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  1. If I were to mention MVP vs MVP, what would be the first thing that comes to mind? For most people, they would be envisioning the greatest rivalries and epic battles in sports history. Perhaps Larry Bird vs Magic Johnson, or Peyton Manning vs Tom Brady, or Sidney Crosby vs Alexander Ovechkin. After all, the acronym MVP is mostly associated with Most Valuable Player. Within the agile development community, however, the acronym MVP represents something entirely different… The Minimum (or Most) Viable Product (MVP), as defined by Eric Ries, is a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort. It’s a strategy to avoid developing products that our clients do not need or want by maximizing our learning of what is truly valuable to the client. By developing in MVP iterations, we are able to deliver deployable products in the quickest way possible. We’re able to quickly get feedback and keep our client engaged. In this way, we develop what our client needs and not what we think they need. Based on my experiences, this is the only proven formula for saving our clients’ money and keeping them happy throughout the entire development process. Developing in Minimum Viable Product iterations has been so well-received and liked by our clients, some of them have lost focus on maintaining the Most Valuable Product. Through client collaboration, a Minimum Viable Product is determined at some point in time. A series of Minimum Viable Product, in theory, will lead to a final product that is most valuable to the client at that point in time. Once the final product is released, clients are euphorically happy because they have a product they exactly want and didn’t spend any extra money on it. It is understandable to think that they have the Most Valuable Product. In fact, that is far from the case… Whereas the Minimum Viable Product is based on a point in time, the Most Valuable Product is more fluid. The Most Valuable Product will change along with a client’s business & industry. It must keep you operating at maximum efficiency and keep you ahead of your competitors. In order to ensure the euphoria at project completion last and that you have the Most Valuable Product, one must always practice Continuous Improvement principles. I hope this blog clarifies that the Minimum Viable Product ≠ Most Valuable Product. If you need help obtaining your Most Valuable Product, through Continuous Improvement principles, don’t hesitate to contact us. Afficher la totalité du billet
  2. The last two times the FileMaker certification test was released, I found out from my friends in Japan on Facebook that the test was available before I saw the community announcement for it. So, I jumped right in to schedule my certification test. This time, I was excited to see a new testing option: “take test using your own computer.” Could it be? Excited about the prospect of this newfound convenience, I booked it right away. Having just finished up taking the test though, there’s some things to consider here that may put you off from taking the test from home yourself… Preparing to take the test A red message in the online portal will “highly encourage” you to take a test before taking your test. This sample test familiarizes you with what will be required to take the actual test. You’ll be sent a link via text message that will launch a browser app on your smartphone. This will require you to take 4 pictures of your “testing room” from the front, back, and both sides of your computer. Also required is a picture of the front and back side of your ID (photo ID with signature–I used my state driver’s license). (Side note… Uploading photos through a browser app might not seem secure to some people. I also couldn’t find any documentation that says what Pearson VUE’s retention policy is for those photos. If they’re not destroyed after completing a test, then they’re vulnerable to data breaches of people getting your personal data AND a high res photo of your official ID.) After uploading, pressing a refresh button in the browser portal will greet you with a download for OnVUE, the third-party app installed locally on your machine to deliver the test. After installing (and on OSX, bypassing the security warning about installing an app downloaded from the internet), you will take a simple test with a few introduction slides and questions before completing the readiness test. From here, you’re ready to take the exam. Taking the exam On test day, 30 minutes before your scheduled exam, a “begin exam” link will become available in your Pearson web portal. You will repeat the exact same process described above (get link, upload photos, etc..). This time after the refresh button, a chat window will pop open and a “proctor,” who you never actually see visually or hear audio from, will confirm with your webcam that it is you taking the exam and you are taking it in the same place based on the photos you uploaded. Once confirmed, your test will start without any other confirmation and the timer will immediately run. From here, the test is pretty much the same as usual. In OSX, I noticed there was a black lock icon for a “browser block” app, which, I assume, logs keystrokes along with blocking certain keystrokes that could be used for cheating or taking screenshots of the test. I completed the test in 105 of 120 allowed minutes, but read on for the rest of the story! Experientia Interruptio So, let’s get to the reasons why I probably wouldn’t take the test again from