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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.

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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.

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.


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.

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

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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.


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.


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.

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.

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    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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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.


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:


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.

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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


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.


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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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.


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.

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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.


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.

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DownloadDownload Integrating FileMaker and Salesforce Using Zapier

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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


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.


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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


  • 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.


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.

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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.


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


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


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


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.


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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.

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.

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.


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.

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FileMaker WebDirect Phone SupportFileMaker WebDirect Phone Compatible

WebDirect has been redesigned to be compatible with mobile phones. In the previous release, FileMaker added support for tablet browsers. FileMaker 15 takes it a step further by providing support for mobile phones. Although you could access WebDirect with a phone before, it was not officially supported, mainly due to dialogs being too small for user interaction. With this release, FileMaker really focused on ensuring that all dialog messages and drop downs are easier to use on smaller screens. This is great news for the FileMaker community as it allows us to build solutions for even more users.

Watch on Youtube: Filemaker WebDirect Phone Support

Setting Up a FileMaker Application for Phones

In order to enable WebDirect, you will need FileMaker Server 15. Follow the steps on the FileMaker Knowledge Base to deploy WebDirect.  Please also keep in mind the technical specifications required for FileMaker Server 15 and WebDirect.  Once the database has been enabled, pull out your phone and go to https://<host>/fmi/webd, where <host> is the IP address or domain name of the FileMaker Server.

New to WebDirect in 15

Mobile compatibility was the main focus for WebDirect in FileMaker 15. Here are a few of the changes implemented to improve the mobile experience:

  • FileMaker 15 WebDirect Mobile SortRedesigned login screen to use field placeholders.
  • Redesigned Menubar drop down button.
  • Redesigned sort dialog flow.
  • Redesigned calendar drop down calendar to be larger.
  • Redesigned dialog fonts to be larger and to no longer be able to be resized.
  • Redesigned drop down and popup lists to use larger fonts.
  • Redesigned Custom Dialogs to fit to screen.
  • Rotation of device will not need to have visible dialogs redrawn.
  • Redesigned insert and export dialog screens to use larger buttons.



WebDirect is a great way to build a solution and have it instantly accessible on the web. With FileMaker 15, mobile phones are now supported. This allows you to give access to your database to virtually anyone.

Are you ready to deploy a custom FileMaker solution using WebDirect?
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FileMaker iBeacons

FileMaker 15 provides us with the ability to interact with iBeacon devices using FileMaker Go. This means with some setup we can associate data in our FileMaker solution with physical locations and have our iOS devices access them via the iBeacon technology.

1. What is iBeacon

FileMaker Beacon Sends Signal to iOS Device


iBeacon is a protocol developed by Apple and introduced in 2013. Much like a lighthouse which sends a signal of light to communicate with ships, an iBeacon device (more commonly referred as beacon) uses a bluetooth low energy (BLE) signal to communicate with any iOS device within its range.

While an iOS device is within the range of a beacon, it can measure its proximity to the beacon. This measurement is much more accurate than the location information you get from GPS, especially when you are indoors.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker 15 iBeacon

2. Get your beacons and set them up

In order to interact with iBeacon using FileMaker Go 15 you need to have some beacons first.

2.1. Get beacons

FileMaker Commercial iBeacons


Regarding hardware, there are many devices that can be used to broadcast as a beacon.

  1. You can easily turn your computer, iPad or iPhone into a beacon with the help of apps such as “Locate“.
  2. Or you can purchase commercial beacons. They are usually priced around $10-$20 each with a battery life of 6 months – 2 years.

2.2. Beacon settings

Once you get your beacons, the next thing to do is to set them up.

The most important settings are the following three that describe the identification of a beacon:

  1. UUID – The UUID (universally unique identifier) is the top level identification a beacon has. It is usually used to identify beacons from a specific organization. For example, beacons for all branches of a retail store could share the same UUID.
  2. Major – Major is the second level of identification. It is usually used to identify a group of beacons. For example, all beacons in a specific branch of a retail store could share the same major.
  3. Minor – Minor is the bottom level of identification. It is usually used to further identify specific beacon(s) within a group of  beacons. For example, beacons placed on each shelf in a specific branch of a retail store can be identified by their minors.

Other settings:

  1. Transmission frequency: May be altered using device-specific methods.
  2. Rate & transmit power: Both have an effect on the beacon’s battery life

3. Introducing RangeBeacons () Function

FileMaker 15 added a new calculation function named “RangeBeacons” which gives back a list of beacons surround you and their proximity information. This enables FileMaker Go to interact with iBeacon devices. 

3.1. Format

First let’s take a look at the format the function:

RangeBeacons (UUID {; timeout; major; minor})

3.2. Parameters

It has four parameters:

  1. UUID – The UUID of beacons you are looking for. This parameter is required by the function.
  2. timeout – The number of seconds to wait before returning a value. If timeout is not specified, the function returns a value after five seconds.
  3. major – The major value of beacons you are looking for. Major is an optional parameter. If both major and minor are not specified, this function will look for all beacons with the specified UUID.
  4. minor – The minor value of beacons you are looking for. Minor is also an optional parameter. If minor is not specified, this function will look for all beacons with the specified UUID and major.

