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The Compleat Idiot’s Guide To FileMaker ExecuteSQL

Not you. Us. (Well one of us anyway.)

One of our illustrious co-coordinators, Jonathan Fletcher, has been using FileMaker’s ExecuteSQL function for several years now. In fact, he traces his love for the function back to the super-helpful article that fellow-Kentuckian Beverly Voth[1] wrote for the FileMaker Hacks blog site way back in ‘12 [2].

That article has become required reading for anyone wishing to embark on a journey with the most powerful function that the FileMaker gods ever bestowed upon us mortal developers (uh, sorry, “workplace innovators”).

For the past 6 years, though, Fletcher has been evolving the techniques he uses to deploy ExecuteSQL in all manner of calculation and scripting problem solving. He admits, rather embarrassed, that he considers himself a lightweight in the worldwide FileMaker community. So he finds it quite astonishing that he has gotten pretty good at using the tool to quickly address so many of his data retrieval, formatting and processing needs.

So in awe of what it can do, he has devleloped a system of techniques that he would like to share with everyone. As alluded to above, he calls it “The Compleat Idiot’s Guide To FileMaker ExecuteSQL.”

He will walk you through the [very] basic structure of a common garden-variety SQL function, his default calculation format, supporting custom functions, and a long list of practical applications that take mere seconds to write, and save you tons of FileMaker table occurrences and scripting to get the same answer. “If I can do it, anyone can do it,” claims Fletcher.

Oh, and you’ll also learn when it is NOT a good idea to use ExecuteSQL (an equally good thing to know).

So come on out on the 25th and learn from the “Compleat Idiot” himself how to make this awesome function your own private data slave.

See you next Tuesday!

This month, our usual fourth Tuesday:
Tuesday, September 25th
12:00 – 3:00pm – BYOBB[3]

Universal Design
1234 South Third Street (in the heart of Old Louisville)

Register at http://www.kyfmp.com/reg/
Join in the discussion: sign up for our listserv at http://fmpug.com/mailman/listinfo/louisville_fmpug.com

[1] Those of you who would like to make a pilgrimage (or if you simply live further east) to learn at the feet of the SQL guru herself may participate in the group Beverly Voth leads in Lexington on the second Saturday of most months (next meeting: November 10) at 1:00 PM at the Eastside Branch of the Lexington Public Library, 3000 Blake James Dr., Lexington, KY 40509. Info at https://community.filemaker.com/thread/190579. To get on her mailing list, contact her at beverlyvoth@gmail.com

[2] https://filemakerhacks.com/2012/10/19/the-missing-fm-12-executesql-reference/

[3] BYOBB: Bring Your Own Brown Bag

DevCon to Go

There was a FileMaker Go app that FMI produced for attendees at their recent developers’ conference that was filled with information and schedules and social media features and such. It was called “DevCon2Go.”

Well, borrowing the concept, we are going to be bringing DevCon back to you. We will highlight some of the more interesting presentations and have a discussion of FileMaker’s new marketing/branding/positioning stance that they announced.

We’re also bringing home some seriously useful swag to give away!

Also, Jason Scharf will demo his new technique for sending faxes right from within FileMaker.

See you Tuesday!

This month, our usual fourth Tuesday:
Tuesday, August 28th
12:00 – 3:00pm – BYOBB

Universal Design
1234 South Third Street (in the heart of Old Louisville)

Register at http://www.kyfmp.com/reg/
Join in the discussion:
sign up for our listserv at http://fmpug.com/mailman/listinfo/louisville_fmpug.com
*BYOBB: Bring Your Own Brown Bag

[Don't forget the "Eastern Contingent," a similar group that meets in Lexington on the second Saturday of the Month (next meeting: September 8) from 10:00 to 11:00 at the Eastside Branch of the Lexington Public Library, 3000 Blake James Dr., Lexington, KY 40509. Email beverlyvoth@gmail.com for more information, or to get added to her email list.]

Learning FileMaker

Our presentation on 7/24 surveyed the following documentation, training sites, blogs and forums. Enjoy!

Documents
FileMaker Training Series for 15:
https://www.filemaker.com/learning/archived-learning-resources.html

FileMaker 17/16 Manual for Novices
http://learningfilemaker.com/fm-manual.php

Official Documentation
https://www.filemaker.com/support/product/documentation.html

Knowledge Base
https://support.filemaker.com

Blogs
https://www.geistinteractive.com/blog/

http://filemakerhacks.com/

http://www.modularfilemaker.org/

http://www.teamdf.com/weetbicks

http://www.soliantconsulting.com/blog

http://www.seedcode.com/blog/

http://www.supportgroup.com/explore/

http://www.designingfilemaker.com

http://hbase.net

http://buzz.beezwax.net/

http://blog.jsfmp.com/

http://filemakerfever.com/

https://luminfire.com/blog/

News
http://www.scoop.it/t/fm-news. √

Video
https://www.lynda.com/search?q=filemaker

https://www.filemakermagazine.com

http://rcconsulting.com/videos.html

http://www.learningfilemaker.com

Comprehensive
https://www.filemaker.com/learning/custom-app-academy/

Forums
https://community.filemaker.com √√ (very active)

