): https://www.filemaker.com/workplace-innovation I particularly enjoyed guest speaker Richard Cox Braden, who spoke about the difference between Creativity and Innovation. As a creatively challenged person, it was helpful to see that amorphous blob broken into distinct, progressive elements: Imagination -> Creativity -> Innovation -> Entrepreneurship. (Maybe I CAN do some of that…) Modular Programming with Card Windows My next stop was John Renfrew’s session on card windows. He had great advice on using them for modular, transactional user interaction. He has taken card windows beyond the default centered-highlight use, manipulating their sizing and placement to great effect. Women of FileMaker Luncheon One of the highlights of the day, as it is every year, was the Women of FileMaker luncheon. Our developer population is growing every year, and I love this chance to connect with and support each other. I left the luncheon with a new friend AND a pinkie promise to help each other apply to be speakers next year. Win-win! Afternoon Sessions I attended three fantastic sessions in the afternoon: Professional Development for All Ranges of Experience Molly Connolly helped me think through professional development goals (see the pinkie promise above). I particularly appreciate the encouragement to incorporate personal goals into my development plan. I WILL learn the second half of Für Elise some day… Flexible Reporting with Virtual Lists and ExecuteSQL Martha Zink rocked the virtual lists lesson. Now I’m FINALLY ready to use them all the time myself. Delight Driven Design - Transforming Designs from Good to Great Jordan Watson reminded me of good design principles. As ever, I do best with tangible rules to follow, and his clear Do This/Don’t Do That series was helpful. End of Day Fun The day wrapped up with a solid six hours of socializing. Some of us went to a baseball game, some went kayaking, but I chose to stay in the air conditioning and talk talk talk. (Texas is HOT, yo.) This rate of chatting may not be sustainable, but it's definitely my favorite part of DevCon. Click to view slideshow. There were so many good lessons from today, but the one I think I’ll apply daily: Every session – and workday – should end with Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers' “I Feel Like Bustin’ Loose.” FileMaker DevCon 2018: Training Day - Part One The post FileMaker DevCon 2018: Day 1 appeared first on Soliant Consulting.
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FileMaker DevCon: Training Day – Part One

