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FileMaker Magazine

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FileMaker Magazine last won the day on August 4 2016

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  1. FileMaker Pro, beyond your normal join table, offers a unique method of storing collections, or groups, of items. You can do this with what is called a multi-key field. This isn’t to be confused with a compound-key, which is a primary key composed of multiple different values. Using a multi-key field we can store a collection of custom functions within our Custom Function database. This makes it possible to start the process of collecting groups of functions together and then adding a feature so we can copy them as a group. Of course, the trick to adding any complex functionality is to make it easy for the user while staying maintainable for us as the developers. This will be done within a standard FileMaker Popover layout object. This video walks through the process and parts of adding a grouping or collections based feature. While we’re adding it within the context of custom functions, this is a feature you’ll find using over and over again no matter what the database is about. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  2. Quick Tip: Rounded Button Bar Segments

    There are all kinds of nice graphic tips and tricks within FileMaker and one of my most favorite is using the transparent line setting in order to create the rounded effect on multiple segment Button Bars. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  3. Custom Function Database 13 - Parsing JSON

    As with visiting any new country where they speak a different language, if you can’t speak it, then it’s pretty hard to communicate. The same thing applies to intercommunication between technical systems. If you don’t take the time to learn the format being used, then you obviously won’t get very far. In this video, we take a look at processing JSON from GitHub’s API. It’s one of the last places we’re looking for FileMaker Custom functions. GitHub is a web site which hosts hundreds of thousands of code repositories. These code repositories represent many hundreds of thousands of coding hours. To not take advantage of any pre-existing resources seems a bit silly. The trick to working with any cloud based resource is to simply learn what questions to ask and how to process the answers you get back. Of course, there’s always that critical piece of know-how which is all about processing the data in the first place. If you’ve never written a recursive FileMaker script, then you’ll certainly see some in action when dissecting the script in this version of our Custom Function database! Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  4. Top 5 Time Saving Tips

    Who likes spending time doing things in FileMaker Pro when you can do things faster? How about no one. That’s why this video will help you save some time when you discover the various ways you can interact with layout objects and your data. So, here’s 5 different tips which will save you some time while working in FileMaker Pro. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  5. Some buttons in your user interface are likely more than obvious in terms of what they do. But what about those times when they're not and it's just nice to let the user know what just happened? Using a combination of Slider panels and mutli-segment Button Bars you can provide any type of feedback you might like to show. This video presents a method for showing the user some feedback about the results of clicking a button or any other user interface action taken. Note to subscribers: If you're looking for the file, then you'll find it within the Part 11 download. The link is provided below. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  6. With FileMaker’s PatternCount(), Left(), Right() and Middle() functions you can certainly extract a lot of data. The functions, however, are severely limited when it comes to matching variable patterns of data. That’s where, in the world of programming, Regular Expressions, or RegEx for short, is SUPER handy! It’s used in pretty much EVERY computing language and I don’t personally know a professional developer who can develop without it. It’s been available since the 1950’s and it’s a worthwhile tool to know for sure. Recently, I personally reduced a complex FileMaker file from three tables and close to twenty dedicated scripts, all for parsing some data, down to one table and two scripts. Trust me, it was a crazy process where a full document of text was imported, line by line, into a FileMaker table, just so a loop could be used to walk across the data multiple times. Talk about extra network traffic just to process some data! It was MUCH easier to simply use a RegEx pattern and directly extract the data desired and be done with it. Of course, the developer who preceded me obviously didn’t know RegEx and it’s why I’m providing this video for you. Learn it, use it and get the job done quicker when it’s the right tool for the job. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  7. FileMaker 16 - Uploading files to Dropbox

    Integrating third party APIs can be a bit daunting when you’ve never worked with them before. Fortunately, the most difficult part of the process is simply taking the time to research the API and implement the features you’d like to have. When you’re working within FileMaker, you’re often capturing content which may need to be pushed into another online location - such as Dropbox. If your FileMaker solution needs this, then adding FileMaker Dropbox integration is the way to go. With FileMaker 16, you can now use the native cURL functionality in order to directly upload a file into a designated Dropbox account. Once you’ve made the connection with Dropbox, you can pretty much do anything you’d like to your dropbox account. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  8. Floating Card Windows

