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Using Portals for Navigation & Interaction

Portals can be used for essentially two different functions. Either data presentation or interaction. Of course, as you already know, you can also use a portal for both aspects of presentation and interaction as the same time. In this video, we continue the growth of our Home Project database where we take a look at the core differences between a Master/Detail portal (Current found set) and one which uses a Self Relationship. If you've not come across the differences between portal types, and

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

Creating Styles & Naming them

Any FileMaker solution is a growing collection of stuff to be maintained. By the nature of development, some things will be replaced leaving some aspects to be abandoned and others to be lifted up by revitalizing them. Regardless of what goes and what stays, it's best to have a plan for how things will be added and how easy it will be for your future self, or anyone else, to be able to identify those things. In this video, I walk through the Home Project database I'm working on and I talk about

Design Planning

Designing within FileMaker can either be pretty easy or somewhat hard. There's no exact way to design the look and feel of your solution, but the process of implementing the design can be easier when using FileMaker's grid. In this video, I talk about the process I use to first determine the size of a layout and then go on to refining its size so it fits within the golden ratio. Finally, I talk about implementing my use of the grid to make the styling of objects easier and give myself some gui

Data Structure & Default Elements

Being in need of a new database system myself, I decided to simply document the process of adding new features to a FileMaker system as it evolves. This is a great way to learn about the ins-n-outs of what goes on when developing a new system. There's a number of things which may or may not make sense when you take a look into how someone else created something. So, why not make videos as the solution progresses. In this first video, I showcase how I originally started the file and where I shou

FileMaker Sharing Steps

Having recently consulted with a newer developer unfamiliar with the way FileMaker hosting/sharing works, I found that discussing the process would be a good primer for anyone just starting with FileMaker. If you've only ever worked or developed your file on your local machine, then learning how to host that file will be a big benefit. Especially if you need to collaborate with another developer. One of the key benefits of developing with FileMaker is the fact that it allows for collaborative l

Restoring User Environments

Over the years I've created a number of videos about restoring user state. Returning windows to their last viewed location, restoring tabs and slider panels to those last viewed, etc. I've also created videos about super quick startup and managing users within a Users table. What I haven't shown is how I combine all of those processes into a powerful user environment restoration routine. Along with highly maintainable (and transportable) code. I've used this approach on most all of the solution

Get ( LastMessageChoice ) - Show Custom Dialog tricks

Sometimes, it's just good to reflect on how you use certain FileMaker features. You know, the simple ones. Like Show Custom Dialog and Get ( LastMessageChoice ). If you use FileMaker for mobile a lot, then Show Custom Dialog is a great way to go. With Desktop, you might have less than optimal results because users can reposition and resize the dialog. Aside from those few issues, however, it's probably one of those script steps you find yourself sprinkling all around your FileMaker solution. Th

Learning FileMaker Functions

When you really want to master creating all kinds of powerful solutions within FileMaker, then you'll have to be familiar with as many functions as possible. In fact, it doesn't hurt to know and have used every single one at least once or twice. The sooner you become familiar, the more things you'll be able to accomplish. Reflecting on my own journey with learning all of FileMaker's functions, I remembered working with a dog-eared paper manual with sticky notes popping out all over the place. T

Learning JavaScript in FileMaker

Some developers who start with FileMaker never extend beyond it. Hopefully, that's not you. Or, at least you're willing to look into learning some other languages and see how they can benefit your FileMaker solutions! In FileMaker 19 we gained both a new script step named "Perform JavaScript in Web Viewer" and a JavaScript function embedded into the Web Viewer named "FileMaker.PerformScript()". If you haven't taken the time to investigate how these new features work, then allow me to give you t

3 Key Uses for Portals

Personally, I've always been dismayed by how portals are positioned within the world of FileMaker instruction. When I see other developers teach about portals, they start with the primary use of portals and then stop. They talk about how portals are there to show related data and that's about it. No way! That's certainly not the end of things. Portals are one of the primary ways to present data however you wish. If portals were limited to simply showing related data based on a normalized schema

Efficient File Storage

Just because you can create container fields doesn't mean you should create them whenever you think you need to store files for a specific table. There are possible solutions which, when implemented creatively, allow you to use one single container field for all of your solution's file storage. True, you may need container fields for other uses, but, when it comes to linking and storing the documents managed within your solution you can get away with one single container field within a single Fi

10 Good Developer Habits & Scripts

Sometimes, it's those little suggestions or tricks which make for a more enjoyable and productive development environment. In this video, I cover some of what I consider to be the most helpful things for working within FileMaker - at least when it comes to scripts and good habits. Hate having to scroll down your long list of scripts in order to target the one script you're working on? Use a Testing Code script. Working with more than one developer and need a good method of communicating what wa

