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    Looking for instructions for Windows? Click here! Let’s Encrypt is a non-profit certificate authority with the mission of spreading the SSL love across the internet. Though they’re not officially supported, we can use Let’s Encrypt to get free SSL certificates to use with FileMaker Server. We will use a Bash script and a LaunchDaemon to retrieve and automatically renew SSL certificates through Let’s Encrypt to make sure our connections to FileMaker Server are secure. With this, there’s no reason anyone should have an invalid SSL certificate on their FileMaker Server deployment! Requirements: FileMaker Server deployed on a Mac server – Tested with OSX 10.11 but may work with other versions. The “FileMaker Database Server Website” page must be reachable through the public internet using a web browser at the address you wish to get an SSL certificate for, such as http://myserver.mycompany.com. This means opening or forwarding port 80 in your router, firewall, or security groups. We use the Let’s Encrypt HTTP verification challenge, so we must make sure that Let’s Encrypt is able to reach our FileMaker server through HTTP. Warning: FileMaker does not list Let’s Encrypt as a supported SSL vendor and usually alerts the community that non-supported SSL vendors’ certificates won’t be able to be validated by FileMaker Pro and Go. I believe we’ve solved this issue with this solution. We’ve had no problems with validating these SSL certificates with FileMaker Pro 13-16 but of course can’t make any guarantees. FileMaker Go 15/16 also seem to validate everything correctly, though FileMaker Go 14 can’t connect. Please post in the comments section below if you have any issues using these SSL certificates. This is an experimental script and procedure. Please proceed with the use of this Bash script and Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates at your own risk. Here’s a summary of what we’re going to need to do: Install Homebrew Install Certbot Edit the GetSSL.sh file Run the Bash script Change the FileMaker Server SSL Connections settings Set up a schedule to renew the SSL certificate 1. Download the GetSSL.sh Bash script First, you’ll need a copy of the GetSSL Bash script. Download the file using the link below and save it on your server where you’ll want to get the SSL certificate. Warning: This is an experimental script and procedure, and SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt are not officially supported by FileMaker, Inc. Please download and use this script with the understanding that it comes with no guarantees or warranties, and that you are doing so at your own risk. Blue Feather, Let’s Encrypt, nor anyone else are responsible for what happens to your server or systems when using this script. Download the GetSSL Bash script 2. Install Homebrew Homebrew is a package manager for Mac. It’s used to install tools and applications for your system. You can read more about Homebrew at the Homebrew website. We’re going to follow the instrucitions on there to install Homebrew on our Mac server. Run the following command in Terminal: /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)" 3. Edit the GetSSL.sh file The script file needs to be edited so that it know the address you wish to get an SSL certificate for. Open the script in a text editor like TextEdit, TextWrangler, Sublime Text, or through Terminal using an editor like Vim. Change the address, email address, and (if necessary) the FileMaker Server install path variables to reflect your server’s information and your contact information. Let’s Encrypt will use this contact information to reach out to you if there is a problem with the SSL certificate that they have issued to you. 4. Run the Bash Script WARNING: Running this Bash script will safely restart your FileMaker Server service, abruptly disconnecting any active users. Make sure that nobody is connected to your server before you run this script. With Certbot installed, we’re now ready to run the Bash script. Make sure nobody is connected or using your FileMaker server and then run the GetSSL.sh Bash script by navigating to the directory you have it copied to in your Terminal window and entering: sudo ./GetSSL.sh A bunch of text will scroll by in the Terminal window as the script requests, fetches, and installs your SSL certificate. Your FileMaker Server service will then be stopped and started again automatically. Your SSL certificate should now be installed! Go to your FileMaker Server admin console to make sure you’re seeing the new SSL certificate. You may need to close and re-open your browser if you had the page open already. 5. Change the FileMaker Server SSL Connections settings The SSL certificate is installed, but we want to force FileMaker Pro and Go clients to connect securely to our server. Log in to your newly secured FileMaker Server admin console. Select the Database Server options from the list on the left and then the Security tab at the top of the page. Check the “Use SSL for database connections” option (as well as “Use SSL for progressive downloading” if you would like) to force FileMaker Pro and Go clients to use a secure connection when connecting to this server. Save your changes and then restart your whole FileMaker Server machine or just the FileMaker Server background service. Your FileMaker Pro clients should now show the green lock icon when logging in to this server, indicating that the connection is secure. 