Although I’ve been going to DevCon for Lo These Many Years, and even had a role in shaping how Training Day has evolved, I’ve never had the chance to assist with a Training Day session, or for that matter even attend one. This year I had the opportunity to join my Soliant team-members assisting Bob Bowers with his advanced session, and I’d like to share a few observations from that. First I want to say that I wish I could have attended all the Training Day sessions, especially the one on User Experience, but sadly I’ve never learned to be in more than one place at a given time. Instead, I’ve accosted a couple of the presenters in the hallway to ask them how things went. I hope to speak with the rest of the presenters before the week is over and write another post sharing what I hear from them. Advanced 1 - Techniques & Advanced - Integration I’ll start with my report on the advanced session: Bob does a great job of taking complex topics and reducing them to their essentials, providing a foundation for exploring them in greater depth. Among other things, he guided people through: Javascript-driven data tables the ExecuteSQL function setting up ODBC connectivity, both with FileMaker pulling data from another data source and acting as a data source itself the structure of JSON data objects and how to use FileMaker Pro’s JSON functions the basics of cURL commands and how to incorporate them into FileMaker Pro’s Insert From URL script step connecting to APIs using the above and parsing the resulting JSON It was a lot of material, but as promised, he stripped it down to concepts that were easy to understand and put into practice. That said, when we came back from lunch, he announced that his strategy for staying on track would be to start talking faster. And so he did. I love helping people understand new concepts, so it was a treat to work as an assistant. My only disappointment was that generally, Bob made things so clear that people didn’t need me much. I learned a few things along the way myself, including an approach to looping through grouped data that involves looking at the first record in a sorted (grouped) record set, working with that record, then calculating the number of records that belong to the group and jumping past them to the next unique record. It’s simple, but I’ve always accomplished the same thing in a different way and was happy to be offered an alternative. Beginner 1 Next, here’s what Jim Medema told me about his beginner session. “My goal was to create a training such that brand-new people – we had people who had been introduced to FileMaker one or two weeks ago – could, by the end of the day, have built an app they could walk away and put into production. And it happened! We were inches away from the point where they could actually sell it. We had a woman come up really happy with the team of assistants – we had great people, Lee Lukeheart, Matthew Dahlquist, and Bill Nienaber – and she said, “Any time anybody raised their hand, they were attended to within moments. Whatever problems they ran into, they got solved.” One of the assistants told me afterward, ‘You were pushing the class pretty hard. I was working on a technical problem with somebody for a while. When I was done, I wondered how the group was doing. When I looked up, and there were people building charts, charging ahead, they were all with you.’ We also had some experienced engineers. One guy said, 'I don’t know if I belong here, I might be kind of bored so don’t be offended if I walk out.' But he stayed all day and told me at the end, ‘You have laid the complete groundwork for everything that I need to know to get started.’ He’d inherited a legacy system built in FileMaker 6 that finally needed to be rebuilt after running for 18 years. 18 years! Can you imagine? And he feels ready to go off and do that now.” I’d like to congratulate Jim for his skilled work as a trainer, and his commitment to helping new users get immediate success on the platform. User Experience 1 - Research, Mapping, and Validation Today I also talked to Matt O’Dell about his User Experience session. Matt was my team lead at FileMaker when I started in the Marketing department, and we’ve become good friends. A couple of years back, we ran off to Denver together to attend a design thinking training put on by Adaptive Path. He’s continued to charge ahead learning more about design and is committed to making it the focus of his work. I had a wonderful time helping out Bob and working with my Soliant colleagues, but my second choice would have been to spend the day with Matt. He has so much passion for user experience design. Here’s what he said to me today: “The full-day training involved following the design process to solve an actual problem. We pretended that we’d hired by FileMaker to improve the process of purchasing a DevCon registration. We started with research and followed all the way through to creating a prototype at the end. We had people build paper prototypes, which was a new experience for most people in the group. After they built them, we said, 'OK, now take that prototype and go out and find someone, just randomly find a DevCon attendee and test your prototype with them.' We taught them the basis of usability testing first and then just sent them out. People were asking, ‘Is this going to work? Are people going to trust us? Will they interact with us?’ -- but you know DevCon people, they’re a helpful bunch. When the trainees came back they said, ‘It was surprising! You just put the paper down in front of them, you tell them what you want them to try, and they just start tapping with their finger. Then you throw the next piece of paper down, and they pretend to type, it was crazy how well that works.’ You got all that feedback after building a prototype in only 30 minutes. The idea was not to prototype in FileMaker or any other software – not to get too invested in a given design – but to make it easy to throw away and try something else. Some people even managed to test more than once. They identified problems with their prototype, drew up new screens, and went out and found someone else to test with again. That’s how you do it! That was the a-ha moment for people. This isn’t just a fun little art project -- it actually works.” Hearing about all this from Matt, I especially liked how he got people on their feet and moving. They never touched their computers, so there was no opportunity to zone out and check their email. They stayed engaged every minute. He had some great assistants too – Alexis Allen, a brilliant design-focused developer, Steve Gleason, who has an advertising background, Karen Craig, who has an industrial design background, and Laramie Erickson, a project manager at iSolutions. I’m sure they made an amazing team. I hope I get the chance to help out in the future myself. Unfortunately, it sounds like the workshop wasn’t as well attended as Matt had hoped. That disappoints me since I strongly believe that a design-centered process really works. Right now I'm working with a pro-bono client through Soliant’s wonderful Philanthropy Program, and I’m incorporating design activities into our work together during the foundation. In the first few meetings, I was getting disjointed requirements that I couldn’t assemble into a clear narrative. But when we switched to a design-centered approach, everything immediately started coming into focus. We also started having a lot more fun. So that’s my report so far. Please stay tuned for another post once I’ve had the chance to talk with the other three trainers: Jeremy Brown, Matt Petrowsky, and Cris Ippolite. Happy DevCon! The post FileMaker DevCon: Training Day – Part One appeared first on Soliant Consulting.
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FileMaker to Tableau | The Learning Journey

