FileMaker 15 Certified Developer

Databuzz is pleased to announce that Andrew Duncan recently passed the Developer Essentials for FileMaker 15 Certification Exam and is now FileMaker Certified in v8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. FileMaker 15 Certification is the official credential offered by FileMaker, Inc.

FileMaker Certification is your validation that you are hiring an experienced FileMaker professional who has technical knowledge of the complete FileMaker product line and has passed the “Developer Essentials for FileMaker” certification exam. Being a certified developer demonstrates to clients, peers and management that you’ve achieved an essential level of knowledge, experience and skills in developing FileMaker solutions.


Some of our Favourite Changes in FileMaker Pro 15

I recently wrote about the number of bugs that were fixed in the FileMaker v15 platform (Pro, Server, Go and WebDirect) – over 150 by my count. Now I would like to cover some of the “sleeper” features of the FileMaker v15 release – some of which are included in FileMaker’s marketing to highlight the new version and some that are not mentioned at all in any of the release notes.

FileMaker Inc. have published a list of Behaviour changes in FileMaker Pro 15 which you should all read (I’ll be mentioning one of the items on this list). Otherwise the changes that I’ll be discussing below were discovered through notifications from bugs I had reported that were addressed in v15, reading the FileMaker documentation (including the FMP Acknowledgements.pdf), reading posts on the FileMaker Community forums and testing the software in real world use.

PDF Changes – FileMaker Pro v15 introduced a number of changes to the Save as PDF feature. The ability to generate a PDF file was first introduced in FileMaker Pro v8 – FileMaker Inc. licensed a PDF library from DataLogics. This has changed with v15 – FileMaker Inc. are now using an open source PDF library called Hummus PDF. The Hummus PDF library is available for both C++ and NodeJS environments – hopefully this change in PDF libraries will see FileMaker Inc. address two of my top feature requests: PDF generation under FileMaker Server and Append to PDF support for FileMaker Go.

The change in PDF libraries, along with some other PDF behaviour changes, is leading to smaller PDF files generated from FileMaker Pro. In our tests we’ve seen an average 30% reduction in PDF file sizes, which is great when you’re generating PDFs to email or working across a remote network. As with any major change like this you should run some tests on your solutions to ensure your PDFs still look the same with v15 – there have been some reports on the FileMaker forums about issues some issues are encountering with certain layouts, objects etc, so make sure you test this before rolling out v15 to all your users if PDF generation is a critical part of your workflow.

FileMaker Inc. recently released an update to FileMaker Pro v14 (14.0.6) as well that also updates the PDF library to the same one used by FileMaker Pro v15, so existing v14 users can also benefit from the reduction in PDF file sizes that the new library generates.

(Make sure you check out the FileMaker Product Ideas area where you can suggest new features and also vote on existing features.)

Mouse Wheel – for many years the mouse wheel under FileMaker Pro has worked differently on Windows compared to the Mac, and in my experience this has been the cause of much confusion as Windows users scroll their mouse wheel only to suddenly find they have changed records when they though they were scrolling the window up or down. For many years we’ve recommended to our customers to install Mouse utilities like KatMouse which allows you to change the behaviour of the wheel in FileMaker Pro on Windows, but with FileMaker Pro v15 the mouse wheel finally behaves the same way on Windows as on the Mac.

Under FileMaker Pro v15 the scroll wheel will only scroll a layout or an object, just like it does on the Mac. It won’t flip you through the records anymore – Windows users will have to click on the navigation buttons just like on the Mac (on the Mac you can use the Apple Magic Mouse to swipe left/right to quickly scan forwards/backwards through records when in Form view – I haven’ tested this on Windows yet). As this change is reversing decades of how it used to work, some users who prefer the previous scroll wheel functionality can use hacks to modify the behaviour of the mouse wheel again, though we’re recommending to all our customers that they stick with the default behaviour.

Truncate Table – the Truncate Table script step was the only new script step added to FileMaker Pro v15 and it’s one we’re very happy to see. As it’s name implies (and for those familiar with the SQL Truncate command) this script step deletes all records in the specified table regardless of the current found set. In some solutions we have a temporary table used to generate reports or to import temporary data for processing. Often the record count for these tables can be into the tens of thousands of records or more, which means when we need to clear out the temporary table when running a new report users will see the deleting records dialog box which generally freaks them out the first time (not to mention that it can takes several minutes to delete large numbers of records over the network). Now with the Truncate Table script step we can quickly and silently delete all records in one go in seconds without the user noticing.