The values of UUID, major and minor are determined by your beacons hardware settings and your use case, which is pretty straightforward.

However to set a proper value for timeout is a little bit tricky. If timeout is set too high, you will have to wait for a long time before receiving any information. If it is too low, you may miss some or even all beacons around you, depends on your beacons geological setup.

So if you are about to build a solution using this function, I would strongly recommend testing your solution in the actual working environment to determine a proper value for timeout. Personally I recommend starting with 2 seconds and then go up if necessary.

3.3. Data returned

The RangeBeacons function will return a list of beacons and their proximity to your iOS device. Each row returned is a beacon found. Within each row, you will find the following information (from left to right) separated by a comma:

  1. UUID – the UUID of the beacon you found.
  2. Major – the major value of the beacon you found.
  3. Minor – the minor value of the beacon you found.
  4. Proximity – a number indicating the relative proximity to the beacon. 1 means the beacon is very close (within a couple of inches), 2 means the beacon is relatively close (within a couple of feet), 3 means the beacon is far (more than 30 feet away), 0 means the proximity of the beacon could not be determined.
  5. Accuracy – the accuracy of the proximity value, measured in meters from the beacon. You can use accuracy to further distinguish beacons with the same proximity value.
  6. RSSI – the received signal strength of the beacon, measured in decibels (db).

3.4. Example

RangeBeacons(“D9B9EC1F-3925-43D0-80A9-1E39D4CEA95C”) returns information about all nearby iBeacons with the specified UUID. As shown below:
D9B9EC1F-3925-43D0-80A9-1E39D4CEA95C, 5, 1, 3, 14.68, -79
D9B9EC1F-3925-43D0-80A9-1E39D4CEA95C, 5, 2, 3, 18.96, -81

This result indicates that it found two beacons with the specified UUID. Let’s look at the first beacon it found:

  1. UUID: D9B9EC1F-3925-43D0-80A9-1E39D4CEA95C
  2. major: 5
  3. minor: 1
  4. proximity: 3. It means this beacon is far away.
  5. accuracy: 14.68. It means this beacon is about 14.68 meters away (around 48 feet).
  6. rssi: -79.

4. Interacting with iBeacon using FileMaker Go 15

Now that you are familiar with the RangeBeacons function let’s dive deeper and see how it can be utilized in a FileMaker solution. To demo that I’m going to walk you through how to build a simple museum tour app using FileMaker.

The purpose of this app is to provide tourists with materials that can help them better understand a piece of art when they are standing next to it. 

ibeacon art


4.1. Set up a BEACON table

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, FileMaker 15 allows us to associate data with physical locations. In this specific example, we want to associate text, image, audio or even video to the location where the artwork is at. To do that we need to set up a table to store beacon identification info as well as materials that each beacon is associated with, as shown below:FileMaker Beacon Table

According to their purposes, fields in this table fall into these three categories:

  1. House keeping: __kptID, creationName, creationTStamp, modName, modTStamp.
  2. Beacon identification: uuid, major, minor.
  3. Information associated with the artwork: artworkName, associatedText, associatedPicture, associatedAudio and associatedVideo.

4.2. Create records representing iBeacon devices

Once we have the table ready, the next step is to populate this table with records. The number of records to have in the BEACON table should be the same as the number of beacons your solution may interact with.

In my example file I created two records. Their information is shown below:

FileMaker Example Beacon Records

4.3. Write a script to show users proper materials according to their locations.

To provide users with the data associated with their location, we need to write a script that does the following steps:

  1. Ranging for all beacons around the user with the UUID used by the museum.
  2. Go through all beacons returned and find out which beacon is the closest to the user.
  3. Take user to the beacon record of the closest beacon and show them associated materials.

Once we get the script written, we can attach it to a button so whenever the user wants to get the info of the artwork that’s in front of them, they can press that button to run this script.

4.4. Set up beacons

Enough with the software, now let’s set up our beacons.

When I was testing the sample file I used the Locate app to turn two of my iOS devices into beacons. Here are their settings in Locate:

Setting up iBecon part 1        Setting up iBecon part 2

You can definitely use other iBeacon devices to play with the sample file, as long as their UUID, major and minor settings match the data in the BEACON table.

4.5. Place beacons

The last step is to place beacons to proper locations. If this is for a museum, beacons will need to be placed next to their corresponding pieces of art.

4.6. Try out the sample file

Please open the sample file on your computer and follow the instructions listed in there. I also briefly demo’ed how to set up the environment to use the app in the video for this article.

5. Other use cases

Besides the Tourism use case mentioned above, there are many many other use cases that can benefit from using iBeacon. I am going to list a few of them here. This list is definitely not exhaustive.

