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Google Maps APIs

Unless you've got a billion dollars to send out tens of thousands of cars with specially fitted technology mounted on their roofs; and, you can send them all across the planet, then you'll likely need to rely on mapping data from a third party. So, here we go with learning how we can leverage Google Maps APIs within FileMaker. This video will cover the essential knowledge you need in order to make the requests about geolocations whether they be latitude longitude coordinates or an address. As you've likely used Google Maps within the web browser, it's great to know you can access that same data directly within FileMaker; even the traffic data. It's just a simple matter of creating the right url. Making a request for what you want, and then parsing the data right back into your FileMaker table. Let's learn about the process and wire up the technology! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine


Subtle UI Widgets

If it's not obvious by the types of videos I produce, one of my most favorite areas of software development and design is the user interface. It's where the real test of your software happens. A user either "gets it" or not. If they don't, then you're back to the drawing board. Of course, there's always the learning curve which is present for anyone, but if you can create something that has less of a learning curve, then you feel like a winner. In this video, I cover a wide variety of topics related to FileMaker development. The video introduces a subtle ui widget which I implemented based on the intended usage of the software. This is what reflects the real process of software development within FileMaker. Not just taking the super obvious approach, but the one which might make more sense to the user and is a bit more difficult for the developer to implement. This requires you to know how to get things done in FileMaker and implement a feature which is user friendly and facilitates a fluid workflow process. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Limiting Field Access

These are often asked questions regarding setting up a new FileMaker database system. "How can I limit when the user can enter data into the field?" Or, the alternative, "Once the user enters data, how can I make sure they don't change it unless I want them to?" Both of these types of questions can be answered using a variety of methods. The core to understanding their answers is that there's really only only two methods for limiting field access. One is controlling the display of the field and the other is truly limiting access to the field data itself. Using the knowledge in this video you should be able to come up with a method which fits your exact situation. The video walks through the use of the various options which FileMaker provides for limiting access to a field. If you'd like to know which options you should use to control access, then give this video a view. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Powerful Summary ListOf Fields

One of the nicest additions FileMaker made awhile back was within an area you wouldn't quite expect. It was within the Summary functions that FileMaker added a simple new option named ListOf. This happened with FileMaker version 13 and this one type of summary field can be use for so many different things within the user interface that it's quite invaluable for driving all kinds of user feedback. With a ListOf summary field, you can control the content of a custom portal, grab data necessary for looping over, or simply show the user an overview of the records they have loaded in the current found set. Understanding how to use, and take advantage of, the ListOf summary field is what this video is about. We'll walk through two different uses and take a look at a nice user feature which allows the user to determine which data they would like to interact with. If you've never used a ListOf summary field, then you certainly need to be aware of what's covered within this video! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Design Tips for List Views

What would our world be if we didn't have list views? They're the ubiquitous method for viewing a selection of items in relation to each other. In FileMaker, you can sort them, filter them, apply conditional formatting and basically present your data however you wish. Heck, most of the smart phone revolution revolves around a list view. A list of data, a list of settings, a list of options, a list of pretty much anything and "the list" goes on an on. There are, however, a number of settings within FileMaker's List View which you need to know about in order to creatively present your data. You're probably shooting for something both appealing and easy to visually process. When you apply the knowledge learned in this video, you'll be a master of List Views and able to present a wide variety of data for a wide variety of situations. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Better Print Previews

When you think about printing these days, you probably think about saving the environment and just sending out the digital version. Of course, it turns out that many solutions still need to use the good old paper method and print something out. The great thing about having the data in a digital format beforehand is that you can preview the content before you actually hit that potentially wasteful print button. This video covers just a few of the possible methods for previewing content created for output. You may have already discovered how easy it is to simply take a user into Preview Mode and allow them to make whatever choices FileMaker provides, but, you'll now have more options available as you can easily use a Dialog or Card window in order to present a more customized view of the possible options a user may have. If you've struggled with automatically generating your printable reports as PDF files, and then injecting them into container fields, then you'll certainly love to learn from what this video has to offer! Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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Super Powerful Breadcrumbs

What's truly great about FileMaker Pro is that you can have 5 different developers come up with 5 different ways of doing the exact same thing. There are, however, some pieces to a puzzle which will inevitably require the same structure or settings. Breadcrumbs, for example, work infinitely better within a Tab Panel object than any other object type in FileMaker. This is because tab panels provide the feature of shrinking to fit their content. But, when it comes to the implementation of the logic and feature set, you can use any of the supported technologies which FileMaker provides. You can use ExecuteSQL() or you can just use a simple $$GLOBAL.VARIABLE. The limits of what you can do are extended even further when you consider newer technologies such as FileMaker's support for using JSON. By integrating a Breadcrumb solution by using JSON to manage what and how those breadcrumbs should work, you arrive at a wonderfully powerful breadcrumb solution. And, that is exactly what this video is about. Click the title or link to this article to view the video.
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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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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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