Basic/New to FileMaker
https://community.filemaker.com/community/discussions/new-to-filemaker/activity

√ = one of the more active blogs

We turn 100 and FileMaker turns 17

We turn 100

So, what do we call it: “century?” “Centi-something-or-other?” Anyway, the point is that it’s been 99 meetings since Byron Songer, Brian Ginn and Jonathan Fletcher had this crazy idea to start a user group dedicated to Filemaker. There were already a bunch around the country, and we hooked up with FMPUG for meeting listings and a blog page.

As part of an effort to get a handle on what a user group might entail, our intrepid triumvirate even took a road trip to St. Louis to check out a group there. A chance meet-up with Alan Bird resulted in his gracious offer of his meeting room for our gatherings. For a while, we enjoyed the brilliance of engineer-developer Bill Holt, until his health eventually failed him. Today Alan and Jonathan are left holding the reins of the group administration and try to come up with something to talk about each month that is interesting and helpful to a variety of users.
Our first meeting was in November of 2009 when we coordinated with a release of a new FileMaker Version and kicked off the group with a bang thanks to the gracious help of FileMaker Business Account Manager Bill Kaiser. Kaiser reserved some hotel meeting room space and paid for pizza and, most importantly, sent a note out to every registered FM user in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. That initial burst of attendance (and an occasional FileMaker-boost-up) created a membership momentum that has lasted us almost nine years (so far, so good). Yeah, we’ve missed a few months along the way, and we are nowhere near the longevity of some of the groups around the country, but ONE HUNDRED meetings is a pretty cool milestone.

FileMaker turns 17

So, in addition to a month-a-versary observance, and in honor of yet another major iteration of our favorite data-focused productivity tool, we are going to celebrate with a handful of demos of FileMaker 17’s new features.

First up, Brian Ginn will demo a methodology that he has been working on for a long time that allows him to create solutions in a fraction of the time it normally would have taken him. He will show us how the new Default Fields feature in FMPA 17 makes setting up his unique field nomenclature a breeze.

After that, we will survey the best FM 17 demos available online. Then we’ll have a question and answer session where you’ll get to ask your burning FM 17 questions. (We can’t promise to be able to answer everything, but unanswered questions would make for some great future meeting topics, don’t you think?)

Come join us for our momentous milestone meeting, share stories of our history, remember a lost member, and learn about the tool we’ll be talking about for the next year.

The Syndicate.

This month, a not-so-usual FIFTH Tuesday:
Tuesday, May 29th
12:00 – 3:00pm – BYOBBUniversal Design
1234 South Third Street (in the heart of Old Louisville)

Register at http://www.kyfmp.com/reg/
Join in the discussion:
sign up for our listserv at http://fmpug.com/mailman/listinfo/louisville_fmpug.com
*BYOBB: Bring Your Own Brown Bag

We Resolve to…

We just made a New Year’s resolution, and so far we’re doing pretty well to keep it. We resolved to have a meeting every month this year, and we’re starting out with our first fourth-Tuesday get together on the 23rd. (So far, so good!)

This month we’re having two guest presenters coming to us from locations afar.

First up is Platinum FileMaker Business Alliance Partner Scott Howard from Birmingham, Alabama, who’s going to show us the latest and greatest on using FileMaker 16’s new card window type for nice user interface touches that were totally unavailable before. This is the presentation that he is going to show his own local developers group next month, but WE get to see it first!

And then in the second hour, we will be watching an FM Academy webinar on using the new JSON functions for a very practical purpose. When attempting to call a script and send it multiple parameters, many schemes have come and gone over the years. A new one holds the promise of being a keeper, though: Use FileMaker’s new JSON functions to encode and decode them. Rohit Roy of IT Solutions, a large Philadelphia FileMaker consultancy, will start with the basics of JSON and then walk us through a powerful way to organize your data as you pass it to scripts within your solutions.

Two high-caliber presentations in one day!

See you Tuesday!

This month, our usual fourth Tuesday:
Tuesday, January 23th
12:00 – 3:00pm – BYOBB*

Universal Design
1234 South Third Street (in the heart of Old Louisville)

Register at http://www.kyfmp.com/reg/
Join in the discussion:
sign up for our listserv at http://fmpug.com/mailman/listinfo/louisville_fmpug.com
*BYOBB: Bring Your Own Brown Bag

The DevCon Report

Perhaps one or two of you know that July was time once again for the FileMaker super-event known as DevCon. KYFMP regular Brent Hedden was our “man on the scene” in Phoenix and has the scoop on the cool things and techie presentations that are the main reason why people go to such events.

