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    • Olivier Devriese

      Nouveauté du forum, les blogs !   30/04/2016

      Envie de créer votre blog FileMaker ? Ca ne peut pas être plus simple qu'avec cette nouvelle section du site FM Source qui est désormais plus qu'un simple forum mais un vrai centre de ressource. Vous pouvez aussi facilement l'alimenter en le liant avec le flux RSS d'un autre blog que vous possédez déjà.
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Build or Buy (Should I Learn FileMaker?)

It is no secret that custom applications are immensely beneficial to organizations, in fact, the State of the Custom Apps Report by FileMaker states that 82% saw a reduction in inefficient tasks and 71% saw an increase in team productivity. The question becomes, should I pay for external experts to create a solution for me, or should we have someone in house build the app?

FileMaker Build vs BuyIn the State of the Custom Apps Report, it was also found that with applications like FileMaker, which is known for being low-code/no code software, citizen developers (proactive problem solvers within an organization that don’t classify themselves as custom app developers or IT professionals) are creating solutions to inefficient problems within their workflow. 48% of these citizen developers found an increase in work satisfaction while also being able to quickly build the solution with 46% of them up and running in less than 4 weeks.

Building Internally

With these great statistics, why wouldn’t you dedicate a person in the organization to build custom solutions for you?

Time is one of the top concerns when going the DIY route. While citizen developers are creating these efficient solutions for their organization, they also have to perform their everyday job, which doesn’t allow them to devote their entire day to creating new apps. The added time to learn and create new solutions usually takes place outside of work in the evenings and on the weekends.

Typically, going the DIY route for building a custom app starts with a small task that can be turned into a simple app. Ann Monroe, VP of Marketing at FileMaker says in her article DIY Apps – Should Businesses Make Their Own Custom App? “Start with the basics: businesses will have paper forms, spreadsheets or some other document process which has gotten the team through the day so far. Look for simple processes which could turn into a simple app.” While the form is seen as beneficial and creates a desire to become more efficient, it typically isn’t considered urgent as the business can still get by for now.

Luckily for businesses and citizen developers, there are ample training and learning opportunities with industry experts. We provide a variety of FileMaker training courses to different skill levels of developers. Additionally, we provide one-on-one FileMaker coaching geared to your needs. Coaching is paired programming with our experts to assist you with the problems or roadblocks that derail your development.

Work with the Experts

So when should you have experts build a custom solution for you versus building internally, and what are the benefits?

FileMaker is great for converting short forms or documents into apps for your organization, but the even greater aspect about FileMaker is how it is fully customizable and fits across all industries with the ability to integrate with other technology as well as being scalable. To quote Reuben Helmuth, user of FileMaker in the State of the App Report, “(FileMaker is) a one stop business solution for CRM, inventory project, and employee management.”

If you find yourself without the time or have a more complicated app than just a single form, then perhaps having experts build the custom app for you is the optimal solution. Where do you begin with this daunting task? First step is to dream and plan what would be the perfect app for your type of business. Thereafter you can contact us to take the next step of building a solution that is tailor-made for your business needs following our FileMaker development process.

Conclusion

There are many reasons as to why your business should use a custom app. The question becomes should you build it internally, or pay for someone to build it for you? If you’re ready to build a custom application yourself, start with FileMaker Training as we have many types of classes available for the Citizen Developer or Professional Developer. If you want us to help you with the FileMaker Development then contact us to begin the conversation. Either way, we are ready to help you make your organization more efficient and effective.


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FileMaker QuickBooks Online Integration

Intuit’s QuickBooks Online is a powerful tool that allows for easy management of invoices, payments, and other accounting tasks. Intuit announced they will have over 2.2 million subscribers at the end of the year and 40% year over year growth.  Many companies find themselves with both QuickBooks and FileMaker end up having to do double data entry from one system to the next. We will demonstrate how you can eliminate the hassle of manually copying the information by integrating your FileMaker solution with QuickBooks Online.

Creating a Free Intuit Developer Account

The first step of this integration is to create an Intuit developer account . Once you have an account, you will then need to create a new QuickBooks Online app by navigating to the My Apps page. This will take you to a setup process where you select the API you will be using. To start, you will click the Select APIs button under the “Just Start Coding” section. You will then need to select the Accounting box and then click the Create App button.

FileMaker QuickBooks OnlineNow that you have the QBO App created, you will need to set it up and get your keys. First, navigate to the settings page for your app. In here you can change the name and other options for the app. You will need to set the Launch URL to https://dbservices.com or any valid website. This is only used as a landing page for authentication and does not need to be anything special. Now that the launch URL is set, you will need to go to the Keys page. There, you will need to copy the OAuth Consumer Key and OAuth Consumer Secret into your solution. Keep your secret hidden from the world as the combination of the Key and Secret will be used to authorize your solution to make changes to the end user’s QuickBooks.

Authenticating with QuickBooks Online Using OAuth1.0

Once you have your API information, you will need to authenticate your solution with the QuickBooks Online Accounting API. FileMaker can’t set headers natively (yet), so a plugin is needed in order to make any requests to the API. I suggest using the BaseElements Plugin as it is a free and powerful plugin that can handle all of our HTTP request needs. For any questions regarding how requests should be built, please reference the QuickBooks Online Accounting API Documentation. To authenticate your solution, please reference the documentation on OAuth1.0. The main goal of OAuth1.0 is to make sure the signature string matches what the API expects. The signature string is an encrypted combination of all parameters passed in the request in alphabetical order. The authentication process can be quite tricky, so I highly recommend taking a look under the hood of the example file we have provided. Once you get everything set up the way it needs to be, the user will be prompted to authorize the QBO API with FileMaker.

FileMaker QuickBooks Online authenticationOnce they have agreed, they will be sent to the address specified in your Launch URL. In the address, there will be URL encoded parameters, one of which will be the authentication token and another the realm ID (QuickBooks Company ID). Finally, you will use the token provided, along with your consumer key and secret to get your access token which will be used to make any API requests.

Making Requests and Parsing the Response

Many of the QuickBooks Online API requests require additional parameters outside of the URL encoded parameters. The Create Customer request, for example, is a POST request which requires additional fields like the company, billing address, and many other settings for the customer. These extra fields will need to be JSON-encoded text, passed as the parameter in the BaseElements function BE_HTTP_POST ( URL ; parameters ).

Set Variable [ BE_HTTP_POST ( "https://quickbooks.api.intuit.com/v3/company/[Realm ID Here]/customer ; $data ) ]

Once a successful request has been made, a JSON encoded response will returned. You will then be able to use the function BE_JSONPath( ) to pull any information out of the response that you wish.

{  
   "Customer":{  
      "Taxable":true,
      "BillAddr":{  
         "Id":"1",
         "Line1":"8604 Allisonville Road",
         "Line2":"Suite 231",
         "City":"Indianapolis",
         "Country":"USA",
         "CountrySubDivisionCode":"IN",
         "PostalCode":"46250"
      },
      "Notes":"Some notes can go in here!",
      "Job":false,
      "BillWithParent":false,
      "Balance":0,
      "BalanceWithJobs":0,
      "CurrencyRef":{  
         "value":"USD",
         "name":"United States Dollar"
      },
      "PreferredDeliveryMethod":"Print",
      "domain":"QBO",
      "sparse":false,
      "Id":"1",
      "SyncToken":"0",
      "MetaData":{  
         "CreateTime":"2017-03-20T13:55:13-07:00",
         "LastUpdatedTime":"2017-03-20T13:55:13-07:00"
      },
      "GivenName":"Brendan",
      "FamilyName":"McBride",
      "FullyQualifiedName":"Database Services",
      "CompanyName":"DB Services",
      "DisplayName":"Database Services",
      "PrintOnCheckName":"DB Services",
      "Active":true,
      "PrimaryPhone":{  
         "FreeFormNumber":"(317) 288-4244"
      },
      "PrimaryEmailAddr":{  
         "Address":"consulting@dbservices.com"
      },
      "DefaultTaxCodeRef":{  
         "value":"2"
      }
   },
   "time":"2017-03-20T13:55:13.630-07:00"
}

For example, you can get the newly created customer ID by using the following set of functions:

Set Variable [ BE_JSONPath ( $result ; "$.Customer.Id") ]

Sandbox QuickBooks Company

When you create a developer account, you will be given a sandbox QuickBooks Online company for testing. This is great, as this allows you to test your integration without fear of deleting or modifying anything in your live QuickBooks company account. If you go to the My Apps Dashboard, and go into your app, you will notice that you are on the Development section by default. If your integration is ready to go live, you will need to go into the Production section. In here you will set up your production settings and then submit your request. You will then be given a production consumer key and secret.

QuickBooks Online: Things to Keep In Mind

There are a couple of important items to remember when working with the QuickBooks Online API. Here are a few points to look out for when integrating your FileMaker solution with QuickBooks Online:

  • The QBO API uses OAuth1.0, which means all parameters that may be required will need to part of the signature passed in the request. Also, the signature needs to be raw URL encoded as well.
  • The QBO API uses SyncTokens when making updates to existing records. A SyncToken is a way to lock a record. If you do not pass the expected SyncToken when making an update, the request will fail.
  • Certain tables in QuickBooks require other related records to already exist. For example, when adding an invoice to QuickBooks, the customer assigned to the invoice needs to exist in QuickBooks before the invoice can be created.
  • You may use Web Hooks to have QuickBooks Online automatically make updates to FileMaker as well.
  • QuickBooks Online integration with FileMaker is very different then QuickBooks Desktop integration with FileMaker.

Conclusion

QuickBooks Online can be fully integrated with your FileMaker solution! You can create, update, query, or delete just about any QuickBooks entity you would like all from within FileMaker. Automate your accounting processes, eliminate double data entry, and human blunders. Feel free to contact us if you need further assistance or to discuss getting your QuickBooks system integrated with FileMaker.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

 

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Apple’s Secret Subsidiary

When the average person thinks of Apple products they typically think of their beloved iPhone they can’t live without, or maybe their shiny new Apple Watch that tells them to stand up when they’ve been sitting too long, but more than likely they are not thinking about FileMaker. What is FileMaker? And what does it have to do with Apple?

A Brief HistoryFileMaker Headquarter Apple Subsidiary

FileMaker has been around for over 30 years under the guise of multiple other names. It was developed originally from a DOS application in the early 1980’s and went by the name Nutshell. This application was created by Nashoba Systems and was then purchased by Claris, an Apple subsidiary who purchased the rights to distribute Nutshell. After purchasing Nutshell, Claris changed the application’s name to FileMaker in 1985 and it ran solely on Macintosh platform. With FileMaker’s increasing popularity, there became a demand for a multi-platform database. In 1992 Claris released FileMaker for Mac and Windows. This new release allowed the user to have the same basic functions cross-platform along with the ever-improving user interface. As the sales continued to skyrocket, Claris became the highest selling platform database for Apple. The majority of the development for FileMaker was moved in-house in 1998 and Apple officially changed the name from Claris to FileMaker, Inc.

What is FileMaker?

Simply put, FileMaker is software used to create custom applications specific to individual business needs. All of the development takes place in FileMaker Pro or Pro Advanced on a Windows or Mac computer. It is then hosted on FileMaker Cloud or a local FileMaker Server and accessed via FileMaker Pro on a Windows or Mac computer and via FileMaker Go for iPhone and iPad. Don’t worry, FileMaker hasn’t totally forgotten about all those non-iPhone people out there, FileMaker’s WebDirect allows users to access FileMaker databases in a web browser.

When discussing the variety of FileMaker products, John Mark Osborne, one of the leading industry experts with over 20 years of FileMaker experience states “there is no better database for rapid development than the FileMaker family of products.” In fact, FileMaker was recently recognized as a Leader in G2 Crowd’s Grid for rapid application development software. This is the highest ranking they offer and is based on user reviews, market share and global support.

Who is it for?

FileMaker describes itself as a no-code/low code platform that is easy to use not only for IT professionals but also for the average person who is looking to improve their organization by building a custom app. It allows organizations to take discombobulated information, consolidate it and share it with others whether that be internally or customer-facing. The goal of the product is to make businesses run more efficiently without breaking the bank.

In the past, the idea of building custom apps often scared away less technical people who felt that off the shelf products may be the easier way to go. But the truth is, an organization’s app should adapt to meet the needs of the user, not the other way around. While other software can still require a lot of coding and technical ability, FileMaker makes it less complicated for the everyday user. This realization is the reason why more people are now choosing to build a custom app rather than purchase off the shelf products.

In May 2016, Business Insider published an article detailing the importance FileMaker could play in Apple’s future and describing how it caters to the average person. “Over the years, FileMaker’s focus has shifted: Originally, it was purely a database product; now, it helps even non-technical small business folks build custom web, Windows, Mac, iPad, and iPhone apps without needing to know how to code.”

A recent report by 451 Research that was distributed by FileMaker Inc. estimates the annual revenue rate to be around $30 million with about 300 employees. It also states that FileMaker estimates about 50,000 self-identified developers in North America. These are also known as Citizen Developers. The 2017 State of the Custom App Report released by FileMaker hones in on the concept of a Citizen Developer which is someone in the organization who understands the needs of a business and creates custom applications to meet those needs. This same report discloses that 82% of Citizen Developers surveyed saw a reduction in inefficient tasks as a result of their custom application.

Relationship with Apple

Historically, FileMaker has operated fairly independently of Apple, but in recent years, FileMaker has been working with Apple Retail as a more direct way to leverage the trust that Apple has built with its customers to gain more business. Last year Apple announced that the total number of Active devices surpassed 1 billion. This signifies the confidence that Apple has garnished over the years and implies it is a trusted brand. And the relationship benefits both parties, Apple Business Teams are able to partner with FileMaker to drive sales of its own products such as the iPhone, iPad, and Macs by providing apps that are compatible with Apple products. You can purchase from Apple Retail or directly from FileMaker the Idea to iPad Bundle and partner with a FileMaker Developer (or a company that provides FileMaker Development services) such as DB Services to build your custom app.

FileMaker is in a class of its own, and it all starts with Apple. No other product of its kind has the support of Apple, a company that is continuously on the forefront of technology. Apple is known worldwide for creating the best balance of a guaranteed quality product that is also equipped to be extremely user friendly. It is making it harder for employers to ignore the enormous improvements FileMaker can provide for their businesses. While FileMaker may not be the first thing that pops to mind when people think of Apple, it’s certainly earning its spot alongside its sister products as it has the ability to have a direct, positive impact on the success of organizations around the globe.


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Building a Dynamic and Robust FileMaker System

Have you ever inherited a system built by someone else, changed a field’s name and everything stopped working? The issue, hardcoded names used in indirection, makes the system fragile. FileMaker provides developers many methods to add flexibility using indirection. However when these instances of indirection are not treated properly they will raise all sorts of problems. In this article we will discuss good practices regarding indirection that will help you build a dynamic and robust FileMaker system.

What is indirection (and what could go wrong with it)?

Indirection in FileMaker refers to the ability to reference an object (table, layout, value list, field, script) by its name, instead of its internal id. For example, I can use a few lines of code to tell a script to do something if the user is in field “CONTACT::firstName”.

If [ Get ( ActiveFieldTableName ) & “::” & ( ActiveFieldName ) = “CONTACT::firstName”]

Do Some Code

End If

It looks normal at first glance but there are actually two issues with this approach and with many other uses of indirection: The first issue is that if not treated carefully, renaming objects may break indirection. In our example, if I rename the field “firstName” to “first_Name”, it will break my script because there are no fields named “firstName” anymore. The second issue is that indirection is not considered as a reference in DDRs. So if you use analysis tools like BaseElements to check where field CONTACT::firstName is referenced, that script will not be included.

Building a Dynamic and robust FileMaker systemHow to write robust indirection

With that being said, how do we write robust indirection? Robust indirection will try to dynamically grab an object name and use it in your solution.  So we should try to avoid hardcoding the following in our solutions:

    • Table occurrence names
    • Layout names
    • Field names
    • Window names
    • Value list names
    • Script names

Following this guideline, for our example we want to get rid of the hardcoded TO names and field names and instead, dynamically grab the field’s name.

If [ Get ( ActiveFieldTableName ) & “::” & Get ( ActiveFieldName ) = GetFieldName ( CONTACT::firstName ) ]

Do Some Code

End If

In this case, if I change the field name to first_Name, that script will still work. Also now field CONTACT::firstName is considered as referenced by this script in DDRs. The magic is being done by the function GetFieldName (). This function actually takes a direct reference to the field and translates it into a name.

However, not all objects in FileMaker have a function like GetFieldName to translate direct references into a name. For example, if I want to have one script perform different activities on different layouts, in order to determine which layout the user is on, it seems unavoidable to use something like:

If [ Get ( LayoutName ) = “Contact – Data Entry” ]

Do Some Code

End If

which suffers from the same problems as the first example: you can’t rename your layout and it won’t be recognized as a reference in DDRs. What do we do now? Well, in this case it will be hard to solve the second issue. But we can do something about the first issue so we can rename our objects with confidence.

Internally FileMaker assigns an internal ID for every object in the system. When you use script steps like Set Field [] and point that to a field, FileMaker will store the ID of the field with that script step. That is why no matter how you rename your field, Set Field [] script step will never be broken.

FileMaker has a series of design functions that provide you with information about these internal IDs. With some custom functions built upon them, we can grab the internal ID for any table, layout, value list, field or script and use them in our calculations and scripts. Be sure to try them out in the demo file of this article.

So let’s say the internal layout ID for layout “Contact – Data Entry” is 2. With the help of our custom function “getLayoutName” (getLayoutName will take an internal layout ID and translate it to that layout’s name). I can rewrite my script to be:

If [ Get ( LayoutName ) = getLayoutName ( 2 ) ]

Do Some Code

End If

This way I can rename the layout and still have the script working. As mentioned before, referencing internal IDs still can not be seen by DDRs as a reference. Also it makes reading the code harder. So be sure to comment your calculation or your script when you use internal IDs to enhance readability. Here is an article if you want to learn more about using internal IDs in your solution.

One last example I want to mention here is about using the ExecuteSQL function. ExecuteSQL is a context independent way to retrieve data. It can save a lot of time when developing complex reports or charts. However ExecuteSQL requires indirection by nature. If not treated carefully, renaming of fields or tables will break the SQL statement used in your ExecuteSQL. In the demo file I included two scripts showing how to use some custom functions to make your SQL statement dynamic and robust.

How do I identify indirection in my own solution?

Now that we have went through two examples of how to write robust indirection, you might want to take a look at your own solution and see if there are any potential problems in there caused by indirection. How do I find all those instances? Use an DDR analysis tool like BaseElements or InspectorPro to search for indirection.

Here are the functions you should be searching for:

    • Get ( LayoutName )
    • Get ( ActiveFieldName )
    • ValueListItems ( )
    • Evaluate ( )
    • ExecuteSQL ( )
    • DatabaseNames
    • FieldBounds ( )
    • FieldComments ( )
    • FieldIDs( )
    • FieldNames ( )
    • FieldRepetitions ( )
    • FieldStyle( )
    • FieldType( )
    • Get ( ActiveFieldTableName )
    • Get ( ActiveRepetitionNumber )
    • Get ( LayoutNumber )
    • Get ( LayoutTableName )
    • Get ( ScriptName )
    • GetField ( )
    • GetFieldName ( )
    • GetNextSerialValue ( )
    • GetNthRecord ( )
    • LayoutObjectNames ( )
    • Lookup ( )
    • RelationInfo ( )

and here are the script steps you should be looking for:

    • Set Field by Name[ ]
    • Go to Layout[ ] (By Name option and By Number option)
    • Go to Related Record[ ] (By Name option)

Once you find all the instances that could potentially use indirection you can go over each one of them and determine if they uses hardcoded names and should be updated.

Conclusion

Using indirection in FileMaker definitely give your solution more flexibility, allow you to accomplish complicated tasks with fewer line of code. If you follow what we discussed in this article carefully, you should be able to build a dynamic yet robust FileMaker system.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing? Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload Building a Dynamic and Robust FileMaker System

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

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Why Your Business Should Use a Custom App

In recent years businesses are realizing the benefits of creating a custom app for their organization. In fact, a survey performed by CDW shows that out of 374 executives surveyed 48 percent report their app development budgets have increased over the last few years and 42 percent are planning to invest in new app development in the coming year.

This reported and projected growth isn’t surprising. Businesses are realizing that off the shelf apps just aren’t meeting the unique organizational and process oriented needs of their company as well as a custom app is able to. Custom apps are helping businesses manage scattered data and processes better than ever. Furthermore, businesses are finding their investments into custom apps “already have produced tangible benefits by increasing efficiency, productivity and allowing employees to work remotely”.
custom app vs off the shelf

Better Way to Work

People want a better way to work. Off the shelf systems require you to change your workflow to match the system, have many features you don’t care about, or don’t meet your needs. Companies build custom applications to work the way they do. Organizations that continually improve their workflows look to custom applications. In the State of Custom Apps Report by FileMaker an Apple subsidiary, 83% of Citizen Developers “Just wanted a better way to work”. These problem solvers drive innovation and constant improvement.

More Effective, More Efficient

Becoming more productive is critical for all organizations. In the State of Custom Apps Report by FileMaker, 82% of users saw a reduction in inefficient tasks. If you’re doing the right things, then doing more of the right things will have a powerful impact on your organization. Eliminating redundant tasks liberate your staff and the intellectual drain caused by double or triple data entry between systems, in addition to reducing data entry errors. According to Small Business Computing, custom apps cut down on data entry errors by 71 percent. In addition to increased efficiency and decreased margin for error, businesses are also reporting a fast return on investment. After completing a custom application project, DB Services sends out a survey to customers and their responses state the ROI is less than one year in more than 70% of the projects. Once a custom app is deployed small enhancements only take a matter of hours, days, or weeks to implement.

Better Insights

Businesses today find themselves with islands of data scattered throughout each department as they use many different off the shelf products. In addition many times the data is trapped on a mobile device and/or laptop, and not accessible to your team in real time.  Bringing all this data together becomes essential as organizations grow and work together in teams or across departments. In the State of Custom Apps Report by FileMaker, 46% say Reporting and Analysis best describes their custom app. As Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management, stated, “What gets measured gets improved.” The ability to measure the productivity and performance is vital for constant improvement. Having a custom application that has the data for analytics is critical to gather quick KPIs and metrics for insights to make the best decisions. All this data available in real-time to staff will also reduce the communication channels with co-workers and managers saving valuable time.

There has never been a better time to build a custom app for your organization. If you’re ready to build a custom application yourself, start with FileMaker Training as we have many types of classes available for the Citizen Developer or Professional Developer. If you want us to help you with the FileMaker Development then contact us to begin the conversation. DB Services has been providing FileMaker Development, FileMaker Training, FileMaker Support, FileMaker Cloud Hosting, and FileMaker Licensing since 2003.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.


Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

Why Your Business Should Use a Custom App

In recent years businesses are realizing the benefits of creating a custom app for their organization. In fact, a survey performed by CDW shows that out of 374 executives surveyed 48 percent report their app development budgets have increased over the last few years and 42 percent are planning to invest in new app development in the coming year.

This reported and projected growth isn’t surprising. Businesses are realizing that off the shelf apps just aren’t meeting the unique organizational and process oriented needs of their company as well as a custom app is able to. Custom apps are helping businesses manage scattered data and processes better than ever. Furthermore, businesses are finding their investments into custom apps “already have produced tangible benefits by increasing efficiency, productivity and allowing employees to work remotely”.
custom app vs off the shelf

Better Way to Work

People want a better way to work. Off the shelf systems require you to change your workflow to match the system, have many features you don’t care about, or don’t meet your needs. Companies build custom applications to work the way they do. Organizations that continually improve their workflows look to custom applications. In the State of Custom Apps Report by FileMaker an Apple subsidiary, 83% of Citizen Developers “Just wanted a better way to work”. These problem solvers drive innovation and constant improvement.

More Effective, More Efficient

Becoming more productive is critical for all organizations. In the State of Custom Apps Report by FileMaker, 82% of users saw a reduction in inefficient tasks. If you’re doing the right things, then doing more of the right things will have a powerful impact on your organization. Eliminating redundant tasks liberate your staff and the intellectual drain caused by double or triple data entry between systems, in addition to reducing data entry errors. According to Small Business Computing, custom apps cut down on data entry errors by 71 percent. In addition to increased efficiency and decreased margin for error, businesses are also reporting a fast return on investment. After completing a custom application project, DB Services sends out a survey to customers and their responses state the ROI is less than one year in more than 70% of the projects. Once a custom app is deployed small enhancements only take a matter of hours, days, or weeks to implement.

Better Insights

Businesses today find themselves with islands of data scattered throughout each department as they use many different off the shelf products. In addition many times the data is trapped on a mobile device and/or laptop, and not accessible to your team in real time.  Bringing all this data together becomes essential as organizations grow and work together in teams or across departments. In the State of Custom Apps Report by FileMaker, 46% say Reporting and Analysis best describes their custom app. As Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management, stated, “What gets measured gets improved.” The ability to measure the productivity and performance is vital for constant improvement. Having a custom application that has the data for analytics is critical to gather quick KPIs and metrics for insights to make the best decisions. All this data available in real-time to staff will also reduce the communication channels with co-workers and managers saving valuable time.