There are a number of issues you need to be aware of when using Truncate Table, including:

  • both FileMaker Server v15 and FileMaker Pro v15 are required if the file is hosted by FileMaker Server
  • it attempts to lock all records in the table before deleting them. If it can’t lock all records (for example, if a record is being edited by another user), Truncate Table stops and returns an error code
  • it does not delete related records even if the relationship is set up to do
  • Server-side scripts and Custom Web Publishing run this script step as if the With dialog option is Off

If you would like to read more about the Truncate Table script step we recommend the following articles:

Script Comments That Wrap – we love the new FileMaker Script Workspace that was introduced in FileMaker Pro v14, but as we started using it and making script comments we noticed one annoying change. Script comments didn’t wrap to the next line and you couldn’t scroll to see what wasn’t visible on the screen. Here’s some screenshots showing the change in script comments from v13, v14 and v15:

script comments v13

The above screenshot shows FileMaker Pro v13 – you can’t see the rest of the comments but you can scroll to the right to view them.

script comments v14

The above screenshot shows FileMaker Pro v14 – you can’t scroll to see the remaining comments. You can click into the comment and then move the cursor to the right to see the rest of the comments, which is not a great experience.script comments v15

In FileMaker Pro v15 above the comments now wrap automatically – no more scrolling or moving the cursor to all the comments. If you use a text editor when working with other languages such as HTML, PHP etc then you will be familiar with this behaviour and welcome the change.

Search your of FileMaker Server favourites – this change alone saves me a few minutes every day. I work with lots of different clients who have their own FileMaker Servers which I save to my list of favourites in FileMaker Pro. Currently my list has around 70 different servers which I’ve accumulated over the years, so when I come to open a file on a client’s server I have to try and remember where in the list their server is (I’ve memorised them so I know if there towards the top, middle or bottom sections of the list). Now with FileMaker Pro v15 I can simply do a search in the Open Remote dialog box:

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 12.15.21 PM

No more remembering where in the list they were – I simply type part of the server name (it doesn’t matter whereabouts in the name the search string you enter is – I can type ‘fm’ or ‘acme’ or ‘.au’) and FileMaker Pro will filter the list to show any matches. I’ve been wanting this feature for many years so it’s great to finally see this one – anyone who has a long list of server favourites will upgrade to v15 for this feature alone!


Databuzz to Exhibit at the 2016 FileMaker Developer Conference


The annual FileMaker Developer Conference (DevCon) is only 50 days away and we’re excited to announce that we will be exhibiting at the conference once again. This year’s DevCon (the 21st) will be held in the same location as last year – Las Vegas, Nevada – from July 18-21, 2016.

The Exhibitor Hall will be in the Gracia Ballroom this year, which is the same location where breakfast and lunch are served. This is the same format from previous DevCons so you can grab lunch then spend some time visiting the exhibitor booths.

We’re looking forward to demonstrating our products to attendees – last year set a new attendance record of 1500 attendees from over 18 countries. This year we will be on-hand to demonstrate the following products:

  • fmSMS: our award winning 2 way SMS solution for FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go, FileMaker WebDirect and FileMaker Server. fmSMS allows you to send an SMS from FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go and FileMaker Server to almost any mobile phone in the world, reaching over 800 networks in more than 200 countries. You can get more information about fmSMS from the fmSMS website
  • fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition): our solution that integrates between FileMaker Pro and the Xero Accounting Software. Xero is the market­leading small business cloud accounting software in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and is making great progress in the United States market. fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) lets you upload and download Contacts, Invoices, Payments, Bills, Timesheets and more between FileMaker and Xero. You can get more information from the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) product page.
  • fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition): our solution that integrates between FileMaker Pro and the MYOB AccountRight Accounting Software (Australia and New Zealand). MYOB AccountRight runs either in the Cloud or on the Desktop, and fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) allows you to upload Contacts, Invoices, Payments and more at the click of a button. You can get more information from the fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) product page
  • fmAccounting Link (MYOB Essentials Edition): our latest solution that integrates between FileMaker Pro and the MYOB Essentials Accounting Software, the the easy online accounting software from MYOB (Australia and New Zealand). fmAccounting Link (MYOB Essentials Edition) allows you to upload Contacts, Invoices, Payments and more at the click of a button. You can get more information at the fmAccounting Link (MYOB Essentials Edition) product page

If you’re coming to the conference please stop by and say hello. We’d love to demonstrate how you can send and receive SMS/TXT messages using the FileMaker platform and integrate with Xero and MYOB AccountRight/Essentials.. We hope to see as many of you there as possible and look forward to answering your questions about FileMaker, SMS integration and Xero.

