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Don't use Default theme styles

One of the great things about FileMaker Pro is it starts you off with a completely blank slate. One of the bad things about FileMaker Pro is it starts you off with a completely blank slate. Yep, that's right, there are things in FileMaker's UI which non-intentionally urge you to do things which may not be as helpful in the future. Of course, some of this comes down to learning as much as you can about how things work. Which, is likely why you'll be watching this video. In this episode, we take

Everything About Add-Ons

These days, the future of FileMaker's flexibility is being created right in front of our eyes. While it's a relatively quiet feature right now, FileMaker Add-ons may blossom into a very beneficial way of enhancing a FileMaker file. True, there are a few rough edges in this preview version of Add-ons, but it's definitely going to be a killer feature if it takes off. Because Claris has been expanding the definition of a FileMaker file within the world of XML, the ability to modify and/or enhance

Learning to Master Looping

Without a fundamental understanding of some programming topics, it's often difficult to solve certain problems in the easiest possible fashion. In fact, one of the things I've enjoyed learning about programming is that more code isn't always better. Searching for the simple answer sometimes takes a bit more time. And, learning to solve the problem with less code is more enjoyable. In this video, I walk through a simple process of massaging some data into a desired format. While the objective of

FileMaker Pro 19 - New Features & Functionality

On Wednesday May 20th, 2020 Claris International Inc. released a new version of FileMaker Pro. Version 19 includes just a handful of changes, but they are far reaching and will extend FileMaker's usefulness in many ways. Of the changes, the biggest is an extensible architecture which allow for portable components called Add-ons to be distributed. The same underlying technology, which uses XML, is also being used to provide support for updating a database file using a command line tool. FileMak

Setting Up Your Security

Security. While it isn't as sexy as a nice UI widget or as crafty as a really cool scripted workflow, setting up your security is something you must consider before any database deployment. When it comes to security, you can't miss a beat. If you do, then that one attack vector might be the one that bites you. And, unless your FileMaker solution is never going to connect with the network at large, knowing who can do what within your system is an essential requirement of security. Getting to kno

Cropping Images with JavaScript - Part 2

It's always nice to have someone simply show you what you need to know in order to solve a problem. There is, however, a problem with just being shown only what you need to know. You deprive yourself of the deeper level of retention that comes from self-discovery of the topic being explored. So, consider this video a comprehensive introduction. One where I guide you through the process of learning the tools of JavaScript within FileMaker Pro. The advantage is the fact that you have your own Fil

Cropping Images with JavaScript

Learning from a technology you don't already understand, while receiving an immediate benefit, is one of my driving reasons for creating content. In this two part series, I dig into the depths of understanding the JavaScript mechanisms natively available to FileMaker developers and learners. This first video focuses on the implementation of an internal cropping tool which uses a web viewer to provide the interaction and actual cropping. The demo file and video show you how to implement the JS l

Navigational Breadcrumbs

What do the following have in common? Products with component parts, generations of people, complex study topics with prerequisites and a chain of historically related events. Yep, you guessed it, it's a hierarchy of things. Something which comes before another thing and are somehow tied together. Within any database system, this is easily accomplished with two simple fields. Yet, facilitating the navigation of the content can be accomplished in a number of ways. One of the more common methods

Leveraging Layout Variables

Within the world of FileMaker development, there are always those golden gems which become the hallmarks of "how to do something" - despite there often being more than one way to solve a problem. For managing lists of data, prior to the existence of the While function, the go-to custom function is CustomList. When it comes to variable output display using a portal you'll almost always reference Virtual List as the commonly understood approach. When it comes to saving user state, there's always

Highlighted Find & Replace

One of the most powerful features of any and all software is the ability to search and identify things which would be human impossible without computers. The ability to search for any given string and have that combination of characters be instantly presented is what has made our current world possible. In this video, we take a look at FileMaker's default Find & Replace feature and we integrate this into our database systems. We then enhance that feature by implementing a Highlighting featu

Integrated Messaging within FileMaker

Communication amongst solution users is often a desirable feature. While many companies will standardize on generalized options such as Slack, it's not your only option when it comes to messaging within a FileMaker solution. In the past, there've been a number "FileMaker only" solutions which take advantage of FileMaker's constant polling of the main data store. However, these solutions pale in comparison to what is available today. With the prevalence of super powerful browser-based Javascript

Top 10 time-saving Layout Tricks

We all love those "Top 10" videos because we know what we're getting into. It's just a list of 10 things right? But it's the best 10 things - right? Ok, well, "best" is possibly relative to what your particular daily workflow is like, but at least there's always something new to learn! Right! And, that's exactly what this video is about. It's about learning those little time-saving tricks which make it much nicer to work within FileMaker's Layout Mode. Need some incentive to check it out? Here'

Server Side Related Record Duplication

Knowing how to take advantage of Server Side scripting within FileMaker is quite critical when you want the best performance possible. Of course, it makes total sense that you'll get the best speeds when working with the data where it's most accessible. The trick with creating scripts which will also work on the server side is being very specific with the context of things. There's also the very important choices of which method you're going to use. In 2018 I covered a method using a dedicated