There has never been a better time to build a custom app for your organization. If you’re ready to build a custom application yourself, start with FileMaker Training as we have many types of classes available for the Citizen Developer or Professional Developer. If you want us to help you with the FileMaker Development then contact us to begin the conversation. DB Services has been providing FileMaker Development, FileMaker Training, FileMaker Support, FileMaker Cloud Hosting, and FileMaker Licensing since 2003.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.


Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

FileMaker and RESTful APIs

By now you’ve probably heard of REST API, but why should you care as a FileMaker developer? Well REST APIs are a universal standard for interacting with other programs and services, so by learning REST you can greatly expand the capabilities of what FileMaker can do, and the services it can interact with. If you’ve ever wanted to integrate FileMaker with Google Maps, Google CalendarMicrosoft SharePoint, or many other great services, you’ll want to learn what RESTful APIs are and how to use them.

REST Overview

REST stands for “REpresentational State Transfer”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really tell us much. What this means is that REST is a standard for manipulating data in a standardized format that represents the data. The representational part of REST means that the URL or route you use to access or manipulate the data should correspond with the data, so accessing /users should show users, and /posts, should only show posts, and all actions will take place on those URLs. Another thing you’ll hear a lot when talking about REST is CRUD, which stands for Create, Read, Update, and Delete. With these four actions, you can do anything to a system using an easy-to-understand format.

In order to fully work with a REST API you must understand the different types of HTTP methods you can make. GET is the most common method, and happens anytime you browse the web, or type in a specific URL into the address bar and is what you would use for the “read” in CRUD. The rest of the HTTP methods like POST, PUT, and DELETE can only be performed by web forms or built-in functions provided by most libraries. POST is used to submit data to a server and is generally used to add a new record or pass more data than would reasonable to put in a URL. PUT and PATCH are used to update an existing record, and finally DELETE is obviously used to delete a record. Understanding the basic structure and actions of a RESTful API will make working with them so much easier.

Below are the standard routes used when working with a RESTful API. Go ahead and test the GET commands by clicking on the routes below to view some sample data.

METHOD ROUTE PARAMS ACTION
GET /posts Retrieves a list of all posts.
GET /posts/1 Retrieves post with ID number 1.
GET /posts/1/comments Retrieves all comments from post number 1.
POST /posts

{
“userId”: 1,
“title”: “title”,
“body”: “body…”
}

Adds a new post.
PUT /posts/1

{
“title”: “New Title”
}

Updates post number 1’s title to New Title.
DELETE /posts/1 Deletes post number 1.

Integrating with FileMaker

The main way to interact with a RESTful API from FileMaker is using the “Insert from URL” script step. The “Insert from URL” script step is capable of doing GET requests and POST requests. Whenever you insert from a URL that starts with ‘https’ or ‘http’ you are doing a standard GET request. FileMaker has a unique way of handling POST requests, to do one you would start your URL with either ‘httppost’ or ‘httpspost’. One limitation you will probably run into quickly is the inability to set custom HTTP headers before sending a request. This is sometimes necessary for authentication or telling the API what the data format being submitted is. If you run into this your best option is to use the excellent BaseElements Plugin by Goya, which has the capability to set HTTP headers using the BE_HTTP_Set_Custom_Header function, which works with the following functions: BE_HTTP_GET, BE_HTTP_POST, BE_HTTP_PUT_DATA, BE_HTTP_DELETE.

Download the sample file below to look under the hood.  In the sample file we have integrated with a simple Ruby on Rails app we spun up that manages usernames; while most services you’ll work with will be more complicated than this, it’s still a great example of how to work with a REST API.

Conclusion

REST is a great addition to any FileMakers developer’s toolkit, allowing FileMaker to integrate with some of the most used services on the web today and we’re only going to see more of it in the future. Because all REST APIs use the same conventions and principles, working with RESTful APIs will only get easier the more you work with them, and there is no time like now to start learning.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload Integrating FileMaker With RESTful APIs

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

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DB Services

FileMaker and RESTful APIs

By now you’ve probably heard of REST API, but why should you care as a FileMaker developer? Well REST APIs are a universal standard for interacting with other programs and services, so by learning REST you can greatly expand the capabilities of what FileMaker can do, and the services it can interact with. If you’ve ever wanted to integrate FileMaker with Google Maps, Google CalendarMicrosoft SharePoint, or many other great services, you’ll want to learn what RESTful APIs are and how to use them.

REST Overview

REST stands for “REpresentational State Transfer”. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really tell us much. What this means is that REST is a standard for manipulating data in a standardized format that represents the data. The representational part of REST means that the URL or route you use to access or manipulate the data should correspond with the data, so accessing /users should show users, and /posts, should only show posts, and all actions will take place on those URLs. Another thing you’ll hear a lot when talking about REST is CRUD, which stands for Create, Read, Update, and Delete. With these four actions, you can do anything to a system using an easy-to-understand format.

In order to fully work with a REST API you must understand the different types of HTTP methods you can make. GET is the most common method, and happens anytime you browse the web, or type in a specific URL into the address bar and is what you would use for the “read” in CRUD. The rest of the HTTP methods like POST, PUT, and DELETE can only be performed by web forms or built-in functions provided by most libraries. POST is used to submit data to a server and is generally used to add a new record or pass more data than would reasonable to put in a URL. PUT and PATCH are used to update an existing record, and finally DELETE is obviously used to delete a record. Understanding the basic structure and actions of a RESTful API will make working with them so much easier.

Below are the standard routes used when working with a RESTful API. Go ahead and test the GET commands by clicking on the routes below to view some sample data.

METHOD ROUTE PARAMS ACTION
GET /posts Retrieves a list of all posts.
GET /posts/1 Retrieves post with ID number 1.
GET /posts/1/comments Retrieves all comments from post number 1.
POST /posts

{
“userId”: 1,
“title”: “title”,
“body”: “body…”
}

Adds a new post.
PUT /posts/1

{
“title”: “New Title”
}

Updates post number 1’s title to New Title.
DELETE /posts/1 Deletes post number 1.

Integrating with FileMaker

The main way to interact with a RESTful API from FileMaker is using the “Insert from URL” script step. The “Insert from URL” script step is capable of doing GET requests and POST requests. Whenever you insert from a URL that starts with ‘https’ or ‘http’ you are doing a standard GET request. FileMaker has a unique way of handling POST requests, to do one you would start your URL with either ‘httppost’ or ‘httpspost’. One limitation you will probably run into quickly is the inability to set custom HTTP headers before sending a request. This is sometimes necessary for authentication or telling the API what the data format being submitted is. If you run into this your best option is to use the excellent BaseElements Plugin by Goya, which has the capability to set HTTP headers using the BE_HTTP_Set_Custom_Header function, which works with the following functions: BE_HTTP_GET, BE_HTTP_POST, BE_HTTP_PUT_DATA, BE_HTTP_DELETE.

Download the sample file below to look under the hood.  In the sample file we have integrated with a simple Ruby on Rails app we spun up that manages usernames; while most services you’ll work with will be more complicated than this, it’s still a great example of how to work with a REST API.

Conclusion

REST is a great addition to any FileMakers developer’s toolkit, allowing FileMaker to integrate with some of the most used services on the web today and we’re only going to see more of it in the future. Because all REST APIs use the same conventions and principles, working with RESTful APIs will only get easier the more you work with them, and there is no time like now to start learning.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload Integrating FileMaker With RESTful APIs

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

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Integrating FileMaker and SharePoint Using Microsoft Graph

Often times documents are commonly needed in multiple programs, but the lack of integration can result in having to enter in the same files in different applications. Microsoft Graph is a powerful tool that provides a unified API interface for many of Microsoft’s most popular Cloud programs, including the popular web-based application SharePoint.

Integration between SharePoint and FileMaker is even possible using Microsoft Graph. In this example I will demonstrate how to upload files from a FileMaker solution into your SharePoint site.

There are three main steps to the integration. Allowing access to your Microsoft Application, setting up OAuth 2.0 authentication, and the actual uploading of documents to Sharepoint.

Watch on Youtube: Integrating FileMaker and SharePoint Using Microsoft Graph

Setting Up Your Microsoft Application
In order to allow FileMaker to talk to your SharePoint solution using Microsoft Graph, you will first need to set up a Microsoft Application to allow access using OAuth 2.0. If you go to Microsoft’s My Applications page you can either edit an existing application or create a new one. (If you don’t have a site already, you will need to create a site in SharePoint prior to this). Make note of the Application ID (sometimes called the Client ID), you’ll need this in your FileMaker solution.

filemaker my apps

Next you’ll need to create a new Application Secret (again, sometimes called Client Secret). Generate and copy the password. This is the only time you will be able to copy this password, so be sure to document it somewhere or else you will have to generate a new password.

Now add a new web platform, and allow implicit flow and enter in the Redirect URI. The Redirect URI is just the web page the user will go to after they allow access to the SharePoint application.

filemaker secret redirect

Next you will need to allow Microsoft Graph Delegated Permissions. For the purposes of this demo you will only need the ones referenced in the image or in our Demo file.

filemaker delegated permissions

Setting Up OAuth 2.0 Connection
Now that we have our Microsoft Application set up, using the Application ID, Application Secret, Redirect URI, and Site Name we can talk to our SharePoint solution! The first step is getting the access code. You will need to call this in a web browser or Web Viewer in FileMaker using a URL.

filemaker allow access

Once you accept, you can grab the access code in the URL. Then using this, you can request a token to access your SharePoint site. A JSON-encoded response will bring you the account and refresh tokens, which you can then use to talk to your SharePoint solution.

For more about how OAuth 2.0 works, reference the OAuth 2.0 Authorization Code Flow.

Uploading Documents to SharePoint through FileMaker
With everything set in place, we can now upload documents through FileMaker into your SharePoint site.  In order to upload files, we will need to use them to grab your Site ID in SharePoint.  Below is the URL template.

https://graph.microsoft.com/beta/sharepoint:/YOUR_SITE_NAME_HERE

Be sure to set your authorization headers using the BE_HTTP_Set_Custom_Header and the access token before performing your GET call.

filemaker oauth2 token siteID

Next, use your Site ID to grab the drive ID where the document will be uploaded.

https://graph.microsoft.com/beta/sharepoint/sites/YOUR_SITE_ID_HERE/drive

Again be sure to set your authorization header with the access token.  Then using the drive ID, you can use a PUT call to create the file in SharePoint! If it is successfully created, you will receive a JSON-response code with the information about the newly created item.

filemaker sharepoint item response code

And in the documents in SharePoint, the new document is created!

filemaker new document

The potential of SharePoint and FileMaker integration using Microsoft Graph goes beyond this.  You can reference all the functionality on their API Documentation.  There are even more Microsoft programs that can be integrated with FileMaker using Microsoft Graph, such as Excel, Outlook, and Webhooks.

Conclusion
With those three steps, documents added into FileMaker can easily be uploaded automatically into SharePoint.  This integration allows documents to quickly and easily be uploaded and viewable in both applications.  Microsoft Graph’s ever-expanding capabilities continue to allow for further integrations with Microsoft and other programs using a unified API interface.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload Integrating FileMaker And SharePoint

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

Integrating FileMaker and SharePoint Using Microsoft Graph

Often times documents are commonly needed in multiple programs, but the lack of integration can result in having to enter in the same files in different applications. Microsoft Graph is a powerful tool that provides a unified API interface for many of Microsoft’s most popular Cloud programs, including the popular web-based application SharePoint.

Integration between SharePoint and FileMaker is even possible using Microsoft Graph. In this example I will demonstrate how to upload files from a FileMaker solution into your SharePoint site.

There are three main steps to the integration. Allowing access to your Microsoft Application, setting up OAuth 2.0 authentication, and the actual uploading of documents to Sharepoint.

Watch on Youtube: Integrating FileMaker and SharePoint Using Microsoft Graph

Setting Up Your Microsoft Application
In order to allow FileMaker to talk to your SharePoint solution using Microsoft Graph, you will first need to set up a Microsoft Application to allow access using OAuth 2.0. If you go to Microsoft’s My Applications page you can either edit an existing application or create a new one. (If you don’t have a site already, you will need to create a site in SharePoint prior to this). Make note of the Application ID (sometimes called the Client ID), you’ll need this in your FileMaker solution.

filemaker my apps

Next you’ll need to create a new Application Secret (again, sometimes called Client Secret). Generate and copy the password. This is the only time you will be able to copy this password, so be sure to document it somewhere or else you will have to generate a new password.

