The Support Group Blog

How To Use JavaScript in FileMaker

We compared and contrasted the use of variables between JavaScript and FileMaker. Now, we want to talk about functions and how to use JavaScript in FileMaker.

Claris's FileMaker platform and most spreadsheets have these useful features called functions. These functions do simple calculation jobs for us. For example, the Trim() function removes white space from the end of a text block, and the Round () function rounds a number to the nearest specified digit. Their uses are practically limitless. More likely than not, we developers rely on functions like these to get our jobs done daily.

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JavaScript and FileMaker: Variables

JavaScript is our web browser's scripting language, and any object that uses the operating system's web browser engine inherits its capabilities, including FileMaker's web viewer. We can use JavaScript just like we use a FileMaker script. JavaScript can execute various functions such as:

  • Run workflows
  • Distribute invoices to select customers
  • Save data to a database or variable
  • Display a notification to a user, like an alert that inventory is low for a particular product

One of the best properties of JavaScript is that we can use it to extend FileMaker far beyond its native capabilities. By leveraging hundreds of free JavaScript libraries available across the Internet, we can do almost anything we need, including customizing calendars. Let's explore how JavaScript and FileMaker scripting are similar and how they differ. 

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Discover the Basics of FileMaker Quick Start

Sometimes the most challenging part of any task is getting started. Claris recognizes this, and as a result, offers FileMaker users and citizen developers the ability to build custom apps in an agile manner. They released the FileMaker Quick Start Experience in preview mode several months ago. The tool is intended to be intuitive, but it's also very much a work-in-progress. So, we'll review some FileMaker Quick Start basics to help us all make the most of it.

Before we get started, we have to mention that the FileMaker Quick Start experience is only available to Mac OS users running the latest version of the program. The preview has a dual purpose. Firstly, the tool is designed for users to learn FileMaker quickly and deploy an app in a matter of days as opposed to months. And secondly, Claris wants to gather feedback about the experience so that they can enhance and improve usability. We assume they want to make it as functional as possible before broadening the user base.

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How To Learn FileMaker Quickly

The future of low-code development is coming clearly into view, and it's going to be browser-based. Most of today's best examples of productivity-enhancing platforms don't require installing desktop programs or uploading apps to local servers but instead just opening a browser window and pointing to an address. Building, testing, and deploying applications all happen in the cloud without us having to install anything on our computers, phones, or tablets. Claris FileMaker is taking baby steps into the next generation of its low-code development platform with its new Quick Start Experience. The Quick Start Experience, which is available for users running the most recent version of the software on macOS, opens the door, just a little, to a fresh way of using a product we've been using for years. The tool allows new users and citizen developers to learn how to use FileMaker quickly.

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Why Attend the FileMaker Developer Conference

Every year, usually during the summer, FileMaker hosts a massive global conference for their developers. Like most customer/user conferences, the goal is to experience the product in different ways and explore new product features, in a supportive and fun environment. But leave it to technology to create a common developer dilemma – to go or not to go to DevCon. FileMaker, Inc. will eventually share most, if not all, of the session materials – including videos – within the FileMaker Community. So why not save the registration and travel expenses and wait until the materials become public?

Well, The Support Group has participated in DevCon in different capacities since the very first event in 1996. Yes, it's been that long and we can certainly tell you that it's worth it every year! We even share some of our own DevCon experiences during and after the conference; check out our FileMaker Developer Conference 2018 in review artcle. I cannot adequately capture the essence of why we go to DevCon, but I will try to capture a few of the main benefits.

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Retirement Planning App Built Using the FileMaker Platform

Since this time of year is associated with giving, we thought that we would share a FileMaker iOS gift. We created a retirement app using the FileMaker SDK. Some of us may find this app useful sooner than others, but we hope you benefit either way.  The free app is available on iPad only on the Apple App Store

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FileMaker Developer Conference 2018 Session Review

As promised in our blog post, FileMaker Developer Conference 2018 in Review, we want to unpack some of our learnings and experiences from the actual sessions we attended during FileMaker's Developer conference. FileMaker, Inc. has begun to share the 2018 session materials online. Yup, there's a lot to take in. But, don't feel overwhelmed by all of the materials. We're here to guide you with some recommendations on the sessions you might find particularly helpful.

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How to Create a Progress Bar in FileMaker Pro

We rely on indicators to let us know that a process is running. We can hear our engines running or see the timer ticking down on the microwave – all positive indications that something is working. Have you ever been on hold with no hold music or regular automated updates? It can be frustrating because you don't know if you're still in the queue or wasting your time. So it's good, virtually expected, to include a progress bar or an alert within a process in order to maintain engagement.

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DevCon 2017 Bytes: FileMaker Server

Every year FileMaker developers converge on a specified city to learn how to make the most of the FileMaker Pro product. And although the format of the FileMaker Developer Conference doesn't change too much year after year in terms of training, presentations, breakout sessions, etc., the content does change because of the various new features available with the latest software release. And FileMaker 16 does have a lot of new features to boast about, including its impact on FileMaker Server. I attended a session that focused on some of the under-the-hood components of FileMaker Server.

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DevCon 2017 Bytes: FileMaker Integration

I attended JSON and API sessions during the FileMaker Developer conference and they blew my mind! The two technologies actually go hand and hand; one is built on the other so it was a very informative and comprehensive day for me. FileMaker integration features are my favorite benefits of the platform because they allow us to connect and exchange data with other data sources, thereby expanding the capabilities of our applications. I was able to witness some amazing FileMaker integrations between these two sessions.

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