FileMaker Cloud Notes

FileMaker Cloud, FileMaker Inc’s cloud-based platform for managing and running custom apps, was officially launched in September, 2016. FileMaker Cloud gives you the the simplicity and performance of the FileMaker Platform without spending time and resources deploying and maintaining a server

FileMaker Cloud runs on the Amazon Web Services Cloud (AWS) and was originally only available for customers in the United States and Canada (AWS Regions of Oregon and N. Virginia). This was extended to Europe, the Middle East and Africa in March 2017 (AWS regions of Ireland and Frankfurt). According to FileMaker Inc’s product roadmap the next AWS Regions to be supported will be Japan, Australia, and Montreal.

There are a number of important differences between FileMaker Cloud and the traditional version of FileMaker Server for Mac/Windows – it’s worth remembering that FileMaker Cloud is not FileMaker Server as not all FileMaker Server features are available in FileMaker Cloud. FileMaker have a comparison between FileMaker Server and FileMaker Cloud that outlines the differences in various categories – some of the features of FileMaker Server not currently available in FileMaker Cloud include:

  • Custom Web Publishing with PHP and XML
  • Scheduled Scripts in the FileMaker Server Admin Console
  • External authentication via Active Directory/Open Directory

It’s also worth noting that FileMaker Cloud’s support for certain features may lag behind what is offered by FileMaker Server. For example the ESS Adapter that was introduced with the FileMaker 15 platform providing External SQL Data Source support for PostgreSQL, IBM DB2 and IBM iSeries is not currently supported in FileMaker Cloud, and some of the recent features of FileMaker Server v16 such as PDF support and the Data API are not currently supported in FileMaker Cloud. The FileMaker Server v16 features are currently “in development” according to the product roadmap so we can expect to see this released at some stage in the future.

If you use plug-ins with FileMaker Server (e.g. when called via the Perform Script on Server script step) you will need to check with the plug-in developer as they will need to compile a Linux version of the plug-in. You will also need to use the Install Plug-In File script step to install the plug-in from a container field in a file hosted on your FileMaker Cloud server.

Setting up a FileMaker Cloud instance is very quick – around 20 minutes or less in our tests so far. The FileMaker Cloud Getting Started Guide has all the steps required, including the AWS requirements, to get you up and running. As you don’t need to setup a physical server or operating system (FileMaker Cloud runs on CentOS Linux 7.2) everything is managed through the AWS and FileMaker Cloud consoles. You upload files to FileMaker Cloud the same way you do for FileMaker Server – using the FileMaker Pro/Pro Advanced client. There are some important differences with FileMaker Cloud, including the requirement for all files to be encrypted and that files that have the default account name of “Admin” with no password will be blocked from being uploaded until a valid password is configured for that account – this FileMaker Knowledge Base article has more details.

For FileMaker Developers there are some important differences in the results of certain FileMaker functions:

Get (HostApplicationVersion) returns Cloud Server 1.15.2.23 (the number corresponds to the FileMaker Cloud Version number from the FileMaker Cloud Admin Console)

Get (SystemPlatform) returns 5

Get (SystemVersion) returns 7.2.1511 (this is the version of CentOS)

Get (TemporaryPath) returns /FileMakerData/tmp/S177/

Get (DesktopPath) returns /home/fmserver/Desktop/

Get (DocumentsPath) /opt/FileMaker/FileMaker Server/Data/Documents/

Get (CurrentHostTimestamp) always returns timestamps in the UTC time zone. If you want to use the local time zone, you must include the calculation (the difference between UTC and your time zone) in your FileMaker Pro scripts/calculations. There’s a number of ways to do this such as this custom function.

FileMaker Inc have a number of online resources to help you with your FileMaker Cloud installation:

If you have any questions please leave a comment below or get in touch.

Databuzz releases fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) – Integrate FileMaker Pro and Shopify

Sydney, Australia – June 13, 2017 – Databuzz today announced fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition), a FileMaker solution that integrates with the Shopify eCommerce platform.

fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) allows you to upload and download data between your FileMaker solution and Shopify, the leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses. Shopify currently powers hundreds of thousands of businesses in approximately 175 countries and is trusted by brands such as Tesla, Nestle, GE, Red Bull, Kylie Cosmetics, and many more.

fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) removes double data entry and human errors saving your company significant time, money and hassle by automating the exchange of data between FileMaker and Shopify. fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) is completely unlocked allowing you to integrate it into your FileMaker solution. You can copy and paste examples showing you how to authenticate with the Shopify API and download Customers, Orders, Products, Collections and more at the click of a button.

fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) features include:

  • works with FileMaker Pro v12, v13, v14, v15 and v16
  • works with Macintosh and Windows
  • completely unlocked for you to integrate into your own FileMaker solution
  • can be hosted by FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Server