Now add a new web platform, and allow implicit flow and enter in the Redirect URI. The Redirect URI is just the web page the user will go to after they allow access to the SharePoint application.

filemaker secret redirect

Next you will need to allow Microsoft Graph Delegated Permissions. For the purposes of this demo you will only need the ones referenced in the image or in our Demo file.

filemaker delegated permissions

Setting Up OAuth 2.0 Connection
Now that we have our Microsoft Application set up, using the Application ID, Application Secret, Redirect URI, and Site Name we can talk to our SharePoint solution! The first step is getting the access code. You will need to call this in a web browser or Web Viewer in FileMaker using a URL.

filemaker allow access

Once you accept, you can grab the access code in the URL. Then using this, you can request a token to access your SharePoint site. A JSON-encoded response will bring you the account and refresh tokens, which you can then use to talk to your SharePoint solution.

For more about how OAuth 2.0 works, reference the OAuth 2.0 Authorization Code Flow.

Uploading Documents to SharePoint through FileMaker
With everything set in place, we can now upload documents through FileMaker into your SharePoint site.  In order to upload files, we will need to use them to grab your Site ID in SharePoint.  Below is the URL template.

https://graph.microsoft.com/beta/sharepoint:/YOUR_SITE_NAME_HERE

Be sure to set your authorization headers using the BE_HTTP_Set_Custom_Header and the access token before performing your GET call.

filemaker oauth2 token siteID

Next, use your Site ID to grab the drive ID where the document will be uploaded.

https://graph.microsoft.com/beta/sharepoint/sites/YOUR_SITE_ID_HERE/drive

Again be sure to set your authorization header with the access token.  Then using the drive ID, you can use a PUT call to create the file in SharePoint! If it is successfully created, you will receive a JSON-response code with the information about the newly created item.

filemaker sharepoint item response code

And in the documents in SharePoint, the new document is created!

filemaker new document

The potential of SharePoint and FileMaker integration using Microsoft Graph goes beyond this.  You can reference all the functionality on their API Documentation.  There are even more Microsoft programs that can be integrated with FileMaker using Microsoft Graph, such as Excel, Outlook, and Webhooks.

Conclusion
With those three steps, documents added into FileMaker can easily be uploaded automatically into SharePoint.  This integration allows documents to quickly and easily be uploaded and viewable in both applications.  Microsoft Graph’s ever-expanding capabilities continue to allow for further integrations with Microsoft and other programs using a unified API interface.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload Integrating FileMaker And SharePoint

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

FileMaker Barcode Techniques

Using barcodes in FileMaker is a very easy and useful way to extend your database. Whether you are selling tickets, managing assets, creating name tags, or any number of other use cases, barcodes can easily be used to provide an instant way to locate a record in your database system and much more. Barcodes can be generated and scanned for iPads, iPhones, Windows, and Macs.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker Barcode Techniques

How To Generate

There are many different methods that can be used to generate barcodes in FileMaker and there are many different types of barcodes that you can create. The 2 main types are QR codes and regular barcodes like you would see on millions of products. A QR code is basically a barcode with another dimension allowing it to store more information than what a 1D barcode can store before becoming unreadable by the scanner. This is why URL’s are often shared using QR codes instead of standard barcodes. Do note that QR codes cannot be scanned by USB or BlueTooth scanners, but work great with camera-based scanners like a mobile device. The 3 ways we’ll be talking about are through using web services like Google’s Chart API, using 3rd party plugins and products like FileMaker Barcode Creator, or using barcode fonts. Below we’ll go over the pros and cons for each method.

Web Services

There are plenty of great web services out there like barcode-generator.org and Google’s chart API for generating QR Codes. This is the method we chose to use in our demo file as it is very flexible and free. To generate a QR code using Google’s API, all you have to do is create a simple URL in FileMaker and then use the Insert from URL script step to download the image to a container field. Below is how we accomplished this in our demo file.

filemakerbarcode-downloadqrcode

One thing to be aware of when using this method is that the container must be on the layout and be editable when you use the Insert from URL script step. This might not be the best method to use if you have hundreds of thousands of barcodes that need to be generated, as most free web services will block you from making too many calls, and depending on internet speeds, this method could be slow.

FileMaker Barcode Creator

We’re big fans of Geist Interactive’s FileMaker Barcode Creator. It’s easy to integrate with, has 19 different barcode types including QR Codes, is native FileMaker that works with Pro, Go, WebDirect, and server side scripts. To integrate with Barcode Creator you need to copy a modules script folder to your solution, and then you just need to call one script, passing the serial number as a parameter. The script returns a Base64 encoded string which can then be converted to an image using FileMakers Base64Decode function. FileMaker Barcode Creator is a paid product, but in our opinion is well worth the money, and is what we use in our solutions.

Barcode Fonts

Barcode fonts is another way you can create barcodes in FileMaker. This method has been around for a long time and used to be the only way to create barcodes without the use of plugins. The only reason I mention it in this article is to tell you NOT to use this method! This method has many limitations like only being able to generate and view barcodes on the desktop, with no support for FileMaker Go, or WebDirect. It also requires that all computers have the correct barcode font installed, which depending on how many users you have, can be a challenge by itself.

How To Scan

There are 2 ways to scan a barcode/QR code using FileMaker. The easiest way is to leverage FileMaker Go’s ability to integrate with the iPad or iPhone’s camera and allow for easy and instant barcode scanning using the Insert From Device script step. This works great as long as you have an iOS device. If you don’t have an apple device you can always buy a USB or Bluetooth laser scanner. These scanning devices are interpreted as virtual keyboards when connected, so in order to scan and capture the scanner’s input, you must have the cursor in a field or Show Custom Dialog input field. They work especially well with the Show Custom Dialog script step as they will trigger the OK button after scanning.

Using a Bluetooth or USB scanner also allows for the ability to scan multiple barcodes one after another using a field with an On Exit script trigger, that goes back into the field after running so you are ready to scan again. Laser scanners are definitely quicker and preferred for scanning multiple items quickly, but they do have limitations like only being able to scan traditional barcodes (No QR codes) and they can’t scan a screen. Below are a few Bluetooth scanners we have tested with FileMaker and recommend:

Conclusion

Creating and scanning barcodes in FileMaker is straightforward and makes a great extension of FileMaker’s already great toolset. Contact us if you’d like to discuss barcoding and how you can add to your solution and improve your workflow.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload FileMaker Barcoding

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

FileMaker Barcode Techniques

Using barcodes in FileMaker is a very easy and useful way to extend your database. Whether you are selling tickets, managing assets, creating name tags, or any number of other use cases, barcodes can easily be used to provide an instant way to locate a record in your database system and much more. Barcodes can be generated and scanned for iPads, iPhones, Windows, and Macs.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker Barcode Techniques

How To Generate

There are many different methods that can be used to generate barcodes in FileMaker and there are many different types of barcodes that you can create. The 2 main types are QR codes and regular barcodes like you would see on millions of products. A QR code is basically a barcode with another dimension allowing it to store more information than what a 1D barcode can store before becoming unreadable by the scanner. This is why URL’s are often shared using QR codes instead of standard barcodes. Do note that QR codes cannot be scanned by USB or BlueTooth scanners, but work great with camera-based scanners like a mobile device. The 3 ways we’ll be talking about are through using web services like Google’s Chart API, using 3rd party plugins and products like FileMaker Barcode Creator, or using barcode fonts. Below we’ll go over the pros and cons for each method.

Web Services

There are plenty of great web services out there like barcode-generator.org and Google’s chart API for generating QR Codes. This is the method we chose to use in our demo file as it is very flexible and free. To generate a QR code using Google’s API, all you have to do is create a simple URL in FileMaker and then use the Insert from URL script step to download the image to a container field. Below is how we accomplished this in our demo file.

filemakerbarcode-downloadqrcode

One thing to be aware of when using this method is that the container must be on the layout and be editable when you use the Insert from URL script step. This might not be the best method to use if you have hundreds of thousands of barcodes that need to be generated, as most free web services will block you from making too many calls, and depending on internet speeds, this method could be slow.

FileMaker Barcode Creator

We’re big fans of Geist Interactive’s FileMaker Barcode Creator. It’s easy to integrate with, has 19 different barcode types including QR Codes, is native FileMaker that works with Pro, Go, WebDirect, and server side scripts. To integrate with Barcode Creator you need to copy a modules script folder to your solution, and then you just need to call one script, passing the serial number as a parameter. The script returns a Base64 encoded string which can then be converted to an image using FileMakers Base64Decode function. FileMaker Barcode Creator is a paid product, but in our opinion is well worth the money, and is what we use in our solutions.

Barcode Fonts

Barcode fonts is another way you can create barcodes in FileMaker. This method has been around for a long time and used to be the only way to create barcodes without the use of plugins. The only reason I mention it in this article is to tell you NOT to use this method! This method has many limitations like only being able to generate and view barcodes on the desktop, with no support for FileMaker Go, or WebDirect. It also requires that all computers have the correct barcode font installed, which depending on how many users you have, can be a challenge by itself.

How To Scan

There are 2 ways to scan a barcode/QR code using FileMaker. The easiest way is to leverage FileMaker Go’s ability to integrate with the iPad or iPhone’s camera and allow for easy and instant barcode scanning using the Insert From Device script step. This works great as long as you have an iOS device. If you don’t have an apple device you can always buy a USB or Bluetooth laser scanner. These scanning devices are interpreted as virtual keyboards when connected, so in order to scan and capture the scanner’s input, you must have the cursor in a field or Show Custom Dialog input field. They work especially well with the Show Custom Dialog script step as they will trigger the OK button after scanning.

Using a Bluetooth or USB scanner also allows for the ability to scan multiple barcodes one after another using a field with an On Exit script trigger, that goes back into the field after running so you are ready to scan again. Laser scanners are definitely quicker and preferred for scanning multiple items quickly, but they do have limitations like only being able to scan traditional barcodes (No QR codes) and they can’t scan a screen. Below are a few Bluetooth scanners we have tested with FileMaker and recommend:

Conclusion

Creating and scanning barcodes in FileMaker is straightforward and makes a great extension of FileMaker’s already great toolset. Contact us if you’d like to discuss barcoding and how you can add to your solution and improve your workflow.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload FileMaker Barcoding

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

FileMaker Cloud Overview

FileMaker Cloud LogoFileMaker came out with a new way to deploy your app with FileMaker Cloud! This new product is available through Amazon Web Services (AWS) which gives you FileMaker Server in minutes.

FileMaker Cloud is ideal for remote work groups/companies that don’t have an IT company or someone in-house that can manage the time and effort involved in running a dedicated FileMaker Server machine.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker Cloud Setup Demo

Licensing

Some important FileMaker Cloud licensing information is below.

  • FileMaker Cloud HAS to be annual licenses, whether it is FileMaker Licensing for Teams (FLT), Volume Licenses, or a Site License. If you have perpetuity licenses and are interested in FileMaker Cloud, contact us to discuss converting to FileMaker Annual licensing.
  • There are two different ways to license FileMaker Cloud, directly through AWS and Bring Your Own License (BYOL).
  • The first way is to buy directly through the AWS Marketplace. The perk of going through the AWS Marketplace is that there is hourly options available, instead of just annual. However, the hourly options are 975% more expensive than annual licenses and are typically used for rare occasions such as seasonal use or to further test a solution. To save money by purchasing hourly, you would have to use your FileMaker Cloud instance less than 37 days in a year.
  • Purchasing FileMaker Cloud licenses directly through AWS limits you to four types of license types, Annual FileMaker Licensing for Teams (AFLT) with 5, 10, 25 or 100 users.
  • If one of the four available licenses types doesn’t suit your needs, you definitely want to utilize Bring Your Own License (BYOL) option. Contact us to discuss getting you the best license for your FileMaker Cloud instance.

Benefits of FileMaker Cloud

Fast Setup

As previously stated, arguably the best part of FileMaker Cloud is that you can have it up and running in about 30 minutes! Compare that to when you purchase your own dedicated machine to be used internally where you have to purchase the machine online or in a store, wait for it to be shipped, then go through the process of setting up the software, hardware and network which can take days!

Reduced Maintenance

When you have your own dedicated server, even after the initial set up described above, there is still more time that goes into making sure everything is running optimally. The main time impact saved with FileMaker Cloud is the updates and monitoring of OS updates, as well as FileMaker Server updates. Having an internal system requires you to check in to make sure that the OS is up-to-date as windows comes out with patches at least once a month, if not more. With FileMaker Cloud this is all done automatically.

Security and Peace of Mind

Something that everyone worries about these days is security with all of the data breaches that you hear on the news. With FileMaker Cloud, security is made easy. For starters, AWS is responsible for the physical security of the server hardware as well as the energy costs of having a data centers; this means you don’t have to worry about someone breaking into your office and literally taking all of your data. FileMaker Cloud also comes with a SSL certificate that is apart of the initial setup. This feature would need to be done manually on your own dedicated FileMaker Server machine otherwise.

