Speed Improvements with fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2

When we released v2 of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) a few months ago we mentioned in the announcement that users could expect to see faster downloads and uploads between FileMaker and the Xero API and that we had seen improvements of 35% from v1 to v2.

We had seen similar improvements when releasing the updates to our other solutions to run on the FileMaker v16 or later platform using native functions and script steps, compared to the previous version that required a FileMaker plug-in to communicate with the various APIs (Shopify, WooCommerce, MYOB and now Xero).

We had some early feedback from customers letting us know just how much faster they were finding v2 compared to v1. For example we had reports that users were seeing improvements of between 45-80% when performing bulk operations with Products, Invoices and Contacts. This meant that users were going from requests that were previously taking over 16 minutes to now taking just over 4 minutes – that’s a significant timesaver!

We decided to perform our own series of benchmark tests using the same data set for both v1 and v2 of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition), focusing on bulk uploads and downloads of Contacts, Products and Invoices which represent the most common API endpoints that most of our users engage with. Working with a sample of 100 records we found the following:

  • Contacts (including Addresses and Phone Numbers) uploaded 44% faster and downloaded 61% faster
  • Products uploaded 45% faster and downloaded 56% faster
  • Invoices (with multiple line items) downloaded 65% faster

Our tests with v2 were running too fast initially – we kept encountering the 429 (too many requests) response code which is returned by the Xero API when you exceed their API Rate Limits. We kept hitting the limit of 60 calls per minute with our bulk upload tests and ended up adding a short pause to these scripts so they would stay within the Xero API Rate Limits (we added the same pause to our v1 tests).

Here’s some charts showing the time taken to complete each request for v1 and v2 – you can see that v2 is typically 50% faster than v1 in most operations:

We’re planning to do some further optimisations of our fmAccounting Link solutions for Xero and MYOB and our fmEcommerce Link solutions for Shopify and WooCommerce to further improve the performance when processing large sets of JSON data. For example we believe we can reduce the time it takes to download large numbers of Orders from Shopify and WooCommerce – we’ll report back on our findings in a future blog post.

Databuzz releases fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2 – Integrate FileMaker and Xero Cloud Accounting

Sydney, Australia – April 8, 2020 – Databuzz today announced fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2, a major update to their FileMaker solution that integrates with the Xero Accounting Software.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2 now runs natively on the FileMaker 16 or higher platforms, including FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go and FileMaker Server without requiring a FileMaker plug-in. 

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) allows you to upload and download data between your FileMaker solution and Xero, the easy to use online accounting software that’s designed specifically for small businesses. fmAccounting Link (Xero 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 Xero.

fmAccounting Link (Xero 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 Xero API and upload Contacts, Invoices, Bills, Payments, Purchase Orders and more at the click of a button.

What’s New in v2

  • rewritten to use native FileMaker functions and script steps 
  • runs natively on FileMaker v16 or later and no longer requires a FileMaker plug-in 
  • faster downloads and uploads between FileMaker and the Xero API
  • updated to work with the OAuth 2.0 authentication flow 
  • supports FileMaker WebDirect and FileMaker Go clients

“fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) now runs natively on the FileMaker Platform and is even easier to integrate,” said Andrew Duncan, CEO of Databuzz. “We’ve seen improvements of up to 35% when running the native scripts and functions compared with the plug-in versions.”

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) features include:

  • works with FileMaker Pro v16 or later
  • completely unlocked
  • can be hosted by FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Server or FileMaker Cloud
  • works with Macintosh and Windows
  • includes support for FileMaker Server scheduled scripts and Perform Script on Server
  • supports multiple Xero Organisations
  • includes examples for both the main Accounting API and the Payroll API

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) includes examples for over 20 Xero API endpoints including:

  • Organisations: authenticate multiple Xero Organisations
  • Contacts: download and upload Contacts
  • Invoices: download and upload Invoices
  • Bills: download and upload Bills (including Bill line items)
  • Products (Items): download and upload Products
  • Purchase Orders: download and upload Purchase Orders
  • Payments: download and upload Payments against an Invoice 
  • Employees: download and upload Employees
  • Timesheets: download and upload Timesheets to Xero
  • Account Codes: download and upload Account Codes from Xero
  • Tax Rates: download and upload Tax Rates from Xero
  • Bank Transactions: download and upload BankTransactions from Xero
  • Tracking Categories: download and upload Tracking Categories from Xero
  • Manual Journals: download and upload Manual Journals

Availability, Pricing, and Compatibility

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2 is available in a number of licenses: Company, Vertical Solution and Developer. It is available now from the Databuzz website at https://www.databuzz.com.au. Company Licenses start at AUD $695.00. fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2 requires FileMaker Pro v16 or later.

