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Wednesday
Sep222010

MacWorld FileMaker Go For iPad Review

I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to submit my FileMaker related thoughts to MacWorld UK. This includes reviews of FileMaker 11, FileMaker Go and "coming soon" some of their master classes. Please feel free to check them out by clicking the links below.

FileMaker Go For iPad Review

FileMaker 11 Review

Wednesday
Sep222010

Feedback On The FileMaker 1.1 Update Message

From Dwayne Wright PMP - Certified FileMaker Developer
WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

Delighted to find an email from FileMaker Inc. in my mailbox announcing new features within the 1.1 upgrade of FileMaker Go.  It is exciting to have a new update and it is exciting to see FileMaker being so proactive in communicating update information! I would encourage you to visit the FileMaker web site for all the details but after visiting it, I do think they missed an opportunity to drive home the impact of these new features.

My disappointment with the update this morning continued and I cannot say it is with the features themselves. Although I really wanted to experiment with these features, I only had a hour or so before heading out to the day job. In this allotted time, my experience with these features  consisted of ...

 "Well, I guess it must not work this way".

For example, I installed the update on my iPad but not my iPhone. This was the only way I could find to compare any potential setting differences between the two. I noticed an option of "Save / Send" under the Action menu but I couldn't get any of the options found there to respond.

I feel that a small video demonstration of these features would have been a welcome addition to their communication message. Even a small two or three page pdf dedicated to the features power or impact would have been a great benefit.

Some FileMaker developers wouldn't look at such things because they enjoy figuring out how to use these or any new features themselves. There are an equal (and less vocal) chorus of developers that are the GTD (getting things done) variety. These GTD developers are more of the working class type and short video presentations showing the real potential positive impact of features can really help save them important time. This would also be helpful for those of us that write for periodicals, self publish or a combination thereof.

FileMaker Inc and the FileMaker community at large are blessed with enthusiastic developers that communicate freely via forums, blogs, podcasts and even user group meetings. These developers will spend a huge amount of time diving into these features, documenting them in their preferred method and sharing them. I feel confident that by the efforts of these developers, I will be up to speed in short order.

However, I have concerns about the "Joe Six Pack" FileMaker Pro developer. I really like the "Joe Six Pack" developer and feel they are the true heart of FileMaker development. Indeed, hasn't every accomplished FileMaker developer evolved from some humble beginnings? Will these fundamental developers invest the time or can they invest the time to do this level of digging for information?

Tuesday
Sep212010

FileMaker Relationship Setup That Could Contribute To Out Of Control Cascading Deletes

From Dwayne Wright PMP - Certified FileMaker Developer
WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

When you define a relationship, you can define an option to delete related records  when the parent record is deleted. This is a great way to cleanup orphaned related  records when the parent record is deleted. It is a nice feature but I do ask that you  consider the consequences of this feature about before implementing.


In this file, we have an invoice and a products sold table. In the relationship graph area, we have a relationship from invoices to products sold to easily allow adding products to an invoice. We also have a second relationship from products sold to the invoice table using a second table occurrence in the invoice.

Although this is not an uncommon setup in advanced FileMaker solutions. This second relationship has the cascading delete option checked and it causes us some problems. This example is NOT code you would want to include in your files but more of an example what NOT TO DO.

To illustrate the problem with this design, click the trash icon button in one of the portal rows to test it out. You will notice that all records in the file are deleted! This is an extreme example but you could lose dozens of records with the cascading delete option checked if you are not careful.

The Restore button will bring the two example records back.

An example file can be downloaded by clicking (here)

There is a related movie for this example file. It was inspired from a reader question and is is a bit of a different slant on this setup. It can be viewed from our YouTube channel by clicking (here) or a smaller version can be viewed below.

 

© 2010 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.



Monday
Sep202010

A Basic Technique For Marking FileMaker Portal Rows

From Dwayne Wright PMP - Certified FileMaker Developer
WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

In this example, we want to illustrate how easy it is to mark a portal row and make a subset from the marked records. This technique is only useful with single user files. I will follow this up later with a more robust example that is multi user friendly.

Here you can see that we have a value list that controls what is seen in Portal 1. This example was built upon an earlier example called SingleAll. So lets just click the "All" choice in the value list. Now click the "Mark" field in a couple of the portal rows and hit the Enter key on the keyboard. So you can see that a change in one portal row record can affect what is displayed in another portal.

So lets talk about how entering a mark in the first portal allows that record to appear in the second portal. Normally a record appears in a portal when a change is made in the parent file, such as we do in the filtering example. This example uses the exact opposite technique. The first portal alters the child file record, which in turn affects the second portal found set.

The first portal has the field "Mark" in it's portal row. It is a value list check box with the single selection of 1. The parent file has a field we call a Universal Link, a calculation field that is always equal to one. It is used as the parent key to the mark field in the child file.

We should chat just a moment on why this technique would fail in a multiple user / network environment. The mark field only has two states 1 and empty. So if one user sets the field to 1, it is set to 1 for all users. To make this technique multiple user friendly, the mark field needs to be unique for the user that made the mark.

An example file can be downloaded by clicking (here)
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More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.

Monday
Sep202010

Script Looping FileMaker Portal Rows

From Dwayne Wright PMP - Certified FileMaker Developer
WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

FileMaker loop scripts will cycle  a  set  of  script  steps  over  and  over  again  until  it  receives  an  indication  to  exit  the  loop.  Scripts  with  loops  are  one  of  the  main  ways  to  have  FileMaker  perform  tedious  tasks  on  a  set  of  records.  Not only can they save time from performing tedious tasks, they also can ensure the data being processed is in the same format. Many times doing repetitive and redundant data entry, the data entry person will make a mistake strictly out of boredom.

In this example, we want to show a simple technique. However I've had many a time that showing a simple technique brings the response of "I didn't know you could do that! That is so cool!"


You can write scripts that go from portal row to portal row and perform a task. These tasks can range from the simple ( like in our example file ) to the very complex.

In the example, we click a button and every day in the portal is moved to the next day of the week. Here are the specifics of the script.

Set Field [Global Counter, """"]
** clears out the marker field **
Go To Portal Row [ Select, First]
** goes to the first portal row **
Loop
** starts the loop through the 7 records **
Set Field [ self_universal::Date, self_universal::Date +1]
** moves the date up 1 in the current portal **
Set Field [ Global Counter, Global Counter + 1 ]
** moves our counter up 1, so we will know when we hit 7 **
Go To Portal Row [ Next ]
** goes to the next record **
Exit Loop If [ Global Counter = 7 ]
** exits the record when the counter hits 7 **
End Loop
Exit Record / Request
** exits the current record and the portal, so we can see our results. **

This example is the most basic use of scripting an action from one portal row to the next. You can build all sorts of more robust scripts to meet a variety of needs.

An example file can be downloaded by clicking (here)

BTW: A calculation can be used to determine what set of conditions need to be met to exit out of an established ScriptMaker looping routine. For example, you could have ScriptMaker count how many times it performs a loop. Then, you can have ScriptMaker perform an Exit Loop If step when the counter meets a calculated result.

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

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc