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Thank you for visiting the FileMaker Calculations Explored blog. I recently moved this content over from my blogger account. Hope you like it! When you get a chance, check out the centralized search feature for all the FileMaker blogs found along the right side panel. It is quite handy!

Thursday
May082008

Cannot Find The FileMaker Plug-In You Need?

From Dwayne Wright - Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
www.dwaynewright.com
info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright

I was talking to a technical support customer during a virtual one on one session and we began talking about interfacing some of his telecommunications equipment with FileMaker. He mentioned he had looked everywhere for a FileMaker plug-in to connect with and couldn’t find it. He was a bit bummed out about it until I asked him, “have you asked any of the FileMaker Plug-In developers if they could write a plug-in for you?”.

There was a noticeable silence and he said, “they will do that?”.

I said that I thought that most of the prominent plug-in developers are open to creating custom plug-ins for a particular need. In some cases, creating custom plug-ins is a large part of their business. Creating a plug-in from scratch is much like creating a FileMaker database from scratch, only more difficult and requires some serious programming skill. Having a plug-in created from scratch is generally expensive but you have to factor in the ROI you might benefit from it.

So if you really need a FileMaker plug-in that doesn’t seem to be out there, visit the most prominent FileMaker plug-in companies web sites and send them an email.

More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2010 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

Thursday
May082008

FILEMAKER: Installing Plug-Ins Are A Snap

From Dwayne Wright - Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
www.dwaynewright.com
info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright

So as you might imagine, a FileMaker plug-in is a file that has to be put somewhere and then it has to be turned on somewhere. When that is done, you might imagine that the external functions that come with that plug-in will be available for that FileMaker user. That is exactly how it works! What a precise and detail orientated imagination you must have!

Some plug-in developer have installers that will put the files in the correct place and some do not. That almost always tell the user how to install the plug-in. Just for reference though ...

Plug-In Locations On A Macintosh Machine
Within your Applications folder, you will find a FileMaker Folder and within that folder you will see all your installed versions of FileMaker. Yes, a Macintosh computer can run a copy of FileMaker 8, copy of FileMaker 8.5 and a copy of FileMaker 9. In fact, you can even have that same machine running the Basic and Advanced versions of each and as a professional FileMaker developer, this comes in handy sometimes! Anyway, with each FileMaker Application folder, you will see an Extensions folder and your plug-in files go there.

So in recap, the location is ...
Macintosh HD (unless you rename your HD) ----> Applications ----> FileMaker (only appears if you have multiple FileMaker Applications installed) ----> FileMaker Pro 9 (or your version of FileMaker) ----> Extensions

You will need to click the image to see it at the original size. After doing so you can see where I have highlighted the path to the AutoUpdate plug-in. You can even see the info for the file indicates that it is a FileMaker plug-in.

Plug-In Locations On A Windows Machine
This is pretty much the same idea but slightly different location, on a Windows machine you have a Program Folders directory on your C Drive. After that, it definitely resembles the Macintosh location because it is within a FileMaker Folder, FileMaker 9 Advanced and then the Extensions folder.

So in recap, the location is ...
C: ----> Program Files ----> FileMaker ----> FileMaker Pro 9 (or your version of FileMaker) ----> Extensions

So after you have installed the plug-in, fire up your copy of FileMaker. If you had FileMaker running during your install, it is not a big problem. Just quit FileMaker and then fire it up again. The process of launching FileMaker allows it to upload the plug-in into the internal memory of the FileMaker application.

Now that the plug-in has been loaded, you may need to turn it on. It might also be on automatically during your installation. FileMaker Plug-in information can be found in the preferences area.

More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2010 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

Thursday
May012008

FILEMAKER: Third Party External Functions

From Dwayne Wright - Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
www.dwaynewright.com
info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright

When we talk about external functions, we are talking about FileMaker plug-ins. FileMaker plug-ins introduce new functions to your FileMaker system to enable their unique advantages. The age of the FileMaker plug-in has been around for a number of years and still FileMaker is experiencing an explosive growth in the number of plug-in developers and the products they offer.

Unfortunately, I had trouble finding a web site that had a list of FileMaker plug-ins that was up to date. A Google search in this area didn’t yield anything promising for the first half dozen pages. I didn’t have much better luck doing a search for plug-in on the FileMaker web site. I knew something had to be there and this is what I found ...

Under the Product menu on the FileMaker site, pull up the Made For FileMaker option. Then choose the link for Plug-ins under the For Developers area. There you can find a listing of over 69 results and there are more out there than what FileMaker lists.

More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2010 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

Monday
Apr212008

FILEMAKER: A READER ASKS: Getting Past The First Repeat

From Dwayne Wright
Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
www.dwaynewright.com
info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright

A READER ASKS
I was wondering if you could help me out on a FileMaker related question. I’m trying to relate a repeating field in table A to a list of value in table B. My question is that FileMaker seems to only take the first value in the repeating field into account and returns the related value of the first value in the repeating field. Let me know if you could help me out here, greatly appreciated. Thank you.

-------
DWAYNE RESPONDS
Anytime you want to merge repeating data with non repeating data, you want to use the EXTEND function.

More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2010 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

Tuesday
Apr152008

Back When I Created My First Custom Function

From Dwayne Wright
Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
www.dwaynewright.com
info@dwaynewright.com

Here is a way that I first used the custom function feature and this was before the great briandunning.com resource was out there. Back when FileMaker 7 was released, I added the ability to write checks directly out of my InBizness SOHO package. I added a layout matched to some blank check stock that I purchased. I then added the basic logic for a print script and needed a calculation to convert the numeric check amount to text format. So that $93.47 can be viewed at ninety three dollars and forty seven cents on the printed check.

I found the calculation example on www.databasepros.com but it was very long and complicated. I could copy and paste the calculation ... but ... then I would need to change every reference to my amount field within the calculation. That spawned an idea about using a custom function.

All I would need to do is fire up the developer edition (now called FileMaker Advanced) and create a custom function for the numbers to dollars text. I would call my parameter the same name that databasepros called the field in their example file. Then within the calculation, I would only have to use my field within the function parameter.

Here you can see the custom function that I created called CheckText. It only has one parameter called amount. So the syntax is CheckText (amount) and you replace the amount string with the number field you want to use.

Here you can see the calculation that I copied from the example file that I downloaded from databasepros.com. They had used a field called Amount in that older FileMaker 6 calculation. I use that word as the name of my custom functions syntax.

Here you can see the actual calculation. I have a transactions table for the Finance module of InBizness SOHO. I use this to record checks written, deposits made, purchased charged and the like. I use the custom function only when writting checks. So I need to get the text for the deduct field because deductions subtract from my bank amount total.

So I have a calculation called CheckText( deduct ) and my calculation works like a charm!

More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2010 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com