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Getting started with JavaScript

JavaScript, it may sound scary because learning any new technology, which includes so much more than FileMaker, feels like an overwhelming amount of new learning. The great thing is, learning just a few little pieces at a time is the best way to learn - little-by-little. So let's start with just a few little pieces. In this video, I walk through the basics of how you get started with JavaScript within FileMaker Pro. How it's implemented and how to execute things. The great thing about getting

FileMaker Magazine

FileMaker Magazine


Optimized Sequence Sorting

Solving real world problems within FileMaker can actually be quite fun. It's a certain type of challenge which includes making something fast, efficient and easy to maintain. It's the type of thing which keeps us developers and learners going. Like most all software products, which allow for a high degree of creativity, it boils down to knowing the feature set and what's possible. When you learn the underpinnings, and you can really wrap your head around what the limitations or consequences are

Saving Panel State

Over the years, I've created a number of videos which showcase saving the state of various situations. For example, saving how many and which windows a user has open, saving the window positions and also saving the state of which panels are selected on multi-panel objects. Such as tab panels and sliders. In this video, we revisit the topic because we now have a newer function within FileMaker 18 which makes it even easier to save which panels are frontmost within your user UI. While I personall

Using Node-RED & the FileMaker Data API

While it's been around for a few years now, there aren't too many developers in the world of FileMaker who have explored Node-RED. Created by IBM and made open source in 2016, this visual programming tool may start to make waves in the FileMaker world. A wonderfully generous developer named Lui de la Parra has made it possible to use Node-RED with FileMaker's own Data API. This means that anything in the world of Node-RED is now accessible to FileMaker. This is an amazingly powerful technology

File Input & Output

When first learning about file operations, while working with PHP, I remember having to learn about the concept of buffers and buffer streams. Fortunately, we're not quite there yet within FileMaker. But, we have arrived at the point of learning about the nitty-gritty details of understanding all the details of files and how they factor into the FileMaker universe. FileMaker 18 released support for file IO and we're certainly going to be taking advantage of it in this new world of APIs and inter

Working with SVGs

As the number of web sites hosting icon collections has grown over the years, it makes little sense to have your own collection of icons custom created at a costly premium. Typically, you can find pretty much any icon you could ever want to use and in many cases, you can even modify the icon to fit your specific needs if you need a slight variation. With the release of Creative Commons licensing, a wide array of freely available collections and the easy ability to modify icons, you can quickly

FileMaker Terminology

Within every industry there's a certain terminology used to express how things work and how to accomplish things. FileMaker is obviously no different. So, with this video, we start discussing some of the FileMaker specific terms and terminology. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article

Identifying Duplicates

You may be familiar with the routine when you have multiple duplicate records in your database. You end up having to reference multiple sources. Which can be a real pain. Ultimately, you end up needing to decide which record is the master and then merging as much of the data as possible from any of the duplicates. This is a common scenario with any multi-user database system. Where, anytime you have more than one person working on the same data, you can inevitably end up with duplicates. There

Hiding Buttons

It's just like when you see someone who is well-dressed, clean and sharp looking, your FileMaker user interface is no different. You're more impressed by that sharp, clean look. In this regard, not having something on your user interface is quite possibly one of the very things which makes your user interface look that much cleaner. Portals and list views, pretty much anything which repeats itself many times, can be very overwhelming when there are a lot of options. Quite simply, if there are t

FileMaker 18 - New Features

FileMaker 18 was released on Wed. May 22nd 2019. This video walks through all the new features implemented within the latest version of FileMaker Pro Advanced. Here's a short list of all the new features. 01) Hosting: FileMaker Cloud 2.0 & FileMaker ID 02) Security: Revised Manage Security Area 03) Security: Unsigned Plug-ins 04) Security: File References by Default 05) Data: New Import Dialog 06) Develop: Recursion & While 07) Develop: Script Error Logging 08) Develop: Insert Fr

Javascript Datatables

Web browsers and their primary language, Javascript, have a very robust ecosystem. In fact, there's few solutions you can't find out in the world of Javascript. So, in FileMaker, when it comes to our data and its presentation within a user friendly fashion, we can easily create a layout, set it to list view and allow users to simply start using FileMaker. But, wait, using FileMaker itself isn't always super user-friendly. In fact, you have to learn how to sort by multiple columns by actually h

Populating Form Fillable PDFs

Is there really any question the PDF file format will be going away any time soon? Personally, I don't think so. And, neither should you. Adobe released their license to the technology in 2008 and it became an open standard for the world to use. Airlines use it for tickets, ticket companies use it for concerts and basically it's the digital equivalent of good old real-world paper for the digital world. So what does this mean to you and your FileMaker database? Well, if you've got data within yo

