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FileMaker Magazine

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FileMaker Magazine last won the day on August 4 2016

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  1. Adding a startup splash screen

    When it comes time to “professionalize” your FileMaker solution, this typically includes integrating a splash screen. Even if your solution is only used internally, that extra bit of branding solidifies that mental spot of recall when a user needs to communicate which database they’re using. So what better way to say “You are here” than presenting a nice, attractive splash screen? In this video, I walk through the step-by-step process of adding a cool-looking splash screen to our ongoing project of the Custom Function database. In the process of doing so, I explain a variety of other reasons as to why I choose the method showcased in the video. It’s more than just the pretty picture which shows on startup. It deals with startup speed and other helpful features such as increased security potential. If you’re going to put your best foot forward, then follow the method shown in this video! Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  2. Using Multi-key Relationships

    Within FileMaker development, there are a variety of must-know features and methods for doing certain things. You’ll be hard pressed to find these critical bits of info within the provided help. However, these are nuances which come with the environment and really only make sense once you start to integrate them into your user interfaces. One of these “hidden” features is known as Multi-key relationships. Using multi-key relationships, you can present data within the user interface which is derived from a variety of tables. There’s really no limit on how much data you can show from however many tables you desire. The limitation is truly only your imagination about how the data should be presented. While the implementation is super easy, the understanding behind how things work is what will move your FileMaker solutions to the next level. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  3. FileMaker "One Liners"

    As you see and write more and more code within any development environment, you start to view code which simply looks clean and efficient as opposed to long and inefficient. In this video, we’re taking a look at some so called FileMaker “One Liners”. These are simple snippets of code which typically only take one line in order to do something pretty cool. While the code doesn’t always take exactly one line, because FileMaker uses more than just actual code, it’s the super simple implementation which makes them so cool. Take a look at this video to see five different examples of FileMaker One Liners and see how this know-how will help you with your own FileMaker development! Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  4. Our FileMaker Custom Function database is moving along quickly as we add more user-based features. The feature being added in this part of the series is a Tags/Tagging feature where it takes the concept of a “favorite” much further. Rather than using a single field for tagging a record as a favorite, we’ll be using a join table and allowing the user to add as many different tags as desired. The implementation applies to “all users” of the database system, but could easily be modified to become a user centric tagging feature - such that each user could maintain their own set of tags and tagged records. Understanding how to implement the full suite of options for interacting with tags is the key to making this feature so valuable for the user. This video will walk you through the pieces and parts of how to implement this useful functionality. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  5. FileMaker 16 - Encrypting/Decrypting data

    FileMaker 16 added a variety of new features designed to support its new ability to interact with web services using JSON. One of those supporting features was the addition of more cryptographic functionality. Previously, the only native feature available was an MD5 hash. At the time of it being added, it was already out of fashion as a security based feature, but it could be used to compare two things against each other. By adding new encryption and decryption capabilities, we are now able to encrypt and decrypt data directly within the database itself. This means we can, if desired (and your security policies allow it), store things like credit cards and other sensitive information. While the functions themselves are pretty straight-forward, it’s always nice to know the ins-and-outs of how to implement a feature properly. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  6. Moving forward with the Custom Function database project, we now have the opportunity to copy and paste our groups of custom functions. The trick to accomplishing this requires a modification to the singular copy/paste being used for a single custom function. The database now needs to provide a list of functions, in the xml snippet format, to be copied to the clipboard. This is easily accomplished through the relationships and by modifying the original script. If you’ve never had the problem where you needed to copy well structured data through a few relationships, then watching this video will give you some insight in the the various possible ways and the one way which may be the most simple when needing to copy that structured data to the clipboard. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  7. Managing Favorite Hosts & Files

    Over the years, FileMaker has added, enhanced and modified various areas of the development platform. One of the areas which has seen a big transition is the way favorites are managed. If you're a long-time developer of FileMaker solutions, then one of the more recent changes in FileMaker 16 may be a bit disconcerting. The change was to how favorites are managed. In fact, they simply took out the menu option and sorta left you hanging. The "Manage favorites..." menu is no longer present within FileMaker 16. If you were used to heading to that menu item in order to reorder, add or remove favorites, then your access to the dialog was recently cut off. It was replaced a while back, but isn't all that obvious if you've not used the new Launch Center's cute little "star" (favorite) icons. This now pretty much the only way to manage favorite files and hosts. Fortunately, once you get used to the new way of doing things, you can easily take back control over your favorite hosts and files. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  8. Cool looking process indicators