Upgrade Information

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2 is a free upgrade for owners of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v1 who purchased a license on or after December 01, 2019. All other owners of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v1 can upgrade for 50% off the current price – discount coupons will be sent directly to existing customers. Please contact Databuzz if you have not received your coupon.

Media/Customer Contact:

Andrew Duncan

Phone: +61 418 468 103

sales@databuzz.com.au

https://www.databuzz.com.au

About Databuzz: Databuzz is a Claris Partner and long-standing member of the FileMaker Business Alliance and a Xero Approved Developer. 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 18 Developer. For more information please visit our website at https://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.

Upgrading fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) to OAuth 2.0

Last year Xero began the transition from using OAuth 1.0a for authenticating with the Xero API to OAuth 2.0. We wrote about our plans for OAuth 2.0 and fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) back in December and released an update shortly afterwards that supported OAuth 2.0. This was mainly aimed at new customers as Xero removed the ability to create new OAuth 1.0a Private Apps in December and we needed a solution for new customers who could only create OAuth 2.0 apps to integrate with.

Existing customers who have been using fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) prior to December 2019 also need to start planning the transition to OAuth 2.0 as Xero will be removing support for OAuth 1.0a Private Apps in 12 months (you have plenty of time to make the change). Here are the critical dates that you need to be aware of:

  • 2nd December 2019: Developers could no longer create new OAuth 1.0a apps (if you need to create a new private app before June 2020 get in touch and we’ll show you how to do this for the next few months if necessary)
  • December 2020: you should aim to have your existing integration upgraded from OAuth 1.0a to OAuth 2.0 by the end of the year
  • March 2021: OAuth 1.0a will no longer be supported for any integrations. You must have upgraded by March 2021 or your existing integration will stop working.

You can read more about why Xero are changing to OAuth 2.0 here and they have an FAQ on OAuth 2.0 as well. Since the initial release last year they have released a number of improvements to OAuth 2.0 to make for a faster and more seamless authentication process.

If you’re not sure where to start we have some good news for you – we’ve done all the hard work and have 2 new versions of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) that support OAuth 2.0. We’ve invested hundreds of hours of development time over the past few months in preparing these updates to have them available as soon as possible so you have as much time as possible to complete the upgrade.

If you’re looking to upgrade your fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v1 integration from OAuth 1.0a to OAuth 2.0 we’re pleased to have the following options available.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v1

Since we first released fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) back in 2014 we’ve been releasing free updates to v1 for all customers ever since. That’s almost 6 years of free updates which we are very proud of and we’ve decided to also provide a free update to all existing customers to the OAuth 2.0 version. This is a major update from Xero and we didn’t want to leave our hundreds of customers all around the world without an option to update here (see important dates above).

All existing fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v1 customers can download the latest v1 release (v1.97 or later) which now supports OAuth 2.0 only. To download the latest v1 file just use the same link on your original order email (contact us if you can’t find the email or need the link to be reset etc) or if you created an account at the time of ordering you can login to our site and download it from your order history page.