Additionally, FileMaker Cloud comes with automatic backups that happen every 20 minutes and is stored for one week. Of course with your own dedicated machine you can customize this, but FileMaker Cloud comes preset with this and is a part of the easy setup of 30 minutes or less. 

Unsupported Features in FileMaker Cloud

With all this awesomeness why wouldn’t I want to use FileMaker Cloud!? One might ask. There are really only a handful of specific scenarios that FileMaker Cloud may not be a good fit for you and your organization.

  • External Authentication – FileMaker Cloud does not support external authentication via Active Directory/Open Directory. It does, however, support custom app authentication via FileMaker user accounts.
  • Server Side Scripts – FileMaker Cloud does not allow server side scripts to run which means you’d need your own dedicated machine of FileMaker Server.
  • Custom Web Publishing with PHP and XML – If you are, or are wanting to integrate with your website for instance, FileMaker Cloud does not support PHP or XML.
  • More than a Week of Backups – As previously stated, FileMaker Cloud comes automatically equipped to have a backup run every 20 minutes and stores a week worth of backups. If you were to want more than one week, you’d need to manually preserve specific backups.
  • Plugin Support – If you are using any plugins in your application, you’ll need to make sure they have a new version that supports Linux for the FileMaker Cloud.

Moving to FileMaker Cloud

After reading this and learning more about FileMaker Cloud you may see it as a great fit for your organization and saving you time and money compared to managing your in-house server. However, there are additional items to keep in mind aside from the unsupported features above.

The main point is the optimization on how your application(s) are built. With having a FileMaker Server in your Local Area Network (LAN) you will have much better speed compared to anything traveling across the Wide Area Network (WAN). You may have to go through a series of steps to optimize your application(s) before moving it to a server in the cloud or else your experience may be drastically different. With this being said, if all, or most of your employees are all in one location where the current in-house server is located, it will likely be best to keep it in house. You can’t beat the latency and speed of accessing a database on your LAN versus traveling back and forth across the internet on WAN.

FileMaker realizes that customers with an existing in-house server will need to test FileMaker Cloud to see if it is a good fit for them, so they are providing a 30-day grace period to convert the FileMaker Server software. If you have questions or would like for us to review, contact us for a free technical analysis, to review and assist in optimizing your application(s) before moving to the FileMaker Cloud.

Conclusion

FileMaker Cloud is fast and easy to set up and can scale with little effort. There are a lot of reasons that FileMaker Cloud would be a great fit for you and your organization, between minimal impact of IT staff doing updates and deployment, to the benefits of AWS responsible for security and scalability, FileMaker Cloud is a huge benefit and welcomed addition to the FileMaker Family.

Note about freeing up license keys

I tested setting up FileMaker Cloud before doing the recorded demo and in turn, needed to free the license key in order to use it agin. I terminated the server instance thinking this would release the server license key. In doing so, I received an Error 3030 “License Key has already been used for FileMaker Cloud.” when trying to enter the license key for a new instance. I came to find that you have to deactivate the license key through the Server Admin Console before terminating an instance to free up the license key. If this happens to you, you will need to call FileMaker Support and have them manually release the license key for your new instance.

 

Still unsure of FileMaker Cloud is the right fit for you? Contact Us to discuss further your goals and how we can be of service.


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DB Services

FileMaker Cloud Overview

FileMaker Cloud LogoFileMaker came out with a new way to deploy your app with FileMaker Cloud! This new product is available through Amazon Web Services (AWS) which gives you FileMaker Server in minutes.

FileMaker Cloud is ideal for remote work groups/companies that don’t have an IT company or someone in-house that can manage the time and effort involved in running a dedicated FileMaker Server machine.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker Cloud Setup Demo

Licensing

Some important FileMaker Cloud licensing information is below.

  • FileMaker Cloud HAS to be annual licenses, whether it is FileMaker Licensing for Teams (FLT), Volume Licenses, or a Site License. If you have perpetuity licenses and are interested in FileMaker Cloud, contact us to discuss converting to FileMaker Annual licensing. If you have an Annual Volume License (AVLA) you have to have at least 5 connections or more in order for it to work on FileMaker Cloud.
  • There are two different ways to license FileMaker Cloud, directly through AWS and Bring Your Own License (BYOL).
  • The first way is to buy directly through the AWS Marketplace. The perk of going through the AWS Marketplace is that there is hourly options available, instead of just annual. However, the hourly options are 975% more expensive than annual licenses and are typically used for rare occasions such as seasonal use or to further test a solution. To save money by purchasing hourly, you would have to use your FileMaker Cloud instance less than 37 days in a year.
  • Purchasing FileMaker Cloud licenses directly through AWS limits you to four types of license types, Annual FileMaker Licensing for Teams (AFLT) with 5, 10, 25 or 100 users.
  • If one of the four available licenses types doesn’t suit your needs, you definitely want to utilize Bring Your Own License (BYOL) option. Contact us to discuss getting you the best license for your FileMaker Cloud instance.

Benefits of FileMaker Cloud

Fast Setup

As previously stated, arguably the best part of FileMaker Cloud is that you can have it up and running in about 30 minutes! Compare that to when you purchase your own dedicated machine to be used internally where you have to purchase the machine online or in a store, wait for it to be shipped, then go through the process of setting up the software, hardware and network which can take days!

Reduced Maintenance

When you have your own dedicated server, even after the initial set up described above, there is still more time that goes into making sure everything is running optimally. The main time impact saved with FileMaker Cloud is the updates and monitoring of OS updates, as well as FileMaker Server updates. Having an internal system requires you to check in to make sure that the OS is up-to-date as windows comes out with patches at least once a month, if not more. With FileMaker Cloud this is all done automatically.

Security and Peace of Mind

Something that everyone worries about these days is security with all of the data breaches that you hear on the news. With FileMaker Cloud, security is made easy. For starters, AWS is responsible for the physical security of the server hardware as well as the energy costs of having a data centers; this means you don’t have to worry about someone breaking into your office and literally taking all of your data. FileMaker Cloud also comes with a SSL certificate that is apart of the initial setup. This feature would need to be done manually on your own dedicated FileMaker Server machine otherwise.

Additionally, FileMaker Cloud comes with automatic backups that happen every 20 minutes and is stored for one week. Of course with your own dedicated machine you can customize this, but FileMaker Cloud comes preset with this and is a part of the easy setup of 30 minutes or less. 

Unsupported Features in FileMaker Cloud

With all this awesomeness why wouldn’t I want to use FileMaker Cloud!? One might ask. There are really only a handful of specific scenarios that FileMaker Cloud may not be a good fit for you and your organization.

  • External Authentication – FileMaker Cloud does not support external authentication via Active Directory/Open Directory. It does, however, support custom app authentication via FileMaker user accounts.
  • Server Side Scripts – FileMaker Cloud does not allow server side scripts to run which means you’d need your own dedicated machine of FileMaker Server.
  • Custom Web Publishing with PHP and XML – If you are, or are wanting to integrate with your website for instance, FileMaker Cloud does not support PHP or XML.
  • More than a Week of Backups – As previously stated, FileMaker Cloud comes automatically equipped to have a backup run every 20 minutes and stores a week worth of backups. If you were to want more than one week, you’d need to manually preserve specific backups.
  • Plugin Support – If you are using any plugins in your application, you’ll need to make sure they have a new version that supports Linux for the FileMaker Cloud.

Moving to FileMaker Cloud

After reading this and learning more about FileMaker Cloud you may see it as a great fit for your organization and saving you time and money compared to managing your in-house server. However, there are additional items to keep in mind aside from the unsupported features above.

The main point is the optimization on how your application(s) are built. With having a FileMaker Server in your Local Area Network (LAN) you will have much better speed compared to anything traveling across the Wide Area Network (WAN). You may have to go through a series of steps to optimize your application(s) before moving it to a server in the cloud or else your experience may be drastically different. With this being said, if all, or most of your employees are all in one location where the current in-house server is located, it will likely be best to keep it in house. You can’t beat the latency and speed of accessing a database on your LAN versus traveling back and forth across the internet on WAN.

FileMaker realizes that customers with an existing in-house server will need to test FileMaker Cloud to see if it is a good fit for them, so they are providing a 30-day grace period to convert the FileMaker Server software. If you have questions or would like for us to review, contact us for a free technical analysis, to review and assist in optimizing your application(s) before moving to the FileMaker Cloud.

Conclusion

FileMaker Cloud is fast and easy to set up and can scale with little effort. There are a lot of reasons that FileMaker Cloud would be a great fit for you and your organization, between minimal impact of IT staff doing updates and deployment, to the benefits of AWS responsible for security and scalability, FileMaker Cloud is a huge benefit and welcomed addition to the FileMaker Family.

Note about freeing up license keys

I tested setting up FileMaker Cloud before doing the recorded demo and in turn, needed to free the license key in order to use it agin. I terminated the server instance thinking this would release the server license key. In doing so, I received an Error 3030 “License Key has already been used for FileMaker Cloud.” when trying to enter the license key for a new instance. I came to find that you have to deactivate the license key through the Server Admin Console before terminating an instance to free up the license key. If this happens to you, you will need to call FileMaker Support and have them manually release the license key for your new instance.

 

Still unsure of FileMaker Cloud is the right fit for you? Contact Us to discuss further your goals and how we can be of service.


Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

Payment Processing in FileMaker using Stripe

Imagine a company called Larry’s Landscapers. It’s a landscaping company that uses FileMaker in variety of ways as part of its day to day operations and has a group of customers for which it maintains lawns and driveways on an as needed basis. Wouldn’t it be great if Larry could provide these customers with the same sort of payment convenience that we’ve all become used to when paying recurring bills? That is, give them the ability to provide payment information just once and then reuse that information, in an easy and secure way, for any and all future payments? Well, Larry, or any business for that matter, can do just that by integrating the Stripe payment platform with their FileMaker solution.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker and Stripe Integration

Creating a Stripe account

First, you’ll need a basic Stripe account. They are free, can be created with just an email address and by default are set up for testing.

FileMaker And Stripe Account Creation

Once you have an account, the only piece of information you will need for testing is your Test Secret Key. It can be found in the API Keys tab of your Account Settings via the Stripe dashboard. This key will be passed to Stripe as a means of account authentication.

FIleMaker And Stripe API KeysProcessing a test payment

Processing a payment via Stripe requires two steps and both steps entail POST requests, which are accomplish via the BaseElements Plugin and its BE_HTTP_POST custom function.

Creating a customer

Step one is a request for a customer object and is made via BE_HTTP_POST with the following parameters:

  • stripe customer url
  • payment source, e.g. if a credit card, then “card”
  • customer name
  • credit card number
  • credit card expiration month & year
  • credit card security code
  • stripe account test secret key

An example of the BE_HTTP_POST function call would look like this:

BE_HTTP_POST ( “https://api.stripe.com/v1/customers” ; “source[object]=card” & “&source[number]=” & $cardNum & “&source[exp_month]=” & $expMonth & “&source[exp_year]=” & $expYear & “&source[cvc]=” & $CVC & “&source[name]=” & $customerName ; $testSecretKey ; “” )

The parameters passed in this example represent the standard minimal amount of customer information for a credit card. Additional information, like the cardholder’s address, can also be passed along as part of the customer request. You can refer to Stripe’s API documentation for more details.

A successful customer request results in Stripe creating a customer and returning a customer object, which, like all objects returned by Stripe, is in JSON format.

A customer is Stripe’s secure way of allowing users to create a reusable means by which to charge the same payment source multiple times. It’s secure because all the customer data is stored on their servers. (Servers which have been audited by a PCI-certified auditor and are certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1.) It’s easy because, once a customer is created, all that’s needed for processing a payment is the id of the customer object because this id now represents the customer and all their information.

FileMaker And Stripe Customer ID

Processing a payment

Step two processes the payment by requesting a charge object and is made via BE_HTTP_POST with the following parameters:

  • stripe charge url
  • charge amount as total amount of the smallest unit of the charge currency, e.g. if USD, then 1 cent
  • currency of the charge, e.g. if USD, then “usd”
  • customer object ID
  • stripe account test secret key

An example of the BE_HTTP_POST function call would look like this:

BE_HTTP_POST ( “https://api.stripe.com/v1/charges” ; “amount=” & $amount & “&currency=” & $currency & “&customer=” & $tokenID ; $testSecretKey ; “” )

As with the request for a customer object, the parameters passed in this example represent the standard minimal amount of charge information. Additional information, like a description of the charge or an email address to send a receipt to, can also be passed along. As before, you can refer to Stripe’s API documentation for more details.

