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Found 24 results

  1. New Camera Rental Tracking App Trims Paperwork “Production” Time & Turns Daily Tasks into One-Click Acts In the hot movie-making hub of Hollywood, Cinema Camera Rentals faces stiff competition in providing customers with the latest and greatest technology has to offer. With a need to streamline its equipment rental pipeline, Cinema Camera Rentals recently contracted with eXcelisys for a new rental tracking app. Together, the two firms wrote the script for a bang-up inventory management system and eXcelisys produced the final cut, with the system premiering in February 2017. Lights! Camera! Plenty of Action! Based in Culver City, California, Cinema Camera Rentals opened in 2008 when Future Line Entertainment principals Mark and Emma Cameron started renting out their small inventory of film production equipment. Future Line is known for its commercial spots, including some for Oakley Women, Nike Swim and Nike Basketball. While the Camerons focused on their production company, the rental business grew. In 2013, Matt Stemmley was brought in to join the cast as rental manager at Cinema Camera, which serves clients embarking on months-long feature film shoots and those producing high-end commercials. “We rent top-of-the-line cameras, lenses and accessories,” said Stemmley, noting the value of some equipment packages hits $50,000 to $200,000. As a brick-and-mortar rental house serving the Los Angeles area, Cinema Camera provides more than cameras. A full production takes truckloads of equipment, including monitors for instant viewing of what the camera sees; matte boxes to prevent lens flare; tripods, dollies and gliding camera stabilizers (like the DJI Ronin) to ensure steady shots; light panels with C-stands; microphones and boom poles. Battery packs. The list goes on. Cinema Camera rents it all, which means Stemmley has lots of serial numbers and items to track. Cinema Camera oversees nearly 2,000 individual items within its inventory. To keep track of it all, Stemmley instituted barcoding after joining the company and began utilizing Excel spreadsheets. Stemmley’s primitive tracking system worked, but it had its limitations. To manage rental kits, purchase orders, quotes and invoicing, Stemmley had to open and review multiple files within Excel. The process was time-consuming. Stemmley understood where to find the information, but it was hard for other employees to follow up on his work. In addition, quotes could only be generated one at a time because of limited access to the Excel spreadsheets. “I tried to envision a better workflow for day-to-day operations,” said Stemmley, who conceived of a system where employees could view each other’s work in real time and see the quotes and invoices others were preparing. “In order to push those daily tasks out onto other employees, we needed a better system. We needed a system we could all have access to.” Looking for a solution, Stemmley reached out to other high-end rental houses to see what kind of inventory management software they used. He discovered that some opted for premade software they leased or purchased, while others bought custom systems. “I wasn’t able to get a uniform sense of the best option,” said Stemmley. One of the happiest rental houses he found utilized a FileMaker Pro system, custom-built by a software developer. Stemmley decided to follow that lead and was referred to eXcelisys for the custom FileMaker database design and development needed for the task. FileMaker Pro Takes Spotlight as Valuable Production Assistant In May 2016, Stemmley and eXcelisys began working on plans for a custom software solution. Stemmley created a laundry list of needs and the eXcelisys developers made them a reality. The new system connects desktop computers, wireless scanners, iPads and a Mac mini hosting the FileMaker Pro database solution, enabling real-time access to the latest information from any device by any of the employees. Because the software is streamlined and very intuitive to use, Stemmley no longer has to micromanage the invoicing and quoting process. He can rely on other employees for these tasks. “Having a centralized point of contact … that helps,” said Stemmley. “Everybody can see everything. It’s allowed me to take the stress off myself.” There’s also less stress to getting multiple quotes compiled and delivered in one day because the task is quicker and quotes can be created simultaneously. In addition, invoicing is faster with no more need to click through multiple Excel screens to fill out an invoice template. Items that have been scanned out and scanned in appear on the invoice automatically. The program also figures rental rates, offering the appropriate discounts for multi-day use. “Invoicing is crazy easy,” said eXcelisys developer Rob Poelking. “The numbers are there. It fills in everything. You only have to click a button.” Day-to-day operations also run smoother because employees can jump on a workstation, go to the home page and filter for outgoing rentals. Once the employee has a list of orders going out, the employee can select an order and print a “pick list” so the items can be assembled on time. It’s also easy to amend an order at pickup. If a customer needs to add another matte box or filter, the item can be scanned, which then automatically adds it to the order — no need to look up item numbers or pricing. It’s all there. The new inventory management system also helps Cinema Camera track subrentals. With a goal of having the right equipment on time and on demand, Cinema Camera sometimes uses subrentals and consignments to meet customer needs. With subrentals obtained from other rental houses, Cinema Camera has to generate POs to pay for the equipment. The new software system has streamlined this process. Another custom feature includes a field that displays a customer’s insurance information — with expiration date — on the order page. To protect its investment, Cinema Camera requires customers to have at least 1 million dollars in general liability coverage. The easy display ensures this information is up to date. In the end, Stemmley says, the new tracking system has improved the outlook at Cinema Camera Rentals. FileMaker Pro Retains All-Star Status in New Rental-Tracking App Cinema Camera Rentals is just one of the many rental businesses eXcelisys has assisted with custom software development in recent years. “We wanted to get more productive and apply our efforts in the right places,” said Stemmley. “Not get bogged down with paperwork.” Working with such businesses prompted eXcelisys to create the ex-RentalTracker — a jump-start FileMaker Pro template that can be quickly modified to meet the needs of any rental business. Like Cinema Camera, maybe you, too, are torn between choosing a low-cost, premade, out-of-the-box software solution, or investing in a custom system to get everything you need. Try the eX-RentalTracker for yourself by requesting a FREE demo copy via the eXcelisys website, and get the best of both worlds. To read about another eXcelisys rental-tracking app, click here. The post Cinema Camera Reboots With FileMaker Pro Rental Tracking App appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  2. Blockbuster Rental-Tracking Inventory App Sharpens Booking Process, Cuts Equipment Retrieval and Check-in Times During Hollywood’s rapid fade-out of 35-millimeter film, camera operator Neal Norton saw an opportunity to make money in the digital retooling of the industry. The year was 2010 and the German-made Arri ALEXA had just hit the market, providing a viable digital alternative to celluloid film. Norton decided to take action. He partnered with cinematographer Alan Degen to found Gulf Camera and the two began stockpiling the groundbreaking ALEXA. “We could see this was the first time there was a digital camera suitable and with high enough quality to use in theatrical motion pictures,” said Norton. “We opened our rental business based on that technology.” The duo couldn’t have written a better script. The ALEXA shot quickly to movie star fame as production companies dove into the digital revolution. Gulf Camera’s ALEXAS were in high demand. Meanwhile, Norton and Degen stayed active in the industry. Norton has worked on more than 40 feature film sets, operating cameras and steadicams for Tim Burton, Philippe Rousellot and Denzel Washington. But working in Hollywood and managing the Florida-based rental business became a struggle. Five years in, Norton knew he needed to reframe how Gulf Camera handled its inventory and invoicing. Gulf’s spreadsheet/word processor/pen-and-paper method was inefficient and inadequate. As Norton panned for options, he came across eXcelisys. In January 2016, Gulf Camera went live with a new rental-tracking system built by eXcelisys. A custom app, barcodes, scanners. These all make life easier for Norton. Some favorite features: Availability calendar: Because Norton and Degen work on bookings concurrently and from off-site locations as they travel for work, they had problems controlling inventory. “It was not unheard of for us to rent the same gear to multiple people,” Norton said. Before the new system was in place, they emailed each other continually to check on item availability. Now, with a centralized app managing the inventory for them, Norton and Degen know instantly if an item is in-house or out and when it will be back. Double-bookings are no longer a problem and the booking process is more efficient. Barcoding for rapid check-in/check-out: The new system uses barcodes — something Gulf Camera had not previously utilized. Before barcodes, Norton had to check out — and check in — large orders by hand. This was time-consuming because some products come with 30 or 40 pieces — all separate from the basic product itself but necessary for the use of the product. For example, when customers rent a camera body, they also need a viewfinder, cables, extension rods, filters, batteries and so forth. With barcoding, Norton scans an item and it goes on the ticket. This system ensures that all items from the “pick list” have been pulled and nothing is missing from the order. Norton finds the barcodes especially helpful at check-in. He no longer has to hand-check each item in every return. “In the heat of production, it’s not uncommon for a piece of equipment to go missing,” said Norton, given the long days, late nights and working conditions the crew may face over the course of a shoot. “One of the keys to making this business work is making sure all the pieces come back,” said Norton. “On check-in you know immediately — instead of weeks later — if something is missing.” Now that Gulf Camera has a slick, centralized, barcode-driven system for rental management, Norton can’t imagine conducting business without it. “It would be torturous to do it a different way,” he said, joking that the FileMaker Pro server is the most important piece of equipment in the whole shop, though it sits next to cameras that cost upwards of $50,000. FileMaker Pro Takes Lead Role in eXclusive Rental-Tracking App Gulf Camera is just one of the many rental businesses eXcelisys has assisted with custom software development in recent years. After creating rental solutions over and over for different clients, eXcelisys developers had a grand idea — why not develop a jump-start FileMaker Pro template solution for the rental business industry? By end of April 2017, eXcelisys rolls out the eX-RentalTracker — a new edition to the eXcelisys eX-Files lineup of jump-start FileMaker Pro templates. Other offerings include: eX-BizTracker5, eX-EvalTracker and eX-Trucking Tracker. “The eX-RentalTracker is designed with the common base features our rental business clients have been requesting,” said Doug West, eXcelisys VP for product development. The eX-RentalTracker is aimed at rental businesses who’ve found out-of-the-box software solutions too clunky, and custom-built systems too expensive. The eX-RentalTracker comes standard with an inventory availability calendar, kitting and barcoding. It tracks inventory, bookings, returns, invoices and payments. Look for the public release announcement of the eX-RentalTracker in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, you can get a sneak preview and try it out for yourself by requesting a FREE demo copy of eX-RentalTracker via the eXcelisys website. The FREE demo will give you a good feel for how the rental solution jump-start will work in action for your needs. Just like Gulf Camera — you, too, can write a happy alternate ending to your rental-tracking tale of woe by contacting eXcelisys today. For more information on the eX-Files, click here. The post Camera Rental Company Zooms In On Inventory Control Using FileMaker Pro appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  3. FileMaker® Pro / WebDirect: FileMaker Web Subscription Service Keeps Oil Field and Reservoir Data Flowing to Prospectors 24/7 Just because your business involves fossil fuels, the technology you rely on doesn’t need to be a fossil too. A new FileMaker web solution brings new technology to finding an old resource. In the United States, the average person consumes about 2.5 gallons of crude oil per day — or 22 barrels per year. Offshore oil production helps meet this need. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in the past decade, offshore oil production has accounted for about 30 percent of total global oil production. Petroleum powers our lives. We rely on it all day long. Every day — and not just to gas up our cars. Plastic water bottles, bike tires, heat, ink, crayons, bandages, toilet seats, tape, roofing tar, and even propane for the backyard barbecue. All possible, thanks to petroleum. We utilize the fossil fuel endlessly, topping off our tanks and speeding away from the pump without ever stopping to think about the process that brought the gas into our lives. Dr. Steve Cossey thinks about it all the time. As a geologist and founder of Cossey & Associates Geoconsulting (based in Durango, Colorado), Cossey is in the business of helping oil companies locate underwater reservoirs of the slick, black stuff we love so much. So what is Cossey’s fantastical tool for oil exploration? The humble database. For 20 years, prospectors have used Cossey’s comprehensive FileMaker Pro database of oil field and reservoir geology to plan deepwater explorations. The database has been available through DVD subscription. Periodically, Cossey updates the database and mails out new DVDs to subscribers. Since the early 2000s, eXcelisys has helped Cossey with the design and maintenance of his database. Last fall, Cossey decided to take the plunge and revamp his system by adding web functionality to make the database available as an online subscription service. Several factors played into the decision, primarily a drop-off in DVD subscribers following a downturn in the oil industry. To help fuel subscriptions, Cossey decided to place the database on the Internet so it would be available to anyone willing to buy a block of time to access the information. “I thought, ‘What am I going to do to utilize this database and find some other way of getting it out there to people to use in a different mode?’ ” The conversion went live a few weeks ago, making the Cossey Turbidite Field and Reservoir Database available online and putting Cossey’s DVD-burning days behind him. “It’s very slick, very fast,” said Cossey. “I think we’ve covered all the bases.” Drilling into the Data Made Easy What, exactly, is on the Cossey database and how do geoscientists and engineers from oil companies utilize the information? Deepwater reservoirs are expensive to drill, so oil companies need to vet their prospects carefully. This is problematic, says Cossey, because “the deepwater environment is such a lightly known area of the world.” Oceans cover 70 percent of the earth’s surface with 95 percent of the ocean floor remaining unmapped. Given the unknowns, how do oil companies know where to drill? They rely on analogues. Cossey’s database allows prospectors to conduct an analogue study of the area they are considering. “Aristotle used analogues,” said Cossey, noting analogues provide a reliable way to make estimates of the unknown from the known. “Say you’re working in an area like offshore West Africa. You might know certain things — like the depth or age of the prospect, or some other characteristic,” said Cossey. Before drilling, the prospector would want more information. For instance, it’s important to know the porosity of the rock in the prospect because the porosity can be used to determine the volume of oil that can be recovered from an area. This is where Cossey’s database comes in handy. “You pull all examples the same depth, age and thickness as your prospect,” he said. Looking at these examples from actual oil fields and reservoirs all over the world, prospectors can match known traits to determine the unknown traits — such as the porosity. “Very rapidly in my database you can pull up statistics that would take you months of searching to find,” said Cossey. A Rock Solid Foundation Cossey’s database is his magnum opus — it includes more than 20 years of research. He’s eager to see how well the new online platform will be received. Prior to the online conversion, Cossey used an early version of FileMaker Pro that allowed subscribers to view the data via the runtime application. Instead of merely transferring the data during the web-upgrade operation, eXcelisys developers gave the database a complete makeover to freshen the look. “eXcelisys rewrote the new database from the ground up, utilizing FileMaker Pro 15 in the process and upgrading to WebDirect,” said eXcelisys Project Manager Kurt Knippel. “We designed the interface. It’s fairly modern, but still, it’s a FileMaker/WebDirect solution with FileMaker Pro interface conventions. It won’t win any web awards, but our goal was to make this solution easy for his customers to use.” These screen shots display information on the Andromede Marine field. The original database interface is pictured above. Below, the updated, more modern interface can be seen. One of the most appealing new features of the custom FileMaker Pro database designed and developed by eXcelisys is the integration of PayPal. With the old subscription service, Cossey had to spend time sending out invoices and following up with accounting departments to get paid. This was often a laborious process — especially when foreign entities were involved. Now, users enter their credit card numbers directly into the system to buy access. To protect users, the transaction is SSL-encrypted and the site does not store any credit card information. Other advancements with the new system include: Real-time data for users: With the old subscription service, Cossey updated the data in batches and sent out new DVDs every six months. This resulted in a data lag. For example, if Cossey unearthed new data three weeks after sending out a DVD, the new data would not get into the hands of subscribers until the next round of updates. Now, Cossey makes updates from his desktop and it goes live immediately. Robust charting: Bar graphs and scatterplots are integral in helping users visualize data distributions and make sense of data sets. Cossey’s old database used a FileMaker plug-in for charts. The new online system utilizes an API that allows zoom functionality and interactivity. When viewing a scatterplot, users can click on a data point and a small text box pops up to display the data values at the cursor location. Countdown clock: One distinctive feature the new system required was a way to track user time. Many websites offer subscription services. Often, a user buys access for a specific period of time — like 7 days, 30 days or 1 year. Cossey wanted to sell access by the minute. To accommodate this idiosyncrasy, eXcelisys developers added a timer to the website that runs quietly behind the scenes. A readout at the bottom of the screen shows a user how much time is left on the account and prompts the user to buy more time as the minutes tick down toward zero. Users can purchase time in 5, 10 or 20-hour blocks. The website logs a user out after 15 minutes of idle time and allows for subordinate users under one account. Full Steam Ahead Dr. Steve Cossey Cossey, himself, is a unique specimen. He’s definitely not your average rock hound. Sure, he’s published academic papers on carbonate flow deposits and amalgamation in channel complexes, but he’s also self-published books on blurb, including a volume of poetry and another that deals with the intersection of geology and culture as it concerns the Chicontepec Basin of eastern Mexico. Cossey grew up near Cambridge, England, and studied geology at the University of Wales in Swansea (now Swansea University). He attended graduate school at the University of South Carolina and completed field studies in Tunisia, earning his doctorate in 1978. During the 1980s, Cossey spent time in China, Indonesia and Dubai. He worked for ConocoPhillips, Sohio Petroleum, Standard Oil and BP. In 1995, Cossey left the corporate oil world to strike out on his own, and it was at this time that he began compiling his database. While Cossey hopes the online database helps broaden his user base, he has other prospects in the works. In the fall, Cossey will lead a travel tour to Colombia. One highlight of the trip will be a ride aboard a 1921 Baldwin steam locomotive. “I have a passion for steam engines,” said Cossey, who bought the engine a few years ago and can’t wait to take it out. It’s been sitting in a shed in Bogota — idle — and unlike Cossey who is always on the move traveling and hiking and continually gathering new information for his website to provide users with the most comprehensive, up-to-date oil field and oil reservoir data available. Read about other eXcelisys case studies, click here. The post Geologist Fuels Consulting Biz by Drilling Deeper Into FileMaker Web Technology appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  4. Hierarchical Portal Filtering using FileMaker Pro 15 By Andy Persons Way back in 1996/97, I developed my original hierarchical portal filtering technique using FileMaker Pro 3. Twenty years later, we decided to take another look and update it for FileMaker Pro 15. Several alternate approaches have been developed in the interim for the hierarchical portal filtering technique (including a “lite” approach by my colleague Doug West). After reviewing them, we believe the original approach still has merit as one option to consider. Hierarchy Lite Advantages The Lite approach on the hierarchical portal filtering technique focuses on ease of implementation. It works to abstract the hierarchy logic using features like global variables and portal filtering, entailing fewer schema changes and requiring fewer changes after pasting scripts and fields. Download Doug West’s version of Hierarchy Lite Demo Hierarchy Classic Advantages The Classic approach to the hierarchical portal filtering technique uses a multikey in a global primary key field to filter records. This requires more work to implement and more schema changes, but can result in improved performance in certain circumstances such as high numbers of related records or WAN deployments. This is because records are filtered at the relational level rather than the portal filter level. Records that won’t be displayed simply aren’t downloaded in the first place rather than being downloaded and filtered after the fact. Leveraging New FileMaker Pro 15 Features We were also able to take advantage of several features that have been added since FileMaker Pro 3: Button Bars: the text for the Expand All/Collapse All button toggle takes advantage of calculated Button Bars Script Triggers: Indented arrows use repeating calculation fields with OnEnter script triggers to simulate “repeating buttons” CSS: allows us to hide the In Focus formatting of the repeating field to preserve the button-like behavior Download Revised Version Hierarchy Advanced 2.0 Features (coming soon) This refreshing of the original technique also sets the stage for more advanced features that we’ll be releasing in subsequent demos: Dynamic sorting by any field Drag-and-drop sorting and reassignment Stay tuned for Pt2 and Pt3! **This article is provided for free and as-is, use, enjoy, learn, and experiment at your own risk – but have fun! eXcelisys does not offer any free support or free assistance with any of the contents of this blog post. If you would like help or assistance, please consider retaining eXcelisys’ FileMaker Pro consulting & development services. About eXcelisys, Inc.: Founded in 2001, eXcelisys (www.excelisys.com) is an FBA Platinum Partner and FileMaker Certified developer organization. eXcelisys specializes in designing, developing, customizing, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, fixing, and integrating of database solutions for Desktop, Mobile, and Web applications. Our core technology competencies are FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, and MySQL for database frameworks, along with FileMaker WebDirect, WordPress, MySQL, PHP, CodeIgniter, PostgreSQL, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, CSS, HTML5, and Javascript for web sites and web applications. Aside from providing eXcellent customer service, our goals are to use these technologies to intuitively automate your organization’s data solution needs seamlessly and flawlessly across the web, mobile, and desktop platforms. Contact eXcelisys today for a free estimate and consultation about making your business more efficient through intuitive and effective software automation. 