fmMMS Now Supports Guni MMS Gateway

fmMMS, our FileMaker solution that lets you send and receive MMS messages from the Claris FileMaker Platform, has just been updated to include support for the Guni MMS Gateway based in Australia. With fmMMS and Guni you can send and receive MMS messages to Australian mobile numbers.

You can download a trial version of fmMMS to test with the Guni MMS Gateway from here. More information on using the Guni Gateway with fmMMS is available on our support site.

fmSMS, our FileMaker solution for sending and receiving SMS messages from the Claris FileMaker Platform, has also been updated to support the Guni SMS Gateway.

fmSMS Now Supports Guni SMS Gateway

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

The Guni SMS Gateway delivers SMS messages to Australian mobile numbers – their 2000+ customers are increasing sales, improving customer engagement, simplifying customer support and reducing no-shows with Guni’s easy-to-use SMS Gateway & MMS Gateway, 2-way messages, appointment reminders and API integration.

Guni also support sending MMS messages and fmMMS, our FileMaker solution that lets you send and receive MMS messages from the Claris FileMaker Platform, has also been updated to include support for the Guni MMS Gateway.

You can download a trial version of fmSMS to test with the Guni SMS Gateway from the from the Databuzz website. You can signup for a free trial and receive 30 free SMS credits to start testing (no credit card required). More information on using the Guni Gateway with fmSMS is available on our support site.

Databuzz Sponsors Reconnect.Brisbane Conference

Databuzz is pleased to once again sponsor the Reconnect Claris FileMaker Developer conference in 2024. Reconnect.Brisbane is on from 5-6 September 2024 at the Marriott Hotel in Brisbane.

The Launch Special tickets have almost sold out, so if you want to take advantage of the cheapest tickets before the price goes up head to the Reconnect.Brisbane website to purchase your tickets today.

In addition to the 2 days of conference sessions there will also be some pre-conference training courses led by industry experts Alexis Allen and David Head:

  • UI Design Workshop: Mastering Modern Design Principles (Alexis Allen)
  • FileMaker Masterclass: New Features in Action (David Head)

This is a great opportunity to expand your skills and knowledge in FileMaker development. You can get more information about these courses and register your interest on the Reconnect.Brisbane website here.

Changes to the Shopify Product APIs

Earlier this month Shopify announced that the 2024-04 stable API release includes the new GraphQL product APIs that can support up to 2,000 variants per product. Previously the number of variants and options were fixed at 100 and 3. Our fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) solution has only ever used the REST product APIs (not the GraphQL APIs) and only supports custom apps, so it would appear that these changes would have no impact on the fmEcommerce Link solution.

However Shopify announced at the same time that they are also deprecating the REST product APIs. This means that the REST product APIs are in maintenance mode; all new features and support will be built only for the new GraphQL product APIs. Everything will continue to work as it currently does and nothing will break, but developers should expect that the GraphQL API will be the only supported API over the long term.

This means that we will need to update the fmEcommerce Link solution to switch from using the current REST product APIs to the GraphQL product APIs. Over the next few months we will explore the changes required to switch from the REST product APIs to the GraphQL product APIs. We’re hoping the impact will be minimal and a case of simply updating the FileMaker scripts that make API requests related to products and variants.

We will be updating the fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) v2 solution with these changes, so any customer that has purchased fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) v2 and has a current maintenance plan will automatically receive access to the updated version. All fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) customers receive 12 months of free updates – you can purchase an additional 12 months of updates from our online store if you original 12 months of updates has expired and you have not purchased another year of maintenance updates. If you’re not sure when access to free updates expires please get in touch and we will confirm your expiry date.

As the current REST product APIs are still supported by Shopify everything will continue to work as it currently does and there is no urgent need to update to the GraphQL API in the short term.

You can get more information about migrating to the new product model on the Shopify website here.

fmSMS Now Supports Sending WhatsApp Messages with the Vonage Messages API

fmSMS, our FileMaker solution for sending and receiving SMS messages from the Claris FileMaker Platform, has been updated to support sending messages to WhatsApp users via the Vonage Messages API. This is the second SMS Gateway that you can use to send and receive WhatsApp messages with fmSMS – we previously added support for sending WhatsApp message using the Twilio Gateway back in 2019.

More than 2 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends and family and with WhatsApp Business you can communicate directly with your customers. You can send notifications, customer service messages, and essential information your customers need on WhatsApp.

fmSMS also supports testing using the Vonage Messages API Sandbox – this allows you to test sending WhatsApp messages for free whilst you are developing an integration with WhatsApp. It also works with free trial version of fmSMS.

You can download a trial version of fmSMS to test with the Vonage Messages API from the Databuzz website. More information on sending WhatsApp message with the Vonage Messages API and fmSMS is available on our support site.