Multiple Worksheet Excel Exports

When someone asks a simple question like "How can I make FileMaker export a second worksheet in Excel?" The method you use to achieve this may not be immediately apparent. Especially if you've not worked with other programming languages like Python. Rest assured, however, you can certainly solve most any FileMaker problem as long as you're willing to take a little journey into the land of other tools. And, it's probably not as scary as you think it is. Yes, FileMaker is nice and comfortable, bu

Dark Mode Theming in FileMaker

When "dark mode" finally creeps into your operating system, you know it's time you consider the trend and possibly adapt your FileMaker user interface as well. Although, "light mode" is still perfectly acceptable too! In this video, I walk through some of the tips and tricks I use in order to style a FileMaker user interface into a "dark mode" theme. I cover topics such as where and how to find colors, how to deal with grid settings and how to generally convert a light theme into a dark one. I

Pre vs. Post Script Triggers

Occasionally, you hit certain issues within FileMaker development where you're just stumped as to why you can't do something. Let's take a super simple example like being able to show and hide a button based on having selected a given portal row. How do you know when the user is within the portal? How do you know when they've left? Think it's easy? Try to solve this issue without watching this video first. You'll quickly find out, that because of how FileMaker's "event model" works, known as sc

Dynamic Data Display

When you need to display data which is dynamic by nature, it tends to boil down to who's viewing the data and how do they need it presented. There's typically more than one way to solve the same problem and knowing what your options are helps you make a good decision when it comes to displaying that data. In this video, I showcase what I would consider are the top three methods of displaying dynamic data. Starting with the easiest method first, we talk about how to make things easier by using a

UI Searching

As with all software projects, one of the biggest prices you'll ever pay is the accumulated technical debt. It's a cost which starts as soon as you make the choice to simply write a new script with every new feature you add into your FileMaker solution. Thus, the trick with creating something which is easier to manage is to simply decide to limit the number of things you create. So, what does one do when you've made that decision? Well, you focus on using the available toolset, using great orga

List View Grouping Indicators

There are all kinds of methods for using indicators within FileMaker. We have multi-segment button bars, using the Hide calculation on any number of layout objects and, of course, there's simply using text alone to indicate something. In one of my more recent projects, I needed to group duplicates together. While normally you'd want to rid your system of duplicates, this particular use case actually wanted them retained as an indication of importance or urgency. So, what was really needed was a

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine


Automating FileMaker Imports

Importing data may be a very common task for some of your FileMaker workflows. Of course, not all data is going to come from the wonderful world of an online API. Some software just doesn't make its data available through the Internet. So, what you often need to do is get hold of the import file and then create the script. But, what happens if your data for import is in some obscure location and may be hard for the user to find? Well, in that situation we want to work with as many known values

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine


Drag-n-Drop Groupings

As a long-time developer, I can certainly say that FileMaker development has advanced quite significantly over the past decade. However, I can also say that FileMaker was never developed from the ground up to have a highly robust event model. The bolt-on method of supporting events through script triggers never really planned on having too much support for drag-n-drop between various layout objects. Fortunately, there are a number of little tricks you can apply with your knowledge of how the Fi

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine


Enhanced Portal Design

Hopefully, we can all agree that when something is more fully refined, it's the craftsmanship which showcases the higher quality of the work. The time and effort put into making something that much cleaner and that much more efficient. Such is the case with enhancing FileMaker's portals. Sure, you can use portals as they're provided, and you'll certainly get all the benefits of using them "as is". But, what happens when you want your solution to be that much easier to use and that much more imp

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine


An Awesome FullCalendar

As a long time developer of FileMaker solutions, I clearly remember the first time I personally attempted to create a calendar solution. It was not as easy as I'd initially thought. There were a TON of "little things" which you find out about down the road. Don't get me wrong, the learning experience is well worth it and made me a better developer for sure! But, when it comes to building one natively within FileMaker today, it just doesn't make much sense. That is, unless you really only need t

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine


Collecting Data (arrays & lists)

Your FileMaker database is obviously designed to store data. FileMaker also provides the tools for precisely extracting that data as needed. When and how you extract the data is based on your needs. Sometimes, you need the data for an external system or API. Maybe it's needed for an export or you need the data specifically for a given visualization of that data. In a recent video, I showed some Sankey Diagrams and how cool they are as visualization tools. One of keys to presenting a great visua

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine


Beautiful Sankey Diagrams

There are so many times I hear lamentations from stalwart "FileMaker only" developers who declare that you should do everything within FileMaker and FileMaker alone. This is just crazy. It's like saying you should build an entire house with only a hammer and nails. How could you ever do that efficiently? What about the plumbing? The electrical? Well, you can't. You always have to increase what you know and become familiar with other tools and newer technologies. In this video, I showcase a very

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

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