Now that the FileMaker Data API has been officially released (with FileMaker 17), it is time to share an update on Tableau-to-FileMaker integration. I originally wrote about integrating Tableau and FileMaker to create a match made in data heaven. I’ll also be speaking on “FileMaker + Tableau” at FileMaker DevCon 2018. First, A Quick Update […]
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vincenzo

vincenzo

 

FM Quickstart 17

FM Quickstart 17 FM Quickstart is a free FileMaker template built by our team of certified developers to allow you to quickly create a custom application for your organization. It’s designed to use the latest version of FileMaker and has 8 main modules to work with: Dashboard Companies Locations Contacts Quotes Invoices Reports Setup What’s great about FM Quickstart is that it can be used immediately out-of-the-box, or can be easily modified to fit your business needs. Let’s go ahead and take a look at each module:  Dashboard The Dashboard module displays actionable items such as open quotes and the prospects that you will follow up with. You have the option to create new contacts, new quotes, or new invoices quickly for your convenience by using the Quick Actions in the top right. Companies The Companies module is new and used to manage companies you work with. You can input company information, the industry they are in and where they are located. You also have the ability to associate the salesperson with the company and identify what type of contact they are. At the bottom of the page you can create the contacts that work for the company and it will sync with the contacts module. Locations The locations module is new and allows you to track locations of companies you work with. Google Maps is embedded into the module so you can view the location and get directions. Below the address information you can add the contacts that work at the company location. This will also apply the address location to the contacts. Contacts The contacts module displays a list of all your business’s contacts. You can enter in their name, title, company, source of contact, address, which account manager is assigned to a contact, and methods to reach the contact (such as phone numbers and email addresses). For more detailed information about the contact, you can view the follow up dates, quotes, invoices, documents, and notes associated with them. Quotes The Quotes module allows you to manage quotes for each customer or prospect. You can view the status of the quote and when it was last updated by the salesperson, and can quickly add line items with an easy-to-search product selector. And to make the flow from a quote to an invoice as smooth and efficient as possible you can create an invoice from a quote. Invoices The Invoice module is used to track invoices sent out to customers and the status of them. You can apply as many payments as needed in the Payments tab, and can view the amount due on the bottom right. And if there are any documents that you’d like to store with the invoice, you can do so in the Documents tab.
Reports The Reports module is used to run reports on the data in your application in a centralized location, and already has included an accounts receivable report and a sales report. You can select the criteria you want for the report before running it, such as date range, customer, etc., that way you can slice and dice your data to get the answers you were looking for. And the reports themselves are interactive, allowing you to view the details of an invoice as needed. Setup The Setup module is a place for administrators to enter data needed to support the main modules. The setup modules are: Preferences: Allows you to input application-wide settings, including the information of your company, such as your address and logo. The logo will appear on the top right corner of every screen in the application. Products: Allows you to manage the products that you sell to your customer. Users: Allows you to manage the users of the application, including their access privileges. Conclusion FM Quickstart is a free FileMaker CRM that’s fully customizable and works out-of-the-box with 8 main modules to support your contact and invoicing needs. To begin your custom application journey, please visit our FM Quickstart website to download a copy of the template. It is a free download and has been optimized to run on the latest version of FileMaker. And to learn more about the FileMaker 17 platform, check out our FileMaker 17 Overview article.  
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List Processing with Custom List

While FileMaker's calculation engine is super powerful for managing all kinds of unique calculations, the one thing it lacks is a feature for running a repetitive function across a range of data. This is certainly possible within the Scripting engine with the use of the ever wonderful Loop script step. However, as stated, there's no way to really process a range of data using just a function. Unless... you create your own or use one which has already been created. As it happens, there is just such a function which has long been one of the most powerful custom functions of all possible FileMaker custom functions. It was created over a decade ago and is still, too this day, one of the most powerful custom functions you could ever learn to use. The function is called CustomList and it's a must-know function for any FileMaker developer. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Relationship Graph – Anchor Buoy 2.0 – “Bridge”

