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By Greg Hains
I have a solution that requires technicians to have access to PDF Service Manuals on their iPads. After much Googling and looking through various FM forums (including here), it appears that only the first page of a PDF hosted (in a container field) can be displayed and the user cannot scroll pages and read the PDF. So would the best approach be to perhaps have the PDF files loaded onto the iPads and then have FM Go refer to them? It would certainly make file access quicker, but in my experience getting files onto the iPads is a pain in the neck, unless there was some way of installing the files onto the iPad's file system through the FM Go.
Is the best (or only) way to do this through some sort of offline sync tool, or can it be done natively through Filemaker?
If anybody has some ideas I'm all ears. Thankyou.
[FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE]
24U releases Gonector 2.0 for Claris FileMaker
This new version of the mobile hardware integration plug-in doubles the number of supported devices with new barcode and RFID scanners and more
Prague, CZ -- May 4, 2020 -- 24U Software announces immediate availability of Gonector 2.0, the plug-in that enables custom FileMaker apps running on iPhone or iPad to seamlessly integrate with professional mobile hardware devices. such as digital scales, RFID readers and mobile printers. The new version adds support for industrial barcode scanners from Zebra, handheld RAIN UHF RFID readers with circular polarization CANE skID and Alien ALR-S350, and the DPP line of mobile receipt/label printers from Infinite Peripherals. It also extends the existing functionality by allowing for writing to NFC tags on iPhone with no additional hardware and triggering FileMaker scripts by pressing the programmable hardware button available on some sled readers from Infinite Peripherals, such as Infinea X.
Version 2.0 brings:
Support for Infinite Peripherals DPP receipt/label printers Support for CAEN skID, a new high-performance RAIN/UHF RFID reader Support for Alien ALR-S350 hand-held RAIN/UHF RFID reader Support for Zebra CS4070 and DS3678 barcode scanners Additional Zebra scanners may be compatible but have not been tested Extended CAEN RFID readers support by enabling user memory reading and writing Extended iPhone built-in NFC reader support to enable NFC tag writing Extended Infinea X support to allow for triggering scripts with programmable buttons Added possibility to control visual, audible and haptic feedback of capable readers Improved cadence of script triggers for scales, RFID readers Compatibility with FileMaker iOS App SDK 19
Gonector is a FileMaker plug-in that allows a native application for iPhone or iPad, built using the FileMaker iOS App SDK, to communicate directly with mobile hardware devices. Being able to interact with professional mobile devices enables developers to use the FileMaker platform to create POS, inventory and other heavy-duty mobile business apps with friendly, fast, and reliable user interface.
The first version of Gonector was released in July 2018. It has enabled custom apps, such as JOGS, to replace manual work with modern technologies, such as RFID and digital scales, without compromising the ease of use and development efficiency provided by the Claris FileMaker platform.
Duncan McDavid, CEO of Jacoma Estates said about JOGS and its use of Gonector: "The product we received from 24U has been helpful for us because it's given us a competitive edge over some of our suppliers. We've got a much quicker system in terms of procurement products and a much more transparent system... It's cut out a lot of inefficiencies both through removal of paper paperwork and paper-based processing but we're also able to do a lot more transactions now so our return on investment into the system has been very good."
The JOGS application combines digital scales, RFID and mobile receipt printers to bring modern technologies to one of the poorest countries in Africa. But Gonector can be used even for more than just the devices it explicitly supports. With its function, designed for reading weight from digital scales, Alan Meinhart from Three Z Printing also successfully used Gonector to read data from a specialized sensor in order to accurately measure paper consumption during print jobs.
Since plug-ins cannot be added to FileMaker Go, adding these features to a mobile FileMaker app requires the use of the FileMaker iOS App SDK. This can be significantly simplified to just a few clicks by using the 24U's Xgode service. With this service, adding the Gonector to the app is a matter of clicking a checkbox and selecting the devices to enable.