In addition to a general report on the happenings we would all like to hear about, Brent has prepared a presentation for us on an actual project he has been working on for UofL that take advantage of some of the great new features in FileMaker 16, including:

  • Using JSON encoding to pass script parameters and script results
  • Creating PDFs on FileMaker server (a game changer for many of our projects)
  • Perform Script On Server, and the context issues to be aware of when employing it
  • Saying goodbye to the ”robot” machine
  • Using Base64 to transfer container information from the server to the client
  • Script error tracking

Ooh, sounds geeky. Love it!

So, if you haven’t been too clear on what exactly you can do with some of the new dazzle-dazzle of 16, come Tuesday and see it in action!

This month, our regular fourth Tuesday:
Tuesday, September 26th
12:00 – 1:00pm – BYOBB
1:00 – 3:00pm – Presentations and discussion
Universal Design
1234 South Third Street (in the heart of Old Louisville)

Register at http://www.kyfmp.com/reg/
Join in the discussion:
sign up for our listserv at http://fmpug.com/mailman/listinfo/louisville_fmpug.com
*BYOBB: Bring Your Own Brown Bag

And Now, LIVE From the Firth of Forth!

Our special guest this month hails to us via the magic of the interwebs from the lovely banks of the Fabulously Famous Firth of Forth ™. Right away the geographically astute of you will know that we are talking about Scotland, land of Sean Connery, Billy Connolly, Karen Gillan, Craig Ferguson and the alter egos of comedians everywhere.

[As Dirty Harry so famously used to query, "You've got to ask yourself: 'Do you like Scottish accents?' Well, do ya, punk?"]

Well, whether or not you fall under the spell of an authentic brogue or not, Kevin Miller is the real deal. As CEO of LiveCode Ltd., a software company based in Edinburgh, Kevin leads the development of a cross-platform app-building tool called, surprisingly enough, “LiveCode.”

Employing its own easy-to-learn programming language, LiveCode allows you to develop native apps across 7 different OS platforms using a point-and-click interface not unlike the FileMaker scripting and calculation environments we’ve all come to know and love.

In addition, the software gurus at LiveCode have brought that world even closer to FileMaker with their new LiveCode for FM – which allows users to access the LiveCode environment from right within FileMaker, to extend their solutions and to provide additional functionality that is only dreamed of in native FileMaker.

Miller will demonstrate for us just how easy it is to create our own new tools from within the intimate confines of our favorite productivity workshop.

As usual, the absolute best in good, clean geeky fun!

Now, with accents!

See you next Tuesday!

This month, our regular fourth Tuesday:
Tuesday, August 22nd
12:00 – 1:00pm – BYOBB
1:00 – 3:00pm – Presentations and discussion

Universal Design
1234 South Third Street (in the heart of Old Louisville)

Register at
http://www.kyfmp.com/reg/

Join in the discussion: sign up for our listserv at
http://fmpug.com/mailman/listinfo/louisville_fmpug.com

*BYOBB: Bring Your Own Brown Bag

Deep Six. Teen.

Well, last month we learned from representatives of The Mothership, herself, that the raison d’être for our very existence (the group, not humanity, silly) had evolved, yet again, with new features, new tools, new … stuff!

Now that you’ve seen the highlight reel of FileMaker’s latest integer incrementation, let us delve into some fun ways to employ a few of its more earth-shaking improvements.

For those who spend a lot of time in their favorite productivity-producing product, the object palette is the biggest and most obvious time-saving feature. We will expend a small fraction of all that saved time exploring just why that is the case.

Another out-of-left-field new feature is FileMaker’s new card window. A card window is like a popover window in many ways, but unlike a popover, it can have its own context, wholly separate from the window it sits above. It can even come from a different file.

I can’t remember anyone asking for this, but now that it’s here, members of the FM community are coming up with fantastic new uses for it. We’ll look at some cool new things we can do in FM that we never could before.

And, anything else that pops up between now and next Tuesday that looks interesting related to 16 is fair game to be added to the docket. So, keep your eyes peeled for interesting tidbits about it and bring your own discoveries for the discussion.

See you next Tuesday!

This month, our regular fourth Tuesday:
Tuesday, June 27th
12:00 – 1:00pm – BYOBB
1:00 – 3:00pm – Presentations and discussion

Universal Design
1234 South Third Street (in the heart of Old Louisville)

Register at http://www.kyfmp.com/reg/
Join in the discussion:
sign up for our listserv at http://fmpug.com/mailman/listinfo/louisville_fmpug.com

*BYOBB: Bring Your Own Brown Bag

Ring In the New

In honor of a Kentuckian’s favorite way to start a conversation, just let us say, “How about that weather, y’all!”