    Most everyone likes to know what's going on when something is happening. Being kept in the dark is something which causes possible anxiety and certainly a fair amount of impatience. So, it's always nice to provider your user with a little bit of status when there's some type of progress happening. Fortunately, this is a very easy thing to solve when a lot of the work is already done for you. All you need to do is wire things up within a FileMaker web viewer. Using the information within this video you can easily present your users with an indeterminate progress indicator. At least letting them know that something is happening rather than nothing. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  9. FileMaker Pro, beyond your normal join table, offers a unique method of storing collections, or groups, of items. You can do this with what is called a multi-key field. This isn’t to be confused with a compound-key, which is a primary key composed of multiple different values. Using a multi-key field we can store a collection of custom functions within our Custom Function database. This makes it possible to start the process of collecting groups of functions together and then adding a feature so we can copy them as a group. Of course, the trick to adding any complex functionality is to make it easy for the user while staying maintainable for us as the developers. This will be done within a standard FileMaker Popover layout object. This video walks through the process and parts of adding a grouping or collections based feature. While we’re adding it within the context of custom functions, this is a feature you’ll find using over and over again no matter what the database is about. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  10. Quick Tip: Rounded Button Bar Segments

    There are all kinds of nice graphic tips and tricks within FileMaker and one of my most favorite is using the transparent line setting in order to create the rounded effect on multiple segment Button Bars. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  11. Custom Function Database 13 - Parsing JSON

    As with visiting any new country where they speak a different language, if you can’t speak it, then it’s pretty hard to communicate. The same thing applies to intercommunication between technical systems. If you don’t take the time to learn the format being used, then you obviously won’t get very far. In this video, we take a look at processing JSON from GitHub’s API. It’s one of the last places we’re looking for FileMaker Custom functions. GitHub is a web site which hosts hundreds of thousands of code repositories. These code repositories represent many hundreds of thousands of coding hours. To not take advantage of any pre-existing resources seems a bit silly. The trick to working with any cloud based resource is to simply learn what questions to ask and how to process the answers you get back. Of course, there’s always that critical piece of know-how which is all about processing the data in the first place. If you’ve never written a recursive FileMaker script, then you’ll certainly see some in action when dissecting the script in this version of our Custom Function database! Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  12. Top 5 Time Saving Tips

    Who likes spending time doing things in FileMaker Pro when you can do things faster? How about no one. That’s why this video will help you save some time when you discover the various ways you can interact with layout objects and your data. So, here’s 5 different tips which will save you some time while working in FileMaker Pro. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  13. Some buttons in your user interface are likely more than obvious in terms of what they do. But what about those times when they're not and it's just nice to let the user know what just happened? Using a combination of Slider panels and mutli-segment Button Bars you can provide any type of feedback you might like to show. This video presents a method for showing the user some feedback about the results of clicking a button or any other user interface action taken. Note to subscribers: If you're looking for the file, then you'll find it within the Part 11 download. The link is provided below. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  14. With FileMaker’s PatternCount(), Left(), Right() and Middle() functions you can certainly extract a lot of data. The functions, however, are severely limited when it comes to matching variable patterns of data. That’s where, in the world of programming, Regular Expressions, or RegEx for short, is SUPER handy! It’s used in pretty much EVERY computing language and I don’t personally know a professional developer who can develop without it. It’s been available since the 1950’s and it’s a worthwhile tool to know for sure. Recently, I personally reduced a complex FileMaker file from three tables and close to twenty dedicated scripts, all for parsing some data, down to one table and two scripts. Trust me, it was a crazy process where a full document of text was imported, line by line, into a FileMaker table, just so a loop could be used to walk across the data multiple times. Talk about extra network traffic just to process some data! It was MUCH easier to simply use a RegEx pattern and directly extract the data desired and be done with it. Of course, the developer who preceded me obviously didn’t know RegEx and it’s why I’m providing this video for you. Learn it, use it and get the job done quicker when it’s the right tool for the job. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article
  15. FileMaker 16 - Uploading files to Dropbox

    Integrating third party APIs can be a bit daunting when you’ve never worked with them before. Fortunately, the most difficult part of the process is simply taking the time to research the API and implement the features you’d like to have. When you’re working within FileMaker, you’re often capturing content which may need to be pushed into another online location - such as Dropbox. If your FileMaker solution needs this, then adding FileMaker Dropbox integration is the way to go. With FileMaker 16, you can now use the native cURL functionality in order to directly upload a file into a designated Dropbox account. Once you’ve made the connection with Dropbox, you can pretty much do anything you’d like to your dropbox account. Click the title or link to this article to view the video. View the full article

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