5.1. Inventory Management

Many people use FileMaker to manage inventory. They like to store items’ location info in it so they know where each item is at in the warehouse. Now with iBeacon, you can take it to the next level:

  • If you are doing an inventory check, your system can pull up information of all items on a shelf or even on a certain row of a shelf for you.
  • If you need to move an item from one location to another, to record its new location you can simply press a button. Let’s face it, if you need to carry things or wear gloves inside a warehouse, typing sucks.
  • Safety instructions (or other instructions) can be associated with locations where they are needed. User will have them at their finger tip and the instructions can take the form of text, image, audio or video.

5.2. Event Organization

  • iBeacon can play a very important role in indoor navigation because it can show you where you are. I think everyone who attended last year’s FileMaker DevCon would have loved that feature in the DevCon App. (Please do it this year FileMaker!)
  • iBeacon can be used to display location-specific event info. Event organizers can use it to explain what’s going on here and provide information about vendors or artists info (depends on what kind of event you are doing)  to the attendees.
  • You can even use it to add some fun to your event by adding treasure-hunt-like features to your event app.

5.3. Education Industry

  • Use the beacons as digital bulletin boards for courses or buildings for students.
  • Teachers can broadcast information about their classes or exams.



The ability to interact with iBeacons really opens up infinite possibilities of what FileMaker can do. It allows your FileMaker solution to be the link between the virtual world and the physical world. With a little bit of imagination I believe you will be able to find a way to use iBeacon to help you manage or grow your business.


DownloadDownload FileMaker iBeacon Database

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    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.


Image Sources

  1. https://www.bermotech.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Apple-iBeacon.png
  2. http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0680/4391/products/est-shopifu_1024x1024.jpg?v=1449848466
  3. http://blog.mowowstudios.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ibeacon-art.png

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FileMaker Licensing for Teams – FLT

Right when you thought you knew all 500+ SKUs available for FileMaker licenses, FileMaker changes the landscape again by adding FileMaker Licensing for Teams, or FLT for short. FLT brings simplicity to the FileMaker licensing platform and is the norm in the software industry. FileMaker found that 2 out of every 3 FileMaker prospects use 3 or more devices for business so now they only have to purchase 1 user license. The new FLT option gives FileMaker a new look to licensing, a user model instead of a hybrid of desktop users and mobile / web concurrency licensing.

FLT is basically licensing at the FileMaker Server. The way FLT works is you purchase FileMaker Server (which you should always have with any team of users) and you purchase the number of FileMaker users starting at 5 licenses and going up to 100 or more. FLT licenses includes FileMaker Go, FileMaker WebDirect and FileMaker Pro. Note: FileMaker Pro Advanced is not included in FLT and would need to be purchased separately. The main difference with FileMaker Pro with FLT is that it HAS to be connected to FileMaker Server. This means you can’t use a local copy to build out a solution until it has connected to a server first, more reason to get FileMaker Pro Advanced for your development long term.

What does this mean for existing FileMaker customers on traditional licenses such as Volume Licenses (AVLA, VLA), Site License (ASLA, SLA) and individual licenses? Nothing, the existing license programs are unchanged and you can continue to add licenses and renew your licenses in those programs. HOWEVER, if you are adding concurrency licenses to your existing server licenses, they will be 3x FLT pricing, UNLESS you already have 5 ore more connections and you can continue to add concurrent connections until May of 2018. This makes it clear that FileMaker is encouraging the new option of FileMaker licensing with FLT by being the default option for the FileMaker Store moving froward, and going away from the concurrency model, but allowing the existing user base to ease into the change.


  • FileMaker provides a new option of licenses that is based on per user, instead of per device.
  • User based licensing simplifies the purchasing process and becomes more in line with the industry.
  • Existing AVLA, VLA, ASLA, SLA and individual licenses goes unchanged EXCEPT for adding concurrent connections to server, which is 3x the cost as they are moving away from that pricing model, unless you already have 5 or more connections on your FileMaker Server.  Renewing concurrent connections will be unchanged until May 2018.
  • The pricing for FLT is the same as the most popular AVLA.


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FileMaker Server Top Call Logging

With the release of FileMaker Server 15 comes the ability to track the heaviest client usage periods. This new feature, named the Top Call Statistics Log, gives server and group administrators the ability to pinpoint the client requests that take the longest, allowing them to investigate any slowdowns in their systems much more quickly and efficiently.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker Server Top Call Logging

Top Call Statistics Log

In previous versions of FileMaker server, administrators had the ability to view real-time client statistics on the admin console under the Statistics screen, both for the server as a whole and for individual clients.

Server Statistics Tab

FileMaker Server Statistics Tab

Client Statistics Tab

FileMaker Client Statistics Log

These, while certainly useful for seeing when activity was high, didn’t reveal much of the why. When the Top Call Statistics Log is enabled under the “Database Server>Logging” tab, you can delve deeper into the reasons for the high activity. The log describes up to 25 client requests that have the longest elapsed time during the statistics collection interval, which is also specified under the “Database Server>Logging” tab. The Top Call Statistics Log will allow users to see who performed the action, what the operation was, and even the filename, table, layout and field to give them a clearer picture of what the server was processing. Below displays everything the log tracks.