FileMaker Relationship Graph - Anchor Buoy 2.0 - "Bridge" Anchor Buoy is nothing new to the community and was a new concept when FileMaker 7 was released as a way to model the relationship graph to follow suit with the old school model of having multiple files from FileMaker 6 and earlier. Many years [...] The post FileMaker Relationship Graph – Anchor Buoy 2.0 – “Bridge” appeared first on The Scarpetta Group, Inc..
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Now You See Them, Now You Don’t: Sidebar Panes in Layout Mode

Over the past few years, FileMaker has started incorporating collapsible sidebar panes into the design of FileMaker Pro. They started with modernizing the Script Workspace, then added a right-hand pane in the Specify Calculation dialog box, and now the canvas in Layout Mode also follows the same design pattern (see Figure 1): A new left-hand pane contains two tabs labeled "Field" and "Object". The Field tab contains the Field Picker, previously a floating palette, and the Object tab replaces the floating Layout Object window that was introduced in FileMaker 16. A new right-hand pane contains the Inspector. If you've ever lost track of where the inspector is, or whether it's open, this should be a welcome change. Figure 1. New sidebar panes in Layout Mode (click image to enlarge) Familiar keyboard shortcuts apply to both panes: If you press command-K (control-K on Windows), the left-hand pane opens and closes. This was previously associated with opening and closing the Field Picker palette. If you press command-I (control-I on Windows), the right-hand pane opens and closes. This was previously associated with showing and hiding the Inspector palette. Since the new panes are part of each window you have open in Layout Mode, they are controlled independently for each one. I like how these changes bring more consistency to the FileMaker Pro user experience and anchor key information in predictable locations. What else has changed? Figure 2. Updated "picker" and Field tab (click image to enlarge) Generally, the contents of each of these panes are the same as in their FileMaker 16 equivalents, with a few notable differences (see Figure 2): The new "picker" includes icons that make it easier to recognize each field type on sight. (As in FileMaker Pro 16, you can change the field type from the picker rather than going to Manage Databases). You can now set field control styles directly from the Field tab, where previously you could only do this using the Inspector. But there’s one other significant change: in the upper left of the screen there is no longer a "book" to page through layouts, or a slider to move through them quickly. I assume that this change was made in the spirit of simplifying the interface and to help prevent confusion between Layout Mode and Browse Mode, which until now used the same interface elements in similar ways. As an advocate for new users, I’m very much in support of making the new user experience more intuitive, but I have to say that I’m going to miss these elements. For me, it's second nature to navigate from one layout to another using the book, or to jump to the first or last layout in the file using the slider. Fortunately, you can still use the same keyboard shortcuts for moving between layouts one at a time: ^↑ (control-up arrow) to move backwards and ^↓ (control-down arrow) to move forwards. If you have trouble with these on Mac, check your Mission Control settings in System Preferences. How does it feel? I'm still getting used to it. For example, here’s a window behavior that caught me off-guard: if your window is positioned in the middle of your screen with ample room to the right and left of the window, then switching to layout mode will expand the window on both sides to accommodate the two docked panes. That’s all well and good. But if for instance your window is positioned all the way to the left of your screen, switching to layout mode will move the content area of your layout to the right. I find this a little disorienting, but it may be something I'll adjust to over time. Additionally, when working on some legacy systems with wide layouts, I feel a little cramped if I have both panes open at once. That said, a well-designed layout shouldn’t get excessively wide, where “excessively” is a subjective term but has to do with how much information the user can scan easily. Most layouts should fit just fine on a modern monitor – even in layout mode showing both panes – while leaving room to work in the “scratch” or non-display area as well. However, if you ever find yourself limited in horizontal screen space, or if you just want to position the inspector close to the objects you are working with, do not despair. You can still work with multiple Inspectors, each of which opens as a familiar floating palette. Simply open a second Inspector by choosing the menu item View > Inspectors > New Inspector, and then close the right-hand pane. Note that there isn't a similar option for opening the Fields tab or Objects tab as a floating window. I’m curious what working habits I’ll develop over time: when the right-panel Inspector will feel solid and reliable, and how often I’ll finally need a floating one. I can tell that opening and closing the left-hand panel as needed will soon become second nature. What do you imagine your preferences will be? If you have any questions about this or any other new features included in FileMaker 17, please contact our team. We’re happy to help your team determine the best way to leverage them within your FileMaker solution. The post Now You See Them, Now You Don’t: Sidebar Panes in Layout Mode appeared first on Soliant Consulting.
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Monitor FileMaker Server XML connectivity with AWS

