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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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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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Layout Object Palette Know How

The Layout Objects palette was an absolutely WONDERFUL addition to working in FileMaker's Layout Mode. If you've not given yourself the time to fully explore what's possible with it then this video will give you a great reason to do so. In this video, I walk through a re-work I needed to do on a database project which had a ton of extra layout objects. I show you how I used the Layout Objects palette in the most effective way possible. The tips and tricks provided may very well save you a ton of time too. Think there might be some hidden tricks waiting within the Layout Objects palette? Then this video is certainly for you! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Tabbed List Views

One of the challenges I love the most within FileMaker is creating something which requires less time and effort than the "older way" of doing the same thing. Such is the case with a tabbed list view. I recently came upon a sample file showcasing how to do something in multiple list views. It was using an older method of "simulated" tabs by simply placing clickable buttons in a horizontal row and making one of the buttons look different on each respective layout. So I thought to myself, "Why isn't he just using a normal tab panel?". You can certainly do it. You just need a few key pieces of info in order to create a very powerful navigational tool for a tabbed based list view. And, that's what this video is all about Tabbed List Views. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Ultimate FileMaker Debugging

Every craftsman should know how to use his or her set of tools effectively. When you know all the various uses and features of a given tool you then become more efficient at your trade. In FileMaker Pro Advanced, now available to pretty much everyone in version 17, there's one tool which helps you both understand what's happening and figure out what's not happening. The Script Debugger is an absolutely essential tool. Creating a well functioning script is a lot like Michelangelo creating David. It didn't just appear because he held the tools in his hands. It was because of the constant refinement with the tools until the beauty within was finally present. Writing a script is no different. You won't get it right the first time and you with almost always be able to refine and make it better. So, it goes without saying that knowing how to use the Script Debugger is one of the number one things you should know how to do when coding in FileMaker Pro. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Custom ordered portals

Every software user loves convenience. Heck, every human being loves convenience. So, why not provide it within every aspect of your user interface? The problem, however, which you may run across is figuring certain features out. FileMaker can be a very simple program or something quite complex if you're trying to do something custom like providing users with the ability to custom order their related records. The most basic sequential ordering of data comes in the form of simply providing a number field called something like "order", "sequence" or the more mathematically inclined "delta". Once you have the field, you can allow the user to manually change the values. But, that becomes a real pain when you try to add a record between the numbers 1 and 2. You now have a user entering 1.5 or 1.3 and 1.7 in order to get values to sort properly. Then, having to manually reserialize all the original values is just an unnecessary pain. Well, the best solution to this problem is to simply use the automation provided by FileMaker's powerful scripting engine. With a few scripts, a value list, and a bit of FileMaker know-how, we can provide a very quick-and-easy method of allowing users to custom order portal rows. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Exporting Field Data Properly

There's a lot of pretty boring stuff you need to know about when programming in FileMaker - or any other coding environment for that matter. Knowing the fundamentals of how to move information around is a critical skill. If the file format isn't correct or the receiving end of an online service just won't process your data, then it can certainly be a confusing dilemma which may take hours of learning in order to understand exactly what's going wrong. Of course, if you can simply watch a video like this, and gain an instant understanding of what it takes to move text in and out of a FileMaker field, then why not take advantage? In this video and technique file you'll find two super helpful scripts which can be used to pretty much move any text into and out of a field. It doesn't matter whether the text is JSON, XML, PHP, HTML or just plain simple text. Once you know how file encodings and line endings work you can move information around like a professional! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Multiple Parameters using JSON

The ingenuity of developers has always extended beyond the limitations presented within any given environment - both physical and virtual. If you can't cross a river with your cart and horse, then you learn how to build a bridge and make it last. Such is the case with FileMaker's script parameters. There's always been only one way to pass anything into a script - as one big blob of text. There's nothing which controls what type of data is embedded within the block of text and it's up to the developer to create a method for passing discrete pieces of data. From the most basic method of simply passing a return delimited list of data we can always take the individual pieces one by one from the list. Things, however, can get a bit more complex with larger amounts of data. When you need to pass return delimited data as a single parameter out of many you have to be a bit more creative. This is where FileMaker's addition of its JSON functions within FileMaker 16 have helped moved the feature set forward. While there is no native methods for passing multiple parameters, we do have a standard structure for name/value pairs now when working with FileMaker. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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iOS List View Swiping

