Preventing duplicates from ever being entered in the first place is my personal preference. Sometimes we don't have a choice and have to remove them after the fact. But, if you can stop them from ever being entered, it's going to make your life much easier. In this article, we'll discuss a variety of techniques for stopping duplicates in their tracks including validation, script triggers and plain old vanilla scripting.
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Database administrators have nightmares about duplicate data entry. There are tons of solutions out there. Which direction do you go? Do you try to prevent duplicate record entry with validation or scripting? Do you let the duplicates get entered and delete the periodically? And, what about merging two records? Maybe it's not a nightmare but at least it's an issue you have to address before allowing users to enter data. This article will discuss the ins and outs of the various methods for deleti
Most people don't think about indexing when designing a solution. FileMaker automatically turns on indexing when needed so why should they? Indexing can only be good, right? I mean, it makes finds faster. Well, in most situations, indexing is nothing to worry about. But, under certain circumstances, indexing can have an adverse effect on your FileMaker file. Let's talk about how indexing works, where it is used and how it can slow down your solution when unchecked.
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I hear it over and over on the forums, "my Tab Control changes to the default tab when I run a script". What initially seems like an innocent little script that adds a new related record by setting a variable to a primary key, switching layouts, creating a record, setting the foreign key and returning to the original layout, becomes a nightmare of fixes to restore focus to the correct tab panel. In fact, loss of focus can happen with a variety of different objects including Portals, Slide Contro
Just about every serious FileMaker developer has their own personal naming standards for fields, scripts, tables, layouts and anything else that can be named. There's really no correct naming standard. It's all about what works for you and your development style. Still, you need somewhere to start. I'm not just going to provide some specific ideas but the reasoning behind the choices I've made so you can better decide what works well for you.
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Let me start by saying, this is the most complex technique in the series of five articles covering the restoration of found sets. The sequence started with an explanation of why it's important to save found sets, followed by simple solutions like creating new windows and collecting serial numbers. I even covered a variety of methods for collecting serial numbers to give readers different tools because every technique has it's time and place. The previous article took a different approach and use
According to the FileMaker online help, the Snapshot Link feature saves a found set of records. But, it saves so much more including the current record, layout, sort order and the mode. The basic idea is to save a Snapshot Link and send it to a colleague via email so they can see what you are viewing. So much more efficient than trying to tell someone in another building or state how to recreate a found set. In this article, we're going to use Snapshot Links to save and restore multiple found se
Don't be a one-trick pony and apply the same FileMaker feature to solve every problem. That's like wearing a tool belt and only putting one tool on it. FileMaker has many options, each with it's own unique advantages and disadvantages. Over-relying on a single tool will result in a subpar solution. Try to learn all the features in FileMaker so you can choose the right instrument for the right job.
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Forums are a great way to get technical advice for FileMaker but for some reason, many people don't think they have to be nice in the electronic world. I was raised to say "please" and "thank you" and that has translated over to the internet for me. But, other folks think the anonymity of cyberspace is an excuse to be a jerk. Some posters are outright offensive and others will just leave snide responses like, "that wasn't much help". News flash! People on the internet are real and you should be
It took a while to scour the internet but I finally came up with my favorite videos and articles. I personally read each of these blog articles and watched every one of these videos. I've focused on choosing resources that use specific examples, rather than vague general discussions. I wanted to show off authors who took the discussion of the new FileMaker 18 to the next level and applied them in real-life scenarios. However, I will start off with some web sites that contain good overviews of th
Eighteen is the age you become an adult in the United States. In China, it's an auspicious number associated with success. In Hebrew, the word of life has a value of eighteen. It's also a composite number in mathematics, totaling the addition of it's divisors. But, most importantly, it's the latest release from FileMaker! I don't have eighteen different things to cover, just the stuff I find most important which includes scripting, calculations and relationships. I'll do a brief overview of most
The Set Field script step is one of the most widely used steps in FileMaker due to it's versatility at moving data around a solution. You can simply transfer data from one field to another or even construct a complicated calculation and then target a field with the result. But that's just skimming the surface of what it can do. Set Field is workhorse script step that has no equal. In this article, I'll discuss seven essential techniques you can perform with Set Field. These concepts are crucial
Back in college, when I was working in the computer lab on campus, it was a requirement to know Microsoft Word backwards and forwards. That's because half the students in there were creating resumes. The biggest issue was using spaces to line up columns so I spent a lot of time fixing resumes, for which I got little thanks. Wait! What was I going to talk about? Oh yeah... custom menus. The reason I mention Microsoft Word is I loved a feature that allowed you to customize the menus to my preferen
As integrators and developers, we have had many requests to integrate a client’s FileMaker solution with Google Calendar. The partnership of a customized database with the flexibility and easy accessibility of an online calendar system is ideal; events can be composed in the CRM of one’s choice, and pushed to the online calendar, where users out and about can access it from their phones, tablets or browsers. But it can be a challenge to connect Database A to Calendar B, so let’s delve a little i
Ahhh... the ubiquitous notes field. Seems simple, right? In a way it is. Just slap down a field and resize it to show more data. Add a scroll bar and you're done. The problems occur when you are trying to locate an important note, print a report or perform a find. Data can be strewn all about a text field that allows free form entry and supports up to ten million characters. Imagine hundreds of different users trying to follow the exact same format for data entry. Pandemonium! This article will
Scripts that run on the opening of a FileMaker file allow you to accomplish so many different tasks. Open scripts can initialize global fields, setup variables, determine which layout to display based on security or platform, perform sub-scripts, install menu sets and so much more. This article will cover some of the most important uses of Open scripts but each FileMaker solution will likely have unique open script steps.