Timestamp Database Server timestamp at the collection interval, using same format as the other log files.
Start Time Timestamp at the start of the remote call (seconds.fraction since the Database Server was started)
End Time Timestamp at the end of the remote call (seconds.fraction since the Database Server was started). The column will be empty if the remote call is in progress.
Total Elapsed Total number of microseconds elapsed for the remote call so far.
Operation The name of the remote call; for example: Query, Upload, or Download.

For some operations, this column includes a task name and the percentage completed; for example:
Query (Indexing 10%).

Target The name of the hosted file that a client has open, with additional data if possible. Possible formats may include:



Elapsed Time Microseconds of elapsed time for the remote call in this collection interval.
Wait Time Time waiting for other clients (in microseconds) for the remote call in this collection interval.
I/O Time Time waiting for disk input/output (in microseconds) for the remote call in this collection interval
Network Bytes In Number of bytes received from the client during this collection interval
Network Bytes Out Number of bytes sent to the client during this collection interval.
Client Name A client name or identifier; for example, an IP address or FileMaker WebDirect client identifier.



The log file is stored under the “/FileMaker Server/Logs/” folder and is named “TopCallStats.log”. This will track the statistics up to the file size specified under the “Database Server>Logging” tab in the admin console. When the file size of the log reaches the specified log size, it is renamed “TopCallStats-old.log” and a new “TopCallStats.log” file is created.

Log File Location

Using TopCallStats.log

The file can be viewed in any application that can read tab-delimited data.

Top Call Excel

It can also be imported directly into a FileMaker solution, using either the “File>Import Records>File” option or using the “Import Records” script step. This allows users to store, find and compare results much more easily and across a large span of time.

FileMaker Top Call Import

Top Call FileMaker


Top Call Statistics Logging allows server and group administrators newfound capabilities of discovering their systems’ performances, as well as the information to help determine possible solutions to any inefficiencies they discover. This gives administrators the ability to see the who, what, when and why of any issues they come across and allows easy tracking of any heavy usage issues that may occur. This is just one of the many new features in FileMaker 15 that allows businesses to run their day-to-day operations smoothly.


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FileMaker Go Touch ID & 3D Touch

FileMaker Go 15 incorporates many features new to iOS such as Touch ID and 3D Touch. These features add even more security and convenience to FileMaker Go by allowing more options to manage your keychain and Quick Actions to open files without needing to open Go first. Below we will dive into the details of these useful new features.

Watch on Youtube FileMaker Go 15 – Touch ID & 3D Touch

Touch ID

FileMaker Go 15 Touch ID

Adding an extra layer of security on top of Apple’s iCloud Keychain, Touch ID can be enabled for solutions that have their login credentials saved in Keychain, enabling biometric authentication for your most important solFileMaker Pro 15 File Optionsutions. For mobile devices without a Touch ID sensor, you will prompted for your device passcode instead of your fingerprint, allowing the same added security for your solutions.

For each solution, an option may be enabled on the FileMaker Pro side to require the device to have a passcode enabled before it stores the password for the solution in iCloud Keychain.

FileMaker Go also now includes Touch ID and passcode protection for your keychain entries. Press the cog icon at the top right of the Launch Center, then select Manage Keychain. If you have entries that require an iOS passcode, it will prompt you to use your fingerprint or passcode to see the entries. If you select Cancel or do not have a passcode, FileMaker Go hides those entries that require a passcode.

FileMaker Go 15 3D Touch Menu3D Touch

FileMaker Go 15 adds Quick Actions to its list of new features, enabling solutions frequently used to be conveniently opened from a shortcut menu on the home screen. Accessing your FileMaker solution has never been easier or faster with a single press.


Touch ID & 3D Touch integration with FileMaker Go 15 makes FileMaker Go more convenient and secure than ever through the use of Touch ID to access your keychain and 3D Touch to evoke Quick Actions on the home screen. These are some of the many new useful features that come with the latest release of the FileMaker platform.

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FileMaker App Extensions

With its newest release, FileMaker has made it easier than ever to share data with other apps on iOS. With the introduction of app extensions for FileMaker Go we now have the ability to download images, word documents, spreadsheets and even a FileMaker database itself. In short app extensions bring a bunch of great ways to share data with other iOS apps, and helps FileMaker Go integrate with multiple cloud storage providers, providing users a much easier method of transferring data with 3rd party apps and services.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker Go 15 App Extensions


How it Works

Sharing files and docs with other apps is accomplished by giving the user access to the iOS share sheet. The share sheet is a context-aware popover that pulls in any other apps on the iOS device configured to take advantage of the app extension’s sharing features. This is especially useful for people that rely heavily on cloud storage like Dropbox, iCloud and OneDrive.