We have a dedicated page (see below) that outlines the changes between the OAuth 1.0a and OAuth 2.0 versions and what changes you will need to make if you wish to upgrade an existing version/integration. You can always just use the new file and migrate your data across and perform the initial one off OAuth 2.0 authentication if you haven’t customised or integrated with other FileMaker solutions.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v1 OAuth 2.0 Update Guide

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2

As well as providing a free update to v1 of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) we’ve also released a new version that supports OAuth 2.0 and no longer requires a FileMaker plug-in to communicate with the Xero API. As we mentioned back in December one of the benefits of the move to OAuth 2.0 is that we can finally remove the plug-in dependency for authenticating with the Xero API that was necessary when using OAuth 1.0a and Xero private apps. This has been the reason why we haven’t been able to release a version of fmAccounting Link that runs natively on the FileMaker 16 Platform or higher without requiring a FileMaker plug-in. There are a number of benefits to removing the plug-in dependency, including faster API request processing and the ability to use other clients like FileMaker Go (without being connected to FileMaker Server).

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2 is now available and is a paid upgrade (customers who purchased v1 on or after 1 December, 2019 are entitled to a free upgrade!). All v1 customers are entitled to a 50% discount and you should have received your discount coupons in our initial mailout. Please get in touch if you haven’t received your coupon for the free or discount upgrade.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2 looks and feels similar to v1 but under the hood it is completely different. We’ve updated every script that touches the Xero API but it all works in a very similar manner. We’re now using native FileMaker script steps and functions which were first introduced in the FileMaker 16 platform, so you must be running FileMaker 16 or higher to use fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2. We’re now using JSON for all data that we send and receive to Xero and are no longer using calculation fields to store the data payload to upload to Xero (we create a calculation as part of the upload scripts). Check out our v2 update guide below for further details on the changes from v1 to v2 that you need to be aware of.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v2 Update Guide

If you don’t have the time or resources to complete the upgrade to OAuth 2.0 please get in touch as we are available for consulting to work with you on upgrading your existing integration to either v1 or v2 of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition).

OAuth 2.0 App Setup and Authentication

The way you authenticate with the Xero API changes from the old OAuth 1.0a private app setup where you exchanged a set of keys to the new OAuth 2.0 where a user has to login to Xero to approve access to your new app/integration. We have a video covering the OAuth 2.0 App Setup on our videos page (the authentication process is the same for both versions).

As part of the OAuth 2.0 authentication fmAccounting Link will store the following for the Organisation your authenticated with:

At the successful completion of the OAuth 2.0 flow you will be granted an access token to act on behalf of the user as well as a refresh token. Access tokens expire after 30 minutes and you can refresh an access token without user interaction by using a refresh token.

N.B. Unused refresh tokens expire after 60 days. If you don’t refresh your access token within 60 days the user will need to reauthorize your app.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) Now Supports OAuth 2.0

Earlier this month Xero said goodbye to OAuth 1.0a and moved to OAuth 2.0 for a simpler, faster and more secure authentication experience (see our earlier post about this). We’ve been busy working on an update to fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition), our solution for integrating the FileMaker Platform with Xero, which we previewed in an previous post where we discussed the changes and the updates we plan to release as a result of the move to OAuth 2.0.

We’re pleased to announce that v1.97 of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) now supports OAuth 2.0, so new customers can now create OAuth 2.0 apps for the Xero API and connect them to the FileMaker Platform using fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition). We’ve updated our integration guide and posted a new video showing you how to setup an OAuth 2.0 app. Setting up an OAuth 2.0 app in Xero and connecting this to the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) solution only takes a few minutes and once you’ve completed the initial authentication everything works the same as before.

We’re working on documenting the process if you wish to convert your existing fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) solution from OAuth 1.0a to OAuth 2.0. There’s no immediate rush as you have until December 2020 to update existing OAuth 1.0a integrations to OAuth 2.0. We’re also working on v2.0 of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) which will only support OAuth 2.0 and not require a FileMaker plug-in – it will use native FileMaker functions and scripts and will require FileMaker Pro v16 or later.

If you have any questions about fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) and OAuth 2.0 please get in touch or post a comment below.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) and OAuth 2.0

Xero recently launched a beta version of OAuth 2.0 for the Xero APIs for developers building new integrations. OAuth 2.0 is a replacement for the current OAuth 1.0a which works with various app “types”, including partner, public and private. fmAccounting Link uses the private app type – with OAuth 2.0 the concept of “app types” will be going away and all developers will use OAuth 2.0.

