The Support Group Blog

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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Wishes do come true! FileMaker 16 Supports PDF!

Thank you, FileMaker 16! My wish has been granted; we are now able to Save Records as PDF in FileMaker WebDirect. Goodbye robot processes and hello FileMaker WebDirect!

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FileMaker 16 New Layout Objects Window

“Where is that field? How do I select the sliding panel behind the portal?”

In FileMaker land, we've had the ability to stack objects since version 1.0. And ever since then, it's also been possible to lose objects behind one another. You have to know exactly where the object is in the FileMaker Layout Objects window and move things around until you can actually click on it with the mouse in order to select it.

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Thirteen is a Lucky Number

FileMaker, Inc. announced the newest version of their flagship database environment, the FileMaker Pro 13 family. It marks the latest in a progressive line of evolution for the product. As a long-time FileMaker developer I, along with my colleagues at The Support Group, am excited about the new features that will help us build even better solutions. In this post we’ll take a look at a few lower-level enhancements and peek at the possibilities of the UIX refinements.

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Upgrade to FileMaker 12 without Worries

This is my first week at The Support Group, and I get to kick it off with FileMaker 12!

FileMaker 12 is here and with it comes a new file format. However, this isn’t your father’s file format change (i.e. fp5 to fp7), full of architectural rewrites, modifying scripts, and changes in behavior. If planned for correctly, it is a fairly painless and worthwhile adventure, chalk full of performance increases and development possibilities (awesome layout themes, better and easier charting, more robust container field behavior and many more).

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Select Script Options by First Performing Them Manually

Sometimes, when writing a FileMaker script to do a find, sort, or export, doing it manually first can save you LOTS of time.

I was just tasked with creating a script to export all the fields on a layout.  The layout, however, is non-trivial and contains fields from multiple different tables, and the relationship graph I inherited is very complicated and nearly impossible to decipher.  It would have taken me HOURS to identify the table occurrence and field name of every field on this layout and then set up the export in a script.

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Using Custom Extended Privileges

Over the years I have noticed that some beginner and intermediate level developers are not aware of the possible uses of extended privileges, other than as a means of controlling methods of sharing (such as through standard FileMaker Pro to Server networking, Instant Web Publishing, PHP, etc…).  Extended privileges are probably one of the most underused features in FileMaker and at the same time incredibly simple and powerful with regards to enforcing security and access control.  I have seen people write very complex scripts that attempt to manage or limit access to specific areas of a system, creating elaborate, complex security access levels or hard coding some of this security functionality within the data structure when they could have used custom extended privileges to do the same in a cleaner and most efficient manner.

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Searching Across Relationships for “Empty” Fields

Have you ever wanted to find records where a certain field is empty? Suppose you are updating your contact database and trying to capture email addresses for as many people as possible.  You need to find every person for whom you do not have an email address. When searching in FileMaker, the equal sign operator (=) is used to find an exact match; when used by itself in a field, with nothing else following it, it tells FileMaker to find records where the field is empty. So… easy enough, right?  Just go to the contact detail view, enter Find mode, type an equals sign into the email field (or select the symbol from the Operators popup in the toolbar), and click the Perform Find button.

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