866-592-9235 | info@excelisys.comThe post FileMaker Pro Hierarchical Portal Filtering 2.1 appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  5. Custom Mobile App Puts iPads Out to Pasture (Literally) A farmer loads liquid feed from a distillery in Owensboro, KY, 1938 / Russell Lee, U.S. Farm Security Administration Cattle farmers have been using liquid feed supplements for more than a century. The practice is not new. What has changed over time, though, is the delivery process and precision with which dealers can custom formulate liquid feeds to meet the specific needs of individual livestock herds. Decades ago, farmers squirted liquid supplements (like molasses) onto hay bales in hopes that the sticky sweetness would inspire the cows to eat more food. Today, farmers use troughs to deliver nutrient-dense, molasses-based liquid elixirs to beef cattle to keep them growing at a steady, ready-for-market pace. These palatable, nutritionally balanced supplements include additives like protein, energy, vitamins and minerals. It sounds simple enough. Mix the ingredients together and pump the watery tincture into a trough. But a system like this is a recipe for inconsistency and failure. If the liquid feed is too tasty sweet, the cows will overeat; if the liquid feed is too bitter, they won’t eat enough and will miss out on the nutritional supplements being delivered by the liquid feed. Balance is key — with constant readjustments. Maintaining product uniformity within and between batches requires persistence, skill and a whole lot of math. In 2012, higher-ups at CowBos Liquid Feeds (a division of the Penny Newman Grain Co.) began to wonder if there was a better way to calculate feed usage and mix percentages of the CowBos liquid feed supplement. At the time, vendors used scratch paper, pens and calculators to compute feed-mix ratios. Now, they have an iPad app that figures the calculations for them smack dab in the middle of the muddy, cow-packed pasture. CowBos (think “Cow Boss”) is a division of the Penny Newman Grain Co. (Literally) Picture the situation. Each day, CowBos distributors drive their CowBos tankers out to cattle farms. On board, they have a “sweet” liquid feed and a “bitter” liquid feed. At each trough, the driver is tasked with figuring out how much of each substance to add to maintain optimal proportions of protein, energy and minerals for the specific herd feeding from the trough.Think of the variables; the size of the trough matters, the size of the herd matters, the type of dry food the cattle are consuming matters, the leftovers matter — not just the amount but also the bitter-to-sweet ratio of the carryover. If the cows are eating too much, more bitter feed can be added. If they are not eating enough, more sweet feed can be added. After analyzing all of these variables, the driver figures out a mixture ratio for the new delivery — maybe it’s 50/50 bitter-to-sweet, or 75/25 bitter-to-sweet. For years, CowBos vendors made these calculations by hand. Imagine the time devoted to the task. The system was also time-consuming on the invoicing end. Under the paper-based system, CowBos dealers had to sort through the paper slips provided by the drivers in order to invoice the cattle ranchers each month. In 2012, CowBos execs approached eXcelisys with the idea of creating an iPad app to streamline operations. After a development process as tricky as roping a steer, eXcelisys designed a custom FileMaker Go solution that distributors can use out in the field to do all of their mix percentages and feed usage calculations. The driver takes measurements at the trough, inputs the numbers and gets instant feedback on the precise bitter/sweet mixture that needs to be added. The solution uses MirrorSync2 by 360Works to transmit the data back to the main Penny Newman server when the iPad makes a network connection through either wifi or cell. In this way, Penny Newman’s corporate headquarters gets detailed, timely reports on how ranchers are using its product. The quick data access and analysis also helps Penny Newman continue to refine its product and processes to stay ahead of the competition. The eXcelisys custom FileMaker Go iPad app shows a detail screen for each pasture serviced. In 2014, the eXcelisys-built CowBos app won the American Feed Industry Association’s Information Technology Innovation Award — an annual contest sponsored by Feed & Grain, the American Feed Industry Association and AgGateway. The award recognizes technological advancements in the feed and food industry. The CowBos app received recognition because it allowed CowBos dealers to increase productivity in the field by helping distributors make their calculations more quickly and accurately. The app also helped reduce time spent on billing because of the digital recordkeeping and automated invoicing that were built into the FileMaker Pro custom database system. In addition, the captured data proved useful for ranchers, who now have accurate, cost-per-head reporting to help them budget for food supplements. Dealers use this trough service screen to enter their service data for the day. The dealer inputs the number of days the feed needs to last, the gallons of feed still remaining and the target ratio for the bitter/sweet mix. After the data has been entered, the CowBos app calculates how many gallons of the sweet mix and bitter mix to add. “That’s freaking awesome!”, eXcelisys developer Rob Poelking said after learning that Penny Newman had won the award based on work he had completed. eXcelisys was pleasantly surprised to find that the CowBos app had won an award when the discovery was recently made by one of its Internet-surfing staff members.Rick Middleton served as the eXcelisys account manager for the project. He reports that the software solution has helped Penny Newman corporate by giving it an edge as a sales tool in the competitive liquid-feed market. “They can pitch it to distributors — we have a tool we use — you don’t have to figure it all by yourself.” The app is kind of a cash cow. It has increased sales for Penny Newman while decreasing administrative costs for dealers. As reported in Feed & Grain magazine, the new technology has boosted sales, improved billing and led to more accurate food supplement recommendations. For eXcelisys, the CowBos solution was challenging — but in a good way. While working on the project, Poelking learned that he really does like math. Through the complex algorithms that had to be written into the program, Poelking discovered the power and elegance of mathematical formulas. He said that working on the CowBos solution has prepared him to tackle future eXcelisys builds that involve brain-busting formulas and he’s eagerly awaiting his next mathematical challenge.The post FileMaker Go Drives Cattle Feed Firm into the 21st Century appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  6. FileMaker Go Takes Center Stage with Scrub Management Solution Kiosk System Cuts Costs, Boosts Compliance Thanks to Custom iPad App Medical facility managers are always looking for ways to bend the cost curve and ensure compliance with all of the regulations faced on a daily basis — while at the same time safeguarding patient care. Sai Systems Technologies understands this operational predicament and strives to provide compliance management systems to the healthcare industry to ease the burden of these tasks. Scrub Struggles In 2014, Sai Systems of San Marcos, California, approached eXcelisys with an idea for a scrub tracking solution utilizing a check-in/check-out system run through an iPad. Imagine the problem. In a typical hospital setting, pre-shift scrub dispersal and post-shift roundup are managed through an honor system. Staff members arrive at the facility. They suit up in surgical scrubs. After their shift, they return the scrubs to a laundry bin. But a system like this leaves room for chaos. First off, there’s the matter of attrition. If scrubs aren’t returned, the facility loses money. Second, there’s a compliance issue. Anyone who’s watched enough television can envision an operating room filled with scrub-clad doctors being splattered with bodily fluids. Without scrub tracking, hospital administrators cannot know if staffers are following regulatory requirements pertaining to soiled scrubs. There’s also a potential for grab-and-go abuse with unauthorized users helping themselves to scrubs. Then there’s the accounting piece. For hospitals that “lease” scrubs through an outside vendor, administrators have no way of knowing if they are being charged appropriately because they have no idea how many sets of scrubs are actually being used. On any given day, there are also outside vendors coming to the facility using scrubs that need to be tracked. FileMaker Go Assists in Scrub Tracking Fix As Sai Vice President John Osborn looked at the issues, he knew there had to be a better way. “The initial concept was for inventory tracking for surgical attire, providing a low-cost solution to hospitals to do something they haven’t been able to do — track inventory and keep compliant.” Osborn saw some facilities using vending machines to deliver leased scrubs but he recognized that the hulky contraptions were both cost- and space-prohibitive. “The machines are big and expensive,” Osborn said. “Low-use areas don’t have and never will have the numbers to justify their use.” As Osborn scoured for a solution, he came up with the idea for scrubTrax and contracted with eXcelisys to bring it to life. “We knew what we wanted, but we didn’t know how to get there.” Osborn wanted the inventory management system to use FileMaker Pro and integrate with an iPad. The system also needed 1D and 2D barcode scanning abilities. Osborn explained what he needed and left the execution up to eXcelisys. In the end, eXcelisys designed a Kiosk using FileMaker Go, which consists of an Apple iPad Mini physically integrated and locked into an easily accessible small stand that can be installed anywhere. FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go provide the backend brains for the system, which also utilizes the Infinite Peripherals Infinea Tab M 2D scanner and the FMLinea bridge app by Alexey Dubov, as well as MirrorSync2 by 360Works. iPad Kiosk Efficient, Easy to Use In 2015, scrubTrax debuted at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The nifty, small-footprint system proved easy to use. It works like this. The employee grabs a clean scrub top and scrub bottom from the scrub cart, then logs in to the kiosk by typing a user ID and PIN or scanning an ID badge. Next, the employee scans the barcodes on both the scrub top and bottoms. After the shift is completed, the employee hits “rapid return,” scans the barcodes again and dumps the scrubs into a collection cart. On the accounting end, scrubTrax allows administrators to run reports to match scrub charges (for laundry or rental use) with the actual scrub use that occurred. In addition, the system allows administrators to check for employee compliance to ensure staffers are following health codes with regards to scrub use. Administrators also know who is failing to return the scrubs. Loss rates become transparent. In the end, Sai was pleased with the scrubTrax platform. For starters, the custom FileMaker Pro application is easy for employees to use. Second, it meets the needs of administrators by providing detailed, up-to-date scrub tracking and usage reports that transform the data into valuable and actionable information. Solution Yields Unending Possibilities Once the scrubTrax system was up and running, Osborn thought of other uses for the custom FileMaker Pro tracking platform. Sai continues to work with eXcelisys to develop spin-off applications based on the same concept. “We realize there are all different flavors of customers,” Osborn said, noting FileMaker Pro’s agility allows for custom tweaks to the platform to fit different health-setting needs. “We’re developing a whole portfolio of solutions around scrubTrax.” New medical tracking systems in the works include: Vendor-based scrub tracking programs. In February 2017, Sai launched a scrubTrax vendor program at the University of Iowa. The Iowa scrubTrax version — designed by eXcelisys — allows vendors to check out and return scrubs in a locker room area using an iTouch in a pistol grip. Besides scrub tracking (for cost purposes), the system allows for some ancillary vendor authorization and security tracking, helping hospitals keep tabs on which vendors are coming in, how often they are coming in and how long they are staying. scrubTrax 360. Sai is working with eXcelisys to create scrubTrax 360, which will offer lockdown scrub security to ensure that the casual passer-by from another department can’t walk away with the inventory. With scrubTrax 360, the scrubs won’t be kept on a shelf or cart. Instead, scrub sets will be packaged in a “keeper” — a lockable zippered envelope secured with a QR code. Employees (or vendors) can request the custom scrubs they want, mixing and matching sizes. The scrubs will be placed in the keeper and the employee will receive a lock code via an app on their phone. Only registered users will receive codes. Once the lock is “opened,” the scrub set is assigned to the user. Osborn said that unlike the oversized vending machine system, the custom keeper rack can be built to fit any space configuration — with either a horizontal or vertical stack. Surgical instrument tray tracking. Sai is also working with eXcelisys to create a method for tracking surgical instrument trays. Osborn said the system is aimed at helping everyone become more efficient — from the sterilization team that prepares the trays to the staff members who use them. Once again, cost and compliance are integral. For eXcelisys project manager Kurt Knippel, it’s been satisfying to bring all of Sai’s medical tracking systems to life. It’s also proof to Kurt that a well-built database is like a sandbox with endless play value. “These tracking systems are all based on the scrubTrax platform,” said Knippel. “John has a lot of ideas and he’s in a line of business that allows him to productize the platform to make efficient use of it.” eXceeding eXpectations Every Day More than two and a half years into the relationship, Sai is pleased with the responsiveness of eXcelisys’ FileMaker Pro developers. Whenever Sai needs something, Osborn says a few back-and-forth texts with developer Kevin Hammond usually does the trick. “I love Kevin. He’s doing a great job. He has been able to manage multiple tasks we’re throwing at him. He doesn’t get confused with all that’s going on and he hits our timelines. He’s on top of it. He gets it. He understands what we’re