Xero’s OAuth 2.0 implementation is built to the industry standard spec for OAuth 2.0, so if you’ve used it before it will be very familiar (we use this in our fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) solution for the MYOB AccountRight Cloud).

Last month Xero announced that from 2 December 2019 developers will no longer be able to create OAuth 1.0a apps on the Xero platform and that all new apps will need to use OAuth 2.0. We will be releasing a free update to fmAccounting Link in December that supports OAuth 2.0 – essentially this involves changing how the authentication process works (see preview video below). We will have further details on the changes involved if you wish to update your existing integration when we release this update.

One of the additional benefits of the move to OAuth 2.0 is that we can finally remove the plug-in dependency for authenticating with the Xero API that was necessary when using OAuth 1.0a. This has been the reason why we haven’t been able to release a version of fmAccounting Link that runs natively on the FileMaker 16 Platform or higher without requiring a FileMaker plug-in. There are a number of benefits to removing the plug-in dependency, including faster API request processing and the ability to use other clients like FileMaker Go (without being connected to FileMaker Server).

As part of the migration to OAuth 2.0 Xero have announced that existing OAuth 1.0a apps will continue to be supported until at least December 2020, allowing you sufficient time to migrate across to the new platform. This means by December 2020 you will need to update your integration to use OAuth 2.0.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) currently supports FileMaker Pro v12 or higher and the native functions and script steps that replace the plug-in calls were only introduced in FileMaker Pro v16, so we will be releasing 2 updates to fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) over the next few months:

  1. our first update that we are planning to release in December, 2019 will be for new customers and those who are happy to continue using the plug-in (e.g. if you are using FileMaker Pro v15 or earlier). This will be a free update so all users will have a solution to the OAuth 2.0 migration (we’ve been releasing free updates for fmAccounting Link for over 5 years now).
  2. we are also working on an update to fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) that will not require the plug-in and will require FileMaker Pro v16 or later. As you can imagine this is a massive undertaking (having been through this process for our WooCommerce, Shopify, fmSMS and MYOB AccountRight solutions we know the time commitment involved) and this release will be the first paid update to fmAccounting Link in over 5 years. We will have discounted upgrades for existing customers who also wish to make the transition to a native integration. We are planning to release this update in the first quarter of 2020.

We will be in contact with all existing customers once we have the first free update available and will have further instructions on our website about how to make the transition to OAuth 2.0. If you would like to see how this will look here’s a preview video showing the changes to the authentication – you can also watch this directly on YouTube here.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) Now Supports Batch Payments

The Xero web application has long had the ability to create a Batch Deposit for multiple Invoices and a Batch Payment for multiple Bills, but this hasn’t been available via the Xero API until recently.

The Xero API was recently updated to support creating Batch Payments for Bills and Invoices as well as retrieving Batch Payments. We’ve just released a new version of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) that also supports creating Batch Payments and downloading them from Xero.

It works the same way as it does in Xero – you first select the Authorised Bills or Invoices that you wish to create a Batch Payment for. You would create a found set by using the FileMaker find/omit commands to generate the found set of record and switch to the list view layout which has the Create Batch Payment – Found Set button:

Clicking this button will create a Batch Payment for the found set of Invoices or Bills and use the amount outstanding as the amount to allocate to each Invoice or Bill:

You can adjust each individual Amount on this screen and select the Bank Account, Date and Reference for the Batch Payment then click the Push to Xero – Current Record button which will upload the Batch Payment to Xero. This also creates a Payment record against each Invoice or Bill so the balance of each of these will be reduced by the allocated Amount.

Here’s a video that demonstrates creating a Batch Payment in fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) – you can also watch it on YouTube here:

Once again this is a this free update to all our existing customers who can download this version from the link on your original order email (contact us if you need the link to be reset etc).

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) Now Supports FileMaker Cloud Server Scripts

We’re pleased to announce that fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) now supports server side scripts when hosted with FileMaker Cloud. There were never any issues when using a FileMaker Cloud hosted version of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) when using the FileMaker Pro client application as all communication with the Xero API is handled by the plugin running under FileMaker Pro.

Using Perform Script on Server requires a new Linux version of the plug-in to run under FileMaker Cloud which runs on CentOS Linux. We’ve been testing a new version of the BaseElements plugin (v4.0.4) and have not encountered any issues when authenticating with the Xero API and uploading/downloading data between Xero and FileMaker.

If you’re using fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) with FileMaker Cloud and would like to enable support for Perform Script on Server you just need to upload v4.0.4 of the BaseElements plugin (Linux Version for FileMaker Cloud). In the FileMaker Cloud Admin Console make sure you have first enabled Server Plug-ins and the Install Plug-In File Script Step under Configuration > System Configuration. When the plug-in has been installed successfully it should appear like this:

If you need help with installing the plug-in let us know and we can share a simple file that you can upload to your FileMaker Cloud Server and then perform a script to install the plug-in automatically.

Databuzz 2018 End of Year Xmas Sale – 20% Off All Licenses

 

The Databuzz End of Year Xmas Sale is now on – all Product Licenses are now 20% off, including:

Use the coupon XMAS2018 at checkout on any purchase and the 20% discount will be applied to your order. The sale runs until the end of the day on January 04, 2019 (Australian Eastern Daylight Time). Click here to start shopping.

Free trial versions are available for all of our products – please contact us to request a trial version. We’ve updated all of our products in the past few weeks with new features, including:

All our prices are in Australian dollars – if you’re purchasing from outside of Australia you’ll also get to take advantage of the low Australian dollar (1 Australian Dollar equals approximately 0.72 US Dollars).

We also have a similar sale on fmSMS Licenses (20% off) – click here to visit the fmSMS website for further details.

Xero surpasses one million subscribers across Australia and New Zealand

The announcement this week by Xero, the global small business platform (it no longer positions itself as just an accounting platform) that it had surpassed one million subscribers across Australia and New Zealand made me check where our fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) customers are located.

We now have hundreds of customers around the world using our fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) solution every day to automate the exchange of data between Xero and the FileMaker platform. Typical integrations involve automating the uploading of Contacts, Invoices, Bills, and Purchase Orders and the downloading of Payments, all at the click of a button or automated via FileMaker Server schedules.

Last time we mapped our fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) customers in February 2017 Xero had a total of 862,000 subscribers spread across their four main market regions of:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • UK
  • North America

with Australian and New Zealand being the two largest markets and our customer map reflected this spread.

Xero now has 1.6 million subscribers in over 180 countries, including 355,000 in the UK. We’ve just updated our map again:

and we now have many more pins in the same four markets, with a few in South Asia as well as South Africa. We’re noticing an increase in interest from Canada, the United States and South Asia where Xero is just getting started in the market. According to Xero the penetration of cloud accounting sits at around 40 percent in Australia and New Zealand, more than double what it is worldwide.

We expect as other regions adopt cloud accounting at the rate we have here in Australia and New Zealand that Xero will continue to grow it’s subscriber base worldwide. We look forward to revisiting the Xero subscriber numbers in 12 months time and updating our customer map again.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) Update – Notes & History and Attachments

In Xero, you can view the history of changes made to invoices, bills, transactions, inventory items, contacts and more. This audit trail also shows any notes recorded by users in the Xero app but until recently this information was not available via the Accounting API.

Earlier this year Xero added a new endpoint to the Accounting API to allow developers to be able to download the notes/history and also add new notes. We’ve just released an update to fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) that includes examples for downloading and creating Notes for Contacts and Invoices.

The history and notes for an Invoice in the Xero web app looks like this:

and contains important information, such as when the Invoice was sent to the customer and if they have viewed the invoice online. We’ve added a new Notes tab to display the same information in the fmAccounting Link file:

You can download all the Notes from Xero for an Invoice and a Contact and create a new Note and upload that to Xero for a Invoice and a Contact. We started adding support for the new History and Notes endpoint for Contacts and Invoices as these are two of the most popular modules, but will gradually add them to the other supported modules such as Bills, Credit Notes, Items etc.

We also took this opportunity to extend the support for working with Attachments to also include the ability to download Attachments for an Invoice and create/download Attachments for a Contact.

Here’s a video that demonstrates working with History and Notes and Attachments in fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition):