fmMMS Chat View Now Available

fmMMS, our FileMaker solution for sending and receiving MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) Messages using the Claris FileMaker Platform, now supports the Chat View feature originally introduced with fmSMS back in 2015.

The Chat View interface in fmMMS allows you to view all outgoing and incoming messages for an individual contact, including Message Subject, Body and Media, using a FileMaker Web Viewer. This is a much more graphical interface and easier to understand view than using traditional FileMaker portals.

We recently updated the design of the Chat View in fmSMS and have also used this more modern style, similar to the current iOS Messages app, in fmMMS. You can also send a new message to the contact you are viewing with a single media attachment without having to leave the Chat View screen using the fields at the bottom to enter your message/media attachment.

There were a number of challenges with developing the Chat View that would work with various versions of FileMaker Pro from v16 to v19 on both Mac and Windows, as well as work for local files and hosted files. We experiemented with using “data:text/html” urls, using Base64 to encode/decode the media attachments as well as exporting content to display in the Web Viewer.

In FileMaker Pro 19.3.1 Claris changed Web Viewers to use the Microsoft Edge (Chromium) engine instead of the Internet Explorer engine, which also presented a number of challenges. There is a security restriction in Edge that prevents web pages from accessing the file system to show local files when using “data:text/html” urls. The solution that we have used for the first release of the Chat View feature involves exporting a .html file to the FileMaker temp folder, along with any media attachments in container fields, and displaying this in the Web Viewer.

For this first release of the Chat View we are supporting Mac, Windows and iOS users. We’re currently working on an update for FileMaker Pro v19 users that will use the Execute FileMaker Data API script step to generate the html content and hopefully bypass the need to export the media attachments from the container fields. We are also working on support for FileMaker WebDirect users. We are also looking into ways that we can have the Chat View update dynamically without having to use OnTimer Scripts that are constantly running in the background attached to a FileMaker window. We’re also looking into WebSockets to see if we can have that push updates to the web viewer.

Changes to PHP Installations with FileMaker Server

Earlier this year Claris announced that they were deprecating the bundling of PHP with FileMaker Server and would no longer be installing PHP with future versions of FileMaker Server for macOS and Windows. This impacts anyone who is using the bundled version of PHP on their FileMaker Server for use with Custom Web Publishing and the FileMaker PHP API.

With a number of recent releases of FileMaker Server this has now been completed as follows:

Windows: starting with the FileMaker Server 19.2.1 update PHP is no longer installed with FileMaker Server for Windows – you should preserve your existing PHP installation first by backing up the PHP folder and restoring it after the upgrade is complete. See the Claris Engineering Blog link below for instructions on installing PHP on Windows as well as a link to a Powershell script for automating this.

macOS: starting with version 19.4.1, FileMaker Server no longer installs a PHP engine on macOS. FileMaker Server upgrades will not remove a previously installed PHP engine, but new installations will no longer provide PHP.

We provide PHP files for use with Webhooks with most of our FileMaker integration solutions, including:

We generally provide 2 versions of these php files:

  1. for use with the older FileMaker PHP API
  2. for use with the newer FileMaker Data API

The FileMaker Data API is the newer replacement for the older PHP API and requires FileMaker Server v17 or later. Existing PHP files for both APIs will continue to work but if you are setting up a new FileMaker Server for Windows or macOS that does not have PHP installed you have a few options:

  1. install PHP for Windows Servers (see links below)
  2. host the PHP file on another web server running PHP (you will need to include the PHP API files if you are using the older PHP API) and make any adjustments to the hostname to point to the FileMaker Server
  3. change from using the FileMaker PHP API to the Data API and also host the PHP files on another web server running PHP and make any adjustments to the hostname to point to the FileMaker Server

We’ve been hosting our PHP webhooks files on Amazon Lightsail for a number of years, but any web server running PHP will do the job.

You can get more information on the changes to PHP Bundling at the following links:

WooCommerce REST API Now Supports Filtering by Modification Date

We’ve had many requests over the years to update our fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) solution to allow you to just download Products that were updated recently by date range. A common use case is that you have updated a subset of products in WooCommerce and just need to get those updated products into FileMaker.

fmEcommerce Link does have the ability to update a product in FileMaker from WooCommerce, but you would need to have kept a track of the WooCommerce IDs for the products that were updated in WooCommerce and then find these in FileMaker and perform the update. Unfortunately the WooCommerce REST API didn’t support the ability to perform queries by modification date (only date published/created).