For development, Gonector 2.0 requires any Mac running macOS 10.12 or later and FileMaker Pro 16 or later, or an x86 PC running Windows 7 or later and FileMaker Pro 16 or later.
macOS 10.14.6 or later and Xcode with Swift version 5 is necessary for building the iOS and iPadOS apps containing Gonector 2.0. Alternatively, the 24U's Xgode online service can be used.
Apps built with Gonector 2.0 can be installed on iOS 13.1 or newer.
Availability and Pricing
Gonector 2.0 is immediately available for download free of charge as a fully functional 14-days trial version. Development dummy plug-in does not require activation, iOS version embedded into an app can be activated with a license that is tight to specific bundle ID of the app.
Licenses for Gonector start at US$499 per year for app deployed to up to 20 users.
License for Payment Terminals Edition of Gonector is available for US$7999 and includes implementation support for one type of payment terminal.
More information about the new version: https://24usw.com/gon2wf
More information about Gonector: https://24usoftware.com/gonector
About 24U Software
With customers in 76 countries and 30 years of experience with the Claris FileMaker platform, 24U excels in developing new or taking care of existing custom desktop, web and mobile apps, optimizing their performance, identifying and resolving potential issues and liabilities, improving reliability, stability and scalability, integrating them with other systems including various hardware devices, and extending them beyond expectation.
As a Claris Platinum Partner, 24U helps global businesses around the world to maintain sustainable growth by working with their in-house developers or completely taking care of the maintenance and development of their business solutions.
Software Division Manager, 24U s.r.o.
(c)2021 24U s.r.o. All rights reserved. 24U and 24U Software are trademarks of 24U s.r.o. Claris and FileMaker area trademarks of Claris International, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Pricing and availability are subject to change without notice.
As you may know we have a great Optimize command for DynaPDF. You can use it on PDF documents in both FileMaker and Xojo plugins. Over time the command got more and more powerful and we like to write here about some of the features.
In general the function rebuilds the content stream of all pages, templates, patterns, annotations, and form fields. This may remove errors in the content stream and produce a consistent document.
When you specify the flags, the default flag value (0) just rebuilds the content stream and fixes errors. You may specify "InMemory" to have changes made in a way, that the PDF is in memory and not flushed to the current output. Normally you may not notice the difference, but if you like to continue writing to the PDF, the memory flag is needed.
The Optimize function can reduce the file size of PDF files. You can pass the ScaleImages flag and then all images are checked. You can define a minimum and target resolution for images. All pictures with at least the minimum resolution are checked. This avoids that we look on icons for example and only process pictures with a significant resolution. DynaPDF scales the images down to the target resolution and compresses them with the compression algorithm you specify, usually JPEG. If the final picture is smaller in size, we store it, otherwise we keep the original image. The reason is that often one bit tiff images can be smaller than a reduced resolution JPEG file.
You can pass flag SkipMaskedImages to skip masked images as JPEG compression may not work well with pictures, where a specific color is used to mark transparency. The check whether new picture is smaller than original image can be disabled via NoImageSizeCheck flag.
If you like to get images compressed with JBIG2, you can use CompressWithJBIG2 flag. This can drastically reduce the file size since JBIG2 compression achieves much higher compression rates than any other 1 bit image filter that PDF supports. The JBIG2 compression filter in DynaPDF is lossless, that means the original image quality will be preserved. Great to combine with ConvertGrayTo1Bit flag discussed below.
The names for links in the PDF may often have names from the original content. For example our documentation uses the function names there as link names. But this can be optimized with the NewLinkNames flag and rename the internal link names with a running counter. This saves a few bytes for each link, which can sum up with thousands of link names.
Some drawing paths have an no-op operator on the end. Instead of defining a path and not using it, we can remove the definition. This usually happens in a lot of tools to create PDFs, as paths are defined automatically. e.g. you may have a rectangle to group items on the layout and the rectangle is not visible as it has no stroke and no fill. The resulting path is there, but has no output.
If you pass FlattenLayers flag, all the layers may get flattened and non visible layers may get removed. As some layers may have content behind other layers, the invisible paths check above may kick in and remove content.
See also FlattenAnnots and FlattenForm functions.
