fmSMS Updated for Telstra Messaging API v2

Back in 2015 Telstra, Australia’s biggest mobile phone operator, launched a beta of their SMS Messaging API and fmSMS was one of the first commercial solutions to support the Telstra API. Telstra have recently released v2 of their Messaging API which includes a number of new features including:

  • dedicated number: you can provision an Australian mobile number for your account via the API
  • send SMS and MMS messages
  • receive messages to your dedicated number
  • delivery status: query the delivery status of your messages
  • callbacks: automatic notifications of message delivery status to a callback URL
  • alphanumeric sender ID support
  • concatenation: send messages up to 1900 characters long and Telstra will automatically segment and reassemble them
  • scheduled delivery: delay the delivery of submitted messages

Now that the Messaging API is out of beta there are a number of plans to choose from. You can start with a free trial which includes 1000 free messages and a dedicated mobile number. They also have a PAYG plan with no fixed term contract and messages are 6c per message, as well as an Enterprise plan.

You can download a trial version of fmSMS from the fmSMS website to test the Telstra SMS API using their Free Trial. When you purchase fmSMS you get the PHP files to use for automatic delivery status updates and automatic replies into fmSMS. Please contact us if you have any questions about fmSMS and the Telstra Messaging API.

fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) Update August 2017

We’ve just updated fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) – our solution for integrating FileMaker with WooCommerce – with a number of new features and bug fixes. We love getting requests from our existing customer base in many different countries and have included a few feature requests in the latest update, including:

  • Products: we added support for Grouped Products so you can now create and update these from FileMaker
  • Products: we added the ability to Delete a Product in WooCommerce from FileMaker
  • Products:  you can now view Product Images using a Webviewer (you no longer need to download Images into Container field to View them)

We’ve had a number of requests for the ability to create an Order in FileMaker and upload that to WooCommerce so it is available for customers to view when they login. We had been planning to add this in already so this will now be included in the next release – there’s quite a bit of work involved in ensuring the Order data is valid and gathering the correct line items, shipping lines, taxes etc, but we’re hoping to have this released in the next 4-6 weeks.

We’re also working on an update for FileMaker Pro v16 users to take advantage of the new JSON functions and cURL options in the FileMaker v16 platform – this will allow you to no longer need a plugin to communicate with the WooCommerce API, making it easier if you’re using FileMaker Go and FileMaker WebDirect and not having to use server side scripts.

This is a free update to all our existing customers – you can get the full details of the changes in the release notes for fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition). If you have any additional feature requests please get in touch.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) Update August 2017

We’ve been busy over the last couple of months working on some updates to fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) that fill in some missing gaps with the examples that we include in the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) file. For example we’ve always had examples for downloading:

  • Chart of Accounts
  • Tax Rates

from Xero into FileMaker, but some customers have asked for the ability to create and update these from FileMaker to Xero. We’re pleased to report that our latest update – v1.932 – now includes examples for creating Account Codes and Tax Rates in FileMaker and pushing these to Xero. You would typically apply some kind of access privileges around these features so that only authorised accounts users can perform these functions, but the functionality for this is now included in the core fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) files.

We’ve also updated the Bank Transactions endpoint examples to support creating and updating Bank Transactions (spend or receive money) in FileMaker and pushing these to Xero. This update also includes some minor bug fixes – you can view all the changes in the version history notes.

Last month Andrew Duncan from Databuzz attended #XD17 – the Xero Developer Roadshow – in Melbourne, Australia. There were some great presentations on upcoming features for the Xero API as well as some cool demos showcasing some cutting edge Amazon Web Services integrations with Xero. Xero have also announced that Webhooks are coming to the Xero API, starting with the Contacts endpoint first then followed by Invoices (the two most popular Xero API endpoints). Databuzz have been invited into the closed beta of this and we’ve started work on a PHP solution using the FileMaker PHP API that will accept the incoming Xero Webhooks notifications and trigger an update in the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) file. We will post an article with further details about this when Webhooks becomes publicly available.

Xero have also just announced support for JSON when uploading data to Xero via the API – they have previously only supported JSON for downloads (GET requests). Now that FileMaker Pro v16 supports JSON natively this will allow us to add native support for uploading and downloading data between FileMaker and the Xero API.

We also get a number of questions about Invoice Numbers when pushing Invoices from FileMaker to Xero, so we’ve updated our list of Frequently Asked Questions with some details about the options you can use when pushing an Invoice from FileMaker to Xero and whether to allow Xero to generate an Invoice Number to have FileMaker push the Invoice Number across to Xero to use. We’ve also updated our FAQ to include a note about FileMaker Cloud support.