trying to do.” – Sai Vice President John Osborn The post FileMaker Go Takes Center Stage with Scrub Management Solution appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  7. Consider these next several paragraphs a crash course in WordPress basics, one of the most widely-used web tools available today. So the next time you’re at that dinner party, and the IT guy starts blathering on about “post categories” and “child themes”, you’ll be prepared. (You’re welcome.) Okay, we’ll admit it. We love web technology. It’s what we do most of our working day. And one of our favorite web tools is WordPress. Sure, you’ve heard of WordPress (www.wordpress.com), but maybe … just maybe … you’re one of those folks who think, “What the heck is WordPress, and why should I use it?” We’re glad you asked! Ready? Let’s go! What is WordPress? Generally speaking, WordPress is web software. Technically speaking, it’s called a “content management system” (CMS). It’s used by web developers as a framework for building amazing websites – like the one you’re on right now. WordPress was launched in 2003 as a blogging platform, and has become the leading tool for building and managing websites of all kinds. It’s used by global corporations like CNN, Forbes, GM, and UPS, as well as individuals and mom-and-pop online stores. It’s the most popular CMS by far (76 million users), and one-fourth of all websites globally use WordPress. Why is WordPress so popular? WordPress has become the developer’s top choice for several reasons. Unlike traditional HTML sites, WordPress sites don’t require extensive knowledge coding and developing skills. It’s incredible flexible. The design and layout can be changed easier than previous technologies (like strict HTML-only sites) often allowed. It’s super user-friendly, and easy to update. If you can use programs like Microsoft Word, you can learn to use WordPress. Many themes (or site templates) are “responsive”; they automatically adjust to fit mobile screens. So your website can look great and function beautifully, no matter which device is being used. WordPress integrates social media seamlessly. WordPress offers the ultimate in SEO friendliness, and some great SEO plugins are available for even better visibility. It’s packed with amazing options, such as e-commerce, event registration, newsletter forms, animated graphics and more. How much does WordPress cost? The software is free, and has been since its beginnings in 2003. It’s continually being updated, and those updates are free, as well. However, there can be associated costs, such as premium themes, plugins, hosting, imagery/graphics, WordPress consultants, and so on. Don’t all WordPress sites all look the same? Absolutely not. The look, feel, design, layout, color, and so on are determined by a particular WordPress “theme”. There are countless thousands of WordPress themes available. Some are free (like this); other “premium” themes (like this and this) require some cold, hard cash (usually in the $30-$75 range). Most developers agree that a quality premium theme is usually worth the money. The good news? Your WordPress theme can easily be changed, which means virtually unlimited designs for your site! The Web is full of places to find WordPress themes. Some of the more popular ones are ThemeForest, Envato and Mojo Marketplace. Can I edit my own WordPress site? Absolutely! WordPress offers an user-friendly dashboard for making updates. There’s a little bit of a learning curve, but you’ll get the hang of it very soon. Not interested in all that stuff? eXcelisys has a great web team than can handle it for you, or hold your hand and give you guidance. Can I move my existing site to WordPress? It depends. Since WordPress is a dynamic web platform, it works best when starting your site from scratch, as opposed to migrating eXisting pages over. Even then, your static site may not look eXactly the same when powered by WordPress. However, converting your current site to a WordPress site is easier than you might think. We can grab your images, text, and any other content, and integrate them into a new site relatively smoothly. If you want your site to look the same, but function on a WP platform, that’s definitely doable. Want a fresh look? With the thousands of unique themes available, the sky’s the limit when it comes to design. Okay, so that’s the low-down. As a reminder, here are three quick takeaways for that dinner party with the IT guys: WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system. It’s simple, free to use, and infinitely customizable. Your next web project will look great and function beautifully when built with WordPress. Okay, one more shameless plug: at eXcelisys, we’re WordPress experts, so we can tackle any size project, from full-on custom WordPress development, to support and maintenance. Heck, we can even fix some of those issues you may run into from time to time with your current WordPress site. Ready to get started? Just get in touch with one of our web solutions specialists! It’s no charge, so no eXcuses! **This article is provided for free and as-is, use, enjoy, learn, and experiment at your own risk – but have fun! eXcelisys does not offer any free support or free assistance with any of the contents of this blog post. If you would like help or assistance, please consider retaining eXcelisys’ consulting & development services. About eXcelisys, Inc.: Founded in 2001, eXcelisys (www.excelisys.com) specializes in designing, developing, customizing, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, fixing, and integrating of database solutions for Desktop, Mobile, and Web. Our core technology competencies are FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, and MySQL for database frameworks, along with FileMaker WebDirect, WordPress, MySQL, PHP, CodeIgniter, PostgreSQL, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, CSS, HTML5, and Javascript for web sites and web applications. Aside from providing eXcellent customer service, our goals are to use these technologies to intuitively automate your organization’s data solution needs seamlessly and flawlessly across the web, mobile, and desktop platforms. Contact eXcelisys today for a free estimate and consultation about your business software automation needs @ 866-592-9235. eXcelisys, Inc. is an independent entity and this web site/information/blog post has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise affiliated with The WordPress Foundation, WordCamp, or the WordPress open source project.. The post Sharing Some WordPress Basics, Now You Know! appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  8. FileMaker Developer Conference Interview with Christo – eXcelisys Always hard to see yourself on video… That being said it was a very casual (tad impromptu) and fun exchange with Don Clark from FileMakerProGurus.com. Thank you Don for the opportunity. I must make note that there was some incorrect information from interpretation by the interviewer in the notes of the video: I was not involved, nor did I work on or for, the movie Jurassic Park – the company I worked for, Dinamation Int’l, benefitted from the release of that motion picture as the interest in the Dinosaurs Alive exhibits became big demand. My job as the digital librarian was with Dinamation for tracking all the assets that Dinamation created. Correction on the new eX-File solution this year is, eValTracker. We also released the updated BizTracker 5, and two other new eX-Files; TruckingTracker and RentalTracker. Hopefully you find some useful tips from the interview. About Excelisys, Inc.: Founded in 2001, eXcelisys (www.excelisys.com)is an FBA Platinum Partner and FileMaker Certified developer organization. eXcelisys specializes in designing, developing, customizing, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, fixing, and integrating of database solutions for Desktop, Mobile, and Web. Our core technology competencies are FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, and MySQL for database frameworks, along with FileMaker WebDirect, WordPress, MySQL, PHP, CodeIgniter, PostgreSQL, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, CSS, HTML5, and Javascript for web sites and web applications. Aside from providing eXcellent customer service, our goals are to use these technologies to intuitively automate your organization’s data solution needs seamlessly and flawlessly across the web, mobile, and desktop platforms. Contact eXcelisys today for a free estimate and consultation about your business software automation needs @ 866-592-9235. Excelisys, Inc. is an independent entity and this web site/information/blog post has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise affiliated with FileMaker, Inc. FileMaker is a trademark of FileMaker, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The post FileMaker Developer Conference Interview 2016 in Las Vegas with Christo appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  9. Why You Should Consider Using Git, Even If You Are a Solo Developer by: Fred Morgan If you work with open source software then I’m sure you have already learned how challenging the process of upgrading applications can be (if not, you will soon enough). After recently upgrading a Drupal 7 installation for a client, I found an issue with the way links were being rendered in a particular view (the query string parameters were being mysteriously removed). The settings in the view had not been corrupted by the upgrade, so I decided something in the upgraded code base must have caused the issue. However, since a standard Drupal installation contains thousands of files, searching for the offending code would be worse than trying to find a needle in a haystack. Enter Git. At its core, Git is a version control tool for software developers who work in a distributed development environment that allows multiple developers to work on a single project without stepping on each other’s code. The web developers at eXcelisys use it precisely for that purpose. However, it also has many useful features even if you are the only developer working on the project. Not only does it allow you to maintain discrete versions of the application you are developing, it also has a built-in tool for comparing files, called “diff.” This tool will reveal the files that have been modified between commits and show exactly which lines of code were changed. You can even view the modifications side-by-side to help you sift through the changes and identify the bug that was introduced in the latest version. The downside to using Git is the learning curve, especially if you use it from the command line. In fact, just perusing the Git reference can be an intimidating experience if you’re not accustomed to working with the terminal. The good news is, because of its popularity in the open source world, there are a variety of services and GUI clients available to help with this process, which means you don’t have to learn all of those cryptic terminal commands. Github (www.github.com) is the most popular of these services, and offers hosting for free public repositories. It is wildly popular in the open source world, and for good reason. In fact, if you have spent much time in open source development, you have probably been introduced to using git by downloading files from Github without really understanding what it is or how it functions. However, if you are working on a project for a client, a public repository is probably not the best idea. This is where alternatives like Bitbucket are more appropriate. Bitbucket offers the same features of Github but with unlimited private repositories for up to 5 developers on any one project. (If you are interested in more information regarding the basics of using Git, there is an introductory video that can give you a quick overview). This tutorial will walk you through the steps of using git to create a private repository and to compare the changes in commits (versions of your code base). Create an account at bitbucket.org. Login to your account and click the Create button. Enter a name and description for your repository, along with the remaining options shown in the following image, and click the “Create repository” button. 4. Using Git can be a complicated process, but it is much easier with a GUI client. Click the link to download the Atlassian Source Tree client and install the software on your system. Configure the software with the user credentials for your Bitbucket account, then return to your browser and click the “Clone in Source Tree” button. If you see a dialog prompting you to select an application, select Source Tree and click the checkbox next to “Remember my choice for sourcetree links.” Enter the destination path for where you would like to store the repository files and click the “Clone” button. The repository will be cloned to your local system and Source Tree will open a new management window for the repository. The window will tell us that there is nothing to commit because we haven’t yet added any files to our local repository. Navigate to the folder you set up for the repository or click the “Open in Finder” button and copy the code for your build to this location. For simplicity’s sake, I am only going to copy the affected module (in this case, Drupal’s link module). For the first commit, I want to use the module as it was prior to the upgrade procedure. So I am going to copy the entire folder for the link module. Next, return to your Source Tree management window and you will see a list of the files you have copied which will appear in the Unstaged files area. 8. Click the checkbox next to “Unstaged files” and the client will move all files into the Staged files area. Click the “Commit” button at the top of the screen and enter a description for the commit. Select the “Push changes immediately to origin” checkbox (this will save us a step) and click the commit button at the bottom of the screen. This action will create the commit and push the files to the repository. In the left navigation pane, select “master” under “Origin” to view the details of the commit. Now simply copy the link module from the post-upgrade installation into the folder, replacing the existing folder in that directory on your local machine. Return to the Source Tree management window and you will once again see a list of files in the “Unstaged” files pane. Repeat steps 8 and 9 above, but this time enter a description that identifies this commit as post-upgrade. 