Over the last few years, FileMaker, Inc. has been investing a lot into their mobile offering. FileMaker Go has been updated and revised to provide more and more performance along with accessing more features of the mobile platform. With FileMaker 17 we now have access to many more sensors and in the prior release they added more support for a variety of visual transitions between layouts. While all of these improvements are really great to have, there are still those certain features which make any UI designer jealous. One of those features is the ability to swipe list view rows in either direction in order to reveal a larger selection of options. While we can't directly emulate the native functionality like within a Swift/Objective C app, we can simulate the functionality with a great degree of success. If you're using FileMaker to deploy on a mobile device, then this is the video you need to watch for a great new technique useful in any mobile deployment with FileMaker Go. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker 17 - New Features & Functionality

It's that time of year again. The annual FileMaker Devcon approaches and FileMaker, Inc's commitment to more timely releases comes true yet again. This time around we have a number of new features. In this video I provide a quick hit list of all the major features you'll find within this latest release. Here's the list of new items covered. 00) Application Icon
01) Developer Tools
02) Redesigned Launch Center
03) New Hosts Dialog
04) Rearranged File Menu
05) Redesigned Layout Mode
06) Copy Paste Custom Menus
07) Info box in Manage Dialog
08) Layouts Subgroup Selections
09) Built-In Master Detail
10) Default Fields
11) Mini Apps
12) Multiple Email Attachments
13) Scripts - Perform Script by Name
14) Scripts - Show Dialog Input Variables
15) Scripts - Exports create folders
16) Go - iOS Local Notification
17) Go - GetSensor Function
18) Function Get ( UUIDNumber )
19) Function Get ( ActiveRecordNumber )
20) Data Migration Tool
21) Revised FileMaker Server
22) Updated FileMaker Data API Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Cool Card Window Tricks

When something new comes into fashion, sometimes, you just can't ignore it. Such was the case with Card Windows. They just opened up so many possibilities within the world of FileMaker development. While Button Bars, Popovers and Sliders have changed the way many things are done within your FileMaker user interface, the way Card Windows can be used should be your first consideration for many of your standard UI tasks. Understanding what happens when a card window comes forward allows you to take advantage of some of the various features it provides. In this video I walk through some helpful positioning functions and how the Card Window really behaves in relation to it's parent window and what you can do to take advantage of these cool new features. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Overview: Logical Functions

For some of us, one of the most enjoyable aspects of programming is the fact that we get to feel so "in control" over every single aspect of how something works. You are the God of your own universe and it's either as bad or as good as you make it. Our human shortcoming, however, is that fact that we don't just know it all - we have to learn the various ways of doing things. Knowing how to use FileMaker's functions, and when they are useful, is a key aspect to creating well functioning software. This video is a walk through of the ever critical logical functions. Without them, none of us would be making any software. So, sit back and relax for the well covered topic of FileMaker's Logical Functions. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Ultimate Card Window Control

FileMaker 16 changed the entire landscape of how many things are accomplished within FileMaker. Because of the ability to show a completely different context as a new Card Window, you can now do all kinds of wonderful things. Need an interactive sidebar? Use a Card Window. Need greater degree of control over your custom dialog boxes? Use Card Windows. Need to present a pick list, a palette or pretty much any information you could ever want to display in a dedicated child window? Used Card Windows! Awesome, so we now have Card Windows. But, the immediate utility may not seem as powerful as it could be when the Card Window defaults to the same size as the layout upon which it's based. Plus, if you want to position the window relative to its parent you need to be ready to do a bit of simple math. So, why do the simple math when you can make it even more simple? That's what this video is all about - Ultimate Card Window Control! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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No Duplicate Emails