If you have a FileMaker server that you want to ensure high availability, Amazon’s AWS Route 53 service has some functionality that you’ll want to know about. For this post, I’m going to show how you can set up monitoring and alarms for the XML interface on FileMaker Server. Positioned somewhat incongruously* in Route 53, […]
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vincenzo

vincenzo

 

4 raisons de participer à la FM Conférence

La FM Conférence c’est la conférence française des développeurs FileMaker. Cet évènement annuel est organisé par Lesterius, partenaire officiel et membre de FileMaker Business Alliance. #1 : apprendre ! Participez à des sessions techniques axées autour de la plateforme. Ces dernières sont animées par des experts membres de la communauté FileMaker qui répondront à vos questions en fin de session. Découvrez l’agenda de cette année ici. Il vous sera également possible d’approfondir vos compétences sur un thème précis en participant à la journée de formation, animée par FMuniversities. Cette année, la formation sera dédiée au développement d’apps mobiles FileMaker : UI/UX Design, bonnes pratiques de développement et déploiement sur iOS ! #2 : partager ! Que vous soyez intervenant ou participant, la FM Conférence est l’occasion de faire part de votre expérience. Partagez de nouvelles techniques, échangez vos idées et questionnements avec d’autres membres de la communauté, venus de divers pays. La FM Conférence revêt en effet d’un caractère international puisque l’on y compte chaque année plus d’une dizaine de nationalités différentes. #3 : s’amuser ! Passez 3 jours au cœur de la communautés FileMaker ! Et c’est la garantie de passer de bons moments. La FM Conférence est un lieu très convivial. Outre les sessions techniques, celle-ci est en effet rythmée de pauses café, déjeuners et dîners qui seront aussi l’occasion d’échanger. Certains habitués participent à l’évènement depuis plusieurs années. Mais n’ayez crainte, les nouveaux venus sont tout aussi bien accueillis ! #4 : découvrir une ville ! Cette année, c’est direction La Rochelle ! L’agenda de la FM Conférence vous laissera le temps d’explorer les rues du centre-ville et flâner sur le port de cette « Ville Blanche ». … Alors qu’attendez-vous ? ✈️ RDV sur le site pour plus d’informations www.fmconf.com. Vous accéderez à la liste des intervenants ainsi qu’au programme détaillé de cette année. Et suivez l’actualité sur les réseaux sociaux avec l’hashtag #fmconf. 4 raisons de participer à la FM Conférence was originally published in FileMaker Fr on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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How to Enhance Your FileMaker Solution with Microservices