8. Set up a schedule to renew the SSL certificate SSL Certificates from Let’s Encrypt are only valid for 90 days and must be renewed before that time. Let’s Encrypt does this purposefully to encourage automation and increase security. In that spirit, we should set up an automatic renewal for our SSL certificates so that we don’t need to manually re-run this every couple of months. This process is similar to setting up a scheduled script in FileMaker Server. Move the GetSSL.sh file to a relatively permanent location on your server. An example place for this might be /usr/local/bin/. You’ll need to create a LaunchDaemon schedule to run the script at the dates and times you want to do it. A LaunchDaemon will run your scheduled program or task at the dates and times, or at the interval, that you specify. These certificates are good for 90 days at a time, and the Certbot tool we’re using will only renew them once they’re at least 30 days out from renewal. You will want to create a .plist file to schedule this in a way which makes the most sense for you. You can have it run once per week, for example, and it will renew your certificate when it becomes eligible for renewal (It will still restart your FM Server at your scheduled time, even if there isn’t a new certificate – I’d like to update this in the future to only restart if there’s a new certificate.). You can use the example .plist file available at the download link below. You can download and edit this example file to run your GetSSL.sh script at the location you stored it at and on the days you want. This example one is scheduled to run once per week, on Saturdays at 6:21 pm. You can read more about writing your own LaunchDaemons from the Apple Developer site. Download example .plist As an alternative, there’s a great app called Lingon X which give you a really nice GUI for creating, editing, and installing LaunchDaemons. A demo is available, and a single-user license is $9.99, which may be worthwhile as it makes creating and scheduling LaunchDaemons very easy. Once you’ve finished setting your schedule, place your .plist file in /Library/LaunchDaemons/. With your LaunchDaemon installed you can tell your server to start the schedule by ( substituting your .plist file name and then ) running : sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaeomns/my-script.plist Done! That’s all that you need to do! Your script should run automatically at your scheduled time to renew your SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt. Do a test to make sure that it’s all working properly, that it gets a new certificate for you, and that your FileMaker Server service restarts after it has retrieved the certificate. If there is an issue, you may want to run the script manually in PowerShell or debug with the PowerShell ISE to locate any issues. Keep in mind that your FileMaker Server service will be restarted after getting the new SSL certificate, so be sure to schedule it for a time when people will not be active in your system. This is an early version of this script and there is quite surely room for improvement. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or run into any issues using this scripting. Let’s make the FileMaker community a secure one! View the full article
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    Got Rentals? Finally, the Ultimate Rental-Tracking Software Solution for the Equipment Rental Industry! Pre-made? Custom? Or SaaS? It’s a never-ending battle of pros and cons when trying to find apps that will make your rental business run smoother while giving you the best bang for the buck. Pre-made? Tempting. It costs less up front but choosing this one-size-fits-all solution may leave you addled with useless features and not enough functionality. Custom? Seems costly but will definitely meet your needs. With SaaS (software-as-a-service), you remain at the mercy of your vendor for feature upgrades, and as fees add up over the years you may find you could have paid for a custom-fit solution instead! Luckily, when it comes to rental business software applications, there’s another way … eXcelisys has released a new eX-File, the eX-RentalTracker — a FileMaker Pro jump-start solution for the equipment rental industry. The app tracks inventory, bookings, returns, customer contacts, invoices and payments and includes an availability calendar. Because the basics are already there, customization is quick and easy. The eX-RentalTracker is the best of both worlds, offering clients a software solution that’s part ready-made and part custom. “After working with multiple customers constructing tailor-made rental tracking solutions for their businesses, we decided to build a jump-start solution for the masses,” said Doug West, eXcelisys VP for product development. “The eX-RentalTracker comes pre-built with