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Accessing Google Services - Part 3

Having made the connection to Google's Services using Oauth 2, and spending a touch of time investigating how we can discover documents within Google Drive, we're in the home stretch of reading and writing data to a Google Sheet. By simplifying the way we make API calls to any of Google's services, we end up with a great solution for working with any of Google's available APIs. Also, by focusing on the simple example of working with one simple Google Sheet, we end up capturing data via a Google Form which dumps data into the Google Sheet. All we need to do is read and write to that sheet. This video covers the topic of watching for an expired access token and making sure that each call to the API has the greatest chance of success. Within no time you'll be reading and writing to a Google Sheet as if everything was right there within FileMaker Pro itself! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

 

Accessing Google Services - Part 2

This video is a continuation of the first video in this series where we took a look at connecting to Google's myriad of available services. Once you know how to make the secure connection which Google requires, you can access all the possible services. The trick with working with web services, such as Google or AWS, is that you need to become familiar with how FileMaker requests data and then process the response. We tackle that task within this video then move on to working with Google Drive in order to determine which file it is we want to work with. After making a successful connection we also need to know how to maintain or re-establish that connection. Google doesn't keep the door open forever you know. So, settle in for another longer, but valuable exploration of connecting to Google's services. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Accessing Google Services - Part 1

Buried within the layers of complexity inside any technical system are the simple settings of multiple parameters and/or settings. You simply need to get the right pieces into the right places. You know - like a jigsaw puzzle. And, once the puzzle starts to reveal itself, the understanding of what the picture is becomes so much more clear. That's the goal of this particular video when it comes to connecting to the myriad of possible Google services. FileMaker Pro, in the last few years, had improved by leaps and bounds with regards to working with external systems and services. With everything you need now built in the the native client, you can easily connect to Google's services and make the most of them right within your own FileMaker solution. You may just need a head start on the understanding in order to see the whole picture. Fortunate, that's exactly what this video will do for you. If you need to connect to Google services for any reason then look no further! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

 

Universal Date Picker

FileMaker Pro provides us with a wonderfully blank canvas in order to present data however we wish. It's called Layout Mode. When you combine that feature with the recently added Card Windows the power to solve presentation problems goes up quite significantly. Such is the case when it comes to providing users with a date picker, or a calendar widget if you will. In previous videos, I've provided instruction on how to make a very simple calendar widget. When you combine that widget with a Card Window you simply gain full control about how a user makes selections for date values. So, what's the best method of implementation? Well, like all things, there are many ways to approach the problem. In this video I discuss the use of global variables and the differences in context when working with Card Windows. I present some of the better ways to approach the solution and how to clean up after yourself when considering the use of global variables. If you're in need of expanding your FileMaker knowledge and you happen to also need a simple, yet powerful date picker, then I'm sure you'll enjoy watching this video about a Universal Date Picker. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

 

Using FileMaker's Grid

Recently, while providing intermediate training at the annual FileMaker Devcon, I had an attendee approach me and ask a very simple question. "How do you turn off the grid in FileMaker?" Like all questions, it was asked within the context of innocent ignorance. This was simply because this person had not yet used, nor explored this area of FileMaker. This is totally understandable with the increasing number of options found across the increasing number of palettes within FileMaker. However, if you think this video is simply about how you turn on/off the grid, then you'll be missing out on a whole host of features and options which can both benefit your layout designs and make things much faster for you within the area of your designs. This video is about taking full advantage of the grid and making decisions about how to use it and how to choose the right width for your designs. Plus, you'll get all kinds of tips about how to make your layouts feel "visually comfortable" so they appeal to users. Think you know about using FileMaker's Grids? Double-check by watching this video! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Duplicating Related Records - Server Side

The age old question commonly arises on FileMaker forums around the world. "How can I duplicate the whole record?" In other words, how can I duplicate the parent record and all related children records which make it seem like it's one whole entity. Well, at least, that's how a newer user/developer sees it. They may visually see the one record with all of its related records presented within the portal, but making the distinction that you're actually looking at 1 record plus N related records isn't super obvious from a UI standpoint. However, as a FileMaker developer, you need to know how to duplicate the whole collection of records so the user can conveniently click that one single button which reads "Duplicate". There are many methods you can use to accomplish this task, but there are a few tricks to making to work successfully and reliably depending on your specific requirements. In this video I present one of the most efficient methods for duplicating whole related record sets. No matter how many sets of related records you have, you can always take advantage of the inside knowledge on how to accomplish this type of task in FileMaker Pro. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Reusable Dialogs

