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Every profession has tips, tricks and tools for getting things done. The same holds true for FileMaker Pro. Over my many years of development, I’ve created a variety of tools and methods for making things easier on myself. One of those methods is to use FileMaker itself to manage navigation within my FileMaker solutions. This video is about a tool which I use that handles the display and opening of layouts within a FileMaker solution. In fact, it can quite easily handle the navigation of many solutions because it itself is a solution for solutions. If you deal with one single solution or many different solutions, then I can’t think of a better way to manage this situation other than within FileMaker itself!

It's great to be able to build all kinds of things within FileMaker. It's those few times when you find yourself saying "I wish FileMaker could just do such and such". Of course, once you come to the point where you realize that FileMaker has access to all these other great technologies, you find yourself saying "I wonder how", instead of "I wish". Along the way, someone comes upon some discovery which allows you to do more with FileMaker than was previously known. Sometimes, using a hack that the programmers of FileMaker never even intended, yet there it is, ready for you to use.

In the world of programming, the notion of code which breaks, especially as a solution grows and is used by an every increasing number of people, is known as 'software brittleness'. This is, obviously, something you don't want within your FileMaker solution.

Inside of FileMaker is one of the most powerful engines you could ever hope for. It's not even the native FileMaker calculation engine. It has almost two decades of optimization applied to it, and much of the world's most popular software takes full advantage of it. It's JavaScript - and you have access to it. In this video article and technique file, you'll find some of the most powerful code for accessing things FileMaker can't currently do and this extends well beyond the topic of sorting. When it comes to sorting data, not records, there's no native 'filemaker' way of doing this. The solution is typically either FileMaker's custom functions, some creative trick with sorting records or using a plugin. However, with the use of the readily available JavaScript, you can sort all kinds of things in all kinds of ways. This video will gently introduce you to using one of the tools you should certainly have in your mental toolbox!

FileMaker's Script Triggers can be seen as either a big help or a big hindrance. It really depends on what your experience is with them and how you've created your solutions. If you've never really worked with Script Triggers, then you're missing a big key to the automation puzzle. If you've used them, but found they get in the way more than help, then you need this video. If you've found that sweet spot of using them and not being discouraged by their idiosyncrasies, then take advantage of the help file shown in this video. The video and associated file cover how Script Triggers integrate into FileMaker and how to take advantage of them. Prior to FileMaker version 10, the only option for user executed scripts was through your standard button definition. With the addition of Script Triggers, interaction was extended to the general environment within FileMaker. Moving to a layout, loading a record, hitting a key on the keyboard and many other possibilities entered the picture. Make sure you know how Script Triggers work and you'll be well on your way to making the most of any FileMaker solution you create.

When it comes to creating your FileMaker solution, in particular your scripts, in many cases, you don't know how fast they're running. You just know it "takes some time", and the general approach may be "Well, it takes the time it takes" and leave it at that. Or, you can take just a small amount of extra effort and benchmark what you've done, then try to find a faster method. Many times, there are so many inefficiencies, that it's the developer who has caused the slowdown. Maybe the layout is the slow point, maybe it's the number of steps, maybe it's a particular combination of functions being used. You'll never know until you benchmark and compare. So, watch this video and try out the technique file - you'll be glad you did!

User navigation is one of the most fundamentally obvious features of any software solution. How easy this navigation is, is often a mix of the platform/device being used, the process flow, and what the developer knows about providing navigation based features within FileMaker. This technique of jumping through sub-summary list views is an excellent example of working with the data on screen. If you've not had the realization that if FileMaker can show the data, then you can access it, then this video is for you!

Helping users navigate your FileMaker solution is one of the primary objectives of any developer. When it comes to menu systems, you'll find everything from simple buttons on a layout to the complex use of portals and other FileMaker objects such as the newer Popover object. In this video and technique file, you'll find a clean implementation of Global variables which support an unlimited number of dynamic menus. These menus can be changed based on their count and functionality at anytime within any location inside the solution.

Using other FileMaker 13 specific features, such as the ability to hide objects, you can have a very flexible navigation system. It can obey your security and privilege access rules and change dynamically based on wherever the user is within your solution.

If your solution is limited on space and you desire the use of a horizontal menu system, then this Dynamic Menu System provides for a high degree of power.

Outside of plain text, you can't get much more standard than HTML and PDF. They're pretty much agreed up by all major operating systems and the users who use them. FileMaker certainly supports embedding PDFs within container fields and HTML is quite easily integrated into Web Viewers. Using HTML within FileMaker is one of the most flexible ways to present information.
About the only thing you could wish for, (Yes, I'm sure you could wish for a lot of things) is any easy way to convert your HTML into a PDF. Here's the cool thing, it's already been done!
Using the open source tool wkhtmltopdf, you can populate your web viewer with whatever information you wish. Need a pivot table? Need more display control for your printed Invoices than FileMaker's native Layout mode? Need to integrate information from multiple sources out on the web? Need to just attach a simple PDF to an outbound email? You've got the solution now. This video and the provided technique file will get you up and running within a very short period of time. With FileMaker 13 and its Perform Script on Server, this solution is bound to be one of your most powerful tools available!

Working with subsets of data is an extremely common activity within a database. Automating the selection of subsets is also a common objective. In this video tutorial, the various ways to select, identify and mark a range of records is what's covered. If you've found yourself wondering what the best method for marking a range of records is, then look no further. The technique file provided and the associated video will both educate and inspire you when working on your own solutions within FileMaker Pro.

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