home: 1. Midway through my test, the chat window disruptively popped open while I was reading a question. It was my proctor, and he demanded that I rotate my computer screen so he could view a 360-degree view of my room. I have a 27″ iMac tied down with cable organizers, so this took a few minutes to even accomplish. After this, the chat message told me to “keep my eyes on the screen.” Ok, why would they say that since I was already? I realized that because I sit close enough to my 27″ iMac, that the eye travel between the top left corner (reading questions and marking responses) and the lower corner (clicking next to navigate to the next question) was really significant. Apparently, this was enough to make them think that I was looking beyond my screen or down at my desk to an invisible piece of paper that I snuck in. 2. If you like looking at yourself, great. There’s a toolbar that sits in the top middle of the screen with a little video of your webcam showing during the entire process. It’s distracting, but a necessary evil of the “home exam.” The toolbar also contains the buttons to open the chat dialog with the proctor (unless it’s automatically launched as noted above), and a “notepad” function that takes the place of the small dry erase board and marker I normally get for notes at my local test center. 3. That notepad? Kind of a joke. Anyone that’s familiar with FMEasyCanvas–it’s the same exact thing. Also, your notes persist from question to question, so you need to erase your previous scratch work (with an eraser tool) to reset the surface. For me, the dry erase board is better; But, I understand the need, and at least something is offered. 4. Pearson’s software crashed my computer. After completing the test, I got the standard “you passed” page. I then clicked the “end exam” button. A blue scroll wheel spun for a minute, then OSX’s beach ball spun for a minute. I managed to open the chat window and ask the proctor if my score was recorded. I was then instructed it was ok to force quit the app. However, due to the “screen lock” utility that was being run, I didn’t have any access to menus, and all keyboard shortcuts were seemingly nonfunctional. I used the physical power button on my iMac to force a shutdown of my entire machine. After reboot, I was really stressed over making sure my score was recorded, so I spent another 10 minutes on the line with Pearson support to confirm that the score report came through. To wrap up, I can see the positive in having the online proctored test available. For people that are not able to travel to testing centers, or just don’t like the testing centers they have, it’s a viable option. Overall, what are your thoughts on the FileMaker 18 exam? Afficher la totalité du billet
  3. I thought it would be helpful to write a blog that other developers can use to see the resources that I use while developing and learning about FileMaker. As a developer with over 10 years of experience, I can genuinely testify that these resources are handy whether you’re a beginner, novice or expert. 1. MainSpring’s FileMaker blogs Call it a selfless plug, or call it what you may—but MainSpring developers have a wealth of knowledge. Anytime one of my colleagues has anything to share, I’m all ears. Plus, reviewing and learning new things internally is always fun. We have both blogs and vlogs (video blogs) that touch on a wide range of topics. Some of the blogs even contain example files that you can download and review for free! Check them out (and subscribe to our blog) here. 2. Modular FileMaker If you’re developing a popular complex feature, you would want to check this site out first. Modular FileMaker has a library of pre-made solutions that you can download for free and that are easily portable to your own solution. I’ve had great success implementing the MailChimp, Browser Navigation and Card Placer modules to name a few. Check out their blog here. 3. Brian Dunning’s FileMaker Custom Functions FileMaker has a convenient library of scripts steps for our disposal, but we’re in the business of custom development, and sometimes, that is not enough. In such cases, we’re able to develop our own custom functions. Brian Dunning’s FileMaker Custom Functions allows you to search and share custom functions as needed. I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve incorporated a custom function from this site into my solution. If you haven’t discovered this site already, I’m sure you’ll find it useful as well. Check it out here. 4. FileMaker Hacks What is a list without some sort of “hack” site now a days? It seems like there’s a site for cooking hacks, camping hacks, fishing hacks, etc… Of course, FileMaker is no different. This site is dedicated to providing us all sorts of FileMaker tips & tricks. It’s also a great learning tool for all, as their posts contains useful example files. Check it out here. 5. FileMaker Magazine If you’re a fan of video tutorials, then this site is for you. FileMaker Magazine has a huge library of videos dating back as far as 2003! As an extra bonus, some of their postings will contain an example file, as well. Afficher la totalité du billet