Apple Maps Integration with the Claris FileMaker Platform

Every few years I like to generate a map of Databuzz customers to get visual sense of where they are located around the world. It’s been while since I last did this and blogged about it – the most recent one was in 2018 when I generated a map of our fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) customers after Xero had passed the 1 million subscriber mark (they now have 3.945 million subscribers and are on track to break the 4 million subscriber mark in 2024).

Databuzz has released a number of new FileMaker integration products since 2018 and I was curious to see how many countries our customers were located in now. Back in 2017 fmSMS was our most popular product and our last map showed we had customers in Australia, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, North America and Europe.

Previously I’ve used the Google Maps API to geocode the customer addresses and create a map with multiple markers showing their location. This process is all automated using FileMaker scripts so it usually only takes a few minutes.

Over the past couple of years I’ve worked on a number of Apple Maps integrations using Apple’s MapKit JS and was also lucky enough to be invited to do a presentation on Apple Maps Integration at the recent EngageU European Claris FileMaker conference in Antwerp, Belgium. The video of my presentation has just become available on YouTube.

I’ve been wanting to write an article on integrating Apple Maps and MapKit JS with the FileMaker Platform so I decided to switch to using Apple Maps for this exercise.

Comparing Google Maps and MapKit JS

It’s hard to do a like-for-like comparison of the Google Maps API and MapKit JS as their billing models and included usage are different. Like the Google Maps API Apple’s MapKit JS allows you to geocode addresses, which is the process of converting an address into the latitude and longitude coordinates required for generating the markers for the map. To get started with MapKit JS you’ll need an Apple Developer Program membership (99 USD per membership year or your local equivalent). This allows you to generate 250,000 map views and 25,000 service calls (used for geocoding) per day which is usually enough for most FileMaker integrations. Both APIs use JavaScript as the programming language so knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript certainly helps.

Here’s a slide from my EngageU presentation comparing MapKit JS and Google Maps at a high level:

Google Maps does require a credit card to be stored in your billing account but your usage might remain in the free monthly tier so you won’t incur any billable charges. MapKit JS requires a paid Apple Developer Program membership regardless of how many maps your generate each year.

I’m not going to go into the steps to generate the credentials required to start generating maps using MapKit JS – these are covered on the Apple Developer website here – but they include:

  • create a Maps ID
  • create a Maps Private Key
  • generate a JWT (JSON Web Token) – make a note of the expiry date
  • generate an access token required for geocoding

The JWT and access token can all be generated using native FileMaker script steps and functions so you can be up and running in a matter of minutes. You can then use the FileMaker Web Viewer to start generating maps using MapKit JS – here’s some examples:

Single Address

This shows a single address at the centre of the map without any markers and uses the Coordinate Span parameter to indicate the desired zoom level of the map:

Single Address With Marker

Like Google Maps MapKit JS can show markers at the location of the geocode – the default is a red balloon with a white pin icon inside the balloon. This shows a map of a single address with the red marker and a Title below the marker that was passed in as a parameter from a FileMaker field:

The colour of the marker can also be changed by passing in a parameter – here’s the same map with a purple marker:

You can also change the default white pin icon to another graphic using unicode characters. Here’s a map of Bondi Beach with a yellow colour marker and a surfer icon generated from the 1F3C4 unicode characters:

Single Address With Marker and Callout

In addition to displaying a marker with a title and customising the appearance of the marker you can also add a callout to the marker which acts like a FileMaker Pro popover when you click on the marker:

In the example shown above I’m showing a callout that displays data from the record that has been clicked on so you can dynamically control the content of the callout. We’ve also built integrations where the callout contains links – for example a company’s website or a link back to the FileMaker record to view more details etc.

Multiple Addresses/Markers

As well as mapping single addresses you can map multiple addresses/geocodes. After importing my customer addresses and running a FileMaker script to geocode them using the MapKit API I created a map with a marker for each customer:

We now have customers in 38 unique countries and most of the states in the USA! Here’s the same customer map showing a white balloon with the country flag:

Directions Between 2 Locations

In addition to mapping a single address or a found set of addresses you can also use MapKit JS to generate directions between 2 locations. Here’s a map showing the walking route between 2 addresses:

If you would like to discuss integrating Apple Maps using MapKit JS with your FileMaker solution please get in touch to arrange a free consultation and discuss your requirements.

Let’s Reconnect at Reconnect.Brisbane 2024

The Reconnect Claris FileMaker Developer conference is happening again in 2024. After the success of Reconnect.Sydney last year we’re excited to announce that Reconnect.Brisbane is now confirmed for 5 – 6 September 2024 at the Marriott Hotel in Brisbane.

The same group of Claris Partners that organised Reconnect.Sydney have been busy over the past few months working with Claris to finalise the dates and venue for Reconnect.Brisbane.

