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.

fmSMS Now Supports Bulksms2u.com SMS Gateway

We’ve just added support for the Bulksms2u.com SMS Gateway based in Malaysia. This is the 2nd Malaysian based SMS Gateway that we’ve added support for this month. You can signup for a trial account with Bulksms2u.com and receive 20 free credits to use for testing.

You can download a trial version of fmSMS to test with the Bulksms2u.com SMS Gateway from here – please get in touch if you have any questions about using fmSMS with Bulksms2u.com.

fmSMS Now Supports Mocean SMS Gateway

We’ve just added support for the Mocean SMS Gateway based in Malaysia. We had previously supported Mocean in fmSMS v3 so we’re pleased to now offer support once again for Mocean in fmSMS v4. 

You can download a trial version of fmSMS to test with the Mocean SMS Gateway from here – please get in touch if you have any questions about using fmSMS with Mocean.

FileMaker 19 Platform Compatibility Update

Claris today released the FileMaker 19 Platform and we’re pleased to report that all Databuzz products are compatible with the FileMaker 19 Platform. We haven’t encountered any issues with the following products in our testing with the FileMaker 19 Platform:

fmSMS – we have sent messages from multiple SMS Gateways, checked Account balances and checked the status of sent Messages successfully. Tests were performed using both fmSMS v3.5 and fmSMS v4.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) – we have been able to authenticate, download from Xero to FileMaker and upload from FileMaker to Xero successfully. Tests were performed using both fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) v1 and v2.

fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) – we have been able to authenticate, download from WooCommerce to FileMaker and upload from FileMaker to WooCommerce successfully

fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) – we have been able to authenticate, download from Shopify to FileMaker and upload from FileMaker to Shopify successfully

fmESignature Link (DocuSign Edition) – we have been able to send a signing request, check the status, download the completed PDF and form data successfully.

fmAccounting Link (MYOB AccountRight Edition) – we have been able to authenticate, download from AccountRight to FileMaker and upload from FileMaker to AccountRight successfully. Tests were performed with the on premise version and the MYOB Cloud version.

If you encounter any issues with any of our products and FileMaker 19 Platform please let us know. We’ll be writing more articles about some of the new features in the FileMaker 19 Platform over the coming weeks – you can subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when they are released or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

fmSMS Now Supports 5c SMS Gateway

We’ve just added support for the 5c SMS SMS Gateway based in Australia. As their name suggests 5c SMS pricing starts at AUD 5c per message and goes down to 3.5c if you purchase in bulk. There are no setup costs or ongoing monthly fees and your prepaid credits never expire.

You can download a trial version of fmSMS to test with the 5c SMS Gateway from here – please get in touch if you have any questions about using fmSMS with 5c SMS.

‘Automate What You Hate’

With the move to remote working and the changes to social distancing since the onset of COVID-19 many businesses have been forced to evaluate their use of technology and quickly adopt solutions to fill in some gaps in their business processes that have changed under the coronavirus. Companies that never thought they could function with a remote workforce have been forced to adapt quickly – I’ve spoken to many employees at other companies who have helped their organisations transition to a remote workforce in under 2 weeks.

I’ve had a lot of conversations over the past 6 weeks with customers who have found themselves in two common situations:

  1. having been forced into working remotely they quickly need a new solution or integration (e.g. implementing eSignatures now that in person signing isn’t safe or transitioning from retail sales to online sales)
  2. they have been able to take the extra time they have to finally get around to some of those projects they have been putting off, such as getting an eCommerce store up and running or integrating two different software platforms to remove those repetitive manual tasks.

Earlier this week Shopify, a leading global commerce company, announced that the number of new stores created on Shopify grew 62% between March 13 and April 24, compared to the prior six weeks. In the 6 week period since March 13, local orders have more than doubled in English-speaking geographies. As retailers suspended their in-store operations retail merchants managed to replace 94% of lost point-of-sale orders with online sales over the same period.

Earlier this week I attended the DocuSign Momentum Live APAC which was streamed live where a number of DocuSign customers shared their experiences and best practice examples of how they’re keeping business ticking in the current climate. We saw examples of how businesses are using the DocuSign platform to complete JobKeeper application forms so they can access the Australian Federal Government JobKeeper scheme payments. This form can be bulk sent to employees and a complete audit trail can be maintained.