The PDF may contain additional things, which can safely be removed. This includes private data from applications like Indesign or Adobe Illustrator. Those store details for editing of the PDF with the PDF as a BLOB. We can skip this data and get a smaller PDF size. Usually a PDF viewer will ignore any item it doesn't understand.
We can remove thumbnails embedded in the pictures as those will be generated in the viewer if needed. Same for alternative representations of images. For example an application may include a CMYK and a RGB representation and we can remove one (the one marked as alternative).
Convert to colorspace
Beside optimization, we can do some extra operations like converting colors to other color spaces. This includes converting to grayscale, RGB or CMYK. If you like to convert a PDF to grayscale, converting colors here may be useful. Otherwise if you have to send a PDF to a printer, you can convert to CMYK. Usually you don't need this as the printer will raster the PDF in CMYK color space. Converting CMYK content to RGB may reduce size as images have only 3 instead of 4 color spaces.
The flag ConvertAllColors allows to convert separation, DeviceN and NChannel color spaces to RGB/CMYK colors. This usually means you loose color information as the alternative colors will be used and those are specified in RGB, CMYK or LAB color spaces. For example a printer may have cyan, magenta, yellow, black and a special colors like gold and silver colors. An area marked with a Device color like gold will be printed with the gold ink to produce the shiny effect on the paper. Replacing those colors with their alternative CMYK color will remove that and the color is then printer with a mixture of yellow.
Finally the flag ConvertGrayTo1Bit can be used to convert colors to black and white. For this you can pass UseOtsuFilter flag to request to use Otsu filter.
Convert Text to Outlines
Recently added in the last weeks, DynaPDF can now convert text to outlines. This removes fonts and text information from the PDF and leaves the content as vector graphics. You can still read it as human, but a computer needs OCR to get back text.
Optionally you can pass ConvNonEmbFontsOnly flag to limit the conversion of text to outlines only for non embedded files. This way a PDF referencing fonts on your computer can convert those to outlines. Great to email your PDF to printer shop, where they don't have the required font and you can still get your PDF printed well.
Annotations and form fields are not affected by the conversion. In order to consider these objects too it is possible to flatten all annotations and form fields before calling Optimize. See FlattenAnnots and FlattenForm functions.
The flags above can be combined in various ways. In general Optimize should be called at the end of your PDF processing just before outputting the PDF document. Our plugin may render preview and close the PDF file.
To use the Optimize function, you need a DynaPDF license with Pro or Enterprise level. Starter or Lite versions are not enough.
Without a license key you can test this feature and see how it works.
For more details, please check the DynaPDF manual on the Optimize function. For FileMaker specific notes, please check DynaPDF.Optimize function in our documentation. For Xojo specific things, please check Optimize function in DynaPDFMBS class.
Check also DuplicateCheck flag for SetImportFlags2 function to enable duplication check. This helps to reduce the file size as duplicate font, image, templates and extended graphics state are replaced with references to first one.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions.
As a Claris partner, we also resell FileMaker licenses. Buying the license from us has some extra benefits, one of them being a nicely formatted PDF document with all information about the license, including download links. In order to be able to generate this document from our FileMaker based CRM, I needed to find a way to include functional web links in it. So I wrote a custom function that does it, without needing any plug-ins or other external technologies.
The custom function simply takes a PDF saved from FileMaker, and adds a link to it. As long as you know what page and where on that page you want the link to be, you can modify your PDF that easily.
No plug-ins are needed, no web viewer, so it works in the whole platform, including WebDirect and server-side scripts.
Click here to get the example and read the story behind it.
We have containers that we drag and drop PDFs into, that are externally stored and the field on the layout is formatted as a PDF. I know I've done this in the past where I wrote a little script that sets a temporary path and when it's clicked the enduser can view in Adobe. The script is simple: it sets the a variable to a temporary path, then exports the field contents to automatically open. I cannot get the script to work. It seems so simple... maybe my mind isn't working right today.
So my next idea was to make popover button with the pdf container in, interactive so when the user clicks on the popover you see the PDF within Filemaker, that does not work either. I tried this both on a mac and a pc.
I'm sure I'm missing something.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.