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  1. In FileMaker, once you've filtered a portal, which displays a subset of related data, there may be situations where you need to get that data out. A prime example is needing to further manipulate the data within a spreadsheet. A recent solution I was developing had this exact need. I needed to filter some financial data based on a wide date range. Yet, I still needed smaller subsets, think categories, of financial data and wanted to pull that data into a spreadsheet for a separate purpose. In order to make this even possible, we need to know the exact records being shown within the portal. There's a bit of a trick in order to make this happen such that you can get the data onto the clipboard. The great thing about FileMaker is if you can find the menu option, then you know it's a script step. Holding down a modifier key while looking at the edit menu, reveals that Copy becomes Copy All Records. The method of loading the records to be copied, is actually quite useful in a wide variety of situations within FileMaker. If your solution ever has the need to directly copy data being viewed from a portal, then you'll find all the pieces to the puzzle in this video and technique file. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  2. In FileMaker, once you've filtered a portal, which displays a subset of related data, there may be situations where you need to get that data out. A prime example is needing to further manipulate the data within a spreadsheet. A recent solution I was developing had this exact need. I needed to filter some financial data based on a wide date range. Yet, I still needed smaller subsets, think categories, of financial data and wanted to pull that data into a spreadsheet for a separate purpose. In order to make this even possible, we need to know the exact records being shown within the portal. There's a bit of a trick in order to make this happen such that you can get the data onto the clipboard. The great thing about FileMaker is if you can find the menu option, then you know it's a script step. Holding down a modifier key while looking at the edit menu, reveals that Copy becomes Copy All Records. The method of loading the records to be copied, is actually quite useful in a wide variety of situations within FileMaker. If your solution ever has the need to directly copy data being viewed from a portal, then you'll find all the pieces to the puzzle in this video and technique file. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  3. While there are some features which FileMaker provides natively, I often wonder how heavily they are used. One feature in particular is the Saved Finds feature, which is only available in Find Mode. It's a great feature in terms of convenience, however, its implementation is right on top of the funky developer'ish UI. It's buried many levels deep within multiple dialogs (if you want to modify any of the saved searches) and it's just not as pretty as developing your own within a dedicated layout or UI widget. In this video and technique file, I showcase a system of how to provide the same feature of saving user searches. This is handled in such a way that you can make the searches available to whatever user/group or permission set you desire. Unlike the native features in FileMaker, it's not user account specific. Ultimately, it provides many more advantages of being able to run automated searches. If your data is the kind where multiple routine searches are frequently re-run, then this technique will have what you need. AND, a big bonus is a tip about how to detect when a user executes a search vs when a FileMaker script does so and being able to determine the difference. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  4. While there are some features which FileMaker provides natively, I often wonder how heavily they are used. One feature in particular is the Saved Finds feature, which is only available in Find Mode. It's a great feature in terms of convenience, however, its implementation is right on top of the funky developer'ish UI. It's buried many levels deep within multiple dialogs (if you want to modify any of the saved searches) and it's just not as pretty as developing your own within a dedicated layout or UI widget. In this video and technique file, I showcase a system of how to provide the same feature of saving user searches. This is handled in such a way that you can make the searches available to whatever user/group or permission set you desire. Unlike the native features in FileMaker, it's not user account specific. Ultimately, it provides many more advantages of being able to run automated searches. If your data is the kind where multiple routine searches are frequently re-run, then this technique will have what you need. AND, a big bonus is a tip about how to detect when a user executes a search vs when a FileMaker script does so and being able to determine the difference. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  5. In FileMaker, some features seem like they should be an easy solve. Yet, the dynamic nature of creating something in FileMaker means its development simply can't account for all the possible things a developer might want to do. When it comes to showing the actual count of records being shown within a filtered portal one might think the solution would already be there. However, it's not. You have to apply some creating thinking along with a bit of inside know-how in order to correctly show the total number of records being shown within a filtered portal. In this video, I go through the meanings of "double filtered" and how to go about showing the correct information within your user interface when you choose to use the Filter option found within the Portal setup dialog box. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  6. In FileMaker, some features seem like they should be an easy solve. Yet, the dynamic nature of creating something in FileMaker means its development simply can't account for all the possible things a developer might want to do. When it comes to showing the actual count of records being shown within a filtered portal one might think the solution would already be there. However, it's not. You have to apply some creating thinking along with a bit of inside know-how in order to correctly show the total number of records being shown within a filtered portal. In this video, I go through the meanings of "double filtered" and how to go about showing the correct information within your user interface when you choose to use the Filter option found within the Portal setup dialog box. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  7. In the world of software development, there are few tools you simply can't live without. A debugger is the first which comes to mind; because no one gets their code exactly perfect the first time. Plus, it's always a matter of figuring things out until they work as expected or desired. There are also those "other" tools which you can't really live without. ESPECIALLY, if you're working with a solution file which was created by someone other than yourself! When you need to discover what the heck was done, how, (and possibly why) then you absolutely need a tool like FMPerception. In this video I showcase the FMPerception tool from Proof+Geist and cover what I think are the essential things to know about using the tool. True, there is way more to the tool than can be covered within a single video, but I do my best to give you some solid insight into using it. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  8. In the world of software development, there are few tools you simply can't live without. A debugger is the first which comes to mind; because no one gets their code exactly perfect the first time. Plus, it's always a matter of figuring things out until they work as expected or desired. There are also those "other" tools which you can't really live without. ESPECIALLY, if you're working with a solution file which was created by someone other than yourself! When you need to discover what the heck was done, how, (and possibly why) then you absolutely need a tool like FMPerception. In this video I showcase the FMPerception tool from Proof+Geist and cover what I think are the essential things to know about using the tool. True, there is way more to the tool than can be covered within a single video, but I do my best to give you some solid insight into using it. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  9. Oh the pain of a slow rendering layout! The other day I came across a painfully slow layout which was literally CRAWLING. It reminded me of one of my own situations where I needed to create a solution for some type of creative data input. This, of course, was based on FileMaker's input limitations between two types of fields. The choice of using a Drop-down list over a Pop-up menu field style was based on the type of input being managed. I didn't want the forced interaction of having to click, as is the case with a Pop-up menu. I also didn't want the whole menu of options, which were a lot, covering the whole screen. I liked the shortened option list presented with a Drop-down list. I didn't, however, like the fact that a Drop-down list allows the user to simply input arbitrary data. I HAD to have the user make a selection from the list and wanted the shorter Drop-down list presentation. So, I set about the task of addressing the biggest issue first. That issue was that normalized data uses your primary and foreign keys (id values) and NOT what you typically want to display. You want to display the associated human-readable value. In FileMaker, this almost always requires the use of two layout elements. One to store the data and another to display the data. The trick was figuring out how to make the Drop-down list do this - and make it fast! Hence the solution you're going to be viewing and experiencing in this video and technique file. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  10. Oh the pain of a slow rendering layout! The other day I came across a painfully slow layout which was literally CRAWLING. It reminded me of one of my own situations where I needed to create a solution for some type of creative data input. This, of course, was based on FileMaker's input limitations between two types of fields. The choice of using a Drop-down list over a Pop-up menu field style was based on the type of input being managed. I didn't want the forced interaction of having to click, as is the case with a Pop-up menu. I also didn't want the whole menu of options, which were a lot, covering the whole screen. I liked the shortened option list presented with a Drop-down list. I didn't, however, like the fact that a Drop-down list allows the user to simply input arbitrary data. I HAD to have the user make a selection from the list and wanted the shorter Drop-down list presentation. So, I set about the task of addressing the biggest issue first. That issue was that normalized data uses your primary and foreign keys (id values) and NOT what you typically want to display. You want to display the associated human-readable value. In FileMaker, this almost always requires the use of two layout elements. One to store the data and another to display the data. The trick was figuring out how to make the Drop-down list do this - and make it fast! Hence the solution you're going to be viewing and experiencing in this video and technique file. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  11. 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 database file and then store it securely. And, beyond that, how do you provide the user with an easy way to get the information back out? Well, in this video and technique file I present a single script which handles both directions of the encryption and decryption which is very easy to associate to any given field. The user has convenient feedback that the data is secured and can get what they need when they need it. Need that extra bit of data protection while still providing the user with an easy-to-use interface? This video will provide you with the details and know-how. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  12. 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 database file and then store it securely. And, beyond that, how do you provide the user with an easy way to get the information back out? Well, in this video and technique file I present a single script which handles both directions of the encryption and decryption which is very easy to associate to any given field. The user has convenient feedback that the data is secured and can get what they need when they need it. Need that extra bit of data protection while still providing the user with an easy-to-use interface? This video will provide you with the details and know-how. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  13. 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 specifically on the initialization and interaction between a Web Viewer using DataTables and how you can add buttons and features which make using DataTables a joy within FileMaker. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  14. 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 specifically on the initialization and interaction between a Web Viewer using DataTables and how you can add buttons and features which make using DataTables a joy within FileMaker. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  15. 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 in some method of controlling the sort and the old standby of simply adding new copies of the same portal, just sorted in different directions, has always been a go-to workaround. Well, has the time come to simply abandon your portals? What?!?!! Abandon portals? Is that even possible in FileMaker? Actually, it is, with what FileMaker now offers with bi-directional support within Web Viewers, it may be more viable than you've ever considered. In this two part video series I show you exactly how easy it is to simply retrieve some data, then present that data within a web viewer. Essentially, replicating a portal - except for the constant data connection. In many ways, this has become a prime opportunity to choose either a portal or web viewer. The days of always using a portal may have come to an end. But, I'll let the video speak for itself and you can choose if you want to leave your portals behind in favor of what can now be done within a web viewer. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
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