FileMaker App Extensions Overview


There are 2 different places you can take advantage of importing from external applications. The first is from the Device tab on the Launch Center. From here you’ll notice a new icon in the top left hand corner of the screen. This button will take you to your iCloud, where you can browse all your files and docs, allowing you to download a FileMaker file directly to your device. You also have the option to change the service from iCloud to Dropbox or any other 3rd party document cloud service by clicking the locations button. The second place you can import docs using the new app extension feature is with container fields. Alongside the familiar insert container options, there is a new locations option giving you direct access to all your cloud documents.

FileMaker App Extensions Importing



Exporting files and data from FileMaker Go is better than ever: you can now export any document stored in a container field, and FileMaker Go will tell you all the apps on your device capable of viewing the file. If you’re using FileMaker to store excel or word documents this will allow you to open your docs in Microsoft’s great Office products for iOS. Or you can just send these documents back up to the cloud service of your choice. Another cool thing you can do when exporting images is to post them directly to social media sites like Twitter or Facebook.

You can do more than just exporting data from your container fields, you can also export excel documents or reports generated from your own FileMaker database. This makes it easy to generate reports on the fly, and save them to a shared location without the need to email yourself the report, then share it manually. And finally, you can now export the entire database back to a cloud service from the launch center, providing a way to get the database on and off of a users device much more easily than the two previous methods of emailing the database, or transferring it using iTunes.

FileMaker App Extensions Exporting


The addition of sharing via App Extensions is exciting news for both FileMaker developers and users, as it extends FileMakers capabilities to integrate with millions of other apps. It will be interesting to see the creative ways people put them to use.

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FileMaker – Portal In-Line Progress Bar

FileMaker odometerThe Portal In-Line Progress Bar, one of FileMaker 15’s new performance-based features, brings with it the separation of a layout’s non-portal and portal rendering tasks. This means users are no longer forced to wait for cumbersome portals to load before being able to interact with a window’s content. It also means developers can now feel more confident in deploying portals once considered off limits due to their long load times.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker 15 – Portal In-Line Progress Bar


The Portal In-Line Progress Bar

FileMaker inline portal progress bar iconAs represented by the new Portal In-Line Progress Bar, FileMaker 15’s asynchronous loading of portals means developers can now reconsider utilizing a portal’s sort and find functionality because deploying such a portal isn’t going to automatically lock users out of a layout while they wait for it to load.


This was then, FileMaker 14 and below.

Layout access is impossible until all layout elements are loaded.

FileMaker portal load locked out

This is now, FileMaker 15.

Partial layout access is possible once all elements, aside from portals and containers, which now now display the new In-Line Progress Bar,  have loaded.

filemaker portal inline progress bar icon

Worth Remembering

Bear in mind, contextual changes made while a portal is loading, like switching records or modes, will cancel the loading process. Also note that any loading portals are “off limits” when it comes to active object tabbing (a loading portal will be skipped & the next active object will be entered) and scripts & triggers (a script will be blocked until the portal is loaded and available).

“Things are getting better all the time.”

All in all, while the Portal In-Line Progress Bar may appear to be a minor change, it actually brings with it some great benefits and potential for both users and developers alike.


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FileMaker 15 User Interface

The FileMaker platform is a constantly evolving and improving ecosystem. The latest version of FileMaker has overhauled the user interface in a number of ways. The FileMaker application UI is extremely important because it is the backdrop of every FileMaker app. This round of updates increases the user experience with visual clarity, less text and visual noise on screen, more intuitive icons, and greater consistency of color.

Let’s take a deeper look:

 Refreshed Status Toolbar

The status toolbar is the most important interface element of FileMaker. Whether your app is on desktop, mobile, web, or all three, chances are the status toolbar is a heavily utilized element of both users and developers. FileMaker 15 really makes the buttons pop to ensure users can easily perform regular actions such as create, find, and delete. Here’s a comparison:

FileMaker 14


FileMaker 15


Layout mode status toolbar has also increased readability with some terrific color choices:

FileMaker 14


FileMaker 15


Improved Inspector



One controversial change is the removal of layout mode’s inspector tab names, in favor of icons and accompanying tooltips. These icons are relatively ambiguous, however I would argue it is a change for the better. My reasoning is that the tab names were not clearly defined in the first place. I often know which tab a feature is located under by simply recalling first, second, third or fourth tab. For example, Styles tab has all styling information… except that styles can also be managed from the appearance tab. And the data tab holds the field formatting display options, which directly affect the appearance of a field. The categories are good, but remain intermingled enough to require a bit of memorization. FileMaker 15 embraces this with flat icons, and reduces the visual noise by removing text that hardly mattered in the first place. We’ve all already memorized the tab locations, so this change doesn’t take long to get used to.

A welcome refresh is the removal of the sushi bar of vague colors in the “Arrange & Align” section. FileMaker 15 replaces the skeuomorphic images with modern flat icons.