  4. Stamplay Limited was incorporated in August of 2012 by Giuliano Iacobelli—right around the time when FileMaker was just settling into its most recent overhaul of the platform with version 12. An Italian startup with ties to London, Iacobelli probably never imagined his 400 Pound worth of shares in the startup could turn into an acquisition by Apple worth an estimated 12,500 times that in just over six years. It was also probably not on his mind that, in seven years, he would be calling Santa Clara and Silicon Valley his new home and speaking on a stage in front of more than a thousand FileMaker developers at their annual DevCon. But, as fate would have it, FileMaker Inc., now known as Claris International, has acquired Stamplay. This acquisition has inspired a brand-new product called Claris Connect; it’s poised to hit the market as an evolved, next-generation cloud integration-as-a-service platform in the spring of 2020. Stamplay pioneered “flow-based” integration. Their interface provided not just an easy way to tie two services together (like what competitors Zapier, Microsoft Flow and IFTTT can do) but it also allowed for a virtually unlimited workflow that can tie many services together with intelligently driven logic. With ease of use in mind, the interface for Stamplay was immediately hailed as powerful, easy to use and robust enough to perform at the enterprise level. This led to high praise and reviews from around the internet. Recent pricing reports on Stamplay recorded that a “pro” level was $150/month, while a “business plan” was listed at $499/month. An enterprise level offering was also available without any pricing information (which is common amongst web applications). While pricing isn’t available yet from Claris, it should be noted that these prices are historically higher than competitors Zapier ($250 “team” license) and Microsoft Flow ($15/user/month). However, both Zapier and Flow, and any other similar product in the category, won’t have a direct connector for FileMaker—not like Claris Connect will be able to offer, anyway. This reason alone should excite FileMaker developers. Prior to this, you would have to go through the time-consuming process of creating your own webhook endpoints for each FileMaker path you want to connect in order to connect a flow-based action. For those developers that attended DevCon, you probably noted that four FileMaker community contributors were recognized for being early testers for Claris Connect. If you caught any of those four speakers’ sessions, recorded and live demos of the early test were shown as a sneak peek of what’s to come. For me, the excitement lies in the “room to grow” aspect of Claris Connect. Once the framework for building connectors is put in place, we should see a rapid advancement in FileMaker’s ability to connect quickly with outside apps. I’d encourage anyone not at DevCon to watch the Visionary Keynote that Claris released on YouTube. What are your thoughts on Claris Connect? Comment below to let us know what you think! Afficher la totalité du billet
  5. Earlier today, at the 24th annual DevCon, the CEO of FileMaker, Inc. announced that the company rebranded and will now be Claris International, Inc. FileMaker will still live on as a service offering under the Claris banner. Why the name Claris was chosen To learn more about why they chose the name Claris, check out their feature blog. The future for Claris International, Inc. To find out more about this new chapter, check out the official introduction from the CEO, Brad Freitag. Afficher la totalité du billet
  6. When I started developing at the end of 2013, I was beset with uncertainty. I had just changed careers without any formal education, and my ability to educate myself was paramount to succeeding in the new profession. Luckily, I happened to be local to a fantastic user group for FileMaker called the Central Ohio FileMaker Users Group, or COFMUG, which I was encouraged to check out by a former colleague. To say the least, it has been invaluable in more ways than one. Mentorship I have benefit in different ways from everyone in my user group. I was hesitant to show up since I was new to FileMaker, but I was welcomed by a supportive environment. I’ve received help from folks who were willing to share their time outside of the user group meetings with FileMaker to XML. Someone even took the time to help me with my workflow and organization! Inspiration First off, being able to see the work that other members were doing was inspirational. It also has been very instructive seeing the different approaches to the same problems. It showed me what possibilities are out there and got me interested in my own side projects, which offered lessons of their own. It instills me with the motivation that something really cool is just around the corner if you put in the effort. Colleagues COFMUG was especially helpful to participate in talks about the platform that I spend so much of my time developing and thinking about. The interactive nature of the meetings invites robust and thorough discussions. It was like panning for gold every month—where I’d write down the best nuggets from the night to take back home to the office to make use of. To this day, I still get value from my notes taken early on now that I understand the platform more. Summation Being a part of a user group has fostered my curiosity, enriched my skill set and kept development from ever feeling like just a job to me. If you haven’t attended one—do so! We help each other when we get together; knowledge is the only thing that gets more valuable with the more people that have it. Afficher la totalité du billet