A fantastic social event has also been confirmed for the Thursday night at Customs House overlooking the Brisbane river and the Story Bridge. Claris are also returning as the premier sponsor of the event and this year we will have a speaker from Claris in the USA in-person.

We’re in the early stages of planning the content and are hoping to attract some speakers from Europe and the USA.

Tickets are on sale now – get in early to take advantage of the early bird specials:

https://reconnect.fm/

Reconnect.Brisbane will be the only official Claris FileMaker Developer conference in the APAC region in 2024 so don’t miss out as tickets are limited. This is not just an event for the APAC region – we’d love to see attendees from all over the world. Spring temperatures in Brisbane are 15 – 25°C (59 – 77°F) so if you’re looking for an excuse to escape the northern hemisphere winter, visit Australia and learn about the Claris platform we have the perfect event for you.

We will be adding more content to the website over the coming weeks, including hotel discount details and updates about the confirmed speakers. If you are interested sponsoring Reconnect.Brisbane we have a sponsors page on the website with further details of the available sponsorship packages available.

Upcoming Changes to WooCommerce

WooCommerce have announced a number of upcoming changes to their platform and we wanted to let our customers know about any potential impact on our fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) solution.

Firstly WooCommerce put out an announcement last year about their deprecated Legacy REST API and that this was being removed from WooCommerce as of version WooCommerce 9.0, scheduled to be released in June 2024. This has NO impact on the fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) solution as we have never used the Legacy REST API and have only ever used the newer REST API released with WooCommerce 2.6 that is based on the WordPress JSON API. You can ignore any notifications about the removal of the Legacy REST API as far as fmEcommerce Link integration is concerned.

Secondly you might have come across news about High-Performance Order Storage (HPOS), WooCommerce’s new database storage for orders to allow effortless scaling for large and high growth stores. Previously known as “Custom Order Tables” HPOS is a solution that provides an easy-to-understand and solid database structure – specifically designed for eCommerce needs. HPOS replaces the default WordPress post-based storage of orders and used dedicated custom database tables for data like orders and order addresses instead. This way is more efficient for handling large volumes of orders and eventually improving overall performance.

HPOS is enabled by default for new installations from WooCommerce 8.2 onward. You will need to ensure that all your WordPress extensions are compatible with HPOS before you upgrade to HPOS. We are waiting confirmation from WooCommerce about the impact of HPOS and their REST API which is used by fmEcommerce Link and will update this blog post once that is received.

We will also be testing fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) with an HPOS enabled store shortly to confirm everything works as expected. You can stay up-to-date by subscribing to our newsletter or this blog.

You can read more information about HPOS at the following links:

Databuzz 2023 End of Year Xmas Sale – 20% Off All Licenses

The Databuzz End of Year Xmas Sale is now on. We only have one sale each year and for the next 2 weeks you can save 20% on all Product Licenses including:

Use the coupon XMAS2023 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 December 31, 2023 (Australian Eastern Daylight Time). Click here to start shopping.

Free trial versions are available for all of our products. You can also get 20% off our custom integration services if you need assistance with integrating one of our products into your existing Claris FileMaker solution.

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.

EngageU 2023 Recap

The 2nd edition of the EngageU European Claris FileMaker conference was held earlier this month in Antwerp, Belgium. The conference attracted over 200 participants from 22 countries all around the world (including 2 from Australia!) and was expertly organised by ClickWorks and Square Moon.

This was my first European FileMaker event that I’ve attended in-person and it definitely won’t be my last. The conference kicked off with a Claris Partner Meeting followed by a brewery tour and dinner at De Koninck where I got to sample a variety of different Belgium beers. The next two days were filled with sessions and discussions in the KCC Congress Centre which was a great venue (and short walk from the hotel). One of the highlights was the conference dinner which was held at the historical Marble Hall next to the famous Antwerp Zoo.

I was grateful to be invited to present two sessions at EngageU 2023:

  1. Webhooks: in this session I explained what webhooks are and why you should use them, and gave an overview of the options for deploying webhooks including commercial solutions like Claris Connect or build it yourself using other programming languages like PHP and JavaScript. I also did a few live demos using Stripe and Twilio showing how you can implement webhooks to receive automatic notifications of new payments from Stripe and incoming SMS messages from Twilio.
  2. Apple Maps Integration: this session covered using Apple’s MapKit JS to display maps in your FileMaker solution using the FileMaker Web Viewer and Apple Maps. I demonstrated how to create simple maps of an address using MapKit JS and how to plot multiple markers on a map and customise the appearance of the markers. The video of my presentation is now available on YouTube.

Thanks to everyone that came to my sessions. All sessions at EngageU were recorded and will be available on YouTube once they have been edited. If you have any questions about these please get in touch. I’m looking forward to finding out where EngageU 2024 will be and starting my planning for the long trip back to Europe again.