The Complete Guide to FM iOS App Development

When FileMaker announced it was launching a SDK for creating native iOS apps, this was very exciting news. Developers now have the ability to build an app in FileMaker and send it to the Apple App Store. The steps for going through this process can be a bit cumbersome. After deploying a few apps, I’ve come up with a complete guide to launching an app. Note that these instructions are very specific to FileMaker iOS App SDK v15 and Xcode v8.2.1. If you find any issues when going through the checklist please leave a comment so we may update the checklist and share it with everyone.

Considerations Before you Begin:

  • Apple Developer Account: The standard FileMaker instructions state that you must enroll in the Apple Developer Program. It can take a while to get the Apple Developer Account set up, especially if you do not have a D-U-N-S Number. But no problem. Even though the instructions say you do need to enroll in the Apple Developer program in order to manipulate Xcode, this is not true. You can start developing your app using Xcode right away.
  • Once you have an Apple Developer Account, make sure you have been invited and accepted to the Team as an Admin Developer
  • Xcode Download Size: Be sure to have enough free hard drive space to accommodate it. The download is close to 5GB. Be prepared for a long download.
  • Number of Simulators you will need: Each simulator is between 1-2 gb in size so be mindful about which simulators you actually need. If you have the actual device, no need to download the simulator.

Steps to Launch an iOS App Using FMP 15

  1. Sign up for the FileMaker Developer account ( This does require a $99/yr FileMaker Developer subscription.)
  2. Download the latest copy of Xcode from the App Store (this is going to take 20+ minutes to download)
  3. Download and unzip the latest copy of iOS APP SDK and leave the folder in your downloads folder for the time being.
  4. Open Xcode
    1. Go to Xcode Menu > Preferences > Components Tab.
      1. *optional. Only install simulators for iOS that you do not currently have on an iOS device.
    2. Go to Xcode Menu > Preferences > Accounts Tab.
      1. Click + to add your Apple ID
      2. Enter Apple ID and password
      3. Select Apple ID
      4. Then choose which Team you are going to work in under list on the right and click “View Details” (we found an issue whereby selecting the Team appeared to make the Team Name disappear, but after clicking “View Details” it reappeared)
      5. Click “Create” next to iOS Development
      6. Click “Done”
  5. Login to the Apple Developer Account  using your Apple ID. (Make sure your company has invited you to their team.
    1. Add Certificate (The following steps vary whether your team already has an iOS development certificate created. These steps are necessary if you don’t have one already created.)
      1. Click “Certificates, IDs, Profiles”
      2. Click “All” under “Certificates”
      3. Click “+” to add a new Certificate
      4. Select iOS Development, Click Continue and Done
    2. Create App ID
      1. Click “App IDs”
      2. Click “+” to add a new App ID
      3. Follow the instructions for creating new App ID, using an Explicit App ID and click “Continue”
        1. Specify the name, description, and bundle identifier (ID) for your app. (Make a note of the Bundle Identifier you choose)
        2. In App Services, select iCloud to provision your app to use iCloud.
        3. In App Services, select Data Protection, and then select Complete Protection to provision your app to use data protection.
    3. Create Testing Device
      1. You will need the UDID from your device. To get this
        1. Physically plug your device into your computer
        2. Open iTunes
        3. Click on your Device
        4. Go to Summary
        5. Click on the Serial Number to display the UDID
        6. Hit Command C or Select Copy from the Edit Menu to Copy UDID
      2. Click “All” under Devices
      3. Click “+” to add a new testing device
      4. Follow the instructions for adding a new testing device
    4. Add Provisioning Profile
      1. Click “All” under “Provisioning Profiles”
      2. Click “+” to add a new profile
      3. Follow the instructions and
        1. Choose “iOS App Development”
        2. Under App ID, select recently added App ID.
        3. Under Certification, choose the recently added certificate
        4. Under Devices, choose the recently added device
  6. Open Xcode again
    1. Go to Xcode Menu > Preferences > Accounts Tab.
      1. Select Apple ID
      2. Choose which Team you are going to work in under the list on the right and click “View Details”
      3. Click “Download” next to Provisioning Profile recently added (this may take a few minutes. Don’t click done until finished)
  7. Use iOS App SDK to create a project directory: Follow Step 6 in the iOS App SDK 15 Guide
  8. Open the newly created [subfolder]/[appname]/Solution Files folder and find the placeholder.fmp12 file
    1. Place the copy of the FMP Solution file into the Solution Files folder (can drag any number of files)
      1. You can make any changes to create new builds directly on this file. Make sure the simulator is not running when trying to do this.
  9. Modify configFile.txt: Follow Step 7 in the iOS App SDK 15 Guide
  10. Click on the App Name to select the project file, the top most folder in the navigation tree
    1. Go to Info Tab Settings
    2. Under String, double click the placeholder.fmp12 to replace the solution file name with your solution file name.
  11. Create App Icons :  Every app needs an app icon. Create different sizes of the app icon to make sure it displays correctly on all supported devices. The recommended file format for icons is PNG. You will need the following sizes. Note: This site generates the correctly resized images to upload to Xcode after you upload just a single image.
    1. See Step 8 in the iOS App SDK 15 Guide for instructions on how to place iOS images into correct locations. Basically you will drag and drop images into the correct locations. If you are not deploying your app to iOS 5-6, there is no need to include these images.
  12. Enable Data Protection and iCloud Capabilities and Specify version/build number: Follow Steps 9 – 10 in the iOS App SDK 15 Guide
    1. On the Capabilities tab, check the checkbox for “Cloudkit”
  13. Build and Test App: Follow Step 12 in the iOS App SDK 15 Guide
    1. Make sure to stop simulator before running on a different simulator or another device or opening and making changes to your FileMaker solutions.
  14. When Ready to upload the testing copy to iTunes Connect
    1. Make sure your apple id is invited as an admin to the team on the site
    2. Log onto iTunes Connect using your Apple ID.
    3. Go to “My Apps”
    4. Click “+” to add a new App and enter information
    5. Open Xcode and make sure you selected your iOS Device, not a simulator
    6. Go to Menu Product > Archive
    7. Click “Validate”
    8. Choose the correct Team and follow the steps
    9. Click “Upload to App Store…”

These steps will get you as far as having your app in iTunes Connect. The next steps would be to use Testflight to submit your app to testing within your Team and then to submit it to the App store.

We invite you to leave comments if you find any steps that are not working for you or if you have suggestions for updates as FileMaker and Xcode increment their versions. We hope this checklist can make the task of creating a custom app just a little simpler.

iOS App SDK Resources

iOS App SDK 15 Guide

FileMaker iOS App Instructions

FileMaker Developer Subscription (requires $99/yr FileMaker Developer subscription)

— Kate Waldhauser

1 thought on “The Complete Guide to FM iOS App Development”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *