Nov 17 2009: Taking FileMaker to the Next Level ( Guest Speaker: Jesse Barnum of 360Works )

Our guest speaker was Jesse Barnum of Jesse discussed how to leverage the power of plugins to enhance the power of FileMaker.

Jesse started off discussing the stigma of plugins and how changes over the years has made it so that more developers could be comfortable in implementing plugins. He demonstrated how to set up automatic updates from the server in order to maintain the plugin efficiently and avoid having to push out a plugin update to all the client sessions.

Jesse then proceded to describe each of the the plugins in the 360 Works Portfolio Suite.

Some of the more interesting points are as follows:

SuperContainer – great to use with IWP, does versioning, create thumbnails, and much improved speed over container fields. Super container will create subdirectories if need be, based on the URL that the developer passes.

Textractor Plugin – Can pull information from URLs, Word docs, PDF, Excel, EXIF data etc . Great use would be in conjunction to SuperContainer where one could upload the document, and then extract the data out of it into a FileMaker field for easy searches.

JDBC Plugin – Benefits over ODBC is that it is faster and can bring over binary data such as with images. Also JDBC keeps the connection open as oppposed to ODBC that will close it each time after each call and therefore much slower as the opening and closing process takes very long.

Email Plugin – Can send and receive email messages. Can send rich text, HTML, multiple attachments which FileMaker can not. Also allows for IMAP and POP to bring in emails.

Plastics Plugin – Main goal was to create a plugin for “ease of use” for developers. Mimimal code needed to pass to the plugin as the plugin handles most of it.

Patterns Plugin – Allow users to leverage the power of Regular Expressions to find patterns, searching, and other criteria. Anyone who is familiar with RegEx knows the power of it. Now you can use them in FileMaker.

Difference Plugin – Much like a UNIX diff, it will return any differences between two fields, text, etc. This could work great with the Textractor plugin to hilite the differences between two versions of a file. Versioning would benefit greatly from this.

RemoteScripter – This is a very powerful tool that allows one to run a FileMaker script via a URL passed on a designated port. Jesse demonstrated that this could be used to send email links to a certain record so that when a user click the link, it would run a FileMaker script with the record ID passed as a parameter. Your script could be a simple find and thus would bring the user to that record. An additional great feature is that it could be used for IWP. Since printing to PDF is not allowed with IWP, RemoteScripter could be used to run the script on a Pro machine in the background and seemlessly deliver the result to a container field for IWP to access it!

Jesse then briefly talked about his two new products. SafetyNet and Web Services. Web Services is a powerful way to pass data between system using XML without the other system having to know any additional information other than that specified by the WSDL. This would work great within an internal corporation where data in shared amongst groups and also externally where one can use it for vendors to grab data. Nobody will even know that the data is coming from FileMaker if you dont want them to know. The Web Services Manager plugin allows FileMaker data to be used as a Web Service.

SafetyNet – This is a must have for a developer’s arsenal. How often do developer recommend their clients to use offsite backups but it never happens? Well look no further.  Using Amazon’s server as storage, one can now for a very minimal cost have their data backed up seemlessly offsite. Most clients do not want to pay for a offsite service vendor. However, with prices such as a 275 megabyte FileMaker solution costing about $5/month, now it gives clients a very afforadable solution. Furthermore with an easy point and cllick interface, a developer could load a backup copy to the server. The plugin will close and move the current files to a directory, download the files from Amazon’s servers to the FileMaker Server, and then reserve the files by itself.

It was a very productive meeting and we at Charlotte PUG chapter would like to thank Jesse for his time and contribution to the FileMaker community!

Feb 16: FileMaker 10

Rosemary Tietge, Systems Engineer from FileMaker Inc. will be the guest speaker at the inaugural meeting on the NC/SC FMPUG meeting, Monday Feb 16th @ 6pm. 
RSVP for this meeting today

Come join us while takes us into the details of FileMaker Pro 10. She will explore the new Status Toolbar; dyanamic reporting; and practical and impractical uses of script triggers. Rosemary has been a speaker at the FileMaker Developer Conference and has presented webinars on FileMaker Server for FMI. Join us and learn from her knowledge and experience. 

Time: 6:00PM – 8:30PM 
Location: Charlotte Main Library, Dalton Conference Room

Parking in the area.


Have a question for Rosemary, something you’d like to see covered?
Click here to leave a comment below and we’ll ask it during the meeting