And the weather isn’t the only thing that is warming up. Business indicators all over point to a new confidence in the economy, be it hiring, ordering, capital spending, or even gas prices. It looks like it’s going to be a good year for business. And that bodes well for creators of systems that enable businesses to grow faster and be more efficient.

This month we will look at one of the two main uses for FileMaker in business. The first being, of course, collecting and massaging data. But the other is just as important and applies maybe even more to the efficient running of a business: workflow.

There are tools that help a business keep track of its processes and help all employees stay in the flow of the work at hand as a cohesive, effective team. Any firm that is in the marketplace to provide a widget or a service has some kind of process where the work flows through from uptake to output.

    A manufacturing company takes in orders, obtains the raw materials, schedules the various stages of the creation process, packages it up and ships it out the door.
    An advertising company takes orders for an “insertion,” negotiates with the media outlet, creates the content, gathers a variety of approvals from the stakeholders, sends the ad copy or spot or artwork to the outlet, tracks that it actually ran as contracted, and analyses the impact of that ad on the target market of their client.
    A foundation that is in the business of giving out money solicits applications, processes the applications (and often a mountain of accompanying supporting material), collates and tracks all the materials, organizes the review process, tracks reviewer impressions, gathers a spate of approvals, notifies the recipients, and tracks how the money is used to benefit the goals of the foundation.
    A private school or post-secondary institution hosts a series of application stages, communicates several times with the prospective student, coordinates the student’s arriving on campus and shepherds the student through the myriad details of matriculation.

These are just a few examples of sequential workflows all around us. A tool that can systematize such a workflow and improve customer (and employee!) satisfaction is invaluable to the efficient, effective operation of a business.

Does anyone know of such a tool?

You do? Cheater.

This month we look at workflows in all their glory, including some real-world examples produced by fellow members.

So, mark your calendar, ask your boss for some professional development time Tuesday afternoon, get in your car, pick up lunch on the way, show up at 1234 S. Third Street at noon, enter the building, say hi to all your friends that share your passion for business efficiency, and enjoy!

This month, we’re back to our regular fourth Tuesday:
Tuesday, January 24th
12:00 – 1:00pm – BYOBB
1:00 – 3:00pm – Presentations and discussion

Universal Design
1234 South Third Street (in the heart of Old Louisville)

Register at http://www.kyfmp.com/reg/
Join in the discussion:
sign up for our listserv at http://fmpug.com/mailman/listinfo/louisville_fmpug.com

*BYOBB: Bring Your Own Brown Bag

Thanks!

This is the time of the year that our national tradition is to express our gratitude. Some of us are thankful for more transcendent things (you know who you are), and others are thankful for more material things, like the bounty that is hormone-fed poultry and the awesomeness that is big guys pounding each other on a field of battle for possession of a ball made from the skin of yet another sacrificial farm animal. To each his or her own. That’s what makes America great!

But, us? We are thankful for all the great people that have joined us this year in our frequent forays into the fundamentals of FileMaker. Good people, good times. Thanks!

This month we have a special presentation by Alan Bird on FileMaker Cloud. Initial response to this new product in FileMaker’s deployment line-up has been guarded because there are still some of the more advanced uses for FileMaker that are simply not supported by it (no Custom Web Publishing with PHP, for instance).

What has become clear, however, is that FileMaker Cloud makes FileMaker Server way more accessible to the casual to intermediate non-technical user than ever before. What you get is most of the huge advantages of using FMS, and next to none of the hassle of buying all the hardware and software and security certificates, and setting it all up so that it works smoothly and correctly.

It is so simple that Alan would like to show you how now anyone can afford, and is able, to take advantage of FileMaker Server as much, or as little as they’d like. (Yes, you can now rent a totally decked-out FileMaker server by the hour! Great for testing or sperimentin’!)

Learn about this game-changing approach to FileMaker hosting this Tuesday. You won’t want to miss it.

As usual, we will round out the program with a discussion of one or more specific FileMaker subjects and have time for open discussion of all things FileMaker, and some things tech.

No matter whether you have never played with FileMaker Server at all or are an old hand at it, you will learn something in this meeting.

See you Tuesday!

And don’t forget: Our December meeting will be on the 13th. Please mark your calendar now for our annual Holiday Treat Fete.

This month, our normal day and venue:
Tuesday, November 22nd (4th Tuesday)
12:00 – 1:00pm – BYOBB*
1:00 – 3:00pm – Presentations and discussion

Universal Design
1234 South Third Street (in the heart of Old Louisville)

Register at http://www.kyfmp.com/reg/
Join in the discussion:
sign up for our listserv at http://fmpug.com/mailman/listinfo/louisville_fmpug.com

*BYOBB: Bring Your Own Brown Bag (Soft drinks provided)
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