A successful charge request results in Stripe returning a charge object. It contains various details about the charge, like if the charge itself was successful, the type of charge it was and how it was verified.

Failed requests and error objects

Stripe has extensive error handling and will return an error object whenever a requests fails.

FileMaker And Stripe Error Object

Going live

Moving beyond testing and processing real payments with Stripe requires the activation of your Stripe account via an account application. Then, once live, you just use your Live Secret Key in place of your Test Secret Key.

Conclusion

Integrating a FileMaker solution and Stripe is both straightforward and simple, and the result is an efficient and secure way for any business to process a wide variety of payments.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload FileMaker and Stripe Integration

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

Payment Processing in FileMaker using Stripe

Imagine a company called Larry’s Landscapers. It’s a landscaping company that uses FileMaker in variety of ways as part of its day to day operations and has a group of customers for which it maintains lawns and driveways on an as needed basis. Wouldn’t it be great if Larry could provide these customers with the same sort of payment convenience that we’ve all become used to when paying recurring bills? That is, give them the ability to provide payment information just once and then reuse that information, in an easy and secure way, for any and all future payments? Well, Larry, or any business for that matter, can do just that by integrating the Stripe payment platform with their FileMaker solution.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker and Stripe Integration

Creating a Stripe account

First, you’ll need a basic Stripe account. They are free, can be created with just an email address and by default are set up for testing.

FileMaker And Stripe Account Creation

Once you have an account, the only piece of information you will need for testing is your Test Secret Key. It can be found in the API Keys tab of your Account Settings via the Stripe dashboard. This key will be passed to Stripe as a means of account authentication.

FIleMaker And Stripe API KeysProcessing a test payment

Processing a payment via Stripe requires two steps and both steps entail POST requests, which are accomplish via the BaseElements Plugin and its BE_HTTP_POST custom function.

Creating a customer

Step one is a request for a customer object and is made via BE_HTTP_POST with the following parameters:

  • stripe customer url
  • payment source, e.g. if a credit card, then “card”
  • customer name
  • credit card number
  • credit card expiration month & year
  • credit card security code
  • stripe account test secret key

An example of the BE_HTTP_POST function call would look like this:

BE_HTTP_POST ( “https://api.stripe.com/v1/customers” ; “source[object]=card” & “&source[number]=” & $cardNum & “&source[exp_month]=” & $expMonth & “&source[exp_year]=” & $expYear & “&source[cvc]=” & $CVC & “&source[name]=” & $customerName ; $testSecretKey ; “” )

The parameters passed in this example represent the standard minimal amount of customer information for a credit card. Additional information, like the cardholder’s address, can also be passed along as part of the customer request. You can refer to Stripe’s API documentation for more details.

A successful customer request results in Stripe creating a customer and returning a customer object, which, like all objects returned by Stripe, is in JSON format.

A customer is Stripe’s secure way of allowing users to create a reusable means by which to charge the same payment source multiple times. It’s secure because all the customer data is stored on their servers. (Servers which have been audited by a PCI-certified auditor and are certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1.) It’s easy because, once a customer is created, all that’s needed for processing a payment is the id of the customer object because this id now represents the customer and all their information.

FileMaker And Stripe Customer ID

Processing a payment

Step two processes the payment by requesting a charge object and is made via BE_HTTP_POST with the following parameters:

  • stripe charge url
  • charge amount as total amount of the smallest unit of the charge currency, e.g. if USD, then 1 cent
  • currency of the charge, e.g. if USD, then “usd”
  • customer object ID
  • stripe account test secret key

An example of the BE_HTTP_POST function call would look like this:

BE_HTTP_POST ( “https://api.stripe.com/v1/charges” ; “amount=” & $amount & “&currency=” & $currency & “&customer=” & $tokenID ; $testSecretKey ; “” )

As with the request for a customer object, the parameters passed in this example represent the standard minimal amount of charge information. Additional information, like a description of the charge or an email address to send a receipt to, can also be passed along. As before, you can refer to Stripe’s API documentation for more details.

A successful charge request results in Stripe returning a charge object. It contains various details about the charge, like if the charge itself was successful, the type of charge it was and how it was verified.

Failed requests and error objects

Stripe has extensive error handling and will return an error object whenever a requests fails.

FileMaker And Stripe Error Object

Going live

Moving beyond testing and processing real payments with Stripe requires the activation of your Stripe account via an account application. Then, once live, you just use your Live Secret Key in place of your Test Secret Key.

Conclusion

Integrating a FileMaker solution and Stripe is both straightforward and simple, and the result is an efficient and secure way for any business to process a wide variety of payments.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload FileMaker and Stripe Integration

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

Integrating FileMaker and Salesforce Using Zapier

As new technologies emerge with their own unique strengths and weaknesses, it can be difficult to choose which ones to use. This can be especially difficult to choose within companies. One department may find one program suits their needs very well, while another one that works closely with it may find some of its limitations unappealing. This can lead to many different programs being used within the same organization, but having information in one program but not another can cause confusion or slow response times. This makes integrations with different systems especially vital to maintaining efficiency.

Fortunately, Zapier has come along to help make integrations far easier. Zapier is a website which allows over 100 different applications to integrate basic actions with one another. For example when creating a record in one application, with Zapier you can integrate another application to create a record in that application at the same time.

Zapier can even be used in FileMaker! In this example I will demonstrate how to use Zapier and Webhooks to automatically create a lead in FileMaker when one is created in Salesforce. This is just one of many potential uses for integrating different apps to FileMaker using Zapier.

Watch on Youtube: Integrating FileMaker and Salesforce using Zapier

How to set up Salesforce integration with Zapier. 
To start out, go to the Zap Editor. The first step is to set up the trigger in Salesforce.  For this demo have the trigger be when a new lead is created.  Be sure to have a Salesforce account set up, and at least one lead created.

FileMaker Choose Salesforce

Once you have it set up, test the connection and ensure that the information pulled from Salesforce is accurate

Setting up Webhook, PHP file.
Now that we have our trigger set up in Salesforce, we can now build our action to create the lead directly in FileMaker when one is made in Salesforce. Select Webhooks as your app, and POST as your action.

FileMaker Choose POST

Now we get to the real meat of the setup. Here we will construct the fields that we want to pass into FileMaker from Salesforce. You will need to create a Custom Web Publishing PHP file that will grab the parameters you input and pass them along into FileMaker.

First enter in the URL where your PHP file is hosted, the Payload type as form, and the lead data you want put into the FileMaker leads. Be sure to put the key names the same as you do in your POST variables in your PHP files.

FileMaker Setup Webhooks

Lastly, look over the preview page, and test out the Zap. If everything is setup correctly, it should come back successful and create the lead in your FileMaker system.  From now on, whenever a lead is created in your Salesforce account

FileMaker New Lead Salesforce

it’ll automatically get created in your FileMaker.

FileMaker New Lead FileMakerFurther Automation Using Multi-Step Zaps

Zapier isn’t limited to just one action though. Recently they rolled out a feature called Multi-Step Zaps to allow additional actions for every one trigger. This means that one event that a user inputs, dozens of additional steps could be further automated. This can help avoid tedious tasks and greatly speed up workflows. For example, using Mailchimp could allow users to automatically email any newly created leads with anything from their account information to potential products or nearby events that may interest them. You can even make further calls to your FileMaker system, such as generate new proposals for the leads or assign the lead to a salesperson on your staff. These are just a few examples of how Mailchimp, Salesforce, and FileMaker can be integrated using the flexibility and power of Multi-step Zaps.

Conclusion

With the power of Zapier, different applications can be integrated into your FileMaker solution and overall business with ease. The great potential of integrating various platforms and automating the many tasks within them with Zapier can greatly increase productivity and enormously speed up company wide workflows.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload Integrating FileMaker and Salesforce Using Zapier

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

Integrating FileMaker and Salesforce Using Zapier

As new technologies emerge with their own unique strengths and weaknesses, it can be difficult to choose which ones to use. This can be especially difficult to choose within companies. One department may find one program suits their needs very well, while another one that works closely with it may find some of its limitations unappealing. This can lead to many different programs being used within the same organization, but having information in one program but not another can cause confusion or slow response times. This makes integrations with different systems especially vital to maintaining efficiency.

Fortunately, Zapier has come along to help make integrations far easier. Zapier is a website which allows over 100 different applications to integrate basic actions with one another. For example when creating a record in one application, with Zapier you can integrate another application to create a record in that application at the same time.

Zapier can even be used in FileMaker! In this example I will demonstrate how to use Zapier and Webhooks to automatically create a lead in FileMaker when one is created in Salesforce. This is just one of many potential uses for integrating different apps to FileMaker using Zapier.

Watch on Youtube: Integrating FileMaker and Salesforce using Zapier

How to set up Salesforce integration with Zapier. 
To start out, go to the Zap Editor. The first step is to set up the trigger in Salesforce.  For this demo have the trigger be when a new lead is created.  Be sure to have a Salesforce account set up, and at least one lead created.

FileMaker Choose Salesforce

Once you have it set up, test the connection and ensure that the information pulled from Salesforce is accurate

Setting up Webhook, PHP file.
Now that we have our trigger set up in Salesforce, we can now build our action to create the lead directly in FileMaker when one is made in Salesforce. Select Webhooks as your app, and POST as your action.

FileMaker Choose POST

Now we get to the real meat of the setup. Here we will construct the fields that we want to pass into FileMaker from Salesforce. You will need to create a Custom Web Publishing PHP file that will grab the parameters you input and pass them along into FileMaker.

First enter in the URL where your PHP file is hosted, the Payload type as form, and the lead data you want put into the FileMaker leads. Be sure to put the key names the same as you do in your POST variables in your PHP files.

FileMaker Setup Webhooks

Lastly, look over the preview page, and test out the Zap. If everything is setup correctly, it should come back successful and create the lead in your FileMaker system.  From now on, whenever a lead is created in your Salesforce account

FileMaker New Lead Salesforce

it’ll automatically get created in your FileMaker.

FileMaker New Lead FileMakerFurther Automation Using Multi-Step Zaps

Zapier isn’t limited to just one action though. Recently they rolled out a feature called Multi-Step Zaps to allow additional actions for every one trigger. This means that one event that a user inputs, dozens of additional steps could be further automated. This can help avoid tedious tasks and greatly speed up workflows. For example, using Mailchimp could allow users to automatically email any newly created leads with anything from their account information to potential products or nearby events that may interest them. You can even make further calls to your FileMaker system, such as generate new proposals for the leads or assign the lead to a salesperson on your staff. These are just a few examples of how Mailchimp, Salesforce, and FileMaker can be integrated using the flexibility and power of Multi-step Zaps.

Conclusion

With the power of Zapier, different applications can be integrated into your FileMaker solution and overall business with ease. The great potential of integrating various platforms and automating the many tasks within them with Zapier can greatly increase productivity and enormously speed up company wide workflows.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload Integrating FileMaker and Salesforce Using Zapier

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

FileMaker Cross Platform Notifications

Keeping a large team of mobile users informed and updated with information vital to their jobs is essential in this modern world, but not everyone has an iOS device and even if they did, it’s not practical to have the app open and waiting for the information. One solution is to keep your users informed with the use of notification. Using native FileMaker and a service called Pushover we can easily leverage cross platform notifications with advanced features like message priority, which allows you to repeat a notification until the user acknowledges it.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker Cross Platform Notifications

Pushover Icon

Creating a Pushover Account

To begin we will need a free account with Pushover.net. All pricing involved with Pushover.net is through the purchase of their apps for a users device. Each app costs 5 dollars, and then you are able to send up to 7,500 notifications a month without any additional cost.  After you have created an account you need to navigate to the Pushover Apps & Plugins page and create a new application. Once you have created a new application copy and paste the application API Key into the demo file.

Retrieving a Users Pushover ID

We can easily download a user’s Pushover ID into FileMaker by making a simple post call using Insert from URL. The url you will be posting to is api.pushover.net/1/users/login.xml and the api requires 2 parameters, email and password. Below is an example of the full URL request.

insert from url
"httpspost://api.pushover.net/1/users/login.xml?email=" & $email & "&password=" & $password

Managing Groups

One great feature of Pushover you can take advantage of is groups. Groups allow you to manage your users and then send out a notification to that segment of users all at once. You can create a new group from the Pushover Groups page. Once you have created your group you can use the generated group key to add and remove users, and disable/enable a user in the group all from within FileMaker using a simple rest api. Another useful feature of groups in Pushover is the subscription feature that allows for anonymous users to sign up to receive notifications and be automatically added to a group.