“Many of our customers use FileMaker Pro to run their business and Shopify for their eCommerce platform,” said Andrew Duncan, CEO of Databuzz. “They don’t want to have to manually re-enter Customers and Orders in FileMaker, so we built fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) to streamline their business processes. With fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) you can push and pull data between FileMaker and Shopify at the click of a button.”

fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) includes examples for the following Shopify API endpoints:

  • Customers: download and upload Customers
  • Customers: download and upload Customers
  • Products: download and upload Products (including Options, Variants, Images and Metafields)
  • Orders: download Orders from Shopify (including Order line items)
  • Price Rules: download and upload Price Rules (Discounts)
  • Custom Collections: download and upload Custom Collections
  • Smart Collections: download and upload Smart Collections
  • Shipping Countries: download Shipping Countries from Shopify
  • Locations: download Locations from Shopify

Availability, Pricing, and Compatibility

fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) is available in a number of licenses: Company, Vertical Solution and Developer. It is available now from the Databuzz website at http://www.databuzz.com.au/fmecommerce-link-shopify-edition/. Company Licenses start at AUD $495.00. fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) requires FileMaker Pro v12, v13, v14, v15 or v16.

Media/Customer Contact:

Andrew Duncan

Phone: +61 418 468 103

sales@databuzz.com.au

About Databuzz: Databuzz is a long-standing member of the FileMaker Business Alliance. We have been developing and deploying FileMaker solutions for clients in Australia and internationally since 1999. Our clients are individuals, small-medium businesses, government agencies and multi-national corporations. Databuzz was founded by Andrew Duncan, a Certified FileMaker 15 Developer. For more information please visit our website at http://www.databuzz.com.au.

###

FileMaker is a trademark of FileMaker, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) Now Supports WooCommerce 3.0

Earlier this year we wrote about the upcoming release of WooCommerce 2.7 and how it would be introducing a new version of the REST API (v2) with a number of new API endpoints, particularly for Product Variations. Shortly after our post WooCommerce decided to re-version 2.7 to 3.0 to better reflect the significance of this update and push the release date to the 4th of April, 2017.

Since the release of WooCommerce 3.0 we’ve been busy working on an update to fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) to support the new v2 of the REST API and associated changes. We’re pleased to announce that v1.3 of fmEcommerce Link is now available as a free update for all existing customers (details have been sent via email about how to download this update). As v1 of the REST API has now been deprecated by WooCommerce we’ve decided to create 2 versions of the fmEcommerce Link file, one for each version of the REST API:

  • fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) REST API v1.fmp12
  • fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) REST API v2.fmp12

WooCommerce 3.0 is a major update and WooCommerce recommend that you ensure your store extensions and themes are compatible before upgrading, test on a staging site if you can, and make a backup for peace of mind. Since the 3.0 release on April 4th there have been 7 updates already fixing bugs with both WooCommerce and the REST API.

The major changes in fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) 1.3 include:

  • now supports the WooCommerce REST API v2 only
  • Product Variations are now stored in their own table to match the new Variations endpoint (you can now update Variations independently of their parent Product)
  • added support for additional fields exposed by the v2 API for existing endpoints
  • added new Meta Data tables which are included with most of the API endpoints (Customers, Orders, Products etc)
  • added support for new Payment Gateways endpoint
  • added support for new Shipping Methods endpoint
  • added support for new Shipping Zone Locations endpoint
  • added support for new Shipping Zone Methods endpoint
  • fixed issue when uploading a Product with no Images when Product previously contained images

WooCommerce 3.0 supports both v1 and v2 of the REST API so you can upgrade to WooCommerce 3.0 and continue to use your existing version or integration of fmEcommerce Link and everything will continue to work as it did with WooCommerce 2.6. If you wish to take advantage of the new API endpoints (e.g. the ability to upload Product Variations separately to the parent Product) you will need to switch to the new v2 API and make some changes to your existing scripts etc using the examples from the fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) REST API v2 file. If you are not planning to upgrade to WooCommerce 3.0 in the near future you do not need to make any changes.

All future development we now be focussed on the v2 REST API as that is the version that WooCommerce will continue to develop – we’ll certainly fix any bugs that arise with the v1 REST API. You can get the full details of all the change on the version history page.

FileMaker Inc. releases FileMaker 16 Platform

 

FileMaker Inc. today released the FileMaker 16 Platform with new versions of FileMaker Pro, Pro Advanced, Server, FileMaker Go and FileMaker WebDirect. FileMaker 16 is a big release for both customers and developers alike, especially compared to the 15 release last year. This releases marks the third annual release that started with v14 with all new versions shipping in May each year.

