All posts by insightink

FileMaker Menu

Purpose:

  • This is a great little utility tool to help organize and manage the layouts within a solution.
  • To create records of the layouts in the solution and allow the developer a simple tool for finding and managing the layouts.
  • By using global variables for the layout titles, you can change the name of the layout without having to actually/physically change the name of the layout.
  • Can be used with a value list to move between layouts

Tables:

  • Menu
  • Layout
  • Virtual Value List (Optional)

Custom Functions:

  • zPrependWithByteOrderMarks ( used for controlled value list sort order )
  • zLayout ( simple sql query for getting the layout name )

Included by not required:

  • Dynamic Records Toolbox (Modular Scripts)

Download fmMenu

 

filemaker-menu-manager-browse filemaker-layout-manager-browse filemaker-global-variable-layout-name-script

Dynamic Record Creation and Finds with FileMaker

Welcome to Dynamicus ( A Modular FileMaker Project ) 

Purpose: Go somewhere, do something

Toolbox: A compilation of modular, parameter heavy scripts

Main Scripts:

– Create one or multiple records or requests and set the field values with solution.record [master]

– Go to a layout ( using various window controls ) with core.control [go to layout]

– Set field values to multiple fields through script parameter with core.record [set fieldvalue]

+ A bunch of other modular scripts ( core.utility [dialog] , core.window [name] , core.window [mode] , and more )

====================================================================

This project was started before the New Script Workspace, therefore some of the modular scripts may seem useless on account we can now type our scripts, making scripting process a lot faster. Anyway, hope this file helps.

Special Thanks to:

Modular FileMaker ( modularfilemaker.com ) for promoting modular coding practice, and to Propagator  (from Modular FileMaker) for giving me the idea to create my version of Propagator.

 

Download DynamicRecords

 

 

 

 

 

 

FileMaker HTML CSS Progress Bar

So, over the past few months I have been obsessed with finding a way to make a CSS progress bar to run via FileMaker’s Webviewer that was easy to setup. I saw a few methods that were really simple and nice. One that was really simple was from Cimbura.com. Another one by Excelisys is really nice.

While there is nothing wrong with these options, I was just really obsessed with find a CSS progress bar to work with my FileMaker projects. Now, keep in mind I know some HTML, and rely on find examples on the web to help learn and get things done faster, so I finally found a very simple approach and with a few FileMaker adjustments, I think I came up with something nice. Download it, give it a try, and have fun.

Download FileMaker_HTML_CSS_ProgressBar

=====================================

Webviewer Syntax

Let ( [

/* Use the percentage variable (Global::data) to trigger a change in the progress bar You can even have some fun with math formula’s to change the colour. There are probably other ways to have fun with this progress bar…its all CSS, with a 1 global field with a few repitions. You could use a $$GLOBAL VARIABLE but then you have to refresh the object every time.

*/

~var = Global::data ;

~r = 50 – ( ~var * 2 );

~g = 125;

~b = ~var * 3 ;

~a = 100 ;

~ref = “rgba ( [##R##] , [##G##] , [##B##] , [##A##])” ; /*TEXT READY FOR SUBSTITUTION*/

~colour = Substitute ( ~ref ;[“[##R##]” ; ~r] ; [“[##G##]” ; ~g] ; [“[##B##]” ; ~b] ; [“[##A##]” ; ~a] ) /*THE SWITCH*/

];

Substitute ( Global::html ; [“[##VALUE##]” ; Global::data] ; [“[##COLOUR##]” ; ~colour] )

)

=====================================

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 12.14.36 AM

FileMaker 14 Field Placeholders and Repeating Fields

Here is nice little discovery I made the other night. It shows how to label each cell in a repeating field when you have it as a single object. I might not be groundbreaking stuff, but I found it kinda cool, felt it was worth sharing. All it takes is a little pattern counting based on something we can predict (the naming of each cell in a repeating field), a case statement to resolve when it finds the first true value, and a LET Statement to make it look nice and clean

