|Jumping Sub-summary List Views||07/28/2014 - 6:30pm||
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.
As well, one of the most exhilarating things about developing a clean feature within your database is knowing it's a low-impact, high value feature. Something which makes life easier for users and adds that little bit of extra "coolness" to your solution.
That feeling of exhilaration was exactly what I felt when I implemented this technique for the first time. I know the users of the system will receive a lot of value, given they spend a lot of time jumping around within the same list view - especially just after performing a search.
While scrolling through a few records in list view is tolerable, it can quickly become a hassle when you have a lot of records to move through.
Fortunately, FileMaker provides some really nice features in List view when sorted by a sub-summary. Not only can you obviously use summary fields to show all kinds of aggregate information, but, FileMaker will keep the list sorted when taking actions like omitting records.
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!
|Converting HTML to PDF||07/09/2014 - 2:26pm||
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!
|Marking Sub-summary Ranges||07/01/2014 - 3:54pm||
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.
Using the common task of marking a record, the technique file provides a variety of ways to extract the identifying key values for each of the records within a sub-group. Once the key values have been acquired, you have the option of what to use them for. This can be as simple as marking the subset or adding or removing the values from a larger subset.
With the primary objective of not changing the state of the user interface, learning how to deal with similar automated processes will help you become a better FileMaker Pro developer.
|Hijacking Find Mode||06/09/2014 - 7:07pm||
One of the fastest ways to load records into a found set is to simply perform a Find. What becomes a bit difficult, beyond your most basic single field search, is filtering the results of what the user has specified by the requirements of the solution.
What needs to happen is a plain and simple hijacking of FileMaker's Find mode.
This can easily be done with the features provided by FileMaker Pro. You just need to know where and how to hook things up. Most intermediate to advanced users know about FileMaker's Custom Menu Sets, and that's a great place to start, but, what if there was an easier way to limit search results based on a very simple implementation which you may not have considered before?
That's what this video is all about. The features which provide you with the greatest amount of control over what happens within FileMaker's Find mode. Ever wanted to hijack FileMaker's Quick Find? You can do that too. You control what a search returns when you know how to hijack Find mode!
|Database Notifications||06/02/2014 - 12:29pm||
Bad joke: How do you know when your database has a problem?
Answer: Simple, you make a query about it - and have it notify you.
Ok, all jokes aside, you're taking the time to create a wonderful work of technological art by creating a database which will solve all kinds of real world problems.
The problem, however, is you may not know when things go right, or wrong, within your database. Probably, because you haven't taken the time to code in some type of notification system. Fortunately, this is quite easy.
There are all kinds of possible notifications you can use, starting with your most common, which is email. However, email isn't always the most immediate or effective. What about SMS? Or, how about a native (and immediate) smartphone notification system?
Using notifications, you can not only enhance the usefulness of administrative communications for your database, but use the same features for your users as well.
This video and sample file will provide you with the steps and knowledge necessary to make an effective database notification system. If you've never integrated your database with a third party system, and using some of FileMaker 13's new features is on your bucket list, then make sure and give this video a quick review!
|Native Breadcrumbs||05/09/2014 - 1:50pm||
Oh, the wonderful navigational aid of breadcrumbs. It always seems like the web has it all. Yes, you can do pretty much anything within a web viewer.
You don't want to use a web viewer?
Shouldn't you be able to make this happen natively? Well, sure. Why not? You can make it happen with FileMaker 13 and higher!
This video and its technique file present a native way to implement navigational breadcrumbs. It accomplishes this task with a minimal amount of effort and can be localized as well. It won't break if you rename your layouts and supports as many levels as you desire.
Need a bit of FileMaker breadcrumb love? Then watch this video for all the details!
|Barcodes in FileMaker||05/01/2014 - 4:34pm||
Do you really have a full hour for learning almost everything there is to know about generating barcodes from within FileMaker?*
No? Then just skip this video, because it certainly does cover all the bases about using and generating barcodes.
If you ask the barcode question at an online forum, you may get a few responses, but those you receive will likely be based on the author's personal experience.
In this video, I'll provide you with enough information to make a truly insightful decision about using barcodes within your own FileMaker solutions!
* Note, can I really cover EVERYTHING? No, but I can certainly provide a ton of useful information!
|Hyperlinking Records||04/17/2014 - 3:20pm||
There's often a time when that fateful question is asked while developing in FileMaker. What's the question you ask? Well, it's this one.
"Wouldn't it be cool if FileMaker supported native hyperlinking?"
Well, now that's an idea. Maybe it doesn't support it natively, but you sure can make it happen. It's all a matter knowing what FileMaker provides in order to make it a reality.
Using some built-in FileMaker functions, in conjunction with fmp:// url and some Custom Function magic, you can certainly make the process of linking inline text to various records a very simple and easy task for any user. Of course, you'll be using a web viewer to display the hyperlinks and with it you get all the nice CSS formatting capability.
What you do with it and how you use it, is only up to your imagination!
|Merged Import Modification Tracking||03/31/2014 - 12:06pm||
When developing within FileMaker, there are often times when I'm surprised at how much "figuring out" is required to solve a problem. In this video article I provide a great deal of information about a problem I was having with managing a recurring import of some inventory data.
The data being imported was constantly changing and came from an external source where only a few fields are controlled by the user. With the original FileMaker system, it was structured in such a way where the "clean slate" approach was taken.
The "clean slate" approach, which you can likely guess, is one in which you simply wipe all previous data and simply import a whole new set. While this works well with small record sets, the more you import, and the larger the data set, the more of an impact, in terms of waiting time, you'll feel. You also lose the benefits of being able to assign your own internal key values and maintaining those within the schema.
So, what's the answer to the question of a recurring import where a significant percentage of data may not change? It's record modification tracking. You need to track which records were modified in order to know which should be post processed or updated by the logic of your solution.
This video and the sample file demonstrates exactly how I approached the problem and includes valuable information which I am sure will make you a better FileMaker developer. If you've never understood why you might want to use a "hash" for comparing data, or if you've thought you should really look into performing scripts on the server side then, by all means, jump into this video. It has a ton of great stuff to learn from!
|Clickable Images - Using HTML Image Maps||03/17/2014 - 12:00pm||
Just like fashion, there are certain technologies which often cycle around and find new life in our modern tech world. A great example are animated gifs. And speaking of making the rounds, don't forget about the 20 plus year old tech of HTML Image Maps.
Since FileMaker Pro has integrated Web Viewers and with the addition of FileMaker's fmp:// url, we've long been able to integrate images with irregularly shaped areas offering any number of polygonal objects which are user clickable.
If you deal with any kind of map, seating chart, irregular shaped real-world object which requires specific defined areas, then look no further than HTML Image Maps. No Flash required here.
The biggest issue with using this straight forward tech is the time it takes to generate the defined object regions. That is, unless you know how to use the right software which makes the process a breeze. The rest is integrating into your FileMaker layout.
Using OmniGraffle to generate clickable HTML image maps, you can quickly and seamlessly integrate this old, but reliable, technology within your own FileMaker solutions. Need to make that company blueprint of all the corporate meeting rooms a clickable map? Look no further than this video. It has pretty much everything you need!