  7. QuickBooks is an integrated accounting software package developed by Intuit. With over 5.6 million customers, QuickBooks offers copious help to the accounting staff of small and large business owners. Their software can be used to manage sales and expenses and keep track of daily transactions by invoicing customers, paying bills, generating reports and more. Integrating with FileMaker For FileMaker users and developers who need an outside application, such as QuickBooks, to communicate with their FileMaker App, integration between FileMaker and the other application will help increase productivity and efficiency. Integration will allow the two applications to communicate with each other. This will save users and/or developers tremendous amounts of effort. If a user was using FileMaker along with an outside application, but did not have the two apps integrated, he or she constantly would end up doing double data entry from one system to the next. Integration could be useful to companies with a unique workflow. Also, integrating FileMaker with QuickBooks could help companies that want their employees to have access to data on customers, items, inventory, payments, etc., while protecting the QuickBooks file. A typical need for integration between FileMaker and QuickBooks is to automate the push/pull of invoice data. FileMaker is used to create a custom solution that allows a team to gather customer invoice data from a desktop, web, or iOS device. Developers would then create scripts to send the invoice data to QuickBooks and pull updates back into FileMaker. It can be set up so that when a customer record is created in FileMaker, a corresponding record is automatically created in QuickBooks. FileMaker Books Connector The FM Books Connector plugin, developed by Productive Computing, is used for the data exchange between FileMaker and QuickBooks Desktop for Windows. A notable limitation of the FM Books connector is that it only works for connecting to QuickBooks Desktop on Windows; it is not supported on Mac. It requires an annual subscription to purchase this product, but it allows for adding, editing, deleting, or querying basically any QuickBooks data from inside FileMaker Pro. One of the benefits of the FM Books Connector is that you do not need to learn qbXML, QuickBooks Extensible Markup Language, to use it. The website where you will purchase and download the plug-in also contains a download to a sample file for a demo, along with a video tutorial about getting started. Integrating QuickBooks Online with FileMaker Critical to users that are running QuickBooks on Mac, there is another version of the Plug-in, developed by Productive Computing, that works with Mac and QuickBooks online. It is called the FM Books Online Edition, and it is supported on Mac, Windows, as well as FM Cloud. The demo file will show you examples on posting new customers or invoices to QuickBooks, pulling customers or invoices into FileMaker Pro from QuickBooks, updating customers in QuickBooks and pulling a customer balance into FileMaker Pro. Alternative QuickBooks and FileMaker integration options The FM Books Connector plug-in is not the only way to integrate QuickBooks with FileMaker, it is just recommended in many situations because it can save time and effort and allows FileMaker developers to skip a large portion of the learning curve QuickBooks will provide to a first-time user. LedgerLink, formerly known as fmQBO, is a solution, developed by Geist Interactive, that can be used as a go-between, between your custom apps and your QuickBooks online account. LedgerLink is a solution, not a plug-in or a driver, it phones home to a licensing server, but it runs entirely on custom functions and scripts. The solution includes a connector file that handles the OAuth portion of QuickBooks Online. LedgerLink requires an annual subscription to its users. Prices vary depending on the number of users, but it is significantly more expensive than the FM Books Connector Plug-in and the FM Books Online Edition Plug-in. Once the connection is established between LedgerLink and QuickBooks Online, you will sync the data, and all of the customer data from your QuickBooks Online account will be in the LedgerLink tables. The data in LedgerLink and QuickBooks Online will always stay synced. You will then be able to create records such as Invoices, with FileMaker, then see them in your QuickBooks Online account. Another option for integrating a custom FileMaker solution with a QuickBooks account is the CData ODBC Driver for QuickBooks. This driver includes powerful, fully-integrated remote access capabilities that QuickBooks Desktop data accessible from virtually anywhere. The driver includes the CData SQL Gateway, which grants the ability to accept incoming SQL and MySQL client connections and execute standard database requests. This driver, which requires a similarly priced annual subscription, but also offers a one-month free trial, allows its users to access QuickBooks accounts through FileMaker, as an ODBC. This driver has versions for Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux. There is also a way to integrate a FileMaker solution with QuickBooks online, using the QBO API, as well as a different way to integrate FileMaker with QuickBooks Desktop. These methods do not require any plug-ins; everything will be done natively. You will, however, need to create a free Intuit Developer account and authenticate QuickBooks Online using OAuth, for integrating FileMaker with QuickBooks online. In conclusion, FileMaker can be integrated with QuickBooks in several ways, and should be if your FileMaker solution constantly needs data from your QuickBooks file. It will be important to thoroughly research the method you intend on using before you purchase a plugin or a driver to make sure you choose the correct method for your equipment and problem. Integrating will grant you the ability to create, delete, update, or query your QuickBooks data from right inside FileMaker Pro Advanced. It will also allow you to automate your accounting processes, prevent duplicate data entry between systems and cut back on human errors. If you have any questions about any of these integration methods, feel free to reach out to us! Afficher la totalité du billet
