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Storing Secured Information

Every once in a while you need to store something with an extra bit of security. Maybe it's a password or some super secret text with a winning stock market strategy. Whatever it is, you don't just want to rely on the authentication, privilege set and possible EAR (encryption at rest) on the file. You want to store the data itself with even that much more security. By encrypting it with CryptEncryptBase64() of course! The trick is this. How do you capture that data, before it's written to the d

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

DataTables Deep Dive - Replacing Portals - Part 2

This is Part 2 of a series about using the DataTables JavaScript library in order to simply pull data you wish to display and doing so within a Web Viewer. While standard FileMaker Portals present one of the easiest methods for showing related data, it's now a viable option to simply use a Web Viewer to present data to the user. With the bi-directional support of JavaScript within FileMaker 19 and higher we can take advantage of what JavaScript does best - being fast! In this video we focus sp

DataTables Deep Dive - Replacing Portals - Part 1

Portals and list views represent one of the biggest reasons for using a database for managing data. You can view the data in a myriad of ways and FileMaker provides the tools to modify the views quite easily. FileMaker's list view happens to be the most powerful when compared to portals. We don't really have the same feature set presented within a portal. Using a portal it's an all or nothing approach to sorting by default and you can't really search the portal contents. You can certainly hack

Formatting Date, Time & Timestamp Values

What's the easiest way to format a FileMaker date, time or timestamp value? Using a custom function? Maybe... In this video, I'll show you a unique trick for getting a formatted date, time or timestamp value without using a Custom Function or any of FileMaker's Date or Time functions. Of course, I'll also provide you with one of the better custom functions for formatting date/time/timestamp values. The custom function in this technique file handles pretty much all possible variations of date/t

UI Portal Enhancements

Anyone can just throw everything they need within a portal. Adding a new field? Just throw it in the portal. But WAIT! The question is "Should you?". The fine art of determining what should end up in your portal is based on how the data and/or actions are being referenced/used. Is the frequency for editing the data high or low? If it's low, then maybe the user doesn't need field access. What is the frequency of record deletion? Low? Then, do you really need that obvious red trash can icon on ev

Mutually Exclusive Values

Value lists are one of the fundamental building blocks of any good UI built on top of a database system. Providing users with a preselected list of options to choose from helps the data entry process go faster and - is - just easier. When using value lists, there are times when you need to limit the number of selections of any given value to being used just once. You may also need to enforce that one of each of all possible values is used. In this video, we tackle both situations by enforcing

Big 3 Local Development Options

Being able to develop locally, as if the data and the server was right there on your local machine provides a nice advantage. You know how the solution will work when hosted, you can develop and test PSOS scripts effectively, and you're generally protected from client crashes. Plus, you're fully mobile if need be - it's all on one machine. This is where hosting your FileMaker solutions locally becomes a big advantage. This video showcases what I consider to be the Big 3 of local hosting. 1) You

Extracting System Paths - Media Archiving

In the process of creating a simple media archiving database I found I had used the same skill twice because of how FileMaker returns data from certain functions. Hence, I decided to provide you with my simple little start to a Media Archiving solution. Simply, it asks for a folder, then pulls the paths to all files from the selected, and enclosed, folders into the database. It's really a pretty simple thing because it's managed with one simple function from the BaseElements plug-in. However,

Universal List View Sorting

What makes FileMaker development so fun is the variety of different functions and script steps. They provide an almost infinite number of combinations to solve a wide variety of technical problems. There isn't always just "one way to do it". So, what happens when you stop to think about a more recent feature in light of how you've "always done it before"? Like... sorting... for example. Have you always simply attached the Sort script step to your list view headers and called it a day? What if y

Narrow vs. Wide Tables - Part 2

Continuing on with the two part series about Narrow vs. Wide tables, this video will go into how to best filter your data, especially if you have a large amount. It will present the data within the structure we'd created within the first video. Knowing the impact of data operations isn't just limited to the structure of your tables. It's also about how much data is loaded and shown to the user based on what the user needs to see. If you have a relationship resulting in hundreds of thousands of

Narrow vs. Wide Tables

Like any good craftsperson, you should know your tools and your methods for accomplishing things in the most efficient and best performing way. This is always most obvious when it comes to that every slowing FileMaker solution which started out innocently as a simple "helper" database. Then... it ended up being used for all kinds of things. Critical things even! It was thrown together based on how you mentally "see" the data and not how the data should have been structured. This is one of those

Extracting PDF Contents

It seems like it's taken decades for many businesses and government agencies to move from pushing paper into the digital age of transactions. Recently, I was reminded of this by heading into town hall and having to push a bit of paper myself. Banks and other financial institutions still actually offer paper options surprisingly. I guess being in the world of tech comes with its own biases. But, despite the seemingly slow adoption, the migration is still happening and more and more things are goi

Understanding External Authentication

Even if it's not a super interesting topic, and really only applies if you're managing a FileMaker server, it always pays to know how things work behind the scenes. If you've never used FileMaker's external authentication via LDAP then you'll want to watch this particular video. If you're creating any type of FileMaker solution which needs to know when your users both enter and exit the system, which especially applies to using external authentication, then you'll enjoy the super simple access

Migrating Themes

Recently, having had a conversation with a fellow developer about a FileMaker theme potentially causing issues with slow performance, it was asked about how it's possible to update a theme. Whether you simply want to update existing styles and/or remove and add others, there's only a few critical things you need to remember about updating and migrating a theme. If you can get those few things right, then making any number of updates to your existing theme can be quite easy to accomplish. The g

Customized PDF Output

FileMaker has had the ability to use an internal PDF writer since version 8. It has, however, not always had the ability to merge multiple PDFs into one master and make this work as seamlessly as possible. Being able to do this server side is a really BIG benefit! In this video, we take a look at a subscriber's question about a particular printed layout issue in conjunction with taking advantage of FileMaker's best possible output options. With the ability to Save Records As PDF we can certainl

Successful UI Design - Part 2

FileMaker themes are simply a collection of the popular CSS standards plus a few extra attributes which are FileMaker specific. Each element on your FileMaker layouts is defined by these CSS settings. They can be seen when extracting them from the clipboard, and if you know the right location to retrieve and store them, can be defined by any enthusiastic developer. When FileMaker, now Claris, first introduced themes they likely had the intention of allowing users and/or third parties to create

Successful UI Design

How easy is it for you to design the user interface of your FileMaker database? Are there any tips you have which makes the process easier? If so, then I would love to hear them! In this video, I'm providing you with the best information I have about a successful UI design process. It's the opening video to a deep dive about how themes actually work within FileMaker. I start with a blank layout and go over the major areas of what I consider when starting the design of a new database or a re-ski

Catching Duplicates with Validation

One of the best feelings for any database developer is knowing that duplicate data simply can't sneak into your solution. You've got clean data such that when you search for a specific email address you know there's only one and it belongs to the right entity. In the associated video and sample file you'll get all the details for how you can use FileMaker's Unique value validation option. You'll see how you can prevent FileMaker from showing it's annoying dialog box which uses the name of the f

Securing QR Barcodes

Pretty much all over the world you'll find technology which can scan barcodes. Smartphones with cameras just waiting to scan either their very first, or even their 1000th barcode scan. With just over a decade since the first iPhone came out, it's pretty hard to not find a use case where a barcode can help you retire some antiquated manual process. Barcodes can be used almost anywhere to make faster and/or easier solutions. Given that FileMaker Go supports all major barcode types, you simply nee

Case Sensitive Searching

Out of the box, FileMaker is a really easy solution for inputing data and simply finding the results you want when searching that data. There are, however, times when you need to break away from FileMaker's "solve all" solution of case insensitive searching. Times where you simply want to present some data within your user interface - without setting up extra relationships or fields. Or, those times when you simply need to search based on the case sensitivity of the data within a field. In ord

Native Web Scraping with JavaScript

Some of my most favorite moments, when working with technology, are when you see the result of a few lines of code do what used to take hours and hours of work. Seeing the fruits of knowledge labor which replaces a lot of manual labor. It's glorious! The example I'm mentally referencing is any time you need to extract some content from a web page and it's literally SITTING RIGHT THERE in front of your face and you end up using your precious time doing the good old copy and paste. Every day the

Card Window Progress Bars ( updated )

Who doesn't want to know how long something takes? It's not like we, as the busy bees we are, have all the time in the world - right? Well, how about some convenient progress information. One of the most common procedures within all of computing is to cycle or iterate over a set of something. In FileMaker, this comes in the form of records. A record loop is one of the most common things you'll ever do within FileMaker. Setting a field value to something else across a range of records? You'll l

Execute FileMaker Data API

FileMaker Pro provides a variety of methods for extracting your data from its database. From memory, we have standard relationships and calculated concatenations, the Copy All Records script step, scripted data loops and using the ExecuteSQL function. In FileMaker 19, we're provided with yet one more method for pulling data out of the system. The Execute FileMaker Data API script step allows us to use what was formerly available only from outside of FileMaker Pro via a url. Now, within our scri

Server Side Importing

There's a great feeling about writing functional code when it's something you can rely on. You know it's just going to work. Which, for some import routines, doesn't always feel this way. Sometimes the import may fail or you can't figure out how to make it work. Columns may get renamed, they may be shifted around and vary or you may be importing from multiple different providers. If you're consolidating data from multiple sources or you have a situation where you need to manipulate the data bef

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

12 Tips for Developing in FileMaker Pro

Every trade has its own tips for making your work go faster or happen more easily. During this holiday season I thought it would be great to bring you 12 Tips of Developing in FileMaker Pro. So, I opened FileMaker and stared at the blank screen of a new file thinking about the things that tend to help me out the most. I pulled down a CSV file from Data.gov and just let the tips flow out from there. I hope, with this list of 12 tips, you'll pick up some productivity enhancements that will carry

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine

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