The Support Group Blog

New FileMaker Layout Objects Window in FM 16

“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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Using the Web Viewer as a “Field” in FileMaker Go

One of our customers recently needed a field to be both non-editable and scrollable in FileMaker Go.  Here’s his request:

I need to build a system for someone to read a form on an iPad and capture their signature in a container field.  The forms are of variable length and will change over time.  So I want to put the body of the text into a field for each form for each signature. Since the form can be very long, the user will need to scroll to read the whole thing.  But, when you click into a field, the keyboard pops up on the iPad.  Is there away to suppress that?

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Displaying iPad Video on Your Desktop

Last week I presented a webinar titled Maximizing Mobility with FileMaker Go. As we prepared for the session, we encountered a challenge: how to best present the portion of the material that takes place on an iPad and broadcast it via WebEx.

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Checking Screen Orientation in FileMaker Go

A reader asks:

When developing for FileMaker Go, is it possible to write a script that does one thing if the iPhone or iPad is held vertically and another if it’s held horizontally?  How it could be done?

“Yes we can!” (my son has been watching a lot of Bob the Builder). We need the Get ( WindowContentHeight ) and Get ( WindowContentWidth ) functions.

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Quick Find, Error Capture, and Omit All

A few months ago, I delivered a webinar on advanced scripting and calculations. Along with the video demonstrations, I made available the FileMaker file for download. Dennis watched the webinar, downloaded the file, and asked a most reasonable question:

Thanks for your example of a Quick Find.  I am having trouble understanding the find definitions in the Quick Search script [shown below].  I understand that the 401 error traps the situation where none of the search argument finds a hit in the table, but I dont understand what the omit statements are supposed to do.  Could you please elaborate?  Thanks!

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