The Hidden New Features of FileMaker v15

When a new version of the FileMaker platform is released I immediately locate the “New Features” list to familiarise myself with the changes in the new version. When v0 was released recently I was a bit surprised when reading the list of new features – only 1 new function, 1 new script step, the new concealed edit box, some important changes to the Script Workspace, a swag of SSL certificate enhancements and a bunch of usability improvements.

These are all great new features – support for iBeacons and Touch ID on FileMaker Go, multiple undo in the Script Workspace/Specify Calculation dialog, being able to delete all records in a table immediately, and support for additional external ODBC data sources are all great additions and will allow developers to create some amazing solutions for our customers. I certainly look forward to using these in the future when a project requires these features – but it didn’t “feel” like there was a lot of new features we could start using immediately on all projects regardless of whether they were deployed using FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go or FileMaker WebDirect.

Another thing happened shortly after FileMaker v15 was released – I started getting notifications from the FileMaker Community letting me know that product issues that I had previously reported with FileMaker Pro/Go v14 had been fixed in v15 (here’s an example). I’ve been pretty good at reporting product issues as they arise via the official FileMaker Inc site over the years – often all you’ll hear back is that the issue has been confirmed and sent to Development for review, but at least I know that FileMaker Inc. are aware of the issue and it will hopefully be fixed in a future update.

After receiving over half a dozen of these notifications I started to wonder how many bugs were fixed in v15 and if there was a list of these. A quick look at the FileMaker Pro v15 Release Notes showed no list of bugs that were fixed in this release. FileMaker Inc. haven’t released a list of bug fixes for many years unfortunately – I remember back in the 2000’s getting a nice list of bug fixes with each new version of FileMaker Pro that was released. Knowing which bugs have been fixed is important to both developers and customers – we can remove workarounds that we put in place or we can release new features knowing they are now going to work in situations where they didn’t work before.

I then thought I would search the list of Product Issues for ones that had the same update as my notifications, e.g. “This issue has been addressed in FileMaker Pro 15”, “This issue has been addressed in FileMaker Go 15”, etc. A quick search of the FileMaker Product Issues for these patterns found over 150 matching results – a substantial number by any measure and an indication of the effort the FileMaker engineers have put into this new release. Whilst the list of new features isn’t as “meaty” as previous releases it’s great to see soo many bugs being fixed in one release – it would be great if there was an easier way to review these without having to do searches in the FileMaker Community.

Some developers will argue that FileMaker Inc. should have patched previous versions (e.g. v13, v14) as well and not force users to upgrade to get these “bug fixes”, and I have some sympathy with that argument. However you only have to look at the pattern for previous releases to know that FileMaker Inc. are generally going to roll bug fixes into a future version and have been encouraging customers to move to annual licensing so they immediately get any new releases every 12 months, along the lines of a subscription model.

The software industry has been moving towards the “software as a subscription” model for the past few years – looking at my own currently installed suite of software I now have a number of applications that I use on a subscription basis, including:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Adobe applications
  • Xero (online accounting)
  • various WordPress plugins/extensions

and no doubt that list will increase every year. Given the industry trend it’s not surprising to see FileMaker move towards an annual release/licensing model. Personally I would love to see “updates” released to the currently shipping version that fix these bugs (some of them are critical for certain deployments) more frequently, rather than having to wait 12 months for a new annual release. And an easier way to read the list of bug fixes.

I encourage everyone to go and read the list of issues that were addressed in the FileMaker v15 platform – it’s very likely you’ll see fixes to issues that you had encountered but didn’t realise were now fixed.

fmSMS and FileMaker Pro v15

We’re pleased to report that fmSMS v3 is compatible with FileMaker Pro/Pro Advanced v15 that was released today. We haven’t encountered any issues so far in our testing and have been able to send single and bulk messages successfully.

If you encounter any issues with fmSMS v3 and FileMaker Pro v15 please let us know.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) and FileMaker Pro v15

We’re pleased to report that fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v1 is compatible with FileMaker Pro/Pro Advanced v15 that was released today. We haven’t encountered any issues so far in our testing and have been able to authenticate, download from Xero to FileMaker and upload from FileMaker to Xero successfully.

If you encounter any issues with fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v1 and FileMaker Pro v15 please let us know.

fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) and FileMaker Pro v15

We’re pleased to report that fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) v1 is compatible with FileMaker Pro/Pro Advanced v15 that was released today. We haven’t encountered any issues so far in our testing and have been able to authenticate, download from AccountRight to FileMaker and upload from FileMaker to AccountRight successfully.

If you encounter any issues with fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) v1 and FileMaker Pro v15 please let us know.