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Portage Bay

FileMaker

Navigating Portals Like a Spreadsheet

Navigating Portals Like a Spreadsheet

We had an interesting request on a recent project where the client wanted to navigate two portals on a layout using the keyboard. The portals needed to be setup in a way that makes them appear to be one large portal with a static header row in the middle. The client also wanted the interface design to allow for very fast data entry. We concluded that using the navigational keys to navigate the portal would be the best choice, since it performed similar to navigating a spreadsheet.

Master Detail Slide Control

Master Detail Slide Control

FileMaker 17’s new ‘Master Detail’ interface object allows the user to see and interact with a portal of the current found set and the detail of a single record at the same time. It can be very helpful in allowing the user to work with their data in a detail view, while staying in the context of a list of records. It’s easy to implement and even easier for users to navigate. Though the portal is handy when it’s being used, it’s often taking up valuable real estate when not in use. So, we’ve developed a helpful enhancement on the basic Master Detail implementation that utilizes the slide-control panel to show and hide the Master Detail portal when not in use, while still allowing quick access when it’s needed.

Aggravating Differences with Aggregate Functions

Aggravating Differences with Aggregate Functions

Aggregate Functions are the lifeblood of data analysis. However, aggregate functions can often be a little confusing. Things like variable field references, single constant values, or calculating empty values can all cause confusion if you are not familiar with the nuances of aggregate functions.

Simple Javascript Tasks

Simple Javascript Tasks

FileMaker’s web viewer is often referred to as a “black box” within the FileMaker framework. There are seemingly endless uses hidden within it’s confines, from simply displaying a webpage to integrating Google calendar into a FileMaker solution.

Portage Bay FileMaker Demos

Portage Bay FileMaker Demos

The current incarnation of our Blog was first published 6 years ago. During that time we’ve posted a lot of blog articles, included a number that include sample files that demonstrate a variety of techniques and ideas for features in FileMaker.

FileMaker 17 Default Fields

FileMaker 17 Default Fields

In one of our previous FileMaker 17 videos on YouTube, I touched briefly on the new “Default Fields” functionality introduced in FileMaker 17. In this post, I’ll be diving more into this feature, explaining how it works and how to customize it for your own use.

Modular Date Range Chooser

Modular Date Range Chooser

Are you looking for a reusable tool to be integrated with your FileMaker solution that provides an easy to use date range chooser popup window? Look no further! Portage Bay has created the Modular Date Range Chooser which can easily be added to your solution, either by copying and pasting the components into your existing solution, or linking the file as an external widget file. I am currently in the process of uploading this to modularfilemaker.org so it will be available to any FileMaker developer.

AppleScript / FileMaker Integration

FileMaker is a fully cross platform application, working equally well in a Windows or Macintosh environment. However I've recently been enjoying the challenge of working on a FileMaker solution that utilizes Macintosh specific technologies.   

The application uses AppleScript , the system level scripting language in Mac OS X, to make three separate applications work together: FileMaker Pro, the Mac OS X finder and Quark Xpress.

 The FileMaker application is the hub of the integration, initiating calls to AppleScript as needed to pull in the other two apps. The specific part of the app that I’ve been working on recently takes data from the FileMaker app and inserts it into a Quark Xpress document as a text block, which is then rotated and resized by the script. The script then prints the document as a proof. A high resolution version is then saved to a network share and a separate proof is uploaded to a web directory. Finally, the script emails a report to several people showing which proofs were processed and highlighting any orders where an error was encountered. All of this is initiated by running a single script in FileMaker. 

A key part of the development process for this project has been a program called Script Debugger. I wouldn't want to have to write and debug AppleScripts without it. Script Debugger gives you a couple of tools lacking in the built in Macintosh Script Editor app that I consider essential: a line by line debugger and an object viewer that lets you see the current state of all your variables.

FileMaker and AppleScript can be a powerful combination for automating complex processes.

--John Newhoff