Encrypting Private Data

Keeping things private, so only those who need access can access them, has been a desirable situation for as long as people have wanted to keep things private. The only difference between the invention of invisible ink and today is trying to keep ahead of those who have the knowledge on how to access what you're trying to keep private. It's the eternal game of cat and mouse between those who seek to access what they shouldn't and those who want to keep those people out. Within FileMaker, we no

Optimized Container Storage

While FileMaker may promote the low-code/no code aspects of FileMaker Pro, there's a lot to be said about knowing how to design a great system as opposed to thinking you'll end up with one by default. Especially, one which will perform under load and scale to the degree which FileMaker can. This type of knowledge is learned and simply won't come out of the box when you just start adding fields to your database. If you need to store images, or any type of heavy media, then it may not be a good i

Top 5 Offscreen UI Tricks

FileMaker Pro provides a more than capable UI surface in order to design great looking user interfaces. In fact, it's the speed with which you can create that user interface which makes FileMaker Pro so appealing. The great thing about recent releases has been the flexibility of the newer layout objects. When you combine the utility of sliders, tab panels, popovers and layout mode's various layout parts, you can further extend what you can do within FileMaker by quite a bit. This video present

Account Management

When developing a FileMaker solution, you often want a system where the distribution of labor is such that other administrators can create and manage the users of that system. It can't always come back to the developer who has the only Full Access account. When considering FileMaker's authentication methods, you basically have three options. Internal, external and third party. The external option is typically Active Directory on Windows or OpenDirectory on Macintosh. The newer third party optio

Effective Script Writing - Plus Twilio API

When you first start writing scripts within FileMaker, you're typically so focused on the feature or solution you're working on that you integrate it directly into the area where you're working. It takes a bit of time and skill, however, to quickly recognize when you need to make a particular script more generalized in nature and treat it like a routine which simply needs to take input and provide some output. Once you get to this point in your development path, you discover all kinds of oppor

Google Maps iOS & Parsing URLs

The number of features available within FileMaker Go on a mobile device is more than icing on the cake. It's just downright cool we have access to so many features. And, all without having to write super complex code. There is, however, some learning to do when it comes to interacting with URLs and web viewers. It turns out that many web sites, including Google's web based maps site, will change its url as you interact with the web viewer. This causes a problem when you supply an original url t

Hybrid Layout Design

When mobile devices first became prevalent over a decade ago, it was a pretty easy process to design for both mobile and desktop. You just made one layout for each respective device. There weren't as many variations as there is now. In fact, these days, things are much more complex. If you decide to design for smartphone, tablet and desktop you could easily end up having to create three layouts for each possible view. This isn't something I'm personally fond of. I'd much rather limit myself to

Field Data Validation Options

When you're the one creating the database, you're the one who says which data makes it in and which data doesn't. This all happens through the various methods of data validation. Data is either considered valid or not - and this happens according to your data validation rules. If the data is valid, then everything proceeds as normal. If, however, the data isn't exactly what's required, then you get to choose what happens. In most cases, you can let the user keep taking a whack at it until they

Server Restored Contexts

Prior to FileMaker 13 we never even had the option of performing scripted tasks where the data actually exists. The processing of a script, client side, always had, and still does, make a full round trip for all kinds of these processing activities. Many times, FileMaker does it's best to optimize whatever is being done, but it's still not as fast as executing certain things directly on the server. With the addition of Perform Script on Server we gained a REALLY BIG performance boost by being a

Universal Tagging System

One of the most wonderful aspects of FileMaker, or any development project, is implementing a portion of the software which can be used system wide. Meaning you don't have to recreate functionality over and over again in order to benefit from what you implement initially. Especially when it can be used in all locations universally. In this video, I show you how to implement a Universal Tagging System in which you can apply tags to any other element you're managing within your database system. A

Advanced JSON Script Parameters

While many FileMaker solutions will manage multiple parameter passing in very simple and straight-forward ways, there are some solutions which you know will grow over time. Because of this expected growth, you may want to have an additional level of comfort knowing you've implemented a very strict system for managing data transfer between scripts. You also may be interested in working with external APIs and connecting to systems and data which is provided via the currently popular format of JSO

Single Source of Truth

Having worked with FileMaker for well over 20+ years, and experiencing a wide variety of data models, it's always possible to get into a situation where you need to re-evaluate the data decisions you've made with regards to your structure. The data model you may have initially thought would handle all situations may need to be modified. Knowing about the multiple options you may have available for structuring your data makes a big difference when you start to consider simply "adding that new fi

Time Picker Widget

It's a curious question and the answer may be good or bad depending on your perspective. "Why doesn't FileMaker have a time picker?". It has a calendar widget for working with date fields, why not time values? The solution to the problem, as is often the case, can be managed by simply creating your own picker. In fact, if you don't like FileMaker's desktop based date picker you can create any variation you desire based on being able to create any style of layout you can imagine. While the same

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