    This video will teach you all about using the new FileMaker 16 Card Window and show you how to take advantage of the fact that you can have a totally different position for the card window outside of the parent which where it belongs. With a bit of creative FileMaker scripting you can create some really nice features for your FileMaker database. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  9. While it would be wonderful if FileMaker Pro had built-in functionality for all of the features we can possibly think up, it’s not too practical. Besides, what would be left for us to develop? So, what about saving user state? Do you think you would enjoy leaving your desk for a few moments and coming back to a completely rearranged environment? I doubt it, and that’s almost exactly what FileMaker does when working within a hosted file. The most common approach to solving this problem is to simply provide a “directory like” structure. Like walking into a mall and heading to the directory map in order to find out where you can possibly go. Call it what you like, a dashboard, main navigation, whatever. You’re simply reseting the user each time they leave and come back into the software. Well, if you’d like to take another approach, then all you need to do is save the user’s last know state. What you save and how you return the user to their last known state is in your full control. It’s not that hard to do and this video will give you all the details you need to know. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  10. FileMaker 16 Released

    On May 9th 2017 FileMaker Inc. released FileMaker version 16. This version included a big number of major features designed to support FileMaker's ability to communicate with the rest of the Internet. As a globally connected software application, FileMaker has clearly stated that it's a highly viable platform for rapid application deployment. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  11. Touring FileMaker's Inspector Palette - Part 2

    The Inspector palette is your primary tool for designing your layouts. Of course, being familiar with all its various options and settings is what makes it possible for the creation of great looking layouts. This video focuses on going through the second and third tabs of the Inspector and looking at the impacts of all the various settings which control styles and themes. While the settings themselves may seem all to obvious in terms of what they do, it’s the combination of using those settings which makes the difference. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  12. Touring FileMaker's Inspector Palette

    If you’re new to FileMaker, or even an old hat at FileMaker development, then it’s always nice to understand how to use your own tools. In this video, I start the process of walking through the standard Inspector palette. By taking a bit of time to understand each of the unique areas of the Inspector palette, you may gain a tip or trick in terms of what you can do with this critical part of FileMaker development. Spend a few minutes to watch this video about the first of the four sections of FileMaker’s Inspector palette. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  13. Copy & Paste Portal Rows

    There’s an addictive quality to solving problems within FileMaker. Especially, when you wire things up to the user interface. Click the button, and what would have taken many times longer, is shortened into a few milliseconds of time. It quite literally feels like you’re a magician - at least to this developer. So, when developing a solution the other day, and needing to copy the contents of one portal over to another, I quickly came up with a solution and put it into place. Within about a half an hour, things were pretty close to how I’d like them to work. The result of that effort is now ready for you to learn from - and add yet one more tool to your arsenal. So, if you’ve ever had the need to duplicate a related set of data then give this video a try. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  14. Custom Function Database - Part 9

    Heading back into our series on the Custom Function database, there’s always an opportunity to explore yet another area of using FileMaker to create solid solutions. This video focuses on the fact that we’re storing canonical data which we want to leverage, yet not alter. When you store data for any type of templating system or data which acts as the basis for further variations you have a number of choices in terms of how users interact with that data. For this solution we want the user to be able to easily modify the data but not the original data. Instead, giving the user their own copy allows them to keep the original and have their own custom modifications as well. Watch this video if you’d like to learn more about using FileMaker’s validation options in order to facilitate controlled data duplication. That’s exactly what we’ve done in part 9 of the Custom Function database. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  15. Checkmarking Sub-ranges in List Views

    One of the most enjoyable things about working in FileMaker, or any development environment where looping is supported, is the pure joy of automation. Even thinking about checking off any more than a few records at a time brings me to a mental state of counting the number of seconds it takes for the single action itself, then multiplying times the number of objects I need to affect. So the question arrives. “How do I automate this?” or “How do I make this process easier for the user?”. The answer, quite simply is applying the knowledge you have about solving it. There are, however, times when you just don’t know what can be done to make it even easier. In this video, I showcase a technique and method for offering users with the ability to checkmark whole sub-ranges of records by simply clicking a button within a sub-summary area of a list view. It’s a wonderfully sublime method of solving the problem. And, understanding the fundamentals means you can use the method for a lot more than just a simple checkbox. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
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