PLACE THE FOLLOWING SYNTAX INTO THE PLACEHOLDER CALCULATION BOX
 -----
 Let (
 [
 ~var = GetFieldName ( Self ) ;
/* Search for the "[" and "[#]" to detect the correct repetition */
 ~query = Case (
 PatternCount ( ~var ; "[") = 0 ; 1 ;
 PatternCount ( ~var ; "[2]") > 0 ; 2 ;
 PatternCount ( ~var ; "[3]") > 0 ; 3 ;
 PatternCount ( ~var ; "[4]") > 0 ; 4 ;
 PatternCount ( ~var ; "[5]") > 0 ; 5 ;
 PatternCount ( ~var ; "[6]") > 0 ; 6 ;
 PatternCount ( ~var ; "[7]") > 0 ; 7 ;
 PatternCount ( ~var ; "[8]") > 0 ; 8 ;
 PatternCount ( ~var ; "[9]") > 0 ; 9 ;
 "Value Not Assigned"
 );
 ~label = Case (
 ~query = 1 ; "Label1" ;
 ~query = 2 ; "Label2" ;
 ~query = 3 ; "Label3" ;
 ~query = 4 ; "Label4" ;
 ~query = 5 ; "Label5" ;
 ~query = 6 ; "Label6" ;
 ~query = 7 ; "Label7" ;
 ~query = 8 ; "Label8" ;
 ~query = 9 ; "Label9" ;
 ""
 );
 ~result = ~label
 ];
 ~result
 )
 -----

I have been using a lot of repeating fields lately to temporary collect data before I either store into the desired table, or use the values to do whatever. Hopefully this little tip helps you with your solutions.

AppTalk::FileMaker Pro

FileMaker Pro is a database design application that allows you to create a database to handle virtually any type of workflow requirements. It has lots of native tools to help you setup the database, create relationship between tables, create layouts, and create scripts. Also, it has a plugin architecture that allows you to use third-party plugins to help add functionality to your database solution.

Now that I have briefly summarized FileMaker Pro, I want to focus this post on FileMakers ease of use. FileMaker Inc, promotes the application as a very easy to use application that anyone can use right out of the box. This is true in some aspects and completely misleading in other aspects.

The easy to use aspect of FileMaker comes into play early in the database creation process when you are creating tables and fields. Making relationships between tables is really easy through the backend graphic user interface. The front end user interface makes creating layouts very easy through FileMakers Inspector tool. The inspector comes with a variety of formatting options similar to what MS Word and Adobe CS offers for document creation.

The misleading part comes into play when you need to create a database solution that is logically structured. All the amazing tools are great and they become easy to use after some pain staking trial and error attempts.

To really become a decent FileMaker developer you need to understand how database relationships work. FileMaker Pro will not tell you what to do or how to do it. Just like any development application it provides you with the tools you need, the knowledge needed to use these tools effectively hinges on your desire to learn.

I remember when I started using FileMaker, creating a table and fields was kids play; creating calculation was relatively easy because I had experience with calculations in excel. Creating portals and relationships is also kids play, creating advanced portals took while for because I struggles with the whole relationship aspect, but once I wrapped my head around the one-to-one or one-to-many concept of relationships, things started to get easier.

In summary, FileMaker Pro is easy to use, FileMaker development is easier than PHP coding because FileMaker gives us an interface tools to utilize.

AppTalk::Magento

I am just starting to learn about Magento. From what I have read, it might be the best platform to use when starting a serious ecommerce business.

So what do I know about Magento?

  • It is an EBay company
  • There are themes you can use just like WordPress
  • You will most likely need a dedicated web-hosting package
  • The core structure of the programming is designed to help users easily navigate for products on a website
  • It comes with a very nice prebuilt checkout module with easy to implement credit card processing options.
  • The backend takes sometime to figure out…there is a bit of a learning curve getting used to the admin panel on Magento.
  • More none ecommerce software developers are updating their respective application to integrate with Magento, so far I know of JobPro Central ( FileMaker Solution for CRM / MIS / Project Management ) and LightSpeed Retail ( POP software )

AppTalk::WordPress

WordPress is simply awesome. I’m not a wordpress theme developer, I am a wordpress user and site administrator ( someone who sets up website’s on wordpress and manages the administrative end ). The rapid evolution of the wordpress platform and its support community is just amazing.

The only annoyance I have with WordPress is the speed at which updates are happening, but in exchange for how amazing and easy to use WordPress is becoming; dealing with updates every few months is not to bad. Just remember to check if your current theme will work on the latest wordpress platform update.

Another cool thing I have noticed recently, is that more themes are starting to have similar features. This is really nice because it allows someone to easily switch the theme of their site with less worry about sections breaking because your previous theme had a piece of code that your new theme does not have. Notice I said less worry, again always be careful when switching a theme….DO NOT GET LAZY…MAKE A BACKUP

My Experience at the 2013 FileMaker DevCon

This past summer I was fortunate to have been able to attend the annual FileMaker developers conference in San Diego, California.

There were so many sessions and only so much time in a day, but thanks the DevCon2013 application for FileMaker Go I was able to navigate through the session schedule with easy to determine which sessions to attend and where they were. If there was a particular speaker I liked, I could easily use the FileMaker Go app to see what other sessions the speaker was scheduled to present.

Fast forward 5 days….

I walked away from the conference with a few new friends, a few new FileMaker topics to research, and a better understanding of the power of FileMaker as a database development platform.

There were two speakers who really captured my attention.

Court Bowman from Cleveland Consulting introduced me to the MVC (Model View Control) theory on how to structure data logic, and Todd Geist from Geist Interactive / Seed Code explained how to create modular code for easy implementation into different solutions; along with FileMaker’s native data locking functionality and it’s benefit over other programming platforms.

Todd is the founder of ModularFileMaker.org, a resource website for the sharing of filemaker code that can be used to add features and functionality to any FileMaker solution.

Court Bowman has a really cool FileMaker solution for generating pivot reports in FileMaker. It’s worth checking out.

Further, I was introduced to the data separation model through various conference sessions. I had used the separation model in one of my previous solutions, but only in very limited scope. After researching a little more about the benefits of the data separation model, I made it a standard practice in all of my future projects; 1 file script and layout; 1 file strictly for data. You can find many articles on the data separation model by simply searching on the web. Here is a link to the first article I read on the topic, it is from SixFriedRice: Data Separation Model

There was a big focus on user interface design. Any session that talked about design was guaranteed to be a packed house.

On FileMaker’s end they actively promoted their FileMaker Go application. Whether it was through demo solutions or through their sales force, the focus was almost solely on FileMaker Go usage. Personally, I have not had the need to develop anything for mobile usage, but just like FileMaker Inc. I see why mobile versions or mobile friendly business solutions are important, as it is not difficult to foresee it becoming a standard requirement for any business. Thank you Steve Jobs for making a digital drug that changed the world in a few short years. I am referring to the first globally successful PDA / Smart Phone the iphone….I write most of my blogs on my WordPress iphone app.

Lastly, the big announcement that no one was supposed to talk about until now…the release of FileMaker IWP version 2.0, renamed as FileMaker WebDirect. It is an impressive upgrade from the previous IWP both in design options and it’s data handling, but still limited with its scalability scope and now with it’s pay per connection pricing model. I’ll talk more about WebDirect after I get a chance to start creating solutions designed to be used via a web browser.

In a nutshell, the conference opened my eyes to some cool database design theories and to the wide reach FileMaker has across many industries.

My First Thoughts about FileMaker

In 2010 I started working at Rayment and Collins, that is when I first heard of FileMaker. The company had an existing solution comprised of 4-5 data files, none of which were connected to each other; meaning they ran as a separated database, not sharing or passing any information from one database to the other.

My initial response was, “man this thing is very basic”. The solution worked for the company for the most part, but as times change the solution became outdated.

I thought FileMaker was a poor mans MIS system, a do-it-yourself thing.

BUT….

Boy was I wrong, When the company asked me to evaluate a prebuilt FileMaker management information system called JobPro Central, my perception of FileMaker turned 180 degrees. Then I found out that FileMaker was a subsidiary of Apple Inc.; the company that changed the world with its products. I instantly become very interested in this relatively unknown database application program known as FileMaker Pro.

I just knew, if Apple Inc, had interests in FileMaker that there has to be something truly special about FileMaker.

The rest is history.

FileMaker as a Rapid Application Development Technology

FileMaker Inc. positions FileMaker as a Rapid Application Platform.

So what does this mean?

It means that business oriented databases can be started rather quickly, but more importantly FileMaker allows the development process of a business solution to adapt to changes in the business rather fast.

From my experience when we start a new FileMaker project we start with the immediate problems that need to be solved and once the solution is set in motion new challenges and requests are brought forward. At this point FileMaker allows us to quickly make changes to layouts, scripts and data entry processes.

Changes can made while the solution is active or through a staging process.

All this is made possible by FileMaker’s built in tools for layout design, script making and database design.

It’s hard to describe all the wonderful things that are possible through FileMaker.

I guess a good way to look at it is – don’t worry about what FileMaker can do, and worry more about what you need FileMaker to do for you.