Databuzz 2016 End of Year Xmas Sale – 20% Off All Licenses

databuzz-xmas-sale-2016

It’s time for the Databuzz End of Year Xmas Sale – All Product Licenses are now 20% Off, including:

The sale runs until the end of the day on the 31st December, 2016 (Australian Eastern Daylight Time).

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 Australia dollar (1 Australian Dollar equals approximately 0.74 US Dollars).

Discounts are applied automatically – no coupons required! Click here to start shopping.

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

fmSMS Now Supports 75 SMS Gateways Internationally

We’ve just added another SMS Gateway (Zipwhip) to the list of supported SMS Gateways for fmSMS, our award winning solution that lets you send and receive SMS messages using the FileMaker platform. This brings the total number of supported SMS Gateways to 75!

Zipwhip was a bit different to most SMS Gateways that fmSMS supports – they allow you to enable text messaging for your existing business phone number (Landline or Toll-Free Phone Number). This allows you to have one number for customers to call you and text you – normally you would need to get a dedicated virtual mobile number to handle the incoming text/SMS messages.

SMS is still an extremely effective form a communication – 80% of consumers prefer to be contacted by a business via SMS/texting over a phone call. 98% of consumer text messages are read – only 10% of emails are even opened.

You can download a trial version of fmSMS and setup a trial account with one of the SMS Gateways to see how you can use FileMaker to send SMS Messages to your customers, employees, prospects etc.

fmSMS and Emoji Support 😀

At the recent FileMaker Developer Conference I was doing one of my fmSMS demonstrations to an attendee which involved me sending a message from fmSMS to their mobile phone (showing how you can use FileMaker to send SMS messages) and then having them send a reply back to demonstrate how you can use fmSMS to receive incoming messages directly into FileMaker. Normally the reply is a simple text reply of a few words, but this one was a bit different as you can see here:

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-10-42-30-pm

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Emoji reply had made it all the way back from their phone to fmSMS via the SMS Gateway and the PHP page that is used to convert the incoming reply into a FileMaker record without me having to do anything to handle the Unicode characters – it just worked! I decided to do a bit more research into this to see how different SMS Gateways handled Emoji characters as a way of testing their Unicode support (there are now hundreds of Emoji characters encoded in the Unicode standards).

It’s important here to understand the history of SMS – back when the GSM standard was being adopted the mobile phone industry decided on a standard set of characters called GSM 03.38. Support for this character set became mandatory for all GSM handsets and network elements (carriers etc). The GSM character set includes the English alphabet ( A-Z ), numbers (0 – 9) and some special characters, and the size of a single SMS was limited to 160 characters. The 160 character maximum actually comes from the fact that you can encode 160 7-bit characters into 140 bytes – 140 bytes being the limit for the size of a message.

Unicode characters use several GSM characters to describe each Unicode character which means that you won’t be able to send as many characters in your SMS when include Unicode characters. Depending on which special characters you’re sending, you may only be able to send between 35 and 70 characters. To send a message that is longer than the 160 characters/140 bytes limit the message needs to use Concatenation, which involves breaking up the message over multiple SMS messages.

Thankfully most SMS Gateways and mobile phone handsets support concatenation where multiple messages are joined together to form a single message on the handset, even though that single message is greater than 160 characters (or 140 bytes). As each message needs to broken up into individual 140 byte messages the SMS Gateways will charge you for each individual message, even though they appear as a single message to the recipient.

Here’s an example of such a message using the GSM character set which is 312 characters but appears as a single received message on the phone:

long-message

SMS Gateways that handle the encoding of Unicode characters make life easy for us developers – we don’t have to do anything when sending or receiving messages from FileMaker. One such SMS Gateway is Twilio which I used in my tests and was able to handle the Emoji characters with ease – they have a number of articles on their website that go into the details of their support for Unicode. I created an outgoing message in fmSMS with some Emoji characters (FileMaker Pro 7 and later being a fully Unicode aware application):

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-10-26-51-pm

and sent the message using a number of different SMS Gateways. Where the SMS Gateway supported Unicode the message appeared exactly as it was sent:

emoji-received

 

 

I tried with some SMS Gateways that don’t have native support for Unicode characters and on the handset here’s what the same message looked like:

no-emoji

I then sent some replies containing Emoji characters back to fmSMS which has a “chat view” that shows all the sent/received messages to an individual contact – here’s our Emoji conversation:

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-10-33-36-pm

As you can see the incoming message containing Emoji characters was received successfully using the Twilio SMS Gateway once again.

Unicode support isn’t only important for Emojis – if you need to send accented characters or messages in Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean etc then you will be thankful for Unicode support as well. Just remember that when sending messages containing Unicode characters the standard 160 character test doesn’t apply – I’m yet to find a way to have a Unicode character check that converts back to the GSM character set in FileMaker so I can accurately count the number of credits required for each message, regardless of whether it contains GMS or Unicode characters). If anyone knows of a way please let me know in the comments below. 😃

Clickatell SMS Gateway TLS Changes

Clickatell have notified customers that they will be performing scheduled system maintenance on 14 August 2016. Following these changes they will no longer be supporting SSL 2.0 or SSL 3.0 but are adding support for TLS 1.2.

This only applies to HTTPS requests (not HTTP) made to the Clickatell API. We’ve completed some initial testing using their test TLS server and are happy to report all messages were delivered successfully. If you’re using fmSMS with Clickatell and HTTPS requests everything should continue to work after the 14 August 2016, but please let us know if you encounter any issues.

Databuzz showcases SMS and Accounting Integration Solutions at 2016 FileMaker Developer Conference

Databuzz will be demonstrating their SMS and Accounting integration solutions at the 2016 FileMaker Developer Conference this week in Las Vegas:

  • 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 at http://fmsms.com
  • fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition): our solution that integrates between FileMaker Pro and the Xero Accounting Software. Xero is the market-leading 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 at http://www.databuzz.com.au/fmaccounting-link-xero-edition/
  • 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 at http://www.databuzz.com.au/fmaccounting-link-myob-accountright- edition/
  • fmAccounting Link (MYOB Essentials Edition): our latest solution that integrates between FileMaker Pro and the MYOB Essentials Accounting Software, 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 at http://www.databuzz.com.au/fmaccounting-link-myob-essentials-edition/

    Databuzz will also be offering a DevCon show special for the entire week – all products will be discounted by 10% when you purchase via our online stores at:

    http://www.databuzz.com.au/shop

    http://fmsms.com/shop

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.

fmSMS now supports over 70 SMS Gateways

We’ve just finished updating fmSMS to support 3 more SMS Gateways, bring the total number of supported SMS Gateways to over 70! The most recent additions were

  • ClickSend – a global SMS Gateway (head office in Perth, Australia)
  • directSMS – an Australian based SMS Gateway
  • Wholesale SMS – another Australian based SMS Gateway

If there are any SMS Gateways that you would like us to support please contact us and let us know the details – we’re more than happy to support as many SMS Gateways as possible.

Databuzz End of Year Xmas Sale – Last Days

Just a reminder that the Databuzz End of Year Xmas Sale ends in just over 24 hours on the 31st December, 2015 (Australian Eastern Daylight Time). You can get 20% Off all fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) and fmSMS Licenses

Databuzz

fmSMS Gateways Update – Over 60 Supported Gateways

We’ve just finished updating fmSMS to support 2 more SMS Gateways:

That brings the total number of supported SMS Gateways to over 60. If there are any SMS Gateways that you would like us to support please contact us and let us know the details – we can usually add a new SMS Gateway in a few hours.