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John Mark Osborne

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John Mark Osborne last won the day on February 2 2017

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About John Mark Osborne

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    FileMaker Expert
  • Birthday 03/22/1967

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    Chino Hills, CA
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  1. 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. View the full article
  2. 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 used the Snapshot Link feature to save a found set. Today I'm going to cover a technique I've never actually implemented in a client hired solution simply because it's complex. View the full article
  3. 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 sets for future retrieval. View the full article
  4. 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. View the full article
  5. 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 as nice to them as you would in real life! In fact, I would say you should be nicer online so as not to be misinterpreted. View the full article
  6. 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 the entire set of new FileMaker 18 features. View the full article
  7. 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 of the new features but I'll focus on only what you can do with FileMaker Pro Advanced. View the full article
  8. 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 to learning how to program complex FileMaker solutions. View the full article
  9. 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 preferences so I could remove the clutter I didn't want to see. I haven't used Word in decades so I'm now partial to customizing menus in FileMaker to make it easier to use. I won't be covering the basics in this article so you might want to bone up on custom menus in the online help before reading this article. View the full article
  10. 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 into how to tackle that task. View the full article
  11. 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 discuss two major techniques for storing notes along with subtle tweaks to help make organization better. View the full article
  12. 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. View the full article
  13. 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 history navigation works, as well as the best ways to overcome shortcomings so you can make an educated decision for yourself. View the full article
  14. 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. View the full article
  15. 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 considerations. View the full article
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