  8. Although Filemaker has an abundance of third-party resources and plugins, oftentimes it operates best when using its internal functions and skill sets. Let’s take, for example, the process of creating a calendar for a client… The client requested a tool to give them an overview of the month—to see what appointments exist and how many per day. At first, we wanted to implement a calendar. Unfortunately, FileMaker’s layouts do not support layouts that dynamically grow and shrink like many other calendars can and has a hard time showing an at-a-glance perspective of things, much like the client wanted. We had explored 3rd party options, such as ‘SoSimple Calendar and Resource Scheduler,’ but ultimately decided to use FileMaker’s built-in listing capabilities. This solved the problem the clients had, while streamlining workflow and reducing dependencies on third-party software, which ultimately decreased the cost of the project overall. Simple at-a-glance list view of doctor scheduling: Sometimes, the answers we are looking for in Filemaker, or other programming languages, are just below our noses, but we need to take a step back to see what the clients want rather than find ourselves in a fruitless chase to rebuild the wheel. FileMaker, the leading Workplace Innovation Platform As we venture more into the world of Filemaker, it’s easy to see the tool’s strengths as the world’s leading Workplace Innovation Platform. It’s important to know what a business needs and what Filemaker can do to best support that goal. That’s why we are committed to doing things The MainSpring Way, so that we can save you and your organization time and money. If you’re ready to see what FileMaker can do for you, contact us today. Afficher la totalité du billet
  9. At MainSpring, we use Trello as a tool for organizing our agile lifecycle projects into an organized board. While this requires diligent upkeep and dedication, the organization payoff is huge. One of the ways I use Trello is to also do light documentation. Since all our boards are client-facing, keeping documentation cards for client questions is also something that works great in Trello. During one of our projects, I was going back and forth between FileMaker and Trello, writing some basic documentation for using a layout. Having thought I copied the label text from a button, I pasted into Trello on the card. Imagine my surprise when an attachment image showing the entire button showed up on the card! I had copied the entire button itself, not just the label text, and Trello added it as an attachment. So, how does this work? Since FileMaker 12, we have known that the interface of FileMaker uses a styling engine that’s based on CSS. Using the free BaseElements plugin from Goya, we can analyze what FileMaker copies to the clipboard when copying an entire button. First, we can see that there are several different formats stored in the clipboard: Per the BaseElements documentation, the “dyn.ah62d4rv4gk8zuxnxnq” format will return to you an XML representation of the clipboard. Using that function will give you a tremendous amount of information for how FileMaker stores an object in the clipboard: Overall, a single button that I copied resulted in 54 lines of XML code. I took my XML from the FileMaker data viewer and ran it through an XML Pretty Printer. Once this was cleaned up, I could see how other programs can paste a visual representation of what I copied from FileMaker into their app. Some key tags are: <Layout>, <Bounds> are the first few tags that you’ll see at the top of the XML. The Layout tag includes positioning dimensions of the object (distance from top, left, right and bottom) from where the object was located in FileMaker, while the bounds tag determines the overall size and shape of the object. <Font-family>, <Font-size>, <Color> from inside the CharacterStyle tag. This determines font style, size and color as seen in the object. <FullCSS> contains a near-complete CSS representation of the object appearance, including borders, margins, backgrounds and more. It’s minimized in the clipboard, but this block contained 155 lines of CSS code when I broke it out. <ThemeName> matches the theme being used by the layout where you copied the object from in FileMaker. Could come in handy if you’re trying to see what makes up your theme! After having pieced together how it works, I was then interested to see what other programs have the same support and what objects you can paste into other programs. From my experiment, nearly every single kind of layout object works! Lines and shapes, fields (including checkboxes and radio sets), portals, tabs, slides, popovers—they all work for copying a visual representation to another program! Next, I rolled through my applications folder and common web apps to see what else works aside from Trello. Here’s a quick list of things I tried that worked: Email apps: Outlook (application) and Gmail/Yahoo Mail (browser) Office/Productivity: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Keynote, OneNote, Microsoft Teams, LibreOffice Doodling/Photo: Preview (Mac), Gimp, Seashore, Pencil Web Apps: Trello, Facebook The last place I checked was the FileMaker Community site. While it did paste the image into the editor, I was greeted by an error I had not seen before: This message hints to how so many different programs can paste a FileMaker object, they handle it like an image. If it’s documentation, or even putting together a to-do list, knowing tips like this always comes in handy! Afficher la totalité du billet
