The Support Group Blog

FileMaker Trivia: How Well Do You Know FileMaker?

At The Support Group, we enjoy developing custom business applications for our clients. But we really like having fun! In the spirit of fun, we created a FileMaker trivia app so that all you FileMaker developers (and fanatics) can test your FileMaker knowledge.

We decided to pool some random information we know about FileMaker into an app to see how many other fellow FileMaker developers are full of random information. This quiz is nothing like the FileMaker certification exam! The questions focus more on FileMaker as a company as opposed to how to use the product. Hopefully, you'll learn something new and maybe brag about your scores among your colleagues and friends.

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FileMaker 17: Master-detail Layouts

If you've been kicking around the FileMaker neighborhood for any amount of time, you've probably run into a need to show multiple records in a list format as well as provide a detail view of the current record. Up until now you basically had two options.

The first and probably most popular method is to create one list view layout and another form view layout. The user typically performs a find and if there's more than one record found, you send them to an optimized list view layout. And then with the click of a button, they can see the related details of each record in a form view layout or even in a popover.

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FileMaker 17: New Layout Mode

If you're like me and you do your work on a laptop in the office and at home, you will welcome the new self-organizing and predictable controls that FileMaker, Inc. has introduced in the new FileMaker 17 Platform. At work, I connect my laptop to an external monitor, which expands my viewable space and allows me to spread my work out. However, at home, I rely on my 13" laptop screen to do my development work. Prior to the release of FileMaker 17, every time I switched between the monitor and my 13" laptop screen, I had to find all my control pallets (Object Viewer, Inspector and Field Picker) and then rearrange them to work within the confines of my screen. This was a pain because I had to shift my focus from improving workflows and adding value to trying to find and grab my pallets. It was like being at the carnival midway playing whack-a-mole. This has all changed with version 17. Now all three of these important tools are always accessible where and when I need them. Like most modern integrated development environments, the new Layout Mode configuration docks these important tools right to your Layout window, so that you don’t have to think about where they are when you transition from desk to couch.

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A Match Made in FileMaker Heaven: FileMaker 16 and Tableau

In my humble opinion, the FileMaker platform integration with Tableau is pretty amazing! Tableau greatly simplifies how you run reports, create dashboards, display geographic mapping and more using your FileMaker data. The new FileMaker Data API in FileMaker 16, the Tableau Web Data Connector, and the fact that both support REST APIs in JSON formats make this integration possible. Being able to connect to third-party applications, or have third party applications connect to your database is an exciting new development for the FileMaker platform as a product and for FileMaker users in general.

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How To Use Material Design Icons in FileMaker Pro

It amazes me how easily we adapt and respond to visuals. Not only is functionality important to software development, but design is also pretty important. Because time is a limited commodity, usability and intuition are important factors when encouraging users to adopt a new system. And generally, the visual elements of the system determine how quickly users are able to learn a new application. Design includes many different aspects – color, layout, fonts, sizes, etc. You have to be strategic with your design elements, including those micro-images we call icons. Those seemingly small symbols ultimately make a big impact on user navigability and comprehension.

Who else but Google has created a style guide for all of their applications and shared it on the interwebs for everyone to use. Material Design is basically a design language that Google created to unify digital interfaces and experiences. They offer lots of good UI/UX design ideas in this document and a bunch of free resources. Who doesn’t like free stuff? One of those free things is a whole set of icons, nice ones. You can browse through them here: https://material.io/icons/.

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Required Fields in FileMaker Pro

One of the things our clients often request is for us to set up their custom application so that it is mandatory for users to fill in certain fields. You all know what this looks like, right? You go to a website to sign up for a service and next to the places you have to put your email and password, you see a little red asterisk. And then at the bottom or top, or somewhere on the page, it will be explained that these fields are required. Now you can specify required fields in FileMaker Pro quickly and easily.

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Fun with FileMaker Pro

Data is powerful! It's generally the backbone of most strategic business decisions to improve products and operations. But the data that businesses collect can be mutually beneficial to consumers as well. Our trackable behaviors and habits make innovation and efficiency possible by allowing computers to process and interpret data in such a way that it can actually help to fulfill a task or goal . This is known as artificial intelligence (AI) and we'll continue to hear a lot about it going into 2018 in terms of research, development and controversy, so we'll save a serious discussion about that and custom applications for another time. For now, we just want to have a little fun with AI.

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A Little FileMaker Pro Design Tip

Design is an important factor in the development process and it warrants extra special attention. Yes, an application needs to work, but it also has to appeal to its users. What good will the application do if no one will use it?

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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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Seven Tips for FileMaker Scripts

We’ve been writing FileMaker scripts for over 25 years now (ever since FileMaker Pro 2.0, when the ScriptMaker first appeared) and we’ve developed our own set of best practices in terms of managing them here at The Support Group. Every FileMaker developer has his or her own set of methods, preferences, styles, etc., but we all agree that writing and maintaining scripts properly can save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run. Whether you're an experienced FileMaker developer or new to development, you should find these seven scripting tips useful.

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