There are many ways to boost your FileMaker solution's capabilities by going outside of the scope of typical platform functionality. For example, you can adopt one of the many plugins available on the market; you could partner with an experienced developer to customize functionality from the ground up and integrate with the tools and APIs provided by other software. A good example is emailing. For this, the FileMaker platform has native capabilities. You can leverage plugins to get additional features or integrate with any of the Outlook APIs. However, you have an often overlooked third option – microservices. Leveraging Microservices in FileMaker Microservices are aptly named – they’re pieces of functionality that perform small tasks. The term refers to a software architecture style of connecting small features together to create one larger cohesive system. Leveraging this type of development makes sense as your business evolves, and your solution requires new functionality for more use cases, or to have functionality shared among different systems built on different platforms.
Microservices also restrict one addition or bug from crashing an entire system by limiting access to one small part of it. This simplifies deployment and security of new features. Microservices are tiny web services. The ‘micro’ part refers to the number of lines of code in the functionality. You can write microservices in any language that support web services, including PHP, Ruby, .NET, Python, Java, JavaScript, and more. They promote agile systems, as their structure is lightweight, easy to test, and simple to build onto existing systems. In fact, they’re often recyclable, so you can reuse them and share them across other applications and platforms. Microservices v. Plugins in FileMaker Microservices also presents distinct advantages over plugins in FileMaker: Your choice of code: You can create microservices with a wide variety of coding platforms. You can only create plugins using the C programming language. Available on all FileMaker platform clients: You cannot use plugins in FileMaker Go unless you make special provisions. Similarly, plugins require a special version to work on Filemaker Cloud. However, you can use Microservices with any type of FileMaker client. No platform dependencies: You must compile plugins for Mac, Windows, and Linux to cover the whole platform. Microservices work out-of-the-box and are agnostic to the client’s platform. Limitations of FileMaker Just like plugins, you can use microservices to add functionality to your solution that the FileMaker platform does not offer itself. For example, FileMaker does not provide support for Regular Expressions (RegEx), which work well for finding patterns in text. Say that you have a bunch of text from an email and you need to check if it contains a US or Canadian postal code and extract that from it. A RegEx expression of ^((\d{5}-\d{4})|(\d{5})|([A-Z]\d[A-Z]\s\d[A-Z]\d))$ would find instances such as “60607” and “60607-1710” for Chicago, IL or “L9T 8J5” for Milton, ON. While FileMaker does not do so natively, many other platforms construct a few lines of web service in the following: .NET Java JavaScript PHP Ruby Python In FileMaker, you would use the “Insert From URL” script step to call the microservice and then pass it the text and the expression you’d like to use on it. The microservice would send back the list of matches in JSON format to easily parse with the native JSON functions in FileMaker. New Ease of Adopting Microservices Leveraging microservices within FileMaker has been possible for years but has become much easier. Adopting microservices is easy for two big reasons: Since FileMaker 16, calling a web service and working with its response is extremely easy. The revamped “insert from URL” script step and its support for cURL takes care of that. Every FileMaker Server already enables a web server (IIS on Windows, Apache on macOS). In addition, every FileMaker Server comes with a Node.js server already deployed, ready for you to use. You already have the platform to deploy the microservice on. Examples of Microservices in FileMaker My team and I have built a dozen microservices for clients’ FileMaker solutions over the years. For example, we’ve developed forecasting capabilities and specialized data reporting to fit within a legacy FileMaker solution for a biotechnology research organization. Our team has also worked with a national media company to build a connection between its FileMaker solution and Okta identity management capabilities for secure user login. Other examples include API-to-API mapping when receiving data from SAP systems into FileMaker and pushing data from FileMaker into financial systems. The possibilities are endless and truly depend on your needs and goals within your FileMaker solution. If your FileMaker solution needs functionality related to difficult or specialized computations, XML and JSON parsing, or API-to-API mapping, I recommend considering building microservices for your system. Building Your Microservices If you have questions or would like to add microservices to your FileMaker solution with an experienced partner, contact our team. Our experience in microservices extends well beyond FileMaker, and we’re happy to provide additional insights for your organization and evolving solution. The post How to Enhance Your FileMaker Solution with Microservices appeared first on Soliant Consulting.
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Announcing Jarvis CRM 5.0

Jarvis CRM 5.0 The 2018 FileMaker Developers conference this year in Dallas, TX marks my 17th Conference in a row, over 20 years with FileMaker, and 10 years as a company. We have been exhibitors at the conference for the past 5 years  and last year we won “The FileMaker Business Alliance Design Excellence [...] The post Announcing Jarvis CRM 5.0 appeared first on The Scarpetta Group, Inc..
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Thinking About JSON, Part 2

This is a follow up to Thinking About JSON, Part 1. Last time we were primarily concerned with learning about JSON paths and structures, and reading JSON. This time around we’re going to look at creating and manipulating JSON. Demo file: winery-json.zip (If the above screen shot looks familiar you have a good memory, because […]
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FileMaker Hacks