Another change to the inspector is the unifying effect of knocking back the section divider darkness. Now these labels are no longer fighting to be the most prominent element even though they are the least referenced.

Updates to the inspector might take a little getting used to for seasoned developers, but from my own experience it doesn’t take long to appreciate the increased ease of use.




FileMaker  WebDirect and Go Updates

The status toolbar for WebDirect as well as Go both received a minor update to the icon terminology. The most noticeable one of these is updating the dropdown menu to be an arrow in place of the old, rather vague, folder icon:


This should help the ease of use for all mobile users.


This version of FileMaker holds a number of visual updates to the application. These will help any custom app to look more sleek and modern.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker 15 User Interface

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FileMaker 15 Security Enhancements

FileMaker has done it again. They are constantly improving the security features of the FileMaker platform to better serve its users. Now that FileMaker 15 has arrived lets review those changes.

 Pro / Pro Advanced 15 Features

FileMaker 15 SSL Certificate ErrorFileMaker Permitted Hosts
First a new warning will appear whenever a connection is made to a hosted file and the connection cannot be validated. This mainly applies to deployments of server that are using the self-signed certificate when SSL is first enabled. FileMaker has always been clear with their message: the self-signed certificate is for testing and development only. If you don’t wish to see this notification and need SSL enabled a signed certificate is the best way to remove it. Servers that have a regular (custom) certificate or have SSL disabled will never display this message. Keep reading to see how FileMaker Server 15 has improved this process.

One alternative is to check the “Always permit connection to this host”. This will then add the server as a permitted host in your FileMaker Preferences.

 FileMaker Data Viewer Security
The Data Viewer has been updated; in the past users with FileMaker Pro Advanced could gain access to any information in your application. No more! Now a full access account is required to use this feature. Certainly a welcome change that matches the Script Debugger and Current tab of the data viewer itself.
FileMaker 15 Concealed Edit BoxGathering passwords from users is now even easier. A new control style, the “concealed edit box”, has been added to mask any sensitive data. FileMaker now provides a sleek way to protect sensitive information entered by a user.

Go 15

FileMaker Go Security Connection WarningFileMaker Go Manage Permitted HostsJust like its desktop counterpart, FileMaker Go will warn you when trying to connect to servers/files that are not secure.

The Always Permit Connection is a welcome feature. Users will likely be familiar with this concept from browsing websites. Just like on Pro users can manage their list of permitted hosts directly within FM Go.

Server 15

Create Certificate Signing RequestWith FileMaker Server 15 you can now create your certificate signing request, serverRequest.pem and serverKey.pem files directly from the admin console. Previous versions required this to be done from the command line or terminal.  This file is then used with your certificate authority to generate the certificate. Just be sure to follow the process outlined with your certificate authority. As a bonus we can now also view the certificate once it has been properly installed.
Security Require Password Protected DatabasesFileMaker Server now has the option to require password-protected databases. A database that has a Guest account using the Full Access privilege set, a Full Access account with an empty password, or a Full Access account with the password stored in the database using the File Options dialog box “Log in Using” option is insecure and will not be opened.

Keep In Mind

  • Extended Privileges – To prevent Applescript or ActiveX from performing FileMaker scripts, use the new fmscriptdisabled extended privilege.
  • FMS SSL Certificate – You will still need to use the command line/terminal to delete a custom certificate.
  • FileMaker Go  – You can now log in to your application using Touch ID.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker 15 Security Features

In Conclusion

With all the focus on protecting data these days, it is nice to see FileMaker’s continued improvement in the security realm. I know this developer will be pushing more clients to use FileMaker 15’s new security features, including custom SSL certificates, ensuring a smooth deployment.

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FileMaker In-Product Updates

FileMaker In Product Updates LogoFileMaker 15 introduced a much welcomed improvement to the updating process: you can now upgrade your FileMaker Pro directly in Pro itself, instead of needing to hunt for an updater on a separate web page. But that’s not all – the updaters are significantly smaller in size, making downloads faster. With these changes FileMaker has modernized the updating process, which should ultimately result in more users on the latest version, a goal that aligns with FMI’s continued focus on security.

How it works

If there’s a new minor version available, you will be asked when you open FileMaker Pro if you’d like to install the update. You can elect to either install it, be reminded later or skip the version entirely. Unlike the previous versions of Pro where you would be taken to the Updates web page, the new version will be downloaded all within Pro itself. Once downloaded, you will be prompted to install the update and relaunch Pro. Doing so will complete the update process by replacing the current version of Pro with the new one.

Some odds and ends

  • In-product updates are only available on Pro. Server updates will still require going to the Updates page.
  • You can check for a new version at any time via Help–>Check for Updates, just like you could in previous versions.
    FileMaker Up To Date Message
  • You can turn off new version alerts the same way you could in previous versions, via unchecking the “Notify me when an update is available” option under Preferences.
    FileMaker New Version Alert Preference
  • In-product updates only apply to minor versions (e.g. 15v1 to 15v2). Major versions (e.g. 15 to 16) will still require downloading and running an installer outside of Pro.


Like all great features, in-product updates will become so natural so quickly that people will assume upgrading always worked this way. And now that the process is nearly effortless for users, I hope to see more frequent releases from FMI. As the popular software development saying goes, release early, and release often!

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FileMaker Google Route Optimization

FileMaker Google MapsWhether you are a technician that has multiple appointments in a day, or you are a traveling salesperson, you want to minimize your time on the road. Luckily for us, Google has an API for route optimization! Let’s look at how to connect your FileMaker solution with the Google Maps Directions API to take a list of locations and order them to minimize the time spent traveling.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker Google Route Optimization

Creating a Free Developer Account

Getting your API key is free and easy, and the first step is to create a project in the Google Developers Console if you don’t already have one.

Create Google Project


You can get away without using an API key, but you will be limited to 8 locations. Once you have created the project, you will then need to enable the Google Maps Directions API and then set up the credentials for the API. This will take you to a setup process where the API will be managed. We will be using HTTP requests, so you will want to mark that the API will be accessed via a web browser client.

Googel Directions API Credentials

Once you have created your credentials, and the API Key has been created, copy it into your solution. Now you have everything you need to make requests to the Google Directions API.

Making Requests and Parsing the Response

The request to the Google Maps Directions API can be completely handled by using the native FileMaker script step “Insert from URL”.

Insert from URL [ Select ; No Dialog ; TABLE::postResult ; "https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/directions/json?...&key=[Your API Key]" ; Do not automatically encode URL ]

This means that it is compatible with both Desktop and iOS clients. In order to get multiple addresses sorted in the fastest route, you will need to set the flag “optimize:true”.


By setting the optimize flag, you are now required to enter the location of origin and destination, along with the waypoints you wish to visit in between. Details for how to set up the url request can be found on the Google Maps Directions Documentation.

Once a successful request has been made, a JSON-encoded response will be returned. You will then be able to use a plugin, a web viewer, or any JSON parser that you prefer to pull out the data that you need. Remember, if you need your solution to be mobile compatible, you can’t use a plugin unless you use Perform Script on Server. The Google Directions API returns complete directions with the response, so you can get as much or as little as you want out of it. By setting the optimize flag to true, the response will also include the order in which you should visit the provided waypoint locations.

"summary" : "I-465 W",
"warnings" : [],
"waypoint_order" : [ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 0, 7 ]

In the example above, the waypoint order is what you will need to reference to order your locations. Starting with 0, you will want to rearrange your locations to so that they go from increasing order. The first waypoint put into the request will need to be the second waypoint visited. You will need to go through each location in the same order you passed to the API. Then, set each record with the number provided. When you sort the records by the corresponding waypoint, you will have the optimized route. Now, when you map the locations in this order, you will have the best route possible.



Save time and money optimizing your drive. Google has yet another API that us FileMaker users can easily integrate with and use. Feel free to contact us if you need further assistance or to discuss making your routes as optimized as possible with any other route optimizing APIs.


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FileMaker Server 14

FileMaker Server Connections Renewal Price Increase

When FileMaker 14 came out last year, the price of new users of FileMaker Server for FileMaker Go and WebDirect users increased to be closer in line with the price of FileMaker Pro. Historically FileMaker lets existing customers have a year of transition the new price of licenses.

With that being said, the renewal price for FileMaker Server with FileMaker Go/WebDirect connections will be going up to match the price of new licenses on May 12th 2016. You have the opportunity to lock in a two year or one year renewal for savings at the old price before the price increase officially happens.

For example, if you have a Server with 5 Go/WebDirect connections (AVLA) expiring 10/12/2016 you can renew before May for $648 (retail price, not our price) but, if you renew after May your renewal cost would be $828 (retail price, not our price). The savings is real, and if you have the funds to renew early you should definitely take advantage of it now. Please note: renewing early will not change the date of you contract. Following the above example, if you renewed your licenses before May, your new contract date for a 1 year renewal would be 10/12/2017.


  • FileMaker will be increasing the cost of FileMaker Server with Go/WebDirect connections for renewals on May 12th, 2016.
  • This affects people with FileMaker Server with 5 or more connections.
  • Customers have the opportunity to renew licenses early to save money for the next year or two.


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Have any additional questions regarding licensing?
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FileMaker Google Calendar Integration

Having your own calendar inside of FileMaker is a great way for you and your coworkers to keep track of upcoming appointments. However, building your own calendar in FileMaker is a very tedious task. Why reinvent the wheel when there are already apps out there that you can integrate with? I will show you how to connect your FileMaker solution with Google Calendar to take advantage of this powerful calendar and all of its features.