The FileMaker platform is all about giving developers the tools to create custom apps that work for your team on iPad, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and the web. The FileMaker 16 Platform has many new features to improve the mobility, development, integration, security, and scalability of your custom apps.

Our favourite new feature by a long way is the PDF support in FileMaker Server and FileMaker WebDirect – you can now generate PDF files (reports, agreements, contracts etc) under FileMaker Server and FileMaker WebDirect, opening up a whole new world of server side reporting options. This is something we have been requesting for many years and we’re very excited to see this ship – we can’t wait to start taking advantage of this with our existing customers (no more robots!).

As developers we’re also looking forward to taking advantage of the new Layout Objects window, Cards, native cURL and JSON functions and the enhanced Data Viewer.

Some of the other new features of the FileMaker 16 Platform include:

  • Mobility: The addition of animations and transitions with scripts provide visual cues to help orient users as they navigate through their custom apps on the FileMaker Go app. Enhanced signature capture for the FileMaker Go app allows users to sign documents on iPad and iPhone just as they would on a paper form.
  • Integration: Easily exchange data with other web services and applications using enhanced cURL options and predefined JSON functions in FileMaker Pro.
  • Development: The new Layout Objects window provides a hierarchical list of all objects in a layout. This makes it easy to make changes to an object without having to ungroup the entire set of objects.
  • Scalability: Custom apps accessed via FileMaker WebDirect now can be used by up to 500 users simultaneously, making it easier to share data with an entire team.
  • Security: Simplified credential management with OAuth 2.0 using third-party authentication providers improves security and safety of custom apps. Existing Amazon, Google or Microsoft Azure account credentials now can be used to log into FileMaker-based custom apps.

FileMaker Server 16 also includes a number of “trial features” including:

  • FileMaker Data API
  • Tableau Web Data Connector for FileMaker

that open a number of interesting integration opportunities.

We’re please to report that all Databuzz products are compatible with the FileMaker 16 Platform:

We’ll be publishing more articles over the coming months looking at some of the new features in the FileMaker 16 Platform in more depth – you can subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when they are released or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

FileMaker Pro v16 Compatibility Update

FileMaker Pro v16 was released today and we’re pleased to report that all Databuzz products are compatible with the FileMaker v16 platform. We haven’t encountered any issues with the following products in our testing with FileMaker Pro v16:

fmSMS – we have sent messages from multiple SMS Gateways, checked Account balances and checked the status of sent Messages successfully.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) – we have been able to authenticate, download from Xero to FileMaker and upload from FileMaker to Xero successfully

fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) – have been able to authenticate, download from WooCommerce to FileMaker and upload from FileMaker to WooCommerce successfully

fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) – we have been able to authenticate, download from AccountRight to FileMaker and upload from FileMaker to AccountRight successfully

fmAccounting Link (MYOB Essentials Edition) – we have been able to authenticate, download from MYOB Essentials to FileMaker and upload from FileMaker to MYOB Essentials successfully

If you encounter any issues with any of our products and FileMaker Pro v16 please let us know. We’ll be writing more articles about some of the new features in the FileMaker v16 platform over the coming weeks – you can subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when they are released or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Coming Soon – fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition)

Just over four months ago we released fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition), a FileMaker solution for integrating with WooCommerce. WooCommerce is a popular plugin for WordPress that powers over 39% of all online stores, including both the Databuzz Shop and the fmSMS Shop (you can read about how we came to develop fmEcommerce Link out of necessity here).

There are a number of other popular ecommerce platforms apart from WooCommerce, and we’ve had a number of requests to create a version of fmEcommerce Link for some of the more popular alternatives. Most of the requests were for a solution that integrates with Shopify, a leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses that is also popular with FileMaker users. Shopify currently powers over 400,000 businesses in approximately 175 countries and is trusted by brands such as Tesla, Red Bull, Nestle, GE, Kylie Cosmetics, and many more.

Shopify also has an established API that was suitable for integration with FileMaker, so it made sense for the next edition of fmEcommerce Link to work with Shopify. We’re in the final stages of development and testing but wanted to share some details of our latest product: fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition). You can subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when it’s released.

The initial release of fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) will have the following features:

  • download Customers, Products, Orders, Shipping Countries, Locations and Discounts from Shopify
  • update existing Customer, Product and Order records from Shopify to FileMaker
  • download Orders between 2 dates
  • create/update a Customer record from FileMaker to Shopify
  • create/update a Product record from FileMaker to Shopify

Like our other products it will also have these features:

  • will work with FileMaker Pro v12, 13, 14, 15 and 16
  • can be hosted by FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Server
  • works with Macintosh and Windows
  • 100% unlocked for you to integrate into your own FileMaker solution

Here’s some more screenshots showing Customers and Orders downloaded from Shopify and the details for an individual Order:

We’ve put together a short preview video showing fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) in action downloading Customers and Orders from Shopify to FileMaker. You can watch this below or via this link on YouTube:

PayPal launches PayPal Business in a Box (United States)

As part of National Small Business Week in the United States PayPal today announced PayPal Business in a Box aimed at U.S. small business owners who would like to take the leap into online sales. You might be just starting a business for the first time but you don’t have web design capabilities to develop an online store or know how to set up online or point of sale payment methods, or an established offline business looking to move online.