13. Repeat step 10 and you will see that you now have two commits under “master.” Now return to Bitbucket.org in your browser and click the commits link for the repository you created in the left navigation pane. Select the latest commit (post-upgrade) and you will see a list of files that have changed. Scroll the window down and you will see each of the changes; green indicates lines that have been added and red indicates lines that have been removed. Clicking the “Side-by-side diff” button can make the code comparison even easier. In my case, the issue was found in the link.module file. Once the issue was identified, I was able to locate a patch for the module in the current development version of Drupal 7.x. The expected behavior was restored after replacing the module with the patched code. This is one of countless applications of the powerful diff engine in Git. This functionality is also very useful for finding infected files in a compromised site, checking the modifications you made in various versions of an application, or just tracking down bugs in your own code. Using Git in your development workflow can deliver a real productivity boost when attempting to pinpoint file changes, even if you are a solo developer. Happy hunting! **This article is provided for free and as-is, use, enjoy, learn, and experiment at your own risk – but have fun! eXcelisys does not offer any free support or free assistance with any of the contents of this blog post. If you would like help or assistance, please consider retaining eXcelisys’ consulting & development services. About eXcelisys, Inc.: Founded in 2001, eXcelisys (www.excelisys.com) specializes in designing, developing, customizing, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, fixing, and integrating of database solutions for Desktop, Mobile, and Web. Our core technology competencies are FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, and MySQL for database frameworks, along with FileMaker WebDirect, WordPress, MySQL, PHP, CodeIgniter, PostgreSQL, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, CSS, HTML5, and Javascript for web sites and web applications. Aside from providing eXcellent customer service, our goals are to use these technologies to intuitively automate your organization’s data solution needs seamlessly and flawlessly across the web, mobile, and desktop platforms. Contact eXcelisys today for a free estimate and consultation about your business software automation needs @ 866-592-9235. The post Using Git, Even as a Solo Developer appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  10. FileMaker Pro Tip-n-Trick: Real-Time QuickFind by: David Thorp R… Re… Rem… Reme… Remem… Rememb… Remembe… Remember… …what life was like before instant search on the web became the norm? We had to actually type out whole words and phrases, hit the pesky “return” key and THEN look at the results. Then maybe type in more words and phrases and search again if the results weren’t quite to our liking. Just like us, our users have come to take instant-search for granted. Search results autocomplete as you type. That’s just how computers work now. Except, of course, in the hundreds of applications that don’t intrinsically support an instant search feature, including, sadly, native FileMaker Pro. In the grand scheme of things, FileMaker Pro’s Find Mode is pretty amazing. This native functionality allows for extremely powerful granularity in the construction of both specific and more open-ended queries. Custom development can add to the simplicity and speed of producing a found set of records using Find Mode. But despite all of this, the web has given most of us a different set of expectations when it comes to intelligent and efficient searching. The responsiveness of your favorite search engine – or any similar search fields found within a myriad of modern web, desktop and mobile apps – can make the task of performing a find in FileMaker Pro seem somewhat old school. Even FileMaker Pro’s built-in Quick Find feature, which returns the results of a query of multiple fields on a layout at once, stops short of providing the kind of instant gratification of seeing every possible result as you type. There are plenty of cases where the interface, the application, or the specific problem points to a “Search” box that users will use and want to see instant results. But instant searches are about more than instant gratification. For the most active users of a solution, the time spent searching for records and sets of records adds up fast. Any amount of time saved is more than just a welcome feature. In many cases, the immediate feedback of instant search is expected. So the challenge we tackle here is to provide results which are quicker – dare we say in “real time” – than successive Quick Finds, and provide users the experience of knowing the answer to their questions before they finish asking them. There are a few ways to do this, as we’ll see, and a few challenges with implementation that require a bit of extra attention. We want to find relevant records and return results instantly, as users type, with the fewest possible keystrokes and no unnecessary delays. That “no unnecessary delays” is the fun bit… FileMaker Pro’s native QuickFind feature is a script step (Perform QuickFind) that takes the contents of a given field and searches for its contents in whatever fields are set to allow it, on the current layout. But how to get it to run… Option 1. Put a button next to the field. Click the button. Performs the Find. Ok. But we can do better. Option 2. Add an OnObjectExit script trigger to the field. Type your criteria. Tab out of the field. Script is triggered and performs the find. But what about those “instant results” we were talking about? Option 3. Add an OnObjectModify script trigger to the field. Now we’re getting our “instant results”. Every keystroke that modifies the field triggers the script and performs the find. But… The problem here? What if the find takes a while, for any reason: unindexed fields being searched, large numbers of records, deployment over WAN, etc. That’s going to make. every. keystroke. pretty. tedious. Check out the file to see our solution. 🙂 Download Demo File **This article is provided for free and as-is, use, enjoy, learn, and experiment at your own risk – but have fun! eXcelisys does not offer any free support or free assistance with any of the contents of this blog post. If you would like help or assistance, please consider retaining eXcelisys’ consulting & development services. About eXcelisys, Inc.: Founded in 2001, eXcelisys (www.excelisys.com)is an FBA Platinum Partner and FileMaker Certified developer organization. eXcelisys specializes in designing, developing, customizing, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, fixing, and integrating of database solutions for Desktop, Mobile, and Web. Our core technology competencies are FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, and MySQL for database frameworks, along with FileMaker WebDirect, WordPress, MySQL, PHP, CodeIgniter, PostgreSQL, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, CSS, HTML5, and Javascript for web sites and web applications. Aside from providing eXcellent customer service, our goals are to use these technologies to intuitively automate your organization’s data solution needs seamlessly and flawlessly across the web, mobile, and desktop platforms. Contact eXcelisys today for a free estimate and consultation about your business software automation needs @ 866-592-9235. eXcelisys, Inc. is an independent entity and this web site/information/blog post has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise affiliated with FileMaker, Inc. FileMaker is a trademark of FileMaker, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The post FileMaker Pro Tip-n-Trick: Real-Time QuickFind appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  11. FileMaker® Pro Tip-n-Trick: Smart & Simple Column Sort By: RJ Carroll One of the most-requested features from FileMaker Pro developers is a one-click simple column sort. Trying to sort out how to sort can be a tricky business. The typical way to implement column sort from list-view is by using buttons above each column. First, the user calls a script by clicking on a field name in the column header. Usually, the script includes a number of hard-coded “Sort Records” steps. Then, the script decides which field to sort and how from a series of If/Else If steps. Each order of each potential field would require its own script step.) Scripts like this leave a lot of things to change if you add or delete fields. (They also leave a lot of code to maintain in general.) Before FileMaker introduced “Sort Records by Field”, this was basically the only sort of way to do it (pardon the pun). Sort Records by Field A simpler approach is to leverage the power of “Sort Records by Field.” One advantage of “Sort Records by Field” is that, unlike “Sort Records,” you can leave the field unspecified and use the context of the currently active field. It also eliminates the need for extensive “If…Else” branching logic and hard-coded sort orders in the sorting script. The only issue with using “Sort Records by Field” this way is that when a user clicks a button on the layout, the user isn’t actually in the field when the script gets called. Most users would expect to click a button (such as the field’s name) in the column header to call a sort script, but since clicking a button takes you out of the field, it won’t work. So what do you do? From Button to Trigger One clever workaround: place copies of the fields you want for sorting in the header and use an OnObjectEnter trigger to invoke the script. This eliminates all need for script parameters and branching logic altogether. It also allows for powerful one-click column sorting. Just style those fields to look like “sort buttons”. Now have an elegant method for sorting by columns that is simple and easy. It is also manageable, easy to maintain as your solution changes. Check out this implementation by downloading our demo file. I think you’ll find it’s remarkably simple with this technique to get all your sorting quickly sorted out. Download the demo file and give it a sort! *This article is provided for free and as-is, use, enjoy, learn, and experiment at your own risk – but have fun! Excelisys does not offer any free support or free assistance with any of the contents of this blog post. If you would like help or assistance, please consider retaining Excelisys’ consulting & development services. About Excelisys, Inc.: Founded in 2001, Excelisys (www.excelisys.com) is an FBA Platinum Partner and FileMaker Certified developer organization. Excelisys specializes in designing, developing, customizing, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, fixing, and integrating of database solutions for Desktop, Mobile, and Web. Our core technology competencies are FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, PostgreSQL, and MySQL for database frameworks. Complimenting those database frameworks we have competency with WordPress, PHP, CodeIgniter, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, CSS, HTML5, and Javascript for web sites and web applications. Aside from providing excellent customer service, our goals are to use these technologies to intuitively automate your organization’s data solution needs seamlessly and flawlessly across the web, mobile, and desktop platforms. Contact Excelisys today for a free estimate and consultation regarding your business software automation needs @ 866-592-9235. Excelisys, Inc. is an independent entity and this web site/information/blog post has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise affiliated with FileMaker, Inc. FileMaker is a trademark of FileMaker, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The post FileMaker Pro Tip-n-Trick: Simple Column Sort appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  12. DevCon 2016 – eXcelisys Vendor Session: Tantalizing Tips-n-Tricks from the Trenches Attend the eXcelisys vendor session on Wednesday July, 20 2016 from 2:00pm – 3:15pm The eXcelisys vendor session will be lead by our very own Mr. Doug West and assisted by some of the eXceptional eXcelisys FileMaker Pro talent. With a team of developers working on thousands of projects over the last 14+ years, we’ve stood our ground against a variety of challenging customer requirements. eXcelisys, a