FileMaker Pro has some very simple and straight-forward validation options. For example, if you only want one field named email to only ever have a single copy of a given email, you choose the Unique option in the Validations section of the field's options. But, what if you want to allow a given contact record to have multiple email addresses. How do you check for uniqueness across multiple fields? The same email could appear within one field and then would be perfectly valid in a second field which doesn't contain the original email. Well, here's the solution. Watch this video and use the provided technique file to simply copy the solution into your own FileMaker database. We'll use some creative tricks in order to make the process both robust and very powerful! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Reducing Available List Options

Whether you're just starting out with FileMaker Pro or you've been hovering in the intermediate zone for a little while, it's always a good thing to have a solid understanding of how to structure data and use the Relationship Graph in order to accomplish the end objective. When it comes to presenting a reducing set of available options, you have to understand how to get at what isn't being used in order to present it. The steps you need to take to show what isn't being used requires you to, first, know what IS being used. In this example technique file and video, we take a look at breaking down the individual parts which make it easier to understand how to present a list of reducing available options. Once you know how to create dedicated filtering keys and how to construct your value list, it should be pretty easy to present the data you want to present. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Overview: Aggregate Functions

So, what's the point of collecting all that data if you're not going to determine what it's telling you? Well, a lot of those burning questions are often answered with the power of the Aggregate functions. Whether you simply need some total using the Sum() function or if you're an advanced developer writing crazy scripted loops using the List() function, you need to know how to use the Aggregate functions to achieve the desired results. There are a few peculiarities about using the Aggregate functions, but once you've got them down you can decide how you want your database to behave. Using the Aggregate functions, you can store your aggregate data and move in the direction of better performance in favor of FileMaker figuring it out for you all the time. Or, you can just use FileMaker in the same way you've always been doing and simply take advantage of its easy power. Either way, it's all covered in this video about the Aggregate functions. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Zoomable & Clickable SVG Navigation

Don't get me wrong, FileMaker has a lot of cool things it can do all on its own. In fact, they keep adding more and more useful tools which makes it easy to create great working software. There are, however, those certain things that FileMaker just can't do on it's own. For example, you can't interact with images within container fields quite like you can certain web pages. Yet, right in front of us, we have the wonderfully powerful Web Viewer which exposes access to the power of JavaScript and all those wonderfully free libraries. Enter the common scenario where an easy-to-understand image file directly represents a nicely complex data structure. We'd like to use the image to navigate the data and we can certainly add it directly to a layout and overlay buttons over it. But, hold your horses there señor gung-ho developer. What if your image is so complex that it would be absolutely tiny if you placed it on the layout at 100%. Well, that's when we ring up our wonderful friend Mr. SVG. He'll take care of us. He's scalable you know! So, how about a zoomable and clickable SVG which directly represents how we'd like users to navigate the data? No problem! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Overview: Container Functions

When first learning about database development, and how to store large files such as media, archives and documents, I was introduced to the concept of a BLOB (Binary Large OBject). At that time, I wasn't using FileMaker Pro as of yet but a database called FoxPro. The concept of FileMaker's Container fields, as places to store BLOBs, came so much easier than having to convert a file into another format which can be stored within a SQL data store - which is what you have to do with some other database systems. In today's modern computing world you need to be familiar with how to encrypt things and how to transfer them between various services. This video will overview the Base64 encoding functions, the Crypt functions and all the other Container related functions. If you'd like to understand how and where the container functions will help you out with working with containers then you'll likely find what you need in this video. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Overview: Date & Time Functions

Knowing how FileMaker's Date and Time functions actually work is quite a big help when you're creating anything related to time based data. When I first started learning FileMaker, I was pleased to see how easy it was to use the date and time functions. However, I didn't quite know how things worked underneath the hood. It wasn't until I tried creating my first calendar within FileMaker that I had to really get into the guts of what was going on. Once I learned how the functions really worked, I was able to easily achieve the results desired. This video goes through the insides of how the date and time functions really work. This is what you really need to know in order to get the most out of FileMaker's date and time capabilities. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Overview: Number Functions