Capture Web Content As Markdown

Learning JavaScript, while also learning FileMaker development, can seem like a daunting task. The trick is to take things little-by-little and pick up those essential skills which allow you to add in the really cool functionality. You don't have to code your own JavaScript library. You just need to be willing to integrate them with that little bit of know-how you acquired. The great thing about this process is building the skills to be able to implement things in a quick fashion. In this video

FileMaker Reporting Fundamentals

In this video we bring you the fundamentals of FileMaker Reporting. Some of FileMaker's features regarding arriving at that perfect report can seem somewhat hidden. The Sliding & Visibility settings are just one example. It can also be a bit difficult in knowing how you can arrive at the perfect Summary report when you don't know which layout parts you do and don't need. If you've struggled with creating that ideal output, whether truly printed or just for a digital PDF, then you'll likely

Custom Dynamic Value Lists

Within the realm of FileMaker development, there are a number of key techniques which allow you to do the types of things you'd normally expect in any development environment. Many of these have been around for many years. In this case, this one, a decade. The unfortunate thing is that some of these obscure methods and techniques just aren't that easy to replicate from memory. Some are hidden in the corners of FileMaker development because they feel like they're "hacks". But, at least they get t

Using Add-ons via a Charting Example

When Add-ons were announced, it sounded like they were going to be the holy grail of transportable code within FileMaker. Thus far, I don't know exactly what the adoption rate is and if the effort is paying off for Claris. I think the concept still has legs; as you can see that the new experience Claris is putting into FileMaker currently leverages what was built. While I have my own personal strong opinions about how Add-ons were implemented and are currently used, there's no doubt you can sav

FileMaker Date Formats & Functions

When first starting with FileMaker, I remember learning all the default Date/Time/Timestamp functions. The documentation for FileMaker is great and the example calculations often lead you in the right direction. One of the things I didn't know about was how dates, times and timestamps were treated internally. More importantly, how this impacted what I wanted to do with date/time calculations and integrating with external systems. Later down the road, I learned about all the other things I neede

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

Avoiding Record Locks

For many FileMaker systems, the number of concurrent logged in users, especially those who will hit issues with record locks, is often very low. Typically, these types of systems are used within the local area network and you just ask the offending user to unlock the record. However, with the number of remote users logging into a system through the WAN, a variety of things have had to change. The way you architect a database system can't necessarily take the same approach as was done before. As

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

Prettifying Your UI

One of the most satisfying things about being a solution developer is the opportunity to create the user interface. You get to create, and modify, how users interact with your software creation. It's like shopping for just the right outfit for that perfect occasion. The one which will present your software in just the right light and with the right amount of pizazz. Of course, you have to be willing to update and change your style over time. Nothing stays popular forever - right? So, you consta

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

Multi-Criteria Portal Filtering

When first using FileMaker's Filter Portal Records feature it's easy to get excited about how you can limit the set of records to exactly what the user needs to see. You start adding a single filter and the result feels like magic. A simple search filter using a global field will let you extra exactly the records you want. It's great! However, when start adding more and more filters things start to get complicated really fast. You have to become super comfortable with creating complex calculati

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

Universal Record Marking

Who doesn't need to mark subsets of records? I've rarely, if ever, worked on a solution which couldn't take advantage of simple record marking. Whether it's for creating a user based subset or simply toggling an active or favorite value. Marking records is something which should just be standard. So, why not make it both standard and universal. Meaning, you use one single script regardless of whether you're dealing with a current found set of records or a filtered portal - and independent of a

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

Using Custom Menus

For many FileMaker solutions it's fine to use the default standard FileMaker menus. There are only a few dangerous menu options which can cause serious problems. In fact, learning how FileMaker actually works, via its default menus, is a big benefit in a lot of situations. In some, however, it makes a lot of sense to simply take advantage of being able to implement and use our own menu systems. In this video we walk through how to get started with Custom Menus and how to take advantage of the f

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Error Codes - How to use them

For anything that could possibly go wrong within FileMaker we have a list of Error Codes. They're easily referenced from within FileMaker's help documentation. While they won't give you the exact solution to any particular error that's happening, they do provide the starting point for where to look and troubleshoot. In this video, we take a look at how to simply use and reference the provided FileMaker error codes. We also look at how you can intentionally cause an error in order to take contro

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

Choosing the Proper Data Storage

One of the more troublesome questions we ask ourselves as developers is "Am I doing this the right way?". And, while it applies to most all situations, it most certainly applies to data structure. If you don't structure your data well enough, then you either have to restructure it later, and migrate, or try to solve some of your problems in very odd ways. Fortunately, the variety of ways you can actually store data presents a lot of options depending on what type of software you need to create

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

Best Default Fields

When you consider every little action you take while creating any type of software, if you add all those actions up, you can end up with a lot of extra repeated steps. In consideration of all the fields you may be creating for various utility purposes, along with your normal data fields, it's always a nice idea to take advantage of features which may save you those little bits of time. In this video, and the provided sample file, you'll benefit from using FileMaker's somewhat hidden feature of

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

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