  10. At MainSpring, we believe that custom development should center around our ability to help your organization start working with your custom application as soon as possible. We make this happen by starting with a most viable product and continuously improving it from there. Check out our video, which goes further in depth on what it means to see continuous improvement. Afficher la totalité du billet
  11. FileMaker developers with a background in common programming languages such as C, C++, Java have been deprived a while function since the creation of FileMaker. With the release of FileMaker 18, the wait is over: developers will now have a new tool in the While function. In most computer programming languages, the While function, or more generically, the While loop is a statement that will allow code to be executed repeatedly until a boolean condition is no longer true. A While loop can be thought of as a repeating If statement. The official definition of the new function is that it “repeats logic while the condition is true, then returns the result.” Parameters Let’s take a look at the parameters used in the While function. [Initial Variable] Condition [Logic] Result The condition, logic, and result seem pretty straightforward when paired with the definition. Before each iteration, FileMaker checks to make sure the boolean condition is true. As long as it is, FileMaker will evaluate the statements within [logic]. As soon as the condition no longer evaluates to ‘True,’ FileMaker returns the result. Initial Variables Variables defined within the [Initial Variable] parameter will be available and consistent throughout the iteration process. Variables can also be set within logic, but there is a critical difference to note, being that variables in logic will be reevaluated on each iteration. Developers that are familiar with the Let function will have an easier time understanding how this portion of the new While function operates. Similar to the Let function, variables live within the function, they do not require a preceding ‘$’, and they seek to exist once the function returns the result. Condition The condition parameter is where we tell the function when to stop iterating. From the help documentation: “While True, the loop repeats. When False, the loop stops.” This is inverted from what we typically see in FileMaker. For example, the Exit Loop If script step tells FileMaker to exit the loop when the condition is True. Here, only if our condition is false will the function cease to iterate. Logic The logic parameter is where the we define the calculations to be performed on each iteration of the loop. The following picture shows a simple use of a While function. While ‘i’ is less than 11, append ‘i’ to the ‘outcome’ variable, which will later act as the result (a counted list to 10). The logic parameter in this case recursively generates the outcome variable as it increments the i variable to manage the number of iterations. Result This is how we set what the result returned after it is done iterating. In many uses of the While function, the result is similar to the example above, where each iteration is critical to reaching a correct end result. FileMaker developers no longer have to rely on custom functions to use recursion. Set Recursion Limit Along with the arrival of the While function, is the arrival of a function that it will work with nicely. SetRecursion. Similar to the way the EvaluationError function can only be used in tandem with a call to the Evaulate function, the SetRecursion fuction takes a calculation expression as a parameter. The SetRecursion function sets the maximum number of iterations for recursion and loops within an expression. By default, the While function and recursive custom functions are both limited to 50,000 iterations. The SetRecursion function allows you to increase or decrease this number. If the maxIterations parameter is exceeded by the expression in the expression parameter, the function will return a ‘?’ The FileMaker 18 documentation uses the following calculation to demonstrate this: This calculation results in ‘?’ because the While calculation used as a parameter of SetRecursion needs to loop through 10 times to get the result, but the SetRecursion limits it to 5. If the SetRecursion calculation was removed, or changed so that maxIterations is greater than or equal to 10, the While calculation would calculate as usual and return a list of integers from 1 to 10. FileMaker: the premier Workplace Innovation Platform In conclusion, these additions to the FileMaker toolbox will make it even easier to get data from your disparate sources into the app built for your business. Developers will be able to save time by no longer needing to develop or find custom functions that suit their recursive needs. It’s these kinds of features that really set FileMaker apart as the premier workplace innovation platform. Afficher la totalité du billet
