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  1. Every once in a while you need to store something with an extra bit of security. Maybe it's a password or some super secret text with a winning stock market strategy. Whatever it is, you don't just want to rely on the authentication, privilege set and possible EAR (encryption at rest) on the file. You want to store the data itself with even that much more security. By encrypting it with CryptEncryptBase64() of course! The trick is this. How do you capture that data, before it's written to the database file and then store it securely. And, beyond that, how do you provide the user with an easy way to get the information back out? Well, in this video and technique file I present a single script which handles both directions of the encryption and decryption which is very easy to associate to any given field. The user has convenient feedback that the data is secured and can get what they need when they need it. Need that extra bit of data protection while still providing the user with an easy-to-use interface? This video will provide you with the details and know-how. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  2. This is Part 2 of a series about using the DataTables JavaScript library in order to simply pull data you wish to display and doing so within a Web Viewer. While standard FileMaker Portals present one of the easiest methods for showing related data, it's now a viable option to simply use a Web Viewer to present data to the user. With the bi-directional support of JavaScript within FileMaker 19 and higher we can take advantage of what JavaScript does best - being fast! In this video we focus specifically on the initialization and interaction between a Web Viewer using DataTables and how you can add buttons and features which make using DataTables a joy within FileMaker. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  3. Portals and list views represent one of the biggest reasons for using a database for managing data. You can view the data in a myriad of ways and FileMaker provides the tools to modify the views quite easily. FileMaker's list view happens to be the most powerful when compared to portals. We don't really have the same feature set presented within a portal. Using a portal it's an all or nothing approach to sorting by default and you can't really search the portal contents. You can certainly hack in some method of controlling the sort and the old standby of simply adding new copies of the same portal, just sorted in different directions, has always been a go-to workaround. Well, has the time come to simply abandon your portals? What?!?!! Abandon portals? Is that even possible in FileMaker? Actually, it is, with what FileMaker now offers with bi-directional support within Web Viewers, it may be more viable than you've ever considered. In this two part video series I show you exactly how easy it is to simply retrieve some data, then present that data within a web viewer. Essentially, replicating a portal - except for the constant data connection. In many ways, this has become a prime opportunity to choose either a portal or web viewer. The days of always using a portal may have come to an end. But, I'll let the video speak for itself and you can choose if you want to leave your portals behind in favor of what can now be done within a web viewer. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  4. What's the easiest way to format a FileMaker date, time or timestamp value? Using a custom function? Maybe... In this video, I'll show you a unique trick for getting a formatted date, time or timestamp value without using a Custom Function or any of FileMaker's Date or Time functions. Of course, I'll also provide you with one of the better custom functions for formatting date/time/timestamp values. The custom function in this technique file handles pretty much all possible variations of date/time formatting and this includes ordinals such as 1st, 2nd and so on. If you're dealing with any type of output which requires a date, time or timestamp then make sure to give this one a watch. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  5. Anyone can just throw everything they need within a portal. Adding a new field? Just throw it in the portal. But WAIT! The question is "Should you?". The fine art of determining what should end up in your portal is based on how the data and/or actions are being referenced/used. Is the frequency for editing the data high or low? If it's low, then maybe the user doesn't need field access. What is the frequency of record deletion? Low? Then, do you really need that obvious red trash can icon on every row? How about supporting common keyboard navigation such as using up and down arrows? These are the types of things you'll find addressed within this video. A lot of really nice tidbits of inside information with regards to working with portals. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  6. Value lists are one of the fundamental building blocks of any good UI built on top of a database system. Providing users with a preselected list of options to choose from helps the data entry process go faster and - is - just easier. When using value lists, there are times when you need to limit the number of selections of any given value to being used just once. You may also need to enforce that one of each of all possible values is used. In this video, we tackle both situations by enforcing mutually exclusive values. The user can pick any given value only once and they must use all possible values. While this is what's implemented in the technique file, it's not the limit of how you can use what is taught. You can, of course, modify the technique file to accomplish whatever you need regarding the selection of unique values. It's the tips and tricks you learn along the way that improve your FileMaker development skills. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  7. Being able to develop locally, as if the data and the server was right there on your local machine provides a nice advantage. You know how the solution will work when hosted, you can develop and test PSOS scripts effectively, and you're generally protected from client crashes. Plus, you're fully mobile if need be - it's all on one machine. This is where hosting your FileMaker solutions locally becomes a big advantage. This video showcases what I consider to be the Big 3 of local hosting. 1) You can install FileMaker Server right onto your local machine within the local OS. 2) You can run FileMaker Server within a virtual machine or 3) you can now use Docker locally to host your FileMaker data. No matter what you choose, it's beneficial to emulate that server environment and host your data locally as you develop. This video will provide you with some of the details about making that happen and which one you might choose to go with. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  8. In the process of creating a simple media archiving database I found I had used the same skill twice because of how FileMaker returns data from certain functions. Hence, I decided to provide you with my simple little start to a Media Archiving solution. Simply, it asks for a folder, then pulls the paths to all files from the selected, and enclosed, folders into the database. It's really a pretty simple thing because it's managed with one simple function from the BaseElements plug-in. However, not all simple things are that simple. There are many things you need to account for when importing something from an external file and how you go about addressing things like prompting a user for a required plug-in. Regardless of whether you're needing a media archiving solution or not, there's always something more you can learn about working with FileMaker in order to accomplish your desired goals. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  9. What makes FileMaker development so fun is the variety of different functions and script steps. They provide an almost infinite number of combinations to solve a wide variety of technical problems. There isn't always just "one way to do it". So, what happens when you stop to think about a more recent feature in light of how you've "always done it before"? Like... sorting... for example. Have you always simply attached the Sort script step to your list view headers and called it a day? What if you could use just two simple scripts to provide single field sorting solution wide? This seems pretty cool since you can manage the sorting of all list views and be able to quickly add this feature to any given layout. Reusable code is a great thing. That's exactly what this video is all about. Taking advantage of lesser known features in order to create technical solutions which provide a high degree of leverage. Let's learn how to sort any field with just two simple scripts! Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  10. Continuing on with the two part series about Narrow vs. Wide tables, this video will go into how to best filter your data, especially if you have a large amount. It will present the data within the structure we'd created within the first video. Knowing the impact of data operations isn't just limited to the structure of your tables. It's also about how much data is loaded and shown to the user based on what the user needs to see. If you have a relationship resulting in hundreds of thousands of possible records, it doesn't really make sense to show anything other than what the user really needs to see. If the user only needs to see 3 months of data then simply load the three months and allow the UI to provide options to adjust. That's exactly what we cover within this video. Let's learn how to limit what is shown within your narrow table structure. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  11. Like any good craftsperson, you should know your tools and your methods for accomplishing things in the most efficient and best performing way. This is always most obvious when it comes to that every slowing FileMaker solution which started out innocently as a simple "helper" database. Then... it ended up being used for all kinds of things. Critical things even! It was thrown together based on how you mentally "see" the data and not how the data should have been structured. This is one of those painful lessons where you have to go in and retrofit the data to a new structure or make plans to migrate to an updated solution. In this video, I discuss the ever important topic of Narrow vs. Wide tables. It's a common problem in a large number of FileMaker solutions. I know because I've seen tables with field counts within the thousands. This just shouldn't be the case. FileMaker is an all-or-nothing data solution when it comes to records. If you have 1,000 fields, then FileMaker will give you all the data from all 1,000 fields. This is unlike SQL, where you only return the data you specifically ask for. With FileMaker, you have to plan your solution's data management much more carefully! Watch this video for a better understanding of how to make your tables more narrow. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  12. It seems like it's taken decades for many businesses and government agencies to move from pushing paper into the digital age of transactions. Recently, I was reminded of this by heading into town hall and having to push a bit of paper myself. Banks and other financial institutions still actually offer paper options surprisingly. I guess being in the world of tech comes with its own biases. But, despite the seemingly slow adoption, the migration is still happening and more and more things are going pure digital. The real estate markets are finally making the switch to mostly digital and this means it's a great time to know how to take advantage of this fact. Fortunately, storing a PDF into FileMaker is as easy as drag-n-drop or the click of a button. Getting information out of that PDF still requires some type of external software. In the FileMaker market you'll find a variety of options including both free and paid options. In this video, I'll walk you through one of the easiest and freely available options for pulling PDF content into FileMaker. With this license-free options you'll never be scared of getting the exact content you wish to extract from any PDF. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  13. Even if it's not a super interesting topic, and really only applies if you're managing a FileMaker server, it always pays to know how things work behind the scenes. If you've never used FileMaker's external authentication via LDAP then you'll want to watch this particular video. If you're creating any type of FileMaker solution which needs to know when your users both enter and exit the system, which especially applies to using external authentication, then you'll enjoy the super simple access log discussed within the video. There's even a great tip about adding a unique backdoor for emergency access to your files - should you forget your master password for Full Access. Remember, this may seem like a boring topic but it's critical information to have if you're going to be managing any type of complex solution with centralized access controls. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  14. Recently, having had a conversation with a fellow developer about a FileMaker theme potentially causing issues with slow performance, it was asked about how it's possible to update a theme. Whether you simply want to update existing styles and/or remove and add others, there's only a few critical things you need to remember about updating and migrating a theme. If you can get those few things right, then making any number of updates to your existing theme can be quite easy to accomplish. The great thing about updating a theme is that it can be accomplished in a completely separate copy of your live file. All you need to do is download the file from FileMaker Server and then make the desired changes/deletions/additions and then simply apply the updated theme onto the previous version. This migration can be done with minimal fuss provided you keep both the theme name and the theme styles named exactly the same. Needing to update your FileMaker theme for all your layouts? Watch this video if you'd like some insight into how you can go about migrating your theme from an older version to a newer version. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
  15. FileMaker has had the ability to use an internal PDF writer since version 8. It has, however, not always had the ability to merge multiple PDFs into one master and make this work as seamlessly as possible. Being able to do this server side is a really BIG benefit! In this video, we take a look at a subscriber's question about a particular printed layout issue in conjunction with taking advantage of FileMaker's best possible output options. With the ability to Save Records As PDF we can certainly make the process much more streamlined and as easy as possible. If you need to generate a complex multipage PDF report then you'll find a lot of value in this video. We discuss what to do about page numbers and how to merge multiple PDF files into one single master. This video and technique file will get you a stronger familiarity with how to generate the type of PDF output you desire. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. Afficher la totalité du billet
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