DocuSign have a dedicated page on how they are supporting the global response to COVID-19 in healthcare, government, education, and business. We’ve helped a number of businesses in the past 6 weeks quickly adopt DocuSign for sending out agreements to their customers which, for now at least, can no longer be signed in person. Using eSignature allows you to have agreements signed remotely anywhere from any device – using our fmESignature Link (DocuSign Edition) solution you can also integrate this into your existing FileMaker solution.

I came across an article recently on the Inside Small Business website titled Automate what you hate which talks about the benefits of automation and how small businesses can use technology to replace boring manual repetitive tasks. The article goes on to give four reasons to automate the repetitive tasks you hate.

Here at Databuzz we’re big fans of using technology to automate repetitive manual tasks and leveraging the power of APIs to integrate various systems, something we’ve written about many times before. If you find yourself with some extra time during the COVID-19 shutdown we would encourage you to use this opportunity to look at ways you can streamline your current workflows and remove any unnecessary manual tasks, particular those that involve double data entry. If you’ve been planning to integrate your FileMaker solution with another platform now is a great time to make these system changes to your business and automate what you hate.

Here’s some ideas based on conversations and work we’ve done over the past few months helping customers on ways you can change the way you communicate with customers or integrate your FileMaker solution with other platforms:

  • SMS is a great alternative replacement for certain communications, such as appointment reminders, special offers, school alerts to parents. We saw a great example recently with a doctor in the USA using our fmSMS solution to implement a “Doctor by Text” service
  • If you have an online store and find yourself manually entering orders into your FileMaker solution look at whether you can integrate the two platforms. Most online stores have APIs that you can use to integrate with your FileMaker solution – if you’re using either WooCommerce or Shopify we have integration solutions already built that you can use to get up and running quickly.
  • eSignatures are becoming more popular with the social distancing rules and can help you remove paper and establish a digital audit trail and allow your customers, staff etc to sign documents on their own device at their convenience. Our fmESignature Link (DocuSign Edition) solution is proving very popular at the moment as it can help you get up and running with integrating eSignatures into your existing FileMaker solution
  • Accounting software integration: see our earlier article about the benefits of integrating your FileMaker solution with your accounting software. If you find yourself manually entering the same invoice, payment, purchase order etc in both your FileMaker solution and your accounting software there is a better way! If you’re using either Xero or MYOB AccountRight we have integration solutions already built to help you fastback an integration.

fmSMS Now Supports SignalWire SMS Gateway

We’ve just added support for the SignalWire SMS Gateway based in the United States. SignalWire currently deliver to the United States and Canada and offer the lowest rates possible to everyone with no contracts. With fmSMS and SignalWire you can send SMS messages from the FileMaker platform and use our incoming PHP Webhooks files to receive incoming messages using either the FileMaker PHP API or the FileMaker Data API.

You can download a trial version of fmSMS to test with the SignalWire SMS Gateway from here – please get in touch if you have any questions about using fmSMS with SignalWire.

fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) Webhooks and the FileMaker Data API

We’ve been progressively updating the Webhooks for our integration solutions to support the new FileMaker Data API and the latest to be updated is fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition).

The FileMaker Server Data API will replace the current XML and PHP APIs over time so we’re excited to include support for the Data API. Supporting the Data API also means you can now use Webhooks when your file is hosted by FileMaker Cloud for AWS, as well as FileMaker Server v17 or later. We’ve been testing these Data API Webhooks for the past few months with a FileMaker Cloud for AWS hosted solution and the PHP files running on Amazon Lightsail successfully.

The Data API is language agnostic – you can use whichever programming language you prefer here. We’ve gone with PHP for our examples as that is what we know best. Remember when working with the Data API you will need to enable the fmrest extended privilege for the Webhooks Privilege Set:

You’ll now find 2 folders in the Webhooks folder containing the php files for both the Data API Webhooks and the PHP API Webhooks:

Both folders contain the same 3 files:

  • webhookUpdateOrder.php
  • webhookOrderCancellation.php
  • webhookNewOrder.php

You’ll need to upload these to your chosen Web Server and then enter the URL for each Webhook that you plan to use in your Shopify settings – see our Webhooks page for further details on setting these up.

If you are just looking to use the Data API PHP files make sure you also update the Process Webhooks Order script and the Update Current Order from Shopify script as these have been updated to work with the Data API version of the Webhooks which work slightly differently to the existing PHP API ones.

We also include a few other updates with this release, including:

  • Product Variants: added example to download Product Variants
  • Products: added new fields to upload the SEO Title and SEO Description

Once again this is a free update to all existing customers (simply download using the same link that was on your original order email 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). If you’re having any issues with downloading the new version please contact us if you need the link to be reset etc.

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.

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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.