This functionality has been requested in the past for orders to save having to query for the whole set of WooCommerce orders just to retrieve the handful that were recently updated. Earlier this year I decided to also submit a feature request for the ability to query the products API endpoint using modified_before and modified_after query parameters that filtered using the date modified field. This request was well supported by other developers and I’m pleased to report that WooCommerce 5.8.0 and later now support this feature for the product, order and coupon API endpoints.

We’ve put out an update to fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) v2 for downloading updated Products – v2.0.3 now lets you filter by date modified when downloading Products from WooCommerce:

Check out our support article here for further details. If you would also like to see this filter for downloading orders please get in touch and let us know.

Changes to Querying the FileMaker System Tables in FileMaker Pro 19.4.1

Back in July 2012 I wrote an article about a new feature in the FileMaker Pro 12 Platform – the ability to query the hidden System Tables for information about the schema of your FileMaker Pro files using the new ExecuteSQL function. That article – Using ExecuteSQL to Query the Virtual Schema/System Tables – has become one of the most popular articles on our site and continues to be one of the most visited articles each month.

Every FileMaker Pro database file includes two system tables: FileMaker_Tables and FileMaker_Fields. Using the ExecuteSQL function to query these tables has a number of practical applications, including:

  • return a list of all unique underlying Base Tables for all Table Occurrences in the current FileMaker Pro file (see this custom function)
  • return a sorted list of all Field Names for specified Table Occurrence in the current FileMaker Pro file (see this custom function)

You can get further details on the results of these queries in the previous article and also the Claris FileMaker SQL Reference. There hasn’t been any changes to this functionality since FileMaker Pro v12 was released until this week with the release of Claris FileMaker Pro 19.4.1. The FileMaker Pro 19.4.1 Release Notes include mention of a change to allow you to perform faster SQL queries about fields defined in a FileMaker Pro file by using the new system table named FileMaker_BaseTableFields.

Previously to get a list of base table names you would use the following query:

ExecuteSQL ( "SELECT DISTINCT BaseTableName FROM FileMaker_Tables" ; "" ; "" )

This would retrieve the value from the BaseTableName column from the response, which includes all table occurrences in the current file. You can now speed this up by using the following query:

ExecuteSQL ( "SELECT DISTINCT BaseTableName FROM FileMaker_BaseTableFields" ; "" ; "" )

which returns the same response but is a faster query as FileMaker_BaseTableFields includes only the source (or base) tables. An example of the result when using our fmSMS solution is a simple list of all the base tables for the file:

Accounts
BulkSessions
Contacts
CountryCodes
DeliveryReceipts
GatewayCodes
Gateways
Interface
MergeFields
Messages
Navigation
Replies
Senders
ServerSideErrors
Templates
Webhooks

The FileMaker_BaseTableFields table includes the following columns:

  • BaseTableName – The name of the base table that contains the field.
  • FieldName – The name of the field.
  • FieldType – The SQL data type of the field.
  • FieldId – The unique ID for the field.
  • FieldClass – One of three values: Summary, for summary fields; Calculated, for calculated results; or Normal.
  • FieldReps – The number of repetitions of the field.
  • ModCount – The total number of times changes to this base table’s definition have been committed.

Claris FileMaker Certified Developer

Databuzz is pleased to announce that Andrew Duncan recently passed the Developer Essentials for Claris FileMaker exam and is now a Claris FileMaker Certified Developer for two more years. Andrew has previously obtained the certifications for FileMaker v8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.

Earlier this year Claris announced some changes to their developer certification program. They are no longer offering specific certifications that correlate with certain versions of FileMaker Pro. The new credential – Claris FileMaker Certified Developer – is not version specific and is valid for two years from the date you pass the Developer Essentials for Claris FileMaker exam. The FileMaker 18 Certification Exam was the last version specific exam.

Obtaining credentials for a Certified Claris FileMaker Developer proves to clients, peers, and management that you have achieved the essential level of knowledge, experience, and skills necessary for creating digital solutions with Claris FileMaker.