Card windows will continue to impact our FileMaker solutions for years to come. Released in FileMaker 16, who would have thought that simply creating a new way to draw windows would be so empowering. We've long been able to create modal windows which force user interaction - but taking off the title bar and dimming the background window was all it took to make things much more powerful. So, what is the most common thing you can do with a card window? Well, create a reusable dialog box of course. In previous videos I've covered card windows for progress bars, menu navigation systems and ultimate card window positioning. In this video, I show you how to take advantage of the new FileMaker 17 feature of being able to target a script based on the name of the script. By doing this, we can create a reusable dialog box system which provides us with full visual control and styling of the content. If you're interested in taking full advantage of the latest features and you'd like to standardize your own custom dialog boxes then this video will have the information you need. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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List Processing with Custom List

While FileMaker's calculation engine is super powerful for managing all kinds of unique calculations, the one thing it lacks is a feature for running a repetitive function across a range of data. This is certainly possible within the Scripting engine with the use of the ever wonderful Loop script step. However, as stated, there's no way to really process a range of data using just a function. Unless... you create your own or use one which has already been created. As it happens, there is just such a function which has long been one of the most powerful custom functions of all possible FileMaker custom functions. It was created over a decade ago and is still, too this day, one of the most powerful custom functions you could ever learn to use. The function is called CustomList and it's a must-know function for any FileMaker developer. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Oauth External Authentication

Using multiple files for developing a robust FileMaker solution can be pretty normal when you plan out the distribution of your data and servers. Some solutions benefit from breaking out part of the solution into one or more separate files. So, whether taking the load off a given server or simply planning for quicker data access across multiple time zones, one of the bigger problems which pops up with your standard FileMaker accounts is password management. This is where it becomes much easier to use external authentication. In earlier days, we only had access to Active/Open Directory or system accounts hosted on the same machine as FileMaker server. But, since FileMaker Server 16, we now have the ability to use external authentication through Oauth. This means we can use a third party like Amazon, Google or Microsoft in order to allow users to access solutions and manage their own passwords. If you're looking for an easier way to manage the users of your solution, then you'll find out how it works and how to make it happen within this video about Oauth External Authentication. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Layout Object Palette Know How

The Layout Objects palette was an absolutely WONDERFUL addition to working in FileMaker's Layout Mode. If you've not given yourself the time to fully explore what's possible with it then this video will give you a great reason to do so. In this video, I walk through a re-work I needed to do on a database project which had a ton of extra layout objects. I show you how I used the Layout Objects palette in the most effective way possible. The tips and tricks provided may very well save you a ton of time too. Think there might be some hidden tricks waiting within the Layout Objects palette? Then this video is certainly for you! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Tabbed List Views

One of the challenges I love the most within FileMaker is creating something which requires less time and effort than the "older way" of doing the same thing. Such is the case with a tabbed list view. I recently came upon a sample file showcasing how to do something in multiple list views. It was using an older method of "simulated" tabs by simply placing clickable buttons in a horizontal row and making one of the buttons look different on each respective layout. So I thought to myself, "Why isn't he just using a normal tab panel?". You can certainly do it. You just need a few key pieces of info in order to create a very powerful navigational tool for a tabbed based list view. And, that's what this video is all about Tabbed List Views. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Ultimate FileMaker Debugging

Every craftsman should know how to use his or her set of tools effectively. When you know all the various uses and features of a given tool you then become more efficient at your trade. In FileMaker Pro Advanced, now available to pretty much everyone in version 17, there's one tool which helps you both understand what's happening and figure out what's not happening. The Script Debugger is an absolutely essential tool. Creating a well functioning script is a lot like Michelangelo creating David. It didn't just appear because he held the tools in his hands. It was because of the constant refinement with the tools until the beauty within was finally present. Writing a script is no different. You won't get it right the first time and you with almost always be able to refine and make it better. So, it goes without saying that knowing how to use the Script Debugger is one of the number one things you should know how to do when coding in FileMaker Pro. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Custom ordered portals

Every software user loves convenience. Heck, every human being loves convenience. So, why not provide it within every aspect of your user interface? The problem, however, which you may run across is figuring certain features out. FileMaker can be a very simple program or something quite complex if you're trying to do something custom like providing users with the ability to custom order their related records. The most basic sequential ordering of data comes in the form of simply providing a number field called something like "order", "sequence" or the more mathematically inclined "delta". Once you have the field, you can allow the user to manually change the values. But, that becomes a real pain when you try to add a record between the numbers 1 and 2. You now have a user entering 1.5 or 1.3 and 1.7 in order to get values to sort properly. Then, having to manually reserialize all the original values is just an unnecessary pain. Well, the best solution to this problem is to simply use the automation provided by FileMaker's powerful scripting engine. With a few scripts, a value list, and a bit of FileMaker know-how, we can provide a very quick-and-easy method of allowing users to custom order portal rows. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Exporting Field Data Properly