  12. MainSpring, Inc. was recently listed as an authorized FileMaker hosting partner! You may have worked with us in the past using our unique MainSpring Way for developing and maintaining your FileMaker software, but we wanted to delve in a little more about hosting and how it can be more than the mundane infrastructure to do that you are trying to get off your plate. Hosting isn’t just about the savings in infrastructure and support for your server, there are other benefits to moving your FileMaker system into the cloud. As FileMaker has become more robust, more and more administrators are choosing to flip the switch on their local machines and move into the cloud! By moving to the MainSpring FileMaker Hosting platform, you can resolve these issues immediately: Running older and unsupported versions of FileMaker This is sometimes overlooked. I get it! There is never a good time to upgrade—you don’t know where to start, you can’t afford the downtime since the system is integral to your organization, etc. After all, the system has been running fine for years—until it isn’t. At which time, a hardware, Operating System, and FileMaker upgrade may be required to resolve an issue. This can be costly and occur at the most inconvenient time. With the MainSpring FileMaker Hosting platform, you will always have the latest equipment, with the latest operating system patching, and monitored to make sure that your database is running smoothly. Running your own in-house server Most companies decide to set up their own servers because they think it will save them money and give them more control. However, offsite hosting is far less expensive than it used to be, and it requires little to no effort on your part to set up and keep it going. A good hosting company will keep your data safe, deploy a good backup strategy and keep all software and security patches up-to-date. In my experience, unless you have a dedicated IT staff, there is often no one properly managing the server. This means you will likely be putting out fires and experiencing significant downtime instead of preventing the fires in the first place. Furthermore, the person called to manage the situation may be ill-equipped in resolving the issues quickly. Even expert technicians familiar with network and hardware troubleshooting are often not familiar enough with FileMaker to resolve issues, or, conversely, a FileMaker expert may not willing or familiar enough to work with the hardware or network—especially, if it hasn’t been kept up-to-date with the latest versions and patches or uses antiquated hardware. This is not uncommon (and rightfully so), as it is difficult to be an expert in both network troubleshooting and software. Keep in mind that two of the biggest threats to your organization’s data are human error and hardware failure. Wanting to access data from outside of the office Today, more than ever, users are accessing their company’s data remotely. Especially with FileMaker Go, which enables you to access your data via iPhone and iPad. Setting up FileMaker in the office is not that difficult, but once you leave the office, it is a different ballgame. There are network security concerns and network configurations to consider. Perhaps you will need to set up and manage a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to make it all work seamlessly. Accessing the server remotely may require you to take extra steps and log into the VPN software, etc. What you really need is a hosting provider that has this already setup for every user by default, without the need for special software or setup. Setting up your own cloud-based system Cloud-based virtual servers are the way to go. However, some of the most popular cloud-based systems are a step in the right direction but leave little to be desired when it comes to setup and management. You may be expected to set it up and manage the network yourself, which can be extremely confusing with little support. MainSpring’s FileMaker Hosting platform MainSpring solves all these issues by providing a remote, secure and managed cloud-based server/FileMaker setup at a low cost and with minimal effort on your part. Check out our comparison chart below. Afficher la totalité du billet
  13. One of the improvements that came with the release of FileMaker 18 was additional supported cURL options. Among these are the SMB protocol and the ability to send email with SMTP and SMTPS. These allow you to access a mapped drive and send out HTML emails, respectively. SMB Using this method can allow access to mapped network drives. The Server Message Block Protocol (SMB protocol) is a client-server communication protocol used for sharing access to files, printers, serial ports and other resources on a network. SMTP, SMTPS These methods can be called to finally send mail outside of the send mail script step. This also fulfills the long-time desired ability to send out emails that contain HTML, complete with whatever CSS you want to attach to it. Additionally, this supports the option to allow attachments in-line, which really adds a much-needed update to the quality and type of emails being sent out through FileMaker. Conclusion The added functionality available through the extended cURL supported options keep FileMaker tools on par with the standards expected in the development community. All around, it is a great addition to the platform! You can find out more by going to the new features help page. Happy Filemaking folks! Afficher la totalité du billet