many of the standard features our rental business clients have been requesting.” The eX-RentalTracker is for rental businesses who’ve found out-of-the-box software solutions too clunky and custom-built systems too expensive. The eX-RentalTracker can be used on a desktop PC (Mac/Windows) with certain task-based functions available on iPads. See the eX-RentalTracker in Action Today Businesses interested in the eX-RentalTracker can request a FREE demo copyvia the eXcelisys website. After receiving the eX-RentalTracker demo, you can tool around in the app to see how easy and intuitive it is to use. You won’t need a tutorial to figure out how the eX-RentalTracker works because the tabbed interface makes navigation a cinch. Check out the “home” screen, which includes “Quick Tasks” tabs that provide rapid access to the tasks most frequently used in rental app solutions. The eX-RentalTracker simplifies daily processes. Features include: Kitting (allows multiple items to be packaged in a single rental kit) Barcodes/handheld scanners (for quick check-out/check-in) Instant invoicing (no more entering long strings of product numbers) Equipment tracking (prompts users to select the condition of returned items at check-in so broken inventory doesn’t get placed back on the shelf) Availability calendar prevents overbooking. The “Quick Tasks” tabs on the home page offer quick access to many everyday tasks, such as adding a customer, a product, a PO, a vendor or an order. Track the history of each item — know where it’s been and the condition in which it was returned. eX-File FileMaker Pro Templates Save Tons of Time & Money eXcelisys has been designing jump-start FileMaker Pro template solutions since 2004 when the first edition of the FileMaker Pro BizTracker was released. Since then, the BizTracker (for sales-driven businesses) has evolved into a full lineup of eX-File solutions, including the eX-TruckingTracker (which tracks trips, mileage, and expenses) and the eX-EvalTracker (used to archive employee performance). The eX-BizTracker has been a popular and steady jumping-off point for countless eXcelisys customers requesting software development. Ever proactive, eXcelisys developers modified the tried-and-true eX-BizTracker to create the eX-RentalTracker by adding features and functionality common to and frequently requested in the rental industry. Recently, Birnn Chocolates of Vermont contracted with eXcelisys for a biz-tracking solution. After four generations and 101 years in business, Birnn Chocolates was ready to join the 21st century with a software upgrade to smooth daily operations. Owner Mel Fields had been using a hodgepodge of paper record-keeping, Excel spreadsheets and Google documents to keep the truffles flowing. Fields needed an up-to-date system to manage the production process, ensure order fulfillment and track the ingredients and finished goods for FDA compliance. Instead of starting from scratch — like he does with his truffles — Fields started the process using the eX-BizTracker as a foundation for his business solution. During his hands-on experience with the eX-BizTracker demo, Fields discovered that many of the features he needed were already built into the software. “Being able to demo was essential for being able to pull the trigger and make the decision,” said Fields. Utilizing the pre-built mock-up allowed Fields to zero in quickly on modifications needed to make the software fit his unique business needs. Fields is still awaiting his software solution as eXcelisys developers finish tweaking the eX-BizTracker build. Fields is certain he’s getting a great deal. “We spent some hours taking away features, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m quite sure we got a lot more for the money by starting with BizTracker.” Like Birnn Chocolates, Cinema Camera Rentals recently came to eXcelisys seeking a custom inventory management app and used the eXcelisys BizTracker5 as the foundational template. “This approach helped me the most from a time standpoint,” said Cinema Camera rental manager Matt Stemmley. “Instead of dedicating the energy to figure out how I wanted the system to be laid out, I instead hit the ground running on envisioning functionality.” Stemmley advises business owners to take advantage of the eX-RentalTracker. “Future customers of eXcelisys in any sort of rental capacity will ideally be able to start with the eX-RentalTracker base and add features as they see fit.” Stemmley says he “highly recommends” the eX-RentalTracker to anyone considering a rental app based on the FileMaker Pro platform. “In my opinion, it will save them countless hours that could be dedicated to other areas of design and functionality.” Demo the eX-RentalTracker today. Like Birnn Chocolates, discover how pre-built FileMaker Pro templates can sweeten the deal in the search for the right and perfect software solution for your equipment rental business. To request the eX-RentalTracker demo, click here. To read about the Cinema Camera rental-tracking solution, click here. To read about another eXcelisys-built rental-tracking solution, click here.
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