If you're the type of person who's into Math, then you probably know when you need to use Factorial() versus Exp() versus Div(). Inevitably, you're a better mathematician than I. My use of the Number functions extends to how useful they can be when you're creating your FileMaker user interface and solving workflow related problems. When it comes to FileMaker's Number functions, there are number of tricks I've picked up over the years from those who are much smarter at the "math part" than I am. For the most part, the functions are there when you need them and are obviously useful when your required solution deals with math. In this video, I go through the Number functions and talk about when and how I've used them. Which ones I've used the most and what you can do with them. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Overview: Text Formatting Functions

While placing fields and merge text onto a layout is a simple matter of adding the elements to the layout, the formatting you apply to onscreen data can only go so far. Sure, we can use Conditional Formatting in order to achieve all kinds of great looking layouts, but, what if there were a way to go beyond these straight-forward layout tools and leverage even more control. What about dynamically displaying colored and formatted text without having to create calculated fields? Well, all of this, and more, can be accomplished when you take advantage of FileMaker's Text Formatting functions. This will video will walk you through what you need to know about the Text Formatting functions and how they can be used to give your layouts a much more impactful presence. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Overview: Text Functions

When you're learning a new skill or programming language, you don't always know what you might need to know. Such was the case when I received an email asking me to go through the various groups of FileMaker functions. I thought to myself, "In most of my videos, I showcase the use of certain functions, but, I've never really gone through each function one by one." So, in this video, I do exactly that. I relay my experience and exposure to each of the various FileMaker functions. Starting with the Text group, I walk through each of the functions, or function types, and talk about their use and what I consider their frequency of use to be in daily FileMaker development. Granted, each solution built in FileMaker is always different and where some solutions may need more math and numbers, others may just store and manipulate data, it's a great thing to know about all the possible functions you can use. And, that's exactly what this video is about! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Generating SVG Barcodes

While barcodes have been around for decades, and we all know how fundamental they are to everyday life, it doesn't mean your last implementation is still the best way to integrate them. Technology is always changing and it's moving forward while new technologies replace older ones. A barcode which used to be in JPEG format can now be in the scalable SVG format. In this video, I walk through the use of a JavaScript library which allows for the easy creation of SVG barcodes. This works without a specific font and allows for a scalable file which can be integrated into a PDF or any other type of output. Need barcode support on FileMaker Go on iOS? Need to generate barcodes client side on either Mac or Windows? If you're building a solution which needs to use barcodes, and you're looking for the least expensive option, then you can't get much better than a commercially free JavaScript library. All it takes is a little bit of know-how and you're creating barcodes in very little time! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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JavaScripting PDFs

FileMaker Pro has a wonderful PDF generator. In fact, one of the biggest benefits of using FileMaker for the purpose of output is that you can make any layout look exactly how you'd like and with a few script steps, you've got PDF output which will fit 95% of the situations you'll come across. There are, however, certain situations where knowing how to generate a PDF using JavaScript, from within a Web Viewer, will give you the exact results you're looking for. There are a number of advantages with this approach. First, it can be SUPER fast when generating the PDF and second, you can selectively decide what you want to output from within the whole of your HTML. So, if you're using HTML to present a lot of information, but only want a PDF of a portion of that HTML, then you can certainly accomplish that with this technique. Even if you don't need the exact functionality of HTML -> PDF output there's a lot to learn from this video if you've never used JavaScript in order to call a FileMaker script and pass in some data. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Pivoting data

While FileMaker's own Layout Mode provides excellent tools for formatting data for display and output, it isn't always the most convenient for certain types of output. A prime example is a pivot table. Or, the output of data which is normally columnar formatted into a horizontal format. When attempting to do this with native FileMaker functionality, it quickly becomes a bit of a hassle, typically including more relationships than should be otherwise necessary. There are solutions which can make use of repeating horizontal fields, but these typically have a hard limit and the width of the data does not dictate the largest column width. If you work creatively with HTML/CSS and the other available features within FileMaker, you can realize a more flexible solution for horizontal data display and output! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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