FileMaker Platinum Partner, will eXplore a few of our eXcellent FileMaker Pro Tips-n-Tricks in depth. A dynamic “class” of how-to and when-to use some of these eXceptional concepts in your solutions! Drag-n-Drop Hierarchical Portals Powerful Progress Bars Stealth Buttons Double-Click Single-Click Trick Audit Trails without Casualties Popover Imprisonment The post DevCon 2016 – eXcelisys Vendor Session: Tantalizing Tips-n-Tricks from the Trenches appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  13. Intro to WordPress Custom Post Types Welcome to the exciting world of WordPress Custom Post Types! If you have spent any time working with WordPress you know that a basic WordPress site is primarily made up of Pages and Posts. You have probably also noticed that there isn’t a ton of difference between Pages and Posts. Both have similar input fields: a title, some body text, and possibly a featured image. In fact, the main content of a Page or a Post is stored in the very same database table distinguished only by its ‘post_type’. Access Custom Post Types in Admin From a practical perspective, the biggest difference between Pages and Posts is how your theme displays them. Pages are typically used to display static content and organized using Menus and submenus, which make up the main navigation features of your site. Posts, on the other hand, are typically organized by date or by category and are often displayed, like a blog, as a list with a title and teaser text or an image. For more info read “The differences between Posts and Pages” by one of our other Excelisys WordPress developers, Fred Morgan. For many websites these basic post types offer plenty of structure and flexibility to achieve the major goals of the site. For more complex websites, however, you may find yourself needing more discrete and structured content categories. This is where WordPress Custom Posts Types come into play. WordPress Custom Post Types look like regular Pages or Posts. Without knowing it you may already be familiar with what WordPress Custom Posts Types offer. Many themes give you sections like “Our Team,” which give you the ability to create custom profiles for people in your organization. Or you may have seen the “Portfolio” menu item in the backend of your WordPress theme, which lets you create a catalog of projects you want to showcase on your site. “Testimonials” or “Gallery” are also familiar examples that are built into many themes. More often than not, these tools are powered by WordPress Custom Post Types. Input fields for WordPress Custom Post Type There are many use cases for using WordPress Custom Post Types. For example, you may want to create a catalog of movie reviews, a list of documents, a selection of coupons, or a directory of store locations. In recent projects I have created post types for: Teams, Lending Library Books, Website Resources, a Contact Directory, a Client List, Lesson Plans, Forms and more. Instead of struggling to find a plugin that works well enough for your particular content you can easily tailor your admin to work with your needs. Here are a few major benefits of using WordPress Custom Post Types over simply using categorized posts: Custom Post Types are easy to create and maintain. You can simply click on a menu item in the Admin and you’re off and running. All of the items of a given post type are accessible from the left hand menu and presented on their own page in the backend. Another big benefit is they are easier to train site admins to use. When built correctly, WordPress Custom Post Types will provide context and constraints that help your content creators focus on building content and not wasting time figuring out which category a post belongs in or if it will show up in the right place on the website. Also, when creating a typical Custom Post Type entry, you do not need all of the possible options available to a generic post streamling the process of managing site content. It’s easier to create and manage custom displays of your content. By default all posts are displayed the same way by your WordPress theme. This usually means showing the title and a blurb or excerpt from the post. With WordPress Custom Post Types you can have more effective and custom layouts for you content. ‘Team Member’ posts can be displayed as an image and a bio in 3 x 3 grid. ‘Web Resources’ can be displayed as a set of expandable, categorized list of links. WordPress Custom Post Types also let you create custom taxonomies (categories and subcategories) specific to your post type. A Movie post type, for example, may be categorized by genre, era, or rating. By using a WordPress Custom Post Type taxonomy you do not have to complicate the categories and subcategories of your regular Posts. WordPress Custom Post Types highlight the fact that WordPress is not simply a blogging platform: it is a robust Content Management System that will help you organize your content and customize the presentation of your WordPress website to the world. In a future posts I will present a tutorial on how WordPress Custom Posts Types are created and I will introduce how you can get the most out of your WordPress Custom Post Types using another powerful feature of WordPress: metaboxes. *This article is provided for free and as-is, use, enjoy, learn, and experiment at your own risk – but have fun! Excelisys does not offer any free support or free assistance with any of the contents of this blog post. If you would like help or assistance, please consider retaining Excelisys’ consulting & development services. About Excelisys, Inc.: Founded in 2001, Excelisys (www.excelisys.com) Excelisys specializes in designing, developing, customizing, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, fixing, and integrating database solutions for Desktop, Mobile, and Web. Our core technology competencies are FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, and MySQL for database frameworks, along with WordPress, MySQL, PHP, CodeIgniter, PostgreSQL, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, CSS, HTML5, and Javascript for web sites and web applications. Aside from providing excellent customer service, our goals are to use these technologies to intuitively automate your organization’s data solution needs seamlessly and flawlessly across the web, mobile, and desktop platforms. Contact Excelisys today for a free estimate and consultation about your business software automation needs @ 866-592-9235. The post Introduction to WordPress Custom Post Types appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  14. FileMaker Pro Progress Bars, chapter 5: Gantt-Man By Andy Persons In which nothing can Bar our intrepid code from Progressing to Uncharted territory! We received an interesting variety of responses to our FileMaker Pro Progress Bars demo files. Can you make it show an image for the foreground? How about an animated gif? It’s too blurry; can you sharpen it up? Any chance it can do my taxes? One of the requests that piqued our interest was the ability to have the foreground color appear in the middle of the bar. That is, to be able to specify a background color segment, then a foreground color, then a background color. Sure, we could do that, but why stop with a ham sandwich when you can throw a luau? So we donned our grass skirts and created the ability to generate Gantt charts. This FileMaker Pro progress bars demo file showcases our GanttChart() custom function that allows you to specify an unlimited number of segments via a return-delimited list. Each line in the list should specify a percentage (where the segment begins) and the color of the segment (in base64; don’t worry, we also provided a tool to convert from RGB colors to base64). Of course, this custom function could also be used for a host of other purposes, including: Stacked bar charts Dynamic interface elements, where the ability to specify the color on the fly is crucial (since FileMaker Pro’s styling doesn’t allow for that). Possibly even bar codes, although we haven’t tested that one Also, remember you can rotate elements in FileMaker Pro, in case you wanted to use this vertically. Oh and we decided to throw in the autofocus as well by upgrading the base graphic from 100 pixels to 1000. This should eliminate the blurred edges that some users experienced when they expanded the container to very large sizes. Download the demo file and give it a whirl! Hope you enjoy it! *This article is provided for free and as-is, use and play at your own risk – but have fun! Excelisys does not provide free support or assistance with any of the above. If you would like help or assistance, please consider retaining Excelisys’ FileMaker Pro consulting & development services. About Excelisys, Inc.: Founded in 2001, Excelisys (www.excelisys.com) is an FBA Platinum Partner and FileMaker Certified developer organization. Excelisys specializes in designing, developing, customizing, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, fixing, and integrating of FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go database solutions, MySQL, PHP, CodeIgnitor, PostgreSQL, QuickBooks-FileMaker Pro Integration, Excel and MS Access to FileMaker Pro conversions/migrations, iPhone and iPad business solutions, and other various database frameworks and web technologies that automate your organization’s data solution needs for use on the web, mobile, and desktop platforms. Contact Excelisys today for a free estimate and consultation about your business software automation needs @ 866-592-9235. The post FileMaker Pro Tip-n-Trick: FileMaker Pro Progress Bars, Gantt-Man appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  15. I was recently asked by another site to do a FileMaker Pro review, so I think it only fitting to share it here for our readers as well. 🙂 By David Thorp What do you like best about FileMaker Pro? FileMaker Pro takes the core tasks involved with managing, storing and processing information and simplifies them into an intuitive user experience. The best thing about FileMaker Pro is how broadly useful it can be to almost anyone with nearly any level of technical skill. Even as a seasoned FileMaker Pro developer, I marvel at how useful it can be for daily tasks or short projects. There are many levels of FileMaker Pro, accessible with increasing time and experience invested in learning the platform and using it to create solutions. Anyone with some time, talent, curiosity and a copy of FileMaker Pro can create a custom software solution which addresses complex business needs; moreover, they can do it in a fraction of the time and with significantly less technical skill than could be produced using a traditional application development framework. Even the basic beginner can open the program straight from the box, and quickly produce incredible results, and that has always been FileMaker Pro’s claim to fame. However over almost 30 years it has developed and grown into a serious rapid application development environment for quickly and relatively easily building professional business applications that scale very well. These latter applications require a greater level of skill and experience, but the point is FileMaker Pro is a lot more than just a “simple” database for beginners. As consultants and custom software developers, my colleagues and I with Excelisys have used FileMaker Pro to develop high end professional systems which manage processes, cataloging, inventory tracking, ordering, invoicing, payments, project management, event management, contact management, all manner of reporting, administration, quality assurance, and the list goes on – for companies with anything from one to hundreds of simultaneous users accessing this information and managing even millions of records of data. In recent years FileMaker Pro has evolved from just a desktop application with some web connectivity to a comprehensive platform for creating cross-platform desktop, web, and mobile applications. What do you dislike about FileMaker Pro? The diverse and powerful feature set of FileMaker Pro make it a “blank slate” in many ways for development. Therefore, because it’s so easy for end users to begin creating solutions quickly which address basic business needs, they often skip the planning required for developing more complex solutions required by more fundamental problems. For professional developers like myself, it can be frustrating to see a client who’s spent a great deal of time creating a solution that’s not technically sustainable and then expects to work with that solution to help them achieve a complicated objective. The middle ground between DIY development and the need for professional custom development is sometimes murky territory, and this is an area where FileMaker Pro’s greatest asset in its friendly, easy-to-use approach can become a liability if users don’t watch out for how complex their needs are and stop to consider when it might be time to ask for help from professionals, like those at Excelisys and any number of other consulting firms specializing in FileMaker Pro development. What business problems are you solving with FileMaker Pro? What benefits have you realized using FileMaker Pro? I’ve solved problems as diverse as the businesses of my clients from manufacturing to tourism to design firms to any number of other industries and applications. Each has a basic need to see what material, intellectual, and human assets they have, and mange the way they flow