Sending Messages

Sending a message is very similar to all the other api calls not surprisingly. The api endpoint for sending a message is api.pushover.net/1/messages.xml or api.pushover.net/1/messages.json. And there are quite a few parameters you can include to customize your message. Below is a list of all the available parameters.

FileMaker Send Notification

Required Parameters

  • token – Pushover application token/id
  • user – Can be userID or groupID
  • message – Must be URL encoded
  • retry – required if priority is 2. Time in seconds to wait between retries until acknowledged. Min of 30
  • expire – Required if priority is 2. Time in seconds to keep retrying until acknowledged. Max of 86400 seconds or 1 day

Optional Parameters

  • device – Device name, if left empty all of a user’s devices will be notified
  • title
  • html – if set to 1, will allow for html tags in the message which will allow the use of the following tags; bold, italic, underline, font-color, and html links
  • timestamp – a unix timestamp in CST time zone ex: 1331249662
  • priority – The priority of the message ranging from -2 to 2. The default “Normal” priority of 0 will be set if left empty
  • url
  • url_title
  • sound – if left empty, the users default will be used, if no default then “pushover” will be used

Full API Reference

Conclusion

With a few api calls you can easily extend FileMaker with the ability to communicate with a mobile work force on virtually any device including iOS Devices, Android Devices, and Web/Desktops. Through the use of messaging groups you can also easily manage who should receive what alerts and when. Pushover’s advanced features give you a lot more control than something like text messaging and allows you to brand your notifications, change the messages sound, set the message priority, and manage whether a user is enabled or disabled in a group.

 

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload FileMaker Notifications Database

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

FileMaker Cross Platform Notifications

Keeping a large team of mobile users informed and updated with information vital to their jobs is essential in this modern world, but not everyone has an iOS device and even if they did, it’s not practical to have the app open and waiting for the information. One solution is to keep your users informed with the use of notification. Using native FileMaker and a service called Pushover we can easily leverage cross platform notifications with advanced features like message priority, which allows you to repeat a notification until the user acknowledges it.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker Cross Platform Notifications

Pushover Icon

Creating a Pushover Account

To begin we will need a free account with Pushover.net. All pricing involved with Pushover.net is through the purchase of their apps for a users device. Each app costs 5 dollars, and then you are able to send up to 7,500 notifications a month without any additional cost.  After you have created an account you need to navigate to the Pushover Apps & Plugins page and create a new application. Once you have created a new application copy and paste the application API Key into the demo file.

Retrieving a Users Pushover ID

We can easily download a user’s Pushover ID into FileMaker by making a simple post call using Insert from URL. The url you will be posting to is api.pushover.net/1/users/login.xml and the api requires 2 parameters, email and password. Below is an example of the full URL request.

insert from url
"httpspost://api.pushover.net/1/users/login.xml?email=" & $email & "&password=" & $password

Managing Groups

One great feature of Pushover you can take advantage of is groups. Groups allow you to manage your users and then send out a notification to that segment of users all at once. You can create a new group from the Pushover Groups page. Once you have created your group you can use the generated group key to add and remove users, and disable/enable a user in the group all from within FileMaker using a simple rest api. Another useful feature of groups in Pushover is the subscription feature that allows for anonymous users to sign up to receive notifications and be automatically added to a group.

Sending Messages

Sending a message is very similar to all the other api calls not surprisingly. The api endpoint for sending a message is api.pushover.net/1/messages.xml or api.pushover.net/1/messages.json. And there are quite a few parameters you can include to customize your message. Below is a list of all the available parameters.

FileMaker Send Notification

Required Parameters

  • token – Pushover application token/id
  • user – Can be userID or groupID
  • message – Must be URL encoded
  • retry – required if priority is 2. Time in seconds to wait between retries until acknowledged. Min of 30
  • expire – Required if priority is 2. Time in seconds to keep retrying until acknowledged. Max of 86400 seconds or 1 day

Optional Parameters

  • device – Device name, if left empty all of a user’s devices will be notified
  • title
  • html – if set to 1, will allow for html tags in the message which will allow the use of the following tags; bold, italic, underline, font-color, and html links
  • timestamp – a unix timestamp in CST time zone ex: 1331249662
  • priority – The priority of the message ranging from -2 to 2. The default “Normal” priority of 0 will be set if left empty
  • url
  • url_title
  • sound – if left empty, the users default will be used, if no default then “pushover” will be used

Full API Reference

Conclusion

With a few api calls you can easily extend FileMaker with the ability to communicate with a mobile work force on virtually any device including iOS Devices, Android Devices, and Web/Desktops. Through the use of messaging groups you can also easily manage who should receive what alerts and when. Pushover’s advanced features give you a lot more control than something like text messaging and allows you to brand your notifications, change the messages sound, set the message priority, and manage whether a user is enabled or disabled in a group.

 

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.

DownloadDownload FileMaker Notifications Database

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

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Archiving Email In FileMaker

When working with large groups of people both in and out of your organization, it can be difficult to keep track of all the discussions between you and everyone else. One person may discuss a project that you are a part of, but without everyone always CC’ing, BCC’ing, and hitting Reply All to every email, it can be practically impossible to keep everyone in the loop at all times. Fortunately with the 360works email plugin, tracking all emails between you and your system’s contacts can become far more manageable. FileMaker and email integration allow users to view any and all emails that contacts, prospects, salespeople, managers and anyone else have had with one another.

Watch on Youtube: Archiving Emails In FileMaker

Importing the Emails

First and foremost, you will need to purchase a copy of the email plugin. Once purchased, install the plugin (for more on installing plugins on servers, read FileMaker Server Plugins and Schedules).  Then build a script that will grab the email information and store it in FileMaker.

FileMaker - Download Email Dialog

Note that you can automate this process if needed.

Displaying emails

With your emails downloaded and stored in FileMaker, users can now view and search any correspondence that users in your system have had with any contacts.

FileMaker - Email List

From here you can display any relevant information to the users. If you saved the email’s HTML, you can even display the formatted email in a web viewer.

FileMaker Sample Email Popover

Recommendations

  • In order to keep the size of your solution down, we recommend not storing attachments in your FileMaker files. You can store the name of any attachments in the email in FileMaker, and use those to download the attachments on the user’s machine.
  • It is a good idea to log every time you attempt to download an email and assign it in order to more easily trouble shoot any issues you may come across.
  • Downloading large amounts of emails is very time consuming and can drag the system considerably. Do not try and migrate all emails before the integration at once. If you want to find and download emails received and sent before the go live date, do it batches at a time.

Conclusion

With FileMaker and an email plugin, tracking and maintaining correspondence from multiple people has become a much easier experience. No longer will you have to constantly call, email, or meet with people just to talk about what was already discussed with others. Now a simple search in FileMaker will allow users to catch up and get on the same page quickly. Email integration is just one more example of how FileMaker can help businesses work in a productive and efficient manner.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Have any additional questions regarding licensing?
Contact us to discuss FileMaker and to get the best licensing.

 

DownloadDownload FileMaker Archiving Email Database

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

Archiving Email In FileMaker

When working with large groups of people both in and out of your organization, it can be difficult to keep track of all the discussions between you and everyone else. One person may discuss a project that you are a part of, but without everyone always CC’ing, BCC’ing, and hitting Reply All to every email, it can be practically impossible to keep everyone in the loop at all times. Fortunately with the 360works email plugin, tracking all emails between you and your system’s contacts can become far more manageable. FileMaker and email integration allow users to view any and all emails that contacts, prospects, salespeople, managers and anyone else have had with one another.

Watch on Youtube: Archiving Emails In FileMaker

Importing the Emails

First and foremost, you will need to purchase a copy of the email plugin. Once purchased, install the plugin (for more on installing plugins on servers, read FileMaker Server Plugins and Schedules).  Then build a script that will grab the email information and store it in FileMaker.

FileMaker - Download Email Dialog

Note that you can automate this process if needed.

Displaying emails

With your emails downloaded and stored in FileMaker, users can now view and search any correspondence that users in your system have had with any contacts.

FileMaker - Email List

From here you can display any relevant information to the users. If you saved the email’s HTML, you can even display the formatted email in a web viewer.

FileMaker Sample Email Popover

Recommendations

  • In order to keep the size of your solution down, we recommend not storing attachments in your FileMaker files. You can store the name of any attachments in the email in FileMaker, and use those to download the attachments on the user’s machine.
  • It is a good idea to log every time you attempt to download an email and assign it in order to more easily trouble shoot any issues you may come across.
  • Downloading large amounts of emails is very time consuming and can drag the system considerably. Do not try and migrate all emails before the integration at once. If you want to find and download emails received and sent before the go live date, do it batches at a time.

Conclusion

With FileMaker and an email plugin, tracking and maintaining correspondence from multiple people has become a much easier experience. No longer will you have to constantly call, email, or meet with people just to talk about what was already discussed with others. Now a simple search in FileMaker will allow users to catch up and get on the same page quickly. Email integration is just one more example of how FileMaker can help businesses work in a productive and efficient manner.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Have any additional questions regarding licensing?
Contact us to discuss FileMaker and to get the best licensing.

 

DownloadDownload FileMaker Archiving Email Database

Please complete the form below to download your FREE FileMaker database file.

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Company
  • Phone*
  • Email*
  • Terms of Use
    • I agree
    OPT-IN: I agree that I am downloading a completely free FileMaker application file with no strings attached. This database is unlocked, and I may use it for my business or organization as I see fit. Because I am downloading a free database, I agree that I should receive occasional marketing. I understand that I can OPT-OUT of these emails at anytime.

Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

FileMaker 15 Starter Solutions

Starting a new application, on any platform, can be very overwhelming. Luckily FileMaker comes with 20 Starter Solutions (templates) that make starting a new application easier and to customize to fit to your needs. The main perk of the Starter Solutions is having a template to hit the ground running that is visually appealing.

Getting Started

If you don’t already own FileMaker, you can download a free FileMaker Trial to give the Starter Solutions a try.

Once FileMaker is installed, to build a new application with a Starter Solution simply open FileMaker Pro 15 and the Launch Center will come up. From there go to Get Started. You can choose one of the four new Starter Solutions, or you can scroll down to “See Advanced Solutions” to view the other 16 templates. Or, if you already have FileMaker 15 open, you can select File > New From Starter Solution.

FileMaker 15 Getting Started

Difference From Past Years

FileMaker kept the same 16 solutions from the last release and deemed them ‘Advanced Solutions’. They then made 4 new Starter Solutions that are more Basic. This is a great thing as we often hear of citizen developers wanting to create a new application from a Starter Solution but found the ‘Advanced Solutions’ to have too much going on.

Let’s take a look at the four new Basic Starter Solutions.

Contacts

The Contacts Starter Solution made a few changes from version 14. The fields are the same but arranged a little differently to make navigating easier. The main difference is the photo for the contact doesn’t take up as much space and has data directly under it.

FileMaker Contacts Starter Solution

Inventory

The Inventory Starter Solution, like the Contacts, only has a few minor changes. It is still the same theme, but the design looks modern with it being flatter. The fields are still the same, though, arranged differently to make it easier to navigate. Instead of having a tab between the picture of the inventory and a description, a description text box is on the left hand side making better use of space.

FileMaker Inventory Starter Solution

Content Management

This Starter Solution changed themes from Luminous to Enlightened. The layout is still the same, however, updated icons give the look and feel of a better application that is more visually appealing.

FileMaker Content Management Starter Solution

Tasks

The Tasks Starter Solution has the same layout, though it is flatter and looks more modern in design. The ‘Assignees’ and ‘Attachments are still on the layout, just separated, which gives the ability to see everything without switching back and forth between tabs making it crisper and easier to navigate.

FileMaker Tasks Starter Solution

Conclusion

FileMaker has taken a different approach to the Starter Solutions compared to years past. With the 4 different Basic Starter Solutions, it is easier to further customize the application to fit your workflow. The Starter Solutions still look great and easy to use and navigate. If you are starting a solution from scratch, this is still the easiest and best way to get started and create a customized solution for your needs.

If you, however, need a more fined tuned CRM application check out our own template, FM Quickstart. It is a free download and has been optimized to run on the latest version of FileMaker.

To learn more about the FileMaker 15 platform, read our FileMaker 15 What’s New article.

 

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Have any additional questions regarding licensing?
Contact us to discuss FileMaker and to get the best licensing.


Afficher la totalité du billet

DB Services

FileMaker 15 Starter Solutions

Starting a new application, on any platform, can be very overwhelming. Luckily FileMaker comes with 20 Starter Solutions (templates) that make starting a new application easier and to customize to fit to your needs. The main perk of the Starter Solutions is having a template to hit the ground running that is visually appealing.

Getting Started

If you don’t already own FileMaker, you can download a free FileMaker Trial to give the Starter Solutions a try.

