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.