Watch on Youtube: FileMaker Google Calendar Integration

FileMaker Google Calendar Logos

Creating a Free Developer Account

The first step of this integration is to create a project in the Google Developers Console. Once you have created the project, you will then need to enable the Calendar API. This will take you to a setup process where the API will be managed. We will be using HTTP requests, so you will want to mark that the API will be accessed via a web browser client and that you will be accessing user data. You will also need to set the redirect URI to https://google.com or any valid website. This is only used as a landing page for authentication and does not need to be anything special. Once the Client ID has been created, copy the Client ID and Client Secret into your solution. Keep your client secret hidden from the world as the combination of the Client ID and Client Secret will be used to authorize your solution to make changes to the end user’s calendar.

Authenticating with Google

Once you have your API information, you will need authenticate your solution with the Google Calendar API. FileMaker can’t set headers natively, and later on we will need to use a HTTP PUT command, so a plugin is needed in order to make any requests to the Google Calendar 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 Google Calendar API Documentation. To authenticate your solution, place the user into a web viewer at the API authentication screen. This will prompt the user to login with their own account and allow your solution to make changes to their calendar.

FileMaker Google Calendar Consent

Once they have agreed, they will be sent to the address specified in your redirect URI. In the address, there will be url encoded parameters, one of which will be the authentication code. Finally, you will use the code provided, along with your client ID 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 Google Calendar API requests require additional parameters outside of the URL encoded parameters. The Insert Event request, for example, is a POST request which requires additional fields like the start and end date, event title, and many other optional settings for the event. 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://www.googleapis.com/calendar/v3/calendars/primary/events?access_token=[Your Access Token] ; $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.

 "kind": "calendar#event",
 "status": "confirmed",
 "created": "2016-01-20T17:46:42.000Z",
 "updated": "2016-01-20T17:48:30.994Z",
 "summary": "Test",
 "colorId": "5",
 "creator": {
  "email": "bmcbride@dbservices.com",
  "displayName": "Brendan McBride",
  "self": true
 "organizer": {
  "email": "bmcbride@dbservices.com",
  "displayName": "Brendan McBride",
  "self": true
 "start": {
  "dateTime": "2016-01-21T13:30:00-05:00"
 "end": {
  "dateTime": "2016-01-21T14:30:00-05:00"

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

Set Variable [ BE_JSONPath ( $jsonResponse ; "$.id" ) ]


Google Calendar can be fully integrated with your FileMaker solution! You can create, update, delete, or move events to different calendars all from within FileMaker. Save time and money taking advantage of all the features built into the calendar you already use. Feel free to contact us if you need further assistance or to discuss getting your company calendars into FileMaker.


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Heat Maps in FileMaker

FileMaker is a powerful tool for data visualization, with many tools to display the story that the numbers tell. What many may not realize is that the vector-based SVG button icons can be utilized for some very flexible custom charting. Let’s explore how we can use them to quickly construct a choropleth map, more commonly called a heat map.

Watch on YouTube Heat Maps in FileMaker

Creating a Heat Map

FileMaker not only has the ability to import SVG icons, it also gives the ability to change their color with conditional formatting. This is key to using them for data visualization. All we need to get a heat map up and running are our SVG icons and some conditional formatting rules. For my map, I am using individual American states created in Adobe Illustrator. Once you have whichever SVGs you wish to use positioned on your layout, add conditional formatting based on data fields. filemaker conditional formattingWithin the conditional formatting, define different icon colors for the break points of data. Pay close attention to the order of the conditional formatting, since FileMaker will evaluate all the rules from top to bottom.

Save your layout, and that’s it! You now have a heat map in FileMaker.

TIP: Use seven colors or less, otherwise you risk making the map difficult to read.


An SVG heat map is fully compatible with iOS and Web Direct, however there are some limitations.

First, there is a size limitation. The button setup as of FileMaker 14 limits icon size to a maximum of 128 points. This means that large objects like Texas will limit the size that other states can be displayed at. A work around for this is cutting the largest objects into quarters or smaller elements, and then align the object parts.

filemaker button setup

Another limitation is that conditional formatting on a button overrides the hover state. This means that if we wish to turn our icons into buttons, there will be no hover color. The work around to this is duplicating the heat map and creating a transparent map of clickable buttons, without any formatting. This method has two downsides: first, the layered objects in layout mode will make it difficult to modify the conditional formatting located on the back layer; second, if any objects have been segmented because they were too large, the hover state will only apply to a single section. If this is an issue, you can simply elect to not have a hover state.

The last thing to keep in mind is that the button boundaries will not be the same shape as the icon–by default they will be square. You can work around this by rounding the corner radius on one or all of the icon corners to minimize overlap.

Custom Charting Beyond Heat Maps

SVGs are a very flexible medium, and can be used for more than just a heat map. With this same technique, you can make pretty much any custom chart you can imagine. One could highlight parts of a car or other object, display health data on a human body, or illustrate an organization chart. the sky is the limit!

If you use this method for a custom graph of your own, tweet it to us and share your awesome ideas. @DBServices

DownloadDownload FileMaker Heat Maps Database

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