There's a lot of pretty boring stuff you need to know about when programming in FileMaker - or any other coding environment for that matter. Knowing the fundamentals of how to move information around is a critical skill. If the file format isn't correct or the receiving end of an online service just won't process your data, then it can certainly be a confusing dilemma which may take hours of learning in order to understand exactly what's going wrong. Of course, if you can simply watch a video like this, and gain an instant understanding of what it takes to move text in and out of a FileMaker field, then why not take advantage? In this video and technique file you'll find two super helpful scripts which can be used to pretty much move any text into and out of a field. It doesn't matter whether the text is JSON, XML, PHP, HTML or just plain simple text. Once you know how file encodings and line endings work you can move information around like a professional! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Multiple Parameters using JSON

The ingenuity of developers has always extended beyond the limitations presented within any given environment - both physical and virtual. If you can't cross a river with your cart and horse, then you learn how to build a bridge and make it last. Such is the case with FileMaker's script parameters. There's always been only one way to pass anything into a script - as one big blob of text. There's nothing which controls what type of data is embedded within the block of text and it's up to the developer to create a method for passing discrete pieces of data. From the most basic method of simply passing a return delimited list of data we can always take the individual pieces one by one from the list. Things, however, can get a bit more complex with larger amounts of data. When you need to pass return delimited data as a single parameter out of many you have to be a bit more creative. This is where FileMaker's addition of its JSON functions within FileMaker 16 have helped moved the feature set forward. While there is no native methods for passing multiple parameters, we do have a standard structure for name/value pairs now when working with FileMaker. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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iOS List View Swiping

Over the last few years, FileMaker, Inc. has been investing a lot into their mobile offering. FileMaker Go has been updated and revised to provide more and more performance along with accessing more features of the mobile platform. With FileMaker 17 we now have access to many more sensors and in the prior release they added more support for a variety of visual transitions between layouts. While all of these improvements are really great to have, there are still those certain features which make any UI designer jealous. One of those features is the ability to swipe list view rows in either direction in order to reveal a larger selection of options. While we can't directly emulate the native functionality like within a Swift/Objective C app, we can simulate the functionality with a great degree of success. If you're using FileMaker to deploy on a mobile device, then this is the video you need to watch for a great new technique useful in any mobile deployment with FileMaker Go. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker 17 - New Features & Functionality

It's that time of year again. The annual FileMaker Devcon approaches and FileMaker, Inc's commitment to more timely releases comes true yet again. This time around we have a number of new features. In this video I provide a quick hit list of all the major features you'll find within this latest release. Here's the list of new items covered. 00) Application Icon
01) Developer Tools
02) Redesigned Launch Center
03) New Hosts Dialog
04) Rearranged File Menu
05) Redesigned Layout Mode
06) Copy Paste Custom Menus
07) Info box in Manage Dialog
08) Layouts Subgroup Selections
09) Built-In Master Detail
10) Default Fields
11) Mini Apps
12) Multiple Email Attachments
13) Scripts - Perform Script by Name
14) Scripts - Show Dialog Input Variables
15) Scripts - Exports create folders
16) Go - iOS Local Notification
17) Go - GetSensor Function
18) Function Get ( UUIDNumber )
19) Function Get ( ActiveRecordNumber )
20) Data Migration Tool
21) Revised FileMaker Server
22) Updated FileMaker Data API Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Cool Card Window Tricks

When something new comes into fashion, sometimes, you just can't ignore it. Such was the case with Card Windows. They just opened up so many possibilities within the world of FileMaker development. While Button Bars, Popovers and Sliders have changed the way many things are done within your FileMaker user interface, the way Card Windows can be used should be your first consideration for many of your standard UI tasks. Understanding what happens when a card window comes forward allows you to take advantage of some of the various features it provides. In this video I walk through some helpful positioning functions and how the Card Window really behaves in relation to it's parent window and what you can do to take advantage of these cool new features. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Overview: Logical Functions