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.

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:

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.

Xero Surpasses One Million Subscribers

Xero today announced that it has recently surpassed the one million subscriber mark on its global accounting platform, doubling subscriber numbers in less than two years. We’ve been closely following the growth of Xero over the past five years and knew it was only a matter of time before they hit the magic million mark, becoming the first cloud accounting platform to achieve this milestone.

When you consider they had only 50,000 subscribers just five years ago the growth rate has been phenomenal – in April 2015 they had 475,000 subscribers and in March 2016 that had increased to 717,000. Xero has added almost 300,000 subscribers in the past year alone.

As a Xero customer, Xero Approved Developers and developers of the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) add-on we’re extremely pleased to see the rapid growth of Xero around the world. We’re getting more enquiries each month from the North American market and it appears Xero is starting to gain some attention and market share in that tough market.

Here’s some other numbers about Xero that demonstrate the size of the size of the Xero ecosystem globally:

  • in the last 12 months Xero has processed more than $1.2 trillion of global economic activity
  • the Xero API receives more than 10 million calls per day
  • there are over 35,000 developers in the Xero ecosystem
  • there are over 100,000 business advisors – accountants and bookkeepers – empowering small businesses as they join the cloud accounting revolution

Every day our fmAccounting Link customers around the world are uploading Contacts, Invoices, Payments, Purchase Orders, Bills and more from their FileMaker solutions to their Xero accounting software, removing the burden of double data entry and saving them tens of hours each week in manual processing. If you have any questions about integrating Xero with your existing FileMaker solution please get in touch or visit the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) page for more details.

fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) Updates

We’ve been busy in 2017 with updates to fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) – we’ve just released the 7th update this year. The latest update is mainly focussed on adding the ability to create and update records for some of the endpoints that you don’t frequently interact with, including:

  • Tax Rates
  • Attributes
  • Terms
  • Tax Classes
  • Product Tags
  • Product Categories
  • Shipping Classes

We already had examples for downloading from these endpoints but we now have examples for downloading an individual record as well as pushing up new and updated records from FileMaker to WooCommerce. We wanted to get these updates completed before WooCommerce 2.7 is released and fill in some of the missing gaps in the fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) file. We’ve also added the ability to update the Status of an Order from FileMaker.

Once again this is a free update to all our existing customers – you can get the full details of the changes in the release notes for fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition).

Voice Calling with FileMaker

Since we released v1 of fmSMS many years ago we’ve been approached by customers from all around the world to work on integrations between FileMaker and other APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). Customers love using FileMaker to send and receive SMS/TXT messages, but they have also asked us to help them send faxes, MMS/Picture messages and to make outgoing voice calls from their FileMaker solution.

We’ve done a number of voice call integrations with FileMaker over the years – having FileMaker initiate a series of outgoing voice calls can be useful in a number of situations, including:

  • Alerts: you might not have mobile phone numbers for all your contacts/customers, but if you have a phone number you can call that number to provide an update to important events (e.g. school closures due to snow days)
  • Election Campaigns: we’ve helped one customer initiate a series of campaign calls to voters about upcoming elections (you may well have been on the receiving end of one of these)
  • Appointment Reminders: we helped one customer move away from having administration staff manually phone each customer about their upcoming appointments and having FileMaker generate these calls, saving them 1-2 hours of staff time each day

The process for generating a voice calling campaign works as follows:

  1. you’ll need to sign up for an account with one of the voice calling providers such as Twilio that handle the voice calling
  2. if you wish to have a dynamically generated message that references data from your FileMaker solution (e.g. to have the voice call say “Hello Andrew” instead of just “Hello”) you’ll need a process on your FileMaker Server than can generate the dynamic message for each contact to be called. We use the FileMaker API for PHP to generate these. If you don’t need a dynamic message you could simply hard code the message so it is the same for all recipients of the voice call
  3. a FileMaker script that is initiated either by a user or FileMaker Server that finds a group of records, then loops through each record and makes a request to the voice calling provider to generate a new outgoing call to that contact
  4. if you wish to be notified of the result of each call you can setup a webhook on your server to be notified by the voice calling provider each time a call is made with the result (engaged, answered etc) and the duration of the call

We’ve put together a simple demonstration video showing this in action – you can watch the video inline below or directly on YouTube:

 

If you would like to discuss integrating voice calling into your FileMaker solution please get in touch.