PayPal have partnered with two of our favourite companies WooCommerce and Xero to deliver a simple, integrated solution that gives you the tools you need to start an online business. If you’re using the FileMaker platform to run your existing business you can also take advantage of our solutions that integrate WooCommerce and Xero with FileMaker:

FileMaker, WooCommerce and Xero make a great combination when it comes to running your business – we should know as we’ve been using these platforms for many years to manage our business, online store and accounting needs. We’ll be publishing a new article shortly about the benefits of integrating FileMaker with WooCommerce and Xero and how you can save time and money and avoid unnecessary double data entry.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) – Tracking Categories Updates

If you’ve been using Xero for a while you’re probably familiar with their use of tracking categories to categorise transactions such as Invoices and Bills to suit your business needs and allow you to generate reports by tracking category. For example you might setup tracking categories for different areas of your business (e.g. departments, cost centres, or locations) so you can track their performance over time.

A typical Xero tracking category might be named Sales Regions and have the following tracking category options:

  • North
  • South
  • Eastside
  • West Coast

 

There are some limitations to tracking categories in Xero – a Xero organisation can have a maximum of two ACTIVE tracking categories and four tracking categories in total (ACTIVE and ARCHIVED). You can enter up to 100 category options for each category.

We’ve always had some basic support for tracking categories in the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) solution – you could download all your tracking categories from Xero at the click of a button and also add them to Invoices and Bills when uploading to Xero. Over the past 12 months we’ve had more and more customers request additional support for tracking categories, including the ability to manage tracking categories completely in FileMaker.

We’ve just released an update to the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) solution that includes full support for Xero Tracking Categories. You can now enter two tracking categories for the following items:

  • Invoices
  • Bills
  • Purchase Orders
  • Overpayments
  • Prepayments
  • Receipts

Both tracking categories are also downloaded from Xero for each of the above items. We’ve also added the ability to do the following from the fmAccounting Link file:

  • create a new tracking category and upload it to Xero (as well as update existing ones, e.g. change the name or status)
  • add new tracking category options and upload them to Xero
  • delete a tracking category from both FileMaker and Xero
  • delete a tracking category option from both FileMaker and Xero
  • download an individual tracking category, including all tracking category options

We currently support a single tracking category in our Timesheets module – we’re working on a few changes to Timesheets and tracking categories which will be included in the next update to fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition). Timesheets uses the Payroll API and you enable Timesheet tracking categories separately to the general tracking categories, but we expect them to work in a similar way to Invoices, Bills etc.

fmSMS Now Supports Bandwidth SMS Gateway

fmSMS has been updated to support the Bandwidth SMS Gateway – you can send and receive SMS messages using the Bandwidth SMS Gateway and fmSMS. Bandwidth offer a free trial version so you can use the trial version of fmSMS to test the Bandwidth SMS Gateway.

Bandwidth are based in the USA and can also deliver to international numbers. They offer very competitive pricing  – at the time of writing (April 10, 2017) their prices are in US dollars:

  • $0.35 for the virtual number you use to send messages from
  • $0.005 for every outgoing message
  • all incoming messages are free

You can download a trial version of fmSMS from here – please get in touch if you have any questions about using fmSMS and the Bandwidth SMS Gateway.

fmSMS Chat View

One of our favourite features in fmSMS is the Chat View which we introduced back in July 2015. This shows you the sent and received messages for an individual Contact in a much more graphical interface compared to a traditional FileMaker view using portals. The Chat View is similar to how iChat/Messages works on the Mac and iOS platforms – the messages are displayed in a threaded view so you can see them as a conversation and quickly type a message using the defaults without having to leave the Chat View screen.

Here’s a screenshot showing the classic view of the SMS History for a Contact with 2 portals for the sent and received messages:

When you have multiple sent and received messages it can be quite hard to track the replies to a sent message and follow the conversation. Here’s the Chat View of the same Contact record:

We are colour coding the sent messages in blue and the replies in green to easily distinguish between the outgoing and incoming messages, and all messages are sorted by timestamps so they appear in reverse chronological order. When you have multiple sent/received messages you can easily scroll though the complete history and see all the messages that this Contact has received and all their replies in the one screen.

Here’s a quick video showing the fmSMS Chat View in action to send an appointment reminder and receive the reply back into fmSMS: