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The FileMaker Platform: Integration Inspires Innovation

FileMaker Integrations: Integration Inspires Innovation

One of the reasons FileMaker is a superior Workplace Innovation Platform is because of its integration capabilities. When our clients/prospective clients ask us if FileMaker can connect with other applications, my immediate answer is yes! But I think the better question to ask is: "how easily can the FileMaker Platform connect with other applications?" FileMaker offers many ways to integrate with other technologies. I myself have found very few limitations in terms of connecting a FileMaker application with other applications. As FileMaker, Inc. (FMI) releases new versions of the product, the integration capabilities expand. We've been able to connect FileMaker applications with other applications via ODBC/JDBC, live external data sources, PHP/XML APIs and flexible import/export options for many years. And now we have other integration functions like Data API (REST), cURL options in Insert from URL, native JSON functions as well as many JSON specific custom functions and a FileMaker and Tableau integration via a Tableau connector.

 At DevCon 2018 there were over a dozen sessions devoted to FileMaker integrations with other applications and web services. I saw quite a few live demonstrations of client applications that integrated with other services. Several vendors also demonstrated integrations they had done. Additional tools and development capabilities have made it faster and easier to implement integrations than ever before.

FMI recently hosted a webinar to share their future roadmap and I must say, the future of the product looks very exciting! And not surprisingly, the developers appear to be focused on integration. If you missed the webinar, I highly recommend you watch it.

Some of the new integration options that I'm excited to see are:

  • Improved Data API
  • More REST-based connectors
  • OData support
  • A native Zapier connector
  • Better support for microservices
  • An enhanced Tableau connector
  • The possibility of built-in JavaScript support

Perpetual Possibilities

What can you integrate with now? The list is virtually endless, but some of the more popular services include G Suite products, Amazon services, Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, Salesforce, Slack, WordPress, Eventbrite, Basecamp, HubSpot and many more. These days web services are very popular and widespread. This further encourages innovative development since there are web services that can add great value to your applications, like transcribing audio to text, validating addresses, formatting local and international phone numbers, tagging photos, etc. If you want it, there's likely a web service to do it.

There have been third-party plugins/add-ons that have allowed us to integrate the FileMaker Platform with some of these applications before, but now it's possible to set up integrations without necessarily purchasing another product. Nonetheless, third-party tools can still streamline the development process because they help avoid heavy coding.

The FileMaker Platform provides integrations with Raspberry Pi and IoT appliances as well as microservices harnessing the power of Python, Java, JavaScript and other programming languages. All of these tools help expand application development capabilities and offer impressive speed improvements for certain tasks.

Eager to get your feet wet? Below you'll find a list of resources to help inspire innovation. This list is by no means comprehensive since the list is constantly growing so please feel free to comment with other links to good integration content as you find them.

I gathered this information from DevCon 2018:

Of course, the FileMaker Community provides a wealth of good content:

  • FileMaker Community postings on Integrations
  • Integrating FileMaker and Gmail Part 1

Zapier, which supports more than 1,000 applications and web services, can also be used with FileMaker:

Now, start turning your FileMaker applications into your own Workplace Innovation Platform!

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