in, out and through their business. One of the more universal problems that I’ve used FileMaker Pro to help solve for many companies is moving their processes away from time-consuming paper-based systems and into a single system which simplifies the way information is collected, stored and processed from forms. These efforts make the work lives of those users significantly more efficient, and invariably improve their bottom lines. For any serious business trying to make a profit, the time and costs saved by a well designed, professionally developed application/solution always offsets the investment that goes into it. With FileMaker Pro that investment is usually significantly less than with other platforms, which nearly always makes it the best choice of platform for the solution. For which purposes do you use FileMaker Pro? Relational Databases, Custom Applications on desktop, mobile and web. Recommendations to others considering FileMaker Pro; For small applications, just dive right in! For complex professional solutions, be sure you know how to plan and design your solution properly. If you’re not confident in that, then hire the professionals, but be comforted that the professionals using FileMaker Pro can likely deliver better results faster than with most other application development platforms. Download a demo of FileMaker Pro. About Excelisys, Inc.: Founded in 2001, Excelisys (www.excelisys.com) is an FBA Platinum Partner and FileMaker Certified developer organization. Excelisys specializes in designing, developing, customizing, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, fixing, and integrating of FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go database solutions, MySQL, PHP, CodeIgnitor, PostgreSQL, QuickBooks-FileMaker Pro Integration, Excel and MS Access to FileMaker Pro conversions/migrations, iPhone and iPad business solutions, and other various database frameworks and web technologies that automate your organization’s data solution needs for use on the web, mobile, and desktop platforms. Contact Excelisys today for a free estimate and consultation about your business software automation needs @ 866-592-9235. FileMaker and the file folder logo are registered trademarks of FileMaker, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. The post FileMaker Pro Review; an intuitive user experience appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  16. Ready to Play Hide and Seek with a Button in a FileMaker Pro Portal Row? By Rob Poelking I just figured this out and thought it was cool enough to share with you. It’s pretty commonplace to put a button over a FileMaker Pro portal row object to trigger an event related to that particular row. But sometimes you don’t want a button across the entire row. So then we typically put a visual button off to the side like an “edit” button, but the result can be unsightly seeing “edit” repeated a dozen times on the screen. So, what if you could just display the edit button when that row was active. In FileMaker 13, you can with the new hide object feature. So, to set this up, I had to add a field in the related table as an unstored calculation Get ( RecordNumber ). Then, I had to name the portal object. Now using the function to GetLayoutObjectAttribute, I can dynamically show the button only with the portal row is active with this calculation: not ( GetLayoutObjectAttribute ( “portal” ; “hasFocus” ) and (Get ( ActivePortalRowNumber ) = myPortal::RECORDNUMBER ) ) Download the demo file and give it a whirl! This is not the only way to provide this button in a FileMaker Pro portal row functionality. After reviewing, Doug West offered up an idea by simply using a global variable to achieve the same effect. Either method provides an intuitive user interface that allows a user to select an item in a list before taking action on it. This also works well in FileMaker Go where unintentional taps don’t accidentally set off an unintended process. Happy FileMaking 🙂 *This article is provided for free and as-is, use and play at your own risk – but have fun! Excelisys does not provide free support or assistance with any of the above. If you would like help or assistance, please consider retaining Excelisys’ FileMaker Pro consulting & development services. About Excelisys, Inc.: Founded in 2001, Excelisys (www.excelisys.com) is an FBA Platinum Partner and FileMaker Certified developer organization. Excelisys specializes in designing, developing, customizing, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, fixing, and integrating of FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go database solutions, MySQL, PHP, CodeIgnitor, PostgreSQL, QuickBooks-FileMaker Pro Integration, Excel and MS Access to FileMaker Pro conversions/migrations, iPhone and iPad business solutions, and other various database frameworks and web technologies that automate your organization’s data solution needs for use on the web, mobile, and desktop platforms. Contact Excelisys today for a free estimate and consultation about your business software automation needs @ 866-592-9235. The post FileMaker Pro Tip-n-Trick: Hide-n-Seek a Button in a FileMaker Pro Portal Row appeared first on eXcelisys. View the full article
  17. Using FileMaker Pro to generate Code 39 barcodes without the need for fonts or plug-ins.   By Doug West, Product/Project manager for Excelisys.       This FileMaker Pro file demonstrates the use of conditional formatting with a repeating field to draw the bars of a Code 39 (Code 3 of 9) barcode. This FileMaker Pro code 39 barcode generator uses a series of 16 “slots” per character which appear as wide or narrow bars. The intermediatebarcodeBitFlags field simply tells each repetition of the repeating field whether or not to use a background fill color, creating the bars. For the repeating field to display properly, the width must be set to 1 pt for each repetition that’s displayed. You will need 32 repetitions for the start and end characters (16 for each), in addition to 16 repetitions for each of the characters in the input field. An auto-enter calculation is used on the input field to remove invalid characters. The good news about having this in native FileMaker objects is that you can adjust as needed for your specific usage. For example, if you want thicker bars, you can just increase the width of the repeating field. If you’re showing 200 repetitions, give it a try with a field width of 300, or 400. This will make the bars 50%, or 100% thicker than the original size. The leading and trailing asterisk characters are required with Code 39 barcodes to indicate the direction of the barcode to the reader. These characters are not required with the “other” barcode plugin because that product supports only the Code 128 symbology instead of the Code 39 output. This alternate format could be implemented using the same bar/space methodology demonstrated in this file by changing the barcodeBitFlags calculation field to match the pattern in the bar/space column detailed online at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_128 Enjoy and let us know what ya think! Also please feel free to share, we just hope you give Excelisys a shout-out. Download Demo File Here
  18. Excelisys Updates the eX-BizTracker to 4.13   Excelisys, Inc., (www.excelisys.com) announced the release of The eX-BizTracker 4.13 (http://www.excelisys.com/exbiztracker4.php), the next generation of the popular flagship  eX-File business productivity template for small- to medium-sized businesses. The eX-BizTracker 4.13 is the next giant step forward in the jump-start solution's long history. Taking advantage of the latest innovations in FileMaker Pro 13, this new version of the eX-BizTracker is much leaner and easier to use and extend. Along with a slick new interface, the eX-BizTracker 4.13 is better than ever.   Based on two of the original Excelisys FileMaker Business Tracker versions; BizTracker Pro and eX-BizTracker v3.0 with well over 125K downloads, the eX-BizTracker has become one of the most popular FileMaker Pro templates! Developers and end-users found the GUI and feature-set very attractive, as it offered their clients and employers a "jump-start" advantage in building intuitive custom solutions.   The eX-BizTracker 4.13 makes it easy to manage a small or medium-sized business in a cost-effective solution that can be easily modified and extended. Instead of being locked in to a software "product" with proprietary code, the eX-BizTracker 4 is open and flexible so it can keep up with your needs over time.   Even those without much FileMaker Pro knowledge can easily put the eX-BizTracker 4.13 to work for them. Intermediary developers will learn by example about best practices in design and development, and pick-up new techniques they can use in their own solutions. And seasoned developers will love it's clean and trim foundation that's a pleasure to work within, and closely follows the industry-accepted development and naming conventions established by filemakerstandards.org.   NEW & IMPROVED for FileMaker Pro 13!   The eX-BizTracker 4.13 maximizes the latest innovations in FileMaker Pro® 13, resulting in a more feature-rich tool and adding more value to an already incredible "Jump-Start" FileMaker Pro template.    The new features developed in the eX-BizTracker 4.13 take advantage of FileMaker's aggressive leap into the web and iOS/Mobile platform deployment strategies. Pop-overs and slide controls require much less development effort than workarounds in earlier versions, and allow a true single document interface that feels natural on iOS devices and in a browser. Our new task-specific companion modules leverage these enhancements to provide elegant and intuitive solutions for a variety of needs.   The eX-BizTracker 4.13 incorporates a host of elements to enhance usability features and functionality, including CRM to manage both companies and/or organizations and individuals, allowing for multiple addresses and contact methods for each, along with activity logs, reminders and email. The integrated document management and storage provides seamless functionality with customers, orders, invoices, POs or products, with optional encryption, improving ability to track products (goods, services and fees) along with inventory management. The updated features allow the eX-BizTracker 4.13 to integrate with common off-the-shelf products such as QuickBooks, and third-party software/services from companies such as FedEx, UPS and SalesForce.   The Meat and Potatoes:   Under The Hood (The Geek Stuff): Development standards modeled after recommendations at filemakerstandards.org. Primary keys using the Get(UUID) function for simplified synchronization with offline devices. Redesigned user interface, fewer layout elements by using enhanced layout options in FileMaker 12. Streamlined relationships graph by using ExecuteSQL command to access data without extra table occurrences. Significantly fewer fields throughout, moving most standard routines to custom functions. Making use of merge variables on layouts. Fewer scripts through script parameters, allowing similar scripts to be reused throughout the solution. Modules: Customers (companies or people), Vendors, Products, Orders, POs/Bills, Receiving, Reports, Preferences (settings and users) Features of FileMaker 13 incorporated into BT4.13 include: WebDirect compatibility Custom theme and style sheets for consistent appearance, improved performance, and easy adjustment Popovers instead of pop-up windows for smoother user experience Use of object visibility settings for simplified layout editing Disabled active row state on portals to prevent unwanted selection Use of "FETCH FIRST" in ExecuteSQL statements to limit query results Current record indicator removed in list view for more modern appearance New Mobile Modules:   Mobile Modules are specific stand-alone solutions for FMgo that integrate perfectly with the eX-BizTracker 4 and further extend its capabilities. These are distributed solutions that are deployed on an iOS device and incorporate a sophisticated synchronization routine allowing the user to safely and reliably exchange data with a hosted eX-BizTracker 4 solution.    Currently, the series of Mobile Modules being developed consists of several FMgo companion pieces for the eX-BizTracker 4: Local deliveries, shipping/receiving Warehouse remote inventory - coming soon! Tasks/Activities/To-Dos - coming soon! Order Entry and Processing - coming soon!     About Excelisys, Inc. - Founded in 2001, Excelisys (www.excelisys.com) is an international organization specializing in building, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, tweaking, fixing, and integrating quality custom FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, MySQL, PostgreSQL, QuickBooks-FileMaker Pro Integration, Excel to FileMaker Pro conversions, iPhone and iPad integration, and other various database technologies and frameworks for web, mobile, and desktop deployment strategies.   About FileMaker, Inc. - FileMaker Inc is the leader in easy-to-use database software. Millions of people, from individuals to some of the world's largest companies, rely on FileMaker software to manage, analyze and share essential information. The product line includes FileMaker Pro –- versatile database software for teams and organizations, for Windows, Mac and the Web –- and FileMaker GO, the mobile database client for iPhone and iPad. FileMaker, Inc. is a subsidiary of Apple.
  19. Excelisys Releases The BizTracker 4, a Jump-Start Template That Dramatically Advances FileMaker Pro® Customization South Bend, IN – November 11, 2013 – Excelisys, Inc., (www.excelisys.com) announced the release of The eX-BizTracker 4, the next generation of the popular flagship eX-File business productivity template for small- to medium-sized businesses. The eX-BizTracker 4 maximizes the latest innovations in FileMaker Pro® 12, resulting in a much leaner customizing tool which is easier to use and extend. The redesign uses development standards modeled after recommendations at www.filemakerstandards.org, with primary keys using the Get (UUID) function for simplified synchronization with offline devices. The redesigned more modern flat-design user interface includes fewer layout elements by capitalizing on FileMaker Pro 12’s enhanced layout options. It includes fewer scripts through script parameters and significantly fewer fields throughout, moving many standard routines to custom functions. Using the ExecuteSQL command to access data streamlined the relationships graph, resulting in a far more nimble product. “Advancements in FileMaker Pro 12 provide exciting opportunities for simplification of complex solutions. We have succeeded in adding long-awaited features while reducing the complexity of the solution as a whole.” says Doug West, Product/Project Manager with Excelisys who was the Lead Developer on the eX-BizTracker 4 team and adds, “With fewer fields, scripts, and table occurrences, it’s now much easier for developers to understand the system at a glance and extend the functionality of the solution.” “This (version 4) is a HUGE deal because it takes advantage of a lot of rich features introduced in FileMaker Pro 12 which was released at the beginning of 2012, “ says Christo, Founder and President of Excelisys. “Our BizTracker was completely rewritten; Doug West, Product/Project Manager with Excelisys who was the Lead Developer on the eX-BizTracker 4 team, did a phenomenal job with it. There are cool things that developer ‘nerds’ will love about its design, and “Bob the Business Person” will also love it….especially the time and money it saves them!” The eX-BizTracker 4 incorporates a host of elements to enhance usability features and functionality, including CRM to manage both companies and/or organizations and individuals, allowing for multiple addresses and contact methods for each, along with activity logs, reminders and email. The integrated document management and storage provides seamless functionality with customers, orders, invoices, POs or products, with optional encryption, improving ability to track products (goods, services and fees) along with inventory management. The updated features allow The eX-BizTracker 4 to integrate with common off-the-shelf products such as QuickBooks, and third-party software/services from companies such as FedEx, UPS and SalesForce Current modules include Customers, Vendors, Products, Documents, Orders, POs, Inventory, Bills, Shipments, Reports and Preferences (settings and users). Mobile modules, anticipated soon, will allow specific actions in the field including inventory control, shipping/receiving, order handling, CRM and documents management. The eX-BizTracker 4 is available as a free fully-functional demo which is complete and useable by the end user. If the services of Excelisys are retained, an unlocked version is provided, offering even greater flexibility of customization for the end user or the developer of their choice. The eX-BizTracker 4 is the latest evolution of Excelisys’ “jumpstart” template. Nearly 100,000 users have downloaded the original FileMaker Business Tracker, created by Excelisys for FileMaker Inc. when FileMaker Pro 7 was released in 2004, making it one of the most popular free templates from FileMaker, Developers and end-users have found the GUI and feature-set a money- and time-saving tool, offering a “jumpstart” advantage in building intuitive custom solutions. Home Screen for The Excelisys Biztracker 4 About Excelisys: Founded in 2001, Excelisys (www.excelisys.com) is an international organization specializing in building, supporting, consulting, migrating, upgrading, tweaking, fixing, and integrating quality custom FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, MySQL, PostgreSQL, QuickBooks-FileMaker Pro Integration, Excel to FileMaker Pro conversions, iPhone and iPad integration, and other various database technologies and frameworks for web, mobile, and desktop deployment strategies. About FileMaker, Inc. FileMaker Inc is the leader in easy-to-use database software. Millions of people, from individuals to some of the world’s largest companies, rely on FileMaker software to manage, analyze and share essential information. The product line includes FileMaker Pro –- versatile database software for teams and organizations, for Windows, Mac and the Web –- and FileMaker GO, the mobile database client for iPhone and iPad. FileMaker, Inc. is a subsidiary of Apple. Source
  20. The eX-BizTracker 4 is now out for public beta testing, ready for you to put it through its paces! If you were one of the 100,000 plus people who downloaded eX-BizTracker v3.0, you might recall thatFileMaker® Pro template or jump-start solution’s attractive GUI and feature set. You might also remember fondly the advantage it gave your company, or if you were a consultant looking for a quick way to get something for  your clients, how easy it was to customize for your distinctive business needs. If you’re new to the Excelisys BizTracker series of FileMaker® Pro templates, you won’t remember any of that, but that’s ok. The point is this: The eX-BizTracker 4 is the next giant step forward in FileMaker® Pro jump-start solutions! Taking advantage of the latest innovations in FileMaker® Pro 12, the eX-BizTracker 4 is the most advanced and leanest Excelisys BizTracker yet! It’s like way, WAY easier to use and extend, and it’s more intuitive than ever! And to top it all off, its interface is even slicker. The eX-BizTracker 4 makes it easy to manage a small- or medium-sized business in a cost-effective solution that can be easily modified and extended. Instead of being locked into a software “product” with proprietary code, the eX-BizTracker4 is open and flexible so it can keep up with your business needs and growth over time. Even those without much FileMaker® Pro knowledge can easily put the eX-BizTracker 4 to work for them. Intermediate level developers will learn some new best practices in design and development, and pick-up new techniques they can use in their own solutions. And seasoned developers will love its clean and trim foundation that’s a pleasure to work with and closely follows the industry-accepted development and naming conventions established by filemakerstandards.org. Home Screen for eX-BizTracker 4   So…how could we even possibly improve this FileMaker® Pro based jump-start solution? That’s where you come in… Guinea pigs with benefits! Download the public beta version (http://www.excelisys.com/exbiztracker4.php) and test the eX-BizTracker4, provide us with feedback (http://www.excelisys.com/feedback-bt4.php) and/or identify some pesky bugs (like as if you’ll find any), and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free copy of the final gold master version when it is released! (Disclaimer: If you like bugs, you’ll probably be disappointed.) Happy guinea pigging, Your fine friends at Excelisys   * FileMaker and FileMaker Pro are registered trademarks and owned by FileMaker, Inc. in the US and other countries. * eX-BizTracker and BizTracker are trademarks of, and owned by Excelisys, Inc.
  21. A Wrinkle in Timeliness Pt 2 - Perfecting FileMaker Pro Recursion & Virtualization, by Andy Persons of Excelisys Perfecting FileMaker Pro Recursion & Virtualization Part 2 explores the use of recursion and virtualization (through global variables) in solving complex data interconnectivity challenges using FileMaker Pro 12 in a multi-user client-server environment. Using a specific case study of an Excelisys project/client in the medical manufacturing industry, Andy discusses and demonstrate the dramatic performance benefits that can be gained with the techniques involved.   Have you ever had a FileMaker Pro project where each task depended on other tasks to be completed before it could start? How would you keep track of the projected completion date of the project as various tasks were completed or delayed? What if the project involved hundreds of tasks and tens of thousands of dependencies?   In my previous post, I introduced the challenge: Updating hundreds or thousands of tasks interconnected with tens of thousands of connections. We also took a look at a couple possible solutions, but determined that they were unworkable. In this second installment, we look at an alternate recursive approach and why it is superior to the one we discussed last time. Let's take a look at this other possibility shall we... Sample of free PDF download Please visit the Excelisys Tips-n-Tricks section of the website to download the article in its entirety as a PDF.   Andy Persons is a Lead Senior FileMaker Pro Developer with Excelisys:  Andy has been an industry leading FileMaker Pro developer creating FileMaker Pro solutions for over 17 years. In addition to being one of the lead developers of three top-rated and most-downloaded FileMaker Pro solutions of all-time; the FileMaker Business Tracker and the Excelisys eX-BizTracker & eX-BizTracker Pro jump-start solutions, he has shared his incredible and advanced talents by authoring numerous Tips-n-Tricks files and white papers, including Hierarchical Portals, Recursive Calcs, Audit Logs and Drag-and-Drop using FileMaker Pro.   *This article is provided for free and as-is, use and play at your own risk - but have fun! Excelisys does not not provide free support or assistance with any of the above. If you would like help or assistance, please consider retaining Excelisys’ FileMaker Pro consulting services.   * FileMaker and FileMaker Pro are registered trademarks and owned by FileMaker, Inc. in the US and other countries.
  22. If you’ve ever wanted to generate specific reports for different groups of users, but are intimidated by FileMaker’s, somewhat complicated security schema, this PDF shows you an alternative methodology that is very simple and easy to implement, using FileMaker Pro privilege sets. Recently a client, a large bail bond company, wanted to be able to add reports easily, that could only be viewed by specific employees, and without having to go anywhere near FileMaker’s security schema. This got me thinking outside the box, which is where many good FileMaker solutions come from, and I started to play a game of ‘What If?  What if we could use a related value list to populate a field, listing all the reports that were available for the user, and then use a script trigger to generate the report?  Once I’d finished playing ‘What If?’, I started a different game; ‘Why Not?”  (Both of these are fun games that I love playing and which FileMaker is particularly adept at). As it turned out the solution was very simple and easy to implement.  We just had to add one table (for the report names), a global field (with a related value list) and a script with  just 3 steps.  Now all the client has to do in order to add new reports is to add a new layout and make sure that the name of the layout is the same as the name of the report and then select who can read that report. Problem solved; mission accomplished; happy client.  What could be better? Download this FREE PDF from Excelisys’ Tips-n-Tricks section of the website. - Michael Rocharde, Lead FileMaker Developer @ Excelisys. Michael Rocharde has been a professional FileMaker Developer since 1987. He has worked withExcelisys since 2002 and has had more than 40 articles published in a variety of magazine He is also the author of FileMaker & Me, an interactive multimedia book focusing on FileMaker Interface Design. Available only for the iPad, this book is available at the iTunes store. Michael recently released a free reference guide to FileMaker 12’s Themes (Themes Ain’t Wot They Used to Be). Currently Michael is working on a new book ‘FileMaker & You’, Tips & Tricks for Successful FileMaker Development’ (To be published May 2013) for beginners to intermediate developers who, typically, are working in-house and who are being tasked with building a FileMaker solution to manage a specific task or function. Michael lives in the south of France, just outside of Toulouse in a small village called Castelmaurou. When he’s not developing FileMaker solutions or writing, he can be found tearing out what little hair he has left trying to master the French language. * FileMaker and FileMaker Pro are registered trademarks and owned by FileMaker, Inc. in the US and other countries.
  23. HierarchyLite - FileMaker Pro® 12 Tips and Tricks Demo of a Simplified Approach to Hierarchal Portals! Another FREE FileMaker Pro 12 Tips and Tricks Demo file showing an even more simplified approach to hierarchal portals by Doug West, Product/Project manager of Excelisys.  Doug has now made this advanced technique, originally developed by our own Andy Persons, even easier! "HierarchyLite" is an EXcellent FREE FileMaker Pro 12 Tips and Tricks demo file which outlines how to create those cool hierarchically organized portals in FileMaker Pro 12, similar to the Mac Finder’s list view or Window’s Explorer view. The general idea of this simplified no-frills version is to make this desired effect a tad easier to implement. The hierarchy concept is achieved with fewer fields and featured without the potentially unneeded distractions such as the category field, portal row highlight, and drag-and-drop functionality for moving items between groups. When you open the file there are instructions and explanations on how it all works and how you can incorporate this technique into your own fabulous solutions! So download this free FileMaker Pro 12 Tips and Tricks demo file from Excelisys' FileMaker Tips and Tricks section of our website today and ENJOY!   Download Now!   * FileMaker and FileMaker Pro are registered trademarks and owned by FileMaker, Inc. in the US and other countries. FileMaker Pro 12 Tips and Tricks Demo on creating hierarchy portals.
  24. Perhaps one of the most significant advances in FileMaker™ was the introduction of native tab panels. There are many different ways to use tab panels... good, bad and cool - so let's EXplore some of these tab techniques and uses as I share some tricks I learned along the way! Check out our Blog for the article in its entirety and a link to a PDF force, yes free, no strings or rope attached.