Once FileMaker is installed, to build a new application with a Starter Solution simply open FileMaker Pro 15 and the Launch Center will come up. From there go to Get Started. You can choose one of the four new Starter Solutions, or you can scroll down to “See Advanced Solutions” to view the other 16 templates. Or, if you already have FileMaker 15 open, you can select File > New From Starter Solution.

FileMaker 15 Getting Started

Difference From Past Years

FileMaker kept the same 16 solutions from the last release and deemed them ‘Advanced Solutions’. They then made 4 new Starter Solutions that are more Basic. This is a great thing as we often hear of citizen developers wanting to create a new application from a Starter Solution but found the ‘Advanced Solutions’ to have too much going on.

Let’s take a look at the four new Basic Starter Solutions.

Contacts

The Contacts Starter Solution made a few changes from version 14. The fields are the same but arranged a little differently to make navigating easier. The main difference is the photo for the contact doesn’t take up as much space and has data directly under it.

FileMaker Contacts Starter Solution

Inventory

The Inventory Starter Solution, like the Contacts, only has a few minor changes. It is still the same theme, but the design looks modern with it being flatter. The fields are still the same, though, arranged differently to make it easier to navigate. Instead of having a tab between the picture of the inventory and a description, a description text box is on the left hand side making better use of space.

FileMaker Inventory Starter Solution

Content Management

This Starter Solution changed themes from Luminous to Enlightened. The layout is still the same, however, updated icons give the look and feel of a better application that is more visually appealing.

FileMaker Content Management Starter Solution

Tasks

The Tasks Starter Solution has the same layout, though it is flatter and looks more modern in design. The ‘Assignees’ and ‘Attachments are still on the layout, just separated, which gives the ability to see everything without switching back and forth between tabs making it crisper and easier to navigate.

FileMaker Tasks Starter Solution

Conclusion

FileMaker has taken a different approach to the Starter Solutions compared to years past. With the 4 different Basic Starter Solutions, it is easier to further customize the application to fit your workflow. The Starter Solutions still look great and easy to use and navigate. If you are starting a solution from scratch, this is still the easiest and best way to get started and create a customized solution for your needs.

If you, however, need a more fined tuned CRM application check out our own template, FM Quickstart. It is a free download and has been optimized to run on the latest version of FileMaker.

To learn more about the FileMaker 15 platform, read our FileMaker 15 What’s New article.

 

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Have any additional questions regarding licensing?
Contact us to discuss FileMaker and to get the best licensing.


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FileMaker 15 What’s Newfilemaker-15-icon-300x300.jpg

The new version of the FileMaker platform is here! We’ll look in depth at what’s new in FileMaker Pro 15, FileMaker Go 15, and FileMaker Server 15. We have highlighted many of the best new features with ten detailed articles provided by our staff looking in depth at each of the features. FileMaker announced they will release new versions every year, resulting in shorter release cycles that’ll bring innovative new features to us faster.

FileMaker 15 Overview

  • New mobile features including Touch ID, 3D Touch, App Extensions, iOS SDK, and iBeacons. You can now deploy mobile applications in exciting new ways.
  • The third major release of WebDirect includes compatibility for mobile phones and performance improvements. WebDirect allows you to easily publish your application in a browser on the web using the award winning FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Pro Advanced client to build your web application.
  • DB2 and PostgreSQL are now supported database platforms for External SQL Sources. You can establish a live two-way connection between your FileMaker application and Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and now DB2 along with PostgreSQL databases.
  • FileMaker Server 15 no longer allows third parties to offer shared hosting. You must have your own server moving forward for security reasons.
  • FileMaker Licensing for Teams is the new default licensing moving forward on the FileMaker Store. Licensing is now based on number of users.

FileMaker Pro 15

The latest version continues to focus on new features that enhance usability for users and developers with a few nice performance enhancements.

Portal In-line Progress Bar
Have you ever loaded a screen with a portal and waited for the hundreds to thousands of records to display? Well we now have Portal in-line progress bars, which will allow you to interact with the rest of the screen while the portal is still loading. This is a very welcomed addition for users that are using an application over the Internet, as we can never see too many performance increases. All you have to do is install the new version to get this one!

Read about FileMaker Portal In-Line Progress Bar as Damien Howell explains how they work.

Concealed Edit Box
You can now add concealed edit boxes to layouts. This allows you to hide the data being typed into a field from any onlookers as the field displays dots instead as you type. The data is not encrypted, so it can still be easily exported so take additional security measures to encrypt the data or prevent users from exporting the data.

Updated User Interface
FileMaker 14 had killer user interface features including button icons, navigation bars to name a few. Now the Status Toolbar icons for users in browse mode and icons for developers in layout mode have been improved. In addition full-screen view and split view are supported in the FileMaker Pro document windows on OS X.

Emory Brown discuss in depth FileMaker 15 User Interface updates. He dives into the Toolbars, Inspector Palette, WebDirect, and FileMaker Go on mobile devices.

In-Product Updates
Product updates before required you to visit the FileMaker Download page and then select your update to download. This was tedious to end users especially as we have become accustomed to products such as Chrome updating for us. Now when an update is available you can download and install the update all from within FileMaker Pro.

Read about FileMaker In-Product Updates as Jeremiah Hammond looks at how the new in-application updates work.

Script Workspace

For any user who writes or edits scripts more improvements have been made to the Script Workspace, FileMaker’s Integrated Development Environment (IDE). You can easily see highlighted script errors in red and problems are automatically highlighted when importing or pasting scripts. Unlimited Undo is now supported in the Script Workspace and in the Specify Calculation dialog box, including Undo Delete. All developers will enjoy these new features.

External SQL Storage Adapters
FileMaker has long been known to be a hub for many organizations’ data. External SQL Storage (ESS) has been in place since version 9 for Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and MySQL. Now joining the party includes the likes of DB2 and PostgreSQL. You can easily set up ODBC on the server and all your FileMaker users are then able to access the data from these other popular database platforms.

Basic Starter Solutions
FileMaker 15 comes with 4 new Basic Starter solutions (Contacts, Inventory, Content Management, and Tasks). In addition, the existing 16 Starter Solutions from before are available as Advanced Solutions below the Basic Starter solutions in the link, See advanced solutions, which is not that easy to locate. We also have a free starter solution called FM Quickstart you may wish to download and customize.

Read about FileMaker 15 Starter Solutions as David Happersberger looks at the differences in the new templates.

Web-based Help
FileMaker Help is truly great. Now help is available online and can be downloaded if needed. Help has been redesigned for easier access and use. Being web-based, FileMaker Help can be easily updated by the support staff by FileMaker.

FileMaker Pro Technical Specs
FileMaker Pro 15 and FileMaker Pro Advanced 15 are supported on Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Standard and Pro, Windows 7 SP1 Professional and Ultimate, Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan and 10.10 Yosemite.


FileMaker Go 15

FileMaker Go 15 has all the features you get in FileMaker Pro such as concealed edit box and portal in-line progress bar, plus some specific iOS features listed below. The new version of FileMaker Go 15 is available on the App Store.

iOS App SDK
While this was released in January a few months ago it is worth mentioning. You can now develop your own standalone iOS app from an existing FileMaker application. This allows organization to easily deploy apps with Apple’s MDM Distribution. You must purchase a FileMaker Community Developers Subscription $99/year to receive the iOS App SDK which is Mac only.

Touch ID & 3D Touch
You can easily enable your application to support Touch ID to allow users to log into your application with their fingerprint. With Force Touch you can select the FileMaker Go application and select which database you wish to open without opening Go first.

Read about FileMaker Touch ID & 3D Touch as Bobby Vogel discusses how to use these new features.

App Extensions
If you install a popular app on your iOS device then it may come with App Extensions. If so then you can easily share data from FileMaker Go to applications such as Box or Dropbox for example to back up your database. There are lots of possibilities here.

Read about FileMaker App Extensions as Mason Stenquist discusses how to use FileMaker Go with App Extensions.

iBeacon
Now integrate your FileMaker app on iOS with iBeacons. There is a new function RangeBeacons that returns a list of iBeacons and their proximity to the iOS device. This is truly an exciting feature that will open many possibilities. Read the Getting Started with iBeacons at Apple’s iBeacon for Developers page to learn more. We look forward to seeing what you all produce with the new iBeacon support.

Read more about the FileMaker iBeacons as Weihao Ding goes in depth to educate all of us on how you can use iBeacons in your FileMaker app.

FileMaker Go Technical Specs
Requires iOS devices running iOS 9.3 or later on the iPad Pro, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone and iPod touch. FileMaker Go 13 will be removed from the App Store on June 10th, 2016.  FileMaker Go 14 will be removed from the App Store in November 2016.


FileMaker Server 15

Server has always been known for its ease of use and ability to run with little to no problems. The newest version focuses on performance improvements; security updates; and many enhancements related to WebDirect, specifically support for mobile phones, reducing data over the wire, optimizing memory footprint, improved cacheing container data, protocol enhancements, improving thread management, and additional security.

Read more specifically about FileMaker 15 Security as Michael Westendorf looks at new security features in Pro / Pro Advanced, Go, and Server.

FileMaker WebDirect
WebDirect is the flagship FileMaker Pro desktop client equivalent in a browser, without any web programming. This version add support for mobile phones and includes more performance improvements, at the high end the recommended hardware supports up to 100 WebDirect users. In our labs we did notice WebDirect is slightly faster than before as FileMaker continues to optimize the memory footprint. Users who are using WebDirect should get lots of RAM for FileMaker Server machines to support your users. For Androids, FileMaker WebDirect or Custom Web Publishing continues to be the only way to deploy a FileMaker-based application.

Read more about the FileMaker WebDirect Mobile Phone Support as Brendan McBride looks at the new features.

Top Call Statistics Logging
Troubleshooting performance on a server with a lot of users can be time consuming. With FileMaker Server 15 you can turn on Top Call statistics in the Logging tab from the FileMaker Server Admin Console. This will help identify the scripts, finds, or other operations that are taking the longest to run on the server.

Learn more about the FileMaker Server Top Call Statistics as Ian Haas looks at how to use this new log.

SSL Certificates
When using FileMaker Server and deploying sensitive information you will definitely want to keep your data encrypted. FileMaker recommends you use the default self-signed SSL certificate for testing purposes only. Installing a third party SSL certificate can be a bit tricky, but with version 15 you can now create a certificate signing request from the FileMaker Server console. In addition support had been added for Wildcard certificates, Subject AltName (SAN) Certificates, Import intermediate CA certificates, and deploy additional popular SSL Certificates types and vendors.

If you choose to use the default certificate provided by FileMaker you will now receive proactive security warnings that are annoying to your users that let them know the certificate is not secure. If you want to use SSL we advise ponying up around $100/yr and getting a certificate to safely encrypt your data inside and outside the network.

FileMaker Shared Hosting
As part of the FileMaker Server 15 End User License Agreement you can no longer install one FileMaker Server 15 for multiple tenants for security reasons. If you are looking for a FileMaker Hosting vendor keep in mind that they cannot provide you the latest technology which is critical for performance and security unless you have a dedicated server. If you’re using WebDirect it is absolutely essential to get a dedicated server. Contact us for pricing on FileMaker Dedicated Hosting for Self-Service or Managed FileMaker Servers.

FileMaker Licensing for Teams
Over the years FileMaker has updated their licensing to integrate new technologies such as FileMaker Go from the App Store along with transitioning from Instant Web Publishing to WebDirect. I believe they have finally landed on the licensing for the future with FileMaker Licensing for Teams and having the licenses be based on the FileMaker Server. Existing licensing programs are not impacted except FileMaker Server with Concurrent Connections are being phased out.

Read more about the FileMaker Licensing for Teams, David Happersberger, our FileMaker Licensing Specialist, gives you a look at the new licensing program.

FileMaker Server Technical Specs
Compatible on Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard with Update Microsoft KB2919355 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard or Enterprise and Mac OX X El Capitan 10.11 and Yosemite 10.10 is supported.

WebDirect browser support includes Safari 9.x, IE 11.x, Microsoft Edge 25+, Chrome 48+. Mobile browsers Safari 9.x and Chrome 48 on Android 5.x and 6.x.


Summary

The FileMaker 15 platform continues to be the leader in creating powerful custom applications for organizations all around the world that works seamlessly across Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and the web.

FileMaker Go continues to give the platform a competitive edge. Allowing organizations to create custom applications for iOS devices while providing an incredible ROI. Creating prototype applications on the iPad and iPhone is a matter of hours not months.

After waiting 12 months, we are happy to see FileMaker 15 and look forward to building awesome custom applications using the new modern tools for Mobile, Web and the Desktop.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your FileMaker software.


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