The Support Group Blog

FileMaker Container Storage

Since very early in its life FileMaker (perhaps even before it was FileMaker Pro) could store binary data (zeros and ones). We have all kept things like pictures, movies, and eventually portable document formats (PDFs), Word documents, and even object linking and embedding (OLE) files on Windows. If you can store it in a file, you can put it in a container field. As FileMaker evolved over the years and embraced new technology trends, such as QuickTime and Adobe's PDF format, the container field capabilities have expanded to integrate the latest file trends with our data-driven workflows. Let's explore some of the fundamental parts of setting up and using container fields.

Container fields act very much like the other types of data storing fields, including text, number, date, time, timestamp, etc., except we can't search, sort, or use them as a key in a relationship. However, we can set them up to be stored globally, targeted in scripts, and utilized in calculations and the results of calculations. The one thing that container fields feature that other "data" fields don't is the option to store themselves externally.

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Best Practices for End User Adoption of Custom Software

The primary advantage of building custom software is that it addresses a unique challenge. It's not often that a pre-made build fulfills our every need.

However, building that software requires a lot of communication and follow-up with end users. Organizations spend a lot of money making custom software, but it doesn't mean much if it goes unused. Therefore, end user adoption is vital for any product to succeed in the long run.

Here are some of the best practices for building an end user adoption strategy.

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FileMaker Auto-Enter Calculation Tool

One of the main reasons we use FileMaker is because it saves us time and makes entering data accurately and consistently a breeze. The key to making FileMaker our data entry go-to tool of choice is mastery of the Auto-Enter tab in the Options for Field dialog box.

When we create a new field or edit an existing one in the Manage Database window, we have the opportunity to modify the field's setting via the Options for Field dialog box. There are four tabs in the Options for Field dialog, and we're going to focus on the first one, Auto-Enter. This tab lays out all the options we have for allowing FileMaker to enter or even modify our data along with us as we enter it. However, the option we're interested in for this post is the calculated value. The calculated value option is very flexible and allows us to do many things that the other options allow and more.

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Case Study: FileMaker and QuickBooks Integration

Executive Summary

Offering overland adventure vacations to individuals and families requires a great deal of organization and coordination. The excursions are distributed all over the country and span several days. In addition, vacationers can choose different levels of participation depending on their preference for accommodations.

While the variety of vacation offerings allows travelers to customize their experience according to personal preference, it can be complicated to manage internally. The hosts need to track all of the registrations, which include contact information, trip specifications, payment details, etc. Each reservation captures several important data points for the staff and trip guides to know before and during the events.

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FileMaker QuickBooks Online Integration: Data Exchange

Previously, we've talked about how to integrate FileMaker and QuickBooks Online by first creating an access token and then a refresh token to maintain a secure connection between the applications. These are necessary steps to prepare for the integration, but now we'll turn our attention to moving data between the FileMaker-based solution and QuickBooks Online. But, of course, that's the whole point of the integration anyway.

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Low-Code and No-Code in the Digital Workplace

Low-code and no-code development platforms present a whole new way of solving business challenges in the digital workplace. Low-code and no-code tools allow the people doing the work – the process experts – to fix workflow and data hurdles instead of relying on internal IT departments or external developers to overcome them. 

The traditional ways of creating business apps require a deep technical understanding and aptitude to get started. So what invariably happens is that the process expert, who's directly involved with the data or workflow, is forced to translate all that tribal knowledge to the technical person. During this translation, material information can be lost and garbled, requiring multiple build and deploy cycles to filter out the noise. 

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FileMaker to QuickBooks Online Integration: Refresh Token

In the previous post, we set up our QuickBooks Online API account and used the provided bits of information (Client ID and Client Secret) to start the process to create a token. We will use this token going forward to authenticate with the API and push and pull our data. 

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How To Integrate FileMaker and QuickBooks Online: Create Token

We all know our FileMaker solutions don't operate in a vacuum. They need to talk to all sorts of other programs and services to be as productive as possible. For example, one of the most ubiquitous applications in the small and mid-sized business world is QuickBooks. Almost every business needs a bookkeeping/accounting application to ensure the financial portion of their business is running correctly. And integrating FileMaker and QuickBooks Online can help streamline and automate our operations.

With the shift to cloud-based services, like QuickBooks Online, companies are no longer dependent on the traditional model of complex proprietary integration options. Instead, they can pass data back and forth between applications using a standardized Restful API. Because FileMaker also uses Restful API to push and pull data, integrating FileMaker and QuickBooks Online has never been easier.

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Pros and Cons of Custom Software

Many of our clients are looking for technology to streamline and automate their business workflows to grow their businesses. Administrative tasks have a way of weighing teams down. When you convert a paper process to a digital workflow, that can go a long way to free up time. In addition, when you automate a digital process, that can save even more time. You can reallocate that time to other revenue-generating activities such as sales tasks, marketing strategies, product development, etc.

We develop technology for organizations to operate at their optimum. For example, we've helped solve business problems related to inventory management, event planning, custom reporting, and much more. Yes, off-the-shelf software addresses these types of workflows, but they don't always offer every function every user needs. So rather than finding a work-around or waiting for a feature release, companies customize their own software to do specifically what they need it to do when they need to do it.

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What to Know about Technical Debt

Technical debt costs companies across America billions of dollars each year. This creeping problem can slow work and create new work for developers, and it only worsens over time. If you don't work on the technical side of things, you may not even know when it happens.

Keeping your technical debt down requires more than just knowing what technical debt is. It takes conscious effort from both the development team and management, and most companies have no system to manage technical debt. Keep reading to learn about technical debt and what you can do to get ahead of it.

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