For some of us, one of the most enjoyable aspects of programming is the fact that we get to feel so "in control" over every single aspect of how something works. You are the God of your own universe and it's either as bad or as good as you make it. Our human shortcoming, however, is that fact that we don't just know it all - we have to learn the various ways of doing things. Knowing how to use FileMaker's functions, and when they are useful, is a key aspect to creating well functioning software. This video is a walk through of the ever critical logical functions. Without them, none of us would be making any software. So, sit back and relax for the well covered topic of FileMaker's Logical Functions. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Ultimate Card Window Control

FileMaker 16 changed the entire landscape of how many things are accomplished within FileMaker. Because of the ability to show a completely different context as a new Card Window, you can now do all kinds of wonderful things. Need an interactive sidebar? Use a Card Window. Need greater degree of control over your custom dialog boxes? Use Card Windows. Need to present a pick list, a palette or pretty much any information you could ever want to display in a dedicated child window? Used Card Windows! Awesome, so we now have Card Windows. But, the immediate utility may not seem as powerful as it could be when the Card Window defaults to the same size as the layout upon which it's based. Plus, if you want to position the window relative to its parent you need to be ready to do a bit of simple math. So, why do the simple math when you can make it even more simple? That's what this video is all about - Ultimate Card Window Control! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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No Duplicate Emails

FileMaker Pro has some very simple and straight-forward validation options. For example, if you only want one field named email to only ever have a single copy of a given email, you choose the Unique option in the Validations section of the field's options. But, what if you want to allow a given contact record to have multiple email addresses. How do you check for uniqueness across multiple fields? The same email could appear within one field and then would be perfectly valid in a second field which doesn't contain the original email. Well, here's the solution. Watch this video and use the provided technique file to simply copy the solution into your own FileMaker database. We'll use some creative tricks in order to make the process both robust and very powerful! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Reducing Available List Options

Whether you're just starting out with FileMaker Pro or you've been hovering in the intermediate zone for a little while, it's always a good thing to have a solid understanding of how to structure data and use the Relationship Graph in order to accomplish the end objective. When it comes to presenting a reducing set of available options, you have to understand how to get at what isn't being used in order to present it. The steps you need to take to show what isn't being used requires you to, first, know what IS being used. In this example technique file and video, we take a look at breaking down the individual parts which make it easier to understand how to present a list of reducing available options. Once you know how to create dedicated filtering keys and how to construct your value list, it should be pretty easy to present the data you want to present. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Overview: Aggregate Functions

So, what's the point of collecting all that data if you're not going to determine what it's telling you? Well, a lot of those burning questions are often answered with the power of the Aggregate functions. Whether you simply need some total using the Sum() function or if you're an advanced developer writing crazy scripted loops using the List() function, you need to know how to use the Aggregate functions to achieve the desired results. There are a few peculiarities about using the Aggregate functions, but once you've got them down you can decide how you want your database to behave. Using the Aggregate functions, you can store your aggregate data and move in the direction of better performance in favor of FileMaker figuring it out for you all the time. Or, you can just use FileMaker in the same way you've always been doing and simply take advantage of its easy power. Either way, it's all covered in this video about the Aggregate functions. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Zoomable & Clickable SVG Navigation

Don't get me wrong, FileMaker has a lot of cool things it can do all on its own. In fact, they keep adding more and more useful tools which makes it easy to create great working software. There are, however, those certain things that FileMaker just can't do on it's own. For example, you can't interact with images within container fields quite like you can certain web pages. Yet, right in front of us, we have the wonderfully powerful Web Viewer which exposes access to the power of JavaScript and all those wonderfully free libraries. Enter the common scenario where an easy-to-understand image file directly represents a nicely complex data structure. We'd like to use the image to navigate the data and we can certainly add it directly to a layout and overlay buttons over it. But, hold your horses there señor gung-ho developer. What if your image is so complex that it would be absolutely tiny if you placed it on the layout at 100%. Well, that's when we ring up our wonderful friend Mr. SVG. He'll take care of us. He's scalable you know! So, how about a zoomable and clickable SVG which directly represents how we'd like users to navigate the data? No problem! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Overview: Container Functions

When first learning about database development, and how to store large files such as media, archives and documents, I was introduced to the concept of a BLOB (Binary Large OBject). At that time, I wasn't using FileMaker Pro as of yet but a database called FoxPro. The concept of FileMaker's Container fields, as places to store BLOBs, came so much easier than having to convert a file into another format which can be stored within a SQL data store - which is what you have to do with some other database systems. In today's modern computing world you need to be familiar with how to encrypt things and how to transfer them between various services. This video will overview the Base64 encoding functions, the Crypt functions and all the other Container related functions. If you'd like to understand how and where the container functions will help you out with working with containers then you'll likely find what you need in this video. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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