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I've always been intrigued with how to mimic a web browser's back and forward buttons... as have many other developers. While I don't usually include them in a professional solution, I do find the exercise of creating an airtight historical navigation solution challenging. I prefer well designed navigation over history buttons. Therefore, I present this article as a brain teaser and not necessarily as a recommended solution. But, I'll let you make the decision. I'll go into why I don't think his
It was almost two years ago that the Philosophy of FileMaker released it's first article. I write new articles almost every two weeks so there's a lot of information to filter at the Philosophy of FileMaker web site. That's why I thought it would be a good idea to talk about my favorite articles from the first year of blogging. You may have missed some of these articles and, if I list my favorites and why they're my favorites, maybe they'll answer long standing questions.
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Clients are always asking me why the contents of portals do not duplicate along with a record. It makes sense. Portal data looks like it's part of the parent record so it should duplicate just like the local fields, right? After explaining how relationships work, the client still wants the related data to duplicate. The great thing is, the script isn't that difficult to write. There's just a few gotchas, opportunities for efficiency and, of course, the patented Philosophy of FileMaker considerat
Script triggers often solve problems that otherwise couldn't be overcome. While script triggers are incredibly useful, don't abuse this feature or you may encounter script conflicts. Alternatives to script triggers are auto-enter calculations, manually run scripts and many other FileMaker features. Become familiar with every tool on your belt so you can choose the right feature for the job at hand. Hesitate to use triggers but when they solve the problem better than any other approach, use their
Just about every database contains at least one date, time and timestamp field. Just think about the housekeeping fields for starters. Every table should contain a date and time when a record was created and modified to track record maintenance. I also add manually entered and scripted date fields to almost every table to track when events occur. It ends up being a lot of date fields! While most of your fields will be text, date fields are more commonly calculated and therefore more important to
A tremendous amount of reporting power has been packed into FileMaker Pro with an incredibly easy-to-use and flexible interface. The power and simplicity behind adding and deleting parts to organize your pages almost makes it too easy to create a sophisticated printed report. However, when a subsummary group crosses a page break, the subsummary part content doesn't repeat itself, requiring you to flip back and forth between the pages. During my five year tenure at Claris technical support, this
Everyone wants a calendar in their FileMaker solution these days. There's tons of web viewer solutions out there for purchase that will integrate well with your FileMaker solution. There's even plug-ins to integrate with iCal or Google Calendar. What I'm going to give you today is a taste of how to build a calendar with just standard FileMaker tools. That means no web viewer or complex acronym web code (HTML, CSS, PHP, JSON, JAVA, etc). Just good ole FileMaker calculations, scripting and relatio
Before you create any layouts, you need to decide on a theme. Choosing a theme is one of the most important decisions you will make for a project. Themes define the user experience more than any other feature in FileMaker. Buttons, backgrounds, Fields, Tab Controls, Portals, Popover Buttons, Slide Controls and just about every object in FileMaker has been thoughtfully designed by interface extraordinaire Heather Winkle. I’m not talking about the tools themselves but how the objects they create a
This technique has no real use in the real world. Say what? Yes, you read that correctly! Think of the technique I'm about to cover as weight lifting for your FileMaker mind. It's about solving a complex problem, learning new scripts steps and functions, and generally getting smarter so the next time you tackle a problem you'll be more prepared. I believe in conditioning so much, I often write scripts from scratch I could easily copy and paste. But I digress. All I can say is if you want to buil