FileMaker Hacks

 

Oauth External Authentication

Using multiple files for developing a robust FileMaker solution can be pretty normal when you plan out the distribution of your data and servers. Some solutions benefit from breaking out part of the solution into one or more separate files. So, whether taking the load off a given server or simply planning for quicker data access across multiple time zones, one of the bigger problems which pops up with your standard FileMaker accounts is password management. This is where it becomes much easier to use external authentication. In earlier days, we only had access to Active/Open Directory or system accounts hosted on the same machine as FileMaker server. But, since FileMaker Server 16, we now have the ability to use external authentication through Oauth. This means we can use a third party like Amazon, Google or Microsoft in order to allow users to access solutions and manage their own passwords. If you're looking for an easier way to manage the users of your solution, then you'll find out how it works and how to make it happen within this video about Oauth External Authentication. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Solutions de démarrage et conception d’apps complexes (7) dans FileMaker

Depuis quelques articles, après avoir vu tout ce que peuvent apporter ou non les solutions de démarrage proposées par FileMaker version 17, nous nous sommes lancés dans l’élaboration d’une app un peu complexe, conçue comme un assemblage de briques, avec pour fondation, la solution Inventaire et pour modules complémentaires, Personnes, Sociétés, Numéros de téléphone et Adresses. […]
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MagalieJ

MagalieJ

 

Fiche Astuce n°129 – Création de rangées externes dans une table supplémentaire FileMaker

Observer et analyser pour apprendre… Depuis la fiche Astuce n°127, nous sommes partis en exploration… Notre terrain de jeu ? Une nouveauté de FileMaker 17, ou plus exactement, les conséquences d’une nouveauté : la création d’une table supplémentaire. Et voilà qu’il nous est proposé ici un parcours passionnant et surtout, particulièrement intéressant pour qui veut […]
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MagalieJ

MagalieJ

 

Perform Script by Script Name in FileMaker® 17

How does it work? Perform Script and Perform Script on Server were updated to allow selecting From list or By name.  From list allows selecting from scripts as normal. But By name allows you to specify a the script name using the Calculation Dialog so it will accept calculations for the script [...] The post Perform Script by Script Name in FileMaker® 17 appeared first on The Scarpetta Group, Inc..
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Tech lead paves new way to develop applications

Restructuring—no matter how big or small—can be a tough transition. It takes time, money and effort from the entire team—and, ultimately, every part of the business is re-examined. The spotlight rests on an organization’s processes: who does what, who talks to who and how everything fits together. Couple that with exponential team growth, and you’ll find you have a real mess on your hands. …That is, unless you have someone like Ryan Klenk, MainSpring’s application development team’s technical lead. Taking initiative Despite already having a unique and innovative approach to development, MainSpring’s Application Development team knew they wanted to further improve their clients’ development experience. So, they established a simplified way of doing development, called AMP Pro, that puts clients and their needs at the front of the line. In effect, they also created a junior developer career path to attract the D.C. metro area’s best young developers to help fuel the new initiative. With so much on the table, Ryan Klenk jumped right in—focusing on capturing existing processes, recording new ones and documenting coding standards. As a champion of the new AMP Pro subscription service, Ryan recognized the predictability of development through subscription and wasted no time introducing the service to his clients to help move their development needs to the front of the line. Simultaneously, he streamlined MainSpring’s recruiting process for junior developers, helping hire more qualified candidates to fulfill the needs of the new AMP Pro initiative. What’s more, he’s spent copious time mentoring these new junior developers and has established training milestones, which, ultimately, have helped pave their career path. Predictable process delivers predictable results Restructuring tends to shift processes around from person to person; however, with Ryan’s tenacious, process-driven approach, he’s helped his team take full ownership over their job roles, while also providing them with somewhere to turn when they need help. Making this essential information accessible has made the transition easier, and Ryan and his team are poised to better assist clients with their development needs.
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MainSpring

MainSpring

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