  14. The annual FileMaker Developer’s Conference (DevCon) will take place on August 5th – 8th, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. I’m honored to be speaking for the fifth year in a row at the conference, and I’m looking forward to sharing the experience with over a thousand other members in the FileMaker community! Here’s five quick things you need to know about DevCon this year The four-day schedule is a little different this year Monday is a training day only. You’ll note that the usual welcome party held after the Monday night keynote has been moved to Tuesday evening instead. The keynote has been scheduled for the first thing Tuesday morning to kick off DevCon. There is still a second keynote; This “visionary” keynote will take place first thing on Wednesday morning. Thursday is not just for FBAs only, as it was in past years. There’s three full days of DevCon after the training day, running from Tuesday to Thursday. The attendee party is still slated for Wednesday evening and is always a good time. There is a brand-new hands-on lab track These hands-on labs are two-hour sessions that are designed to have practical hands-on experience to code and integrate with FileMaker. The IoT hands-on lab connects FileMaker to an IoT hardware device using the Particle platform. The second one, taught by Martha Zink, will be about architecting data properly (a must-attend if you are a beginner developer). Seating may be limited for these sessions, so make sure to pay attention if sign up is required! The sessions also repeat, so if you miss it one day, you might be able to attend a different day. There are some new faces presenting at DevCon Brad Freitag is the new CEO of FileMaker Inc. (replacing a now-retired Domenic Goupil) and will most likely deliver part of the keynote address. Ethan Pierce, a rep from Particle.io, is teaching an Internet of Things hands-on lab. Koji Takeuchi is a developer from Japan that will be speaking for the first time at DevCon (though he has spoken numerous times in Japan). What’s more, almost all the Lightning Talk track presenters are new to DevCon, including Christopher Grewe from my home state of Ohio. Make sure to thank first-time presenters for all their hard work! The Fireside Chat is returning If you missed this last year, I’d add it to your must-attend list for this year. This candid, moderated conversation with FileMaker staff is one of the best ways to connect with FileMaker. This event will now take place on Thursday morning, in the same time slots that are taken up by the keynotes on Tuesday and Wednesday. Questions are moderated, and usually, they try and collect some questions in advance on the FileMaker Community site. The Visionary Bar has been renamed The new name for the Visionary Bar is now the FileMaker Community Lounge. You’ll still be able to find many high-quality FileMaker developers (including me!) waiting to help you brainstorm and get over development hurdles. FileMaker Inc. is still running their support desk Tech Support Central. I anticipate all these areas will still be in the central vendors or dining hall. Want to get to know us more at DevCon? Check-out my DevCon Explorer’s Club thread where we arrange group get-togethers and off-site trips as well. This year we will be visiting the Kennedy Space Center! Afficher la totalité du billet
  15. In FileMaker 18, we received a new script step called Error Logging. When this script step is used, any errors that are generated from the running script are pulled into a log for review. Parameters for the error logging script in FileMaker 18 The step allows for two parameters. The first is whether to turn the logging on or off. Once error logging is turned on, any time a script in the current file generates an error, a file called ScriptsError.log will be created or appended to for as long as the file is open or if the script step is called again with the login set to off. The error log captures the following: The second parameter, Custom Debug Info, is optional. It’s set by clicking the gear icon in the script step. This will open up a calculation dialogue whose result will be appended to any entries created. This can be useful to capture other information not handled by the error log. I like to use a custom function called ErrorData which looks like so: Here’s what the output looks like when opened using the console: Output of the error logging script in FileMaker 18 The ScriptErrors.log file lives in the user’s documents’ folder and is accessible via the new data file script steps by providing the filepath: Get( DocumentsPath ) & “ScriptErrors.log” Be advised that the file will be locked and inaccessible by the data file script steps until the Set Error Logging script step is turned off, so it’s a good idea to turn off error logging once you have executed the portions of a script you anticipate could generate errors. Also note that the error logging state is specific to the file it was called in, so if you are calling a script that generates an error from another file with a parent script where you have error logging turned on, it will not create a new log entry. You have to turn error logging on a per file basis. FileMaker has a helpful tutorial video here that nicely covers the basics. This tool gives us more options on how we can handle errors in an app, which means at the end of the day it’s a better overall experience for users and developers alike. I can’t wait to see how the community utilizes the new step. And, as always—Happy FileMaking folks! Afficher la totalité du billet
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