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Portage Bay

Tech review

FedEx and FileMaker

As FileMaker developers, we are always interested in learning new tools and tricks to take a database to the next level. Recently we worked with a simple way to generate FedEx shipping labels from within FileMaker.

By using a 3rd party plugin and FedEx web services, this functionality is easily available in any FileMaker solution. We started by using the module for accessing FedEx Web Services that is a part of the ScriptMaster plugin from 360Works.

Designing and implementing this tool is pretty simple.

  • The first requirement is to sign up for a FedEx developer account
  • Next is to install the ScriptMaster plugin on each computer connecting to the database. 
  • The third step is to create the FedEx required fields in the database. (These can be seen in the screenshot of the sample database below.)
  • And lastly to create a button with one script step to generate the label. 

The screenshot below shows our sample database that generates the shipping label. The interface allows entry of all the required information for FedEx; shipment method, shipment date, weight, origin address and destination address. Once all fields are complete, clicking the "Generate Shipping Label" button will produce the FedEx shipping label and save it to your computer as a PDF.

~ Kate Wheeler

FeedMyInbox.com

I've used Google Reader for some time to read RSS feeds and while it is perfectly adequate for this task, I wanted something that would send me the data via email as soon as it was posted, rather than having to open up Google Reader periodically to see new posts or monitor the feed in my Mac OS X Mail client.

After looking all over I couldn't find any option for this in Google Reader and finally ended up with a web site called FeedMyInbox.com. It does the very simple task of monitoring the RSS feeds I give it and emailing me when a new post appears. You can have it send you each new post as it appears, or a daily summary. FeedMyInbox lets you monitor up to 5 RSS feeds for free, after that they start charging for the service at varying rates. I find this service especially useful for monitoring items for sale on craigslist. It lets me quickly respond to new posts.

I’m actually picking up a small utility trailer today that I found via FeedMyInbox and Craigslist.

--John Newhoff