MYOB Business – Changes to MYOB Essentials and AccountRight Products

MYOB have recently announced MYOB Business – a consolidation of the Essentials and AccountRight product lines on a single SaaS platform. MYOB Business will replace the MYOB Essentials and MYOB AccountRight product lines for new customers in Australia. There are now four subscription plans in the MYOB Business product suite:

  • MYOB Business Lite
  • MYOB Business Pro
  • MYOB Business AccountRight Plus
  • MYOB Business AccountRight Premier

The good news for anyone using our fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) or fmAccounting Link (MYOB Essentials Edition) integration solutions – they will continue to work as usual as this is essentially just a name change. The API has been renamed to the MYOB Business API but this is a name change only – there are no technical changes to the API itself. References to the AccountRight/new Essentials API will be phased out and replaced with references to the MYOB Business API.

We will also be updating our product names to align with the new MYOB Business name and are exploring whether to consolidate our existing AccountRight and Essentials solutions into a single solution that will work with all plans in the MYOB Business product suite.

You can read more about the launch of MYOB Business and what this means for existing customers of Essentials and AccountRight on the MYOB Blog.

Presentation to Houston Area FileMaker Developers Group Recording Now Available

I recently did a presentation to the Houston Area FileMaker Developers Group for their October 2021 meeting. The topic of my presentation was integrating the FileMaker Platform with the DocuSign eSignature platform using our fmESignature Link (DocuSign Edition) solution.

The recording is now available and you can watch it below or directly on YouTube.

fmESignature Link allows you to automate the management of electronic document signing: you can generate and send agreements to be signed electronically using your familiar FileMaker interface and download the completed agreements back into FileMaker.

I also did a brief demonstration of how you can send and receive MMS messages using the FileMaker Platform and our fmMMS solution.

fmSMS Now Supports Chatti SMS Gateway

fmSMS, our FileMaker solution for sending and receiving SMS messages from the Claris FileMaker Platform, has been updated to support the Chatti SMS Gateway based in Australia.

Chatti specialise in connecting businesses with their customers across the most advanced communication channels. Chatti is the exclusive APAC partner of Vonage, the global industry innovators.

You can download a trial version of fmSMS to test with the Chatti SMS Gateway from the fmSMS website.

fmSMS Now Supports sms77 SMS Gateway

fmSMS, our FileMaker solution for sending and receiving SMS messages from the Claris FileMaker Platform, has been updated to support the the sms77 SMS Gateway based in Kiel, Germany.

sms77 has been a trusted partner for communication solutions since 2003.

You can download a trial version of fmSMS to test with the sms77 SMS Gateway from the fmSMS website.

FileMaker and Zoom Integration

Like most of the world I have spent large chunks of the past 18 month living in lockdown and working remotely from home. I’m currently in week 7 of another lockdown here in Sydney, Australia with no firm end date in sight for when we will get of lockdown. As we’ve moved to remote working our meetings have moved online and the Zoom video conferencing platform in particular has boomed during the pandemic as many businesses scrambled to move to virtual meetings.

In an average week I’ll have at least one meeting on Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. Databuzz, like hundreds of thousands of other companies around the world, has become a Zoom customer so we can host virtual meetings with our clients all around the world. In the last 12 months Zoom posted a massive 326% increase in revenue – in their most recent fiscal quarter the number of customers with more than 10 employees was up 87% from the same quarter last fiscal year.

As well as the standard video meetings Zoom also has a number of other products including Zoom Webinars where you can host online webinars/presentations to much larger audiences. This means you will also be generating a lot of new data, including:

  • Webinar Details
  • Lists of People who Registered
  • Lists of People who Attended

At some point you are going to want to get some of that Zoom data into your FileMaker business app so you can then follow up with registrants/attendees or update existing records with the details of the webinars they have attended. Luckily Zoom has an API that we can integrate the FileMaker Platform with, allowing us to automate the process of downloading Webinar lists, registrant lists and attendee lists. We’ve helped a number of customers over the past 12 months connect their FileMaker business apps with Zoom to automate this process so they are no longer dealing with export/import files and manually updating records.

Here’s a screenshot showing an example of the data you can download with the click of a button to get the Webinar Registrants into FileMaker:

List of Zoom Webinar Registrants

From here we can create or update records in your existing FileMaker solution, or simply create a link between the two so you can see at a glance which Webinars a contact in your FileMaker solution has registered for or attended. If you would like to discuss integrating Zoom with your FileMaker business app please get in touch for a free initial consultation to discuss your requirements.