Andrew Duncan from Databuzz to speak at WordCamp Brisbane 2018

WordCamp Brisbane 2018 is on 27-28 October this year at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. Databuzz is pleased to announce that Andrew Duncan will be speaking this year on WooCommerce integration using the WooCommerce API.

Databuzz are big fans of WooCommerce and WordPress – we’ve been using WordPress and WooCommerce for many years to run our websites and eCommerce platforms. Our fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) solution is one of our most popular products and we continue to update this with new features and improvements. Andrew’s presentation will cover the new v3 of the REST API that will be released with WooCommerce 3.5 later this month.

We look forward to meeting up and discussing all things WordPress – you can get tickets and more information from the WordCamp Brisbane 2018 site here:

https://2018.sydney.wordcamp.org/

FileMaker 17 Certified Developer

Databuzz is pleased to announce that Andrew Duncan recently passed the Developer Essentials for FileMaker 17 Certification Exam and is now FileMaker Certified in v8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. FileMaker 17 Certification is the official credential offered by FileMaker, Inc.

FileMaker Certification is your validation that you are hiring an experienced FileMaker professional who has technical knowledge of the complete FileMaker product line and has passed the “Developer Essentials for FileMaker” certification exam. Being a certified developer demonstrates to clients, peers and management that you’ve achieved an essential level of knowledge, experience and skills in developing on the FileMaker Platform.

Automate Electronic Document Signing with FileMaker and DocuSign


For many years we’ve helped business both large and small with their workflow challenges, and one of the most common issues we see is managing the distribution and signing of standard business documents such as contracts, employee agreements, quotes and proposals. The solutions to these problems vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of document to be signed, the number of recipients, volume of documents and the location of recipients.

Over the past few years we’ve helped a number of customers integrate with DocuSign, one of the most popular electronic signature platforms. DocuSign helps organisations connect and automate how they prepare, sign, act-on, and manage agreements and allows users to sign electronically on practically any device, from almost anywhere, at any time.

With DocuSign you can create DocuSign Templates with merge fields that you sent to recipients for signing, or you can create a PDF on the fly and upload that at the time of sending the signing request. A common workflow solution integrating your custom FileMaker business app with DocuSign might look like this:

The process would typically work like this:

  • a FileMaker user is notified that a certain document needs to be sent to a customer for signing, such as a contract
  • the FileMaker user clicks a button that creates a custom PDF with any merged data for that customer with details on what actions the customer needs to take, such as signing on a particular page, entering their name or other details such as their date of birth
  • the FileMaker generated PDF is then sent to DocuSign with instructions to send this PDF to be signed to the specified customer, and DocuSign then sends a signing request email (you can customise the email subject and body)
  • the customer receives the email and electronically signs the document. DocuSign then notifies you that the document has been signed and you can then download the signed version of the document into a FileMaker container field

This type of tight integration between FileMaker and DocuSign has a number of benefits, including being able to manage the document signing process in one central place from start to finish. You don’t need to give your FileMaker users access to DocuSign as everything is managed from within FileMaker and you have access to the signed documents from FileMaker. You can even setup Webhooks to have FileMaker automatically notified by DocuSign when a document has been signed and have FileMaker download this automatically.

You will need to sign up for one of the DocuSign API Plans – (US, UK and Australian plans) which have a number of tiers depending on the number of documents you need to send each month and other additional features.

Here’s a short video demonstrating how a FileMaker DocuSign integration might work (YouTube link):

If you would like to discuss integrating DocuSign with your FileMaker solution please get in touch for a free initial consultation to discuss your requirements.

MYOB Announces End of Support for MYOB AccountRight Classic v19

MYOB have recently announced that as of 30th September 2019 they will no longer provide features, patches, compliance updates or product support for AccountRight Classic (sometimes known as v19) in Australia and New Zealand. I’ve often wondered when MYOB would cease to support the Classic version of AccountRight. We get a lot of enquiries from customers in Australia and New Zealand still using v19 which lacks the API functionality that we use with our FileMaker MYOB Integration solutions, so we’re pleased to see that MYOB will be ceasing support for v19 and encouraging customers to upgrade to the modern versions of AccountRight or MYOB Essentials that have cloud support as well as API support.

For customers still using AccountRight Classic/v19 who upgrade to AccountRight 2018 or MYOB Essentials you will now be able to take advantage of many new features and you will also be able to integrate AccountRight or Essentials with your FileMaker solution in ways that were not previously possible. AccountRight Classic used ODBC to interact with AccountRight which had a number of limitations. For example you were limited to creating Windows-based applications that were primarily desktop bound. With the new AccountRight Live API, it’s easy to create applications using any programming language, for a variety of platforms, including Mac and Windows, as well as for devices runinng iOS, Android and Windows Mobile operating systems.

Databuzz has been integrating FileMaker solutions with AccountRight Live and Essentials since the APIs were first available a number of years ago. We’ve also created some products that show you how to integrate FileMaker with AccountRight Live or Essentials:



If you’re planning on upgrading from AccountRight Classic to either AccountRight 2018 or MYOB Essentials and you need to replace your existing ODBC integration or would like to discuss how you can integrate your FileMaker solution please get in touch to arrange a free consultation and discuss your requirements.

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) Update – Notes & History and Attachments

In Xero, you can view the history of changes made to invoices, bills, transactions, inventory items, contacts and more. This audit trail also shows any notes recorded by users in the Xero app but until recently this information was not available via the Accounting API.

Earlier this year Xero added a new endpoint to the Accounting API to allow developers to be able to download the notes/history and also add new notes. We’ve just released an update to fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) that includes examples for downloading and creating Notes for Contacts and Invoices.

The history and notes for an Invoice in the Xero web app looks like this:

and contains important information, such as when the Invoice was sent to the customer and if they have viewed the invoice online. We’ve added a new Notes tab to display the same information in the fmAccounting Link file:

You can download all the Notes from Xero for an Invoice and a Contact and create a new Note and upload that to Xero for a Invoice and a Contact. We started adding support for the new History and Notes endpoint for Contacts and Invoices as these are two of the most popular modules, but will gradually add them to the other supported modules such as Bills, Credit Notes, Items etc.

We also took this opportunity to extend the support for working with Attachments to also include the ability to download Attachments for an Invoice and create/download Attachments for a Contact.

Here’s a video that demonstrates working with History and Notes and Attachments in fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition):

FileMaker Developer Conference 2018

The FileMaker Developer Conference 2018 starts next week (August 6-9) in Dallas, Texas at the amazing Gaylord Texan Resort. This will be my 14th DevCon and also the first time I’ve been able to fly direct from my hometown of Sydney, Australia to the DevCon city. I’m looking forward to learning about the future directions of the FileMaker platform and catching up with fellow developers from all around the world (I’m definitely not looking forward to spending 15h 25m in economy though).

Databuzz was not able to secure an exhibitors booth this year so please get in touch if you would like to arrange a time to meet to discuss our FileMaker integration products or arrange a demonstration of our Xero, WooCommerce, Shopify, SMS and MYOB solutions.

This year for the very first time you will be able to live stream a special session from DevCon where you will hear members of FileMaker Product Management and Product Development share their insights with you – you can register for the live stream here (it starts at 9:00 am Dallas time which is 12am AEST).

I’ll be sharing some highlights from DevCon alongside other DevCon attendees at the inaugural FileMaker Dev Sydney meeting in September. If you live in Sydney please join the new Meetup group and register for our first meet up.

WordCamp Sydney 2018 Recap

Here at Databuzz we love WordPress and WooCommerce and have been using both in our business for many years. I’ve never attended a WordCamp before – WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users – but that changed last weekend when I attended and presented at my first WordCamp – WordCamp Sydney 2018:

I had a great time at the conference meeting fellow WordPress enthusiasts and learning more about the WordPress platform. The conference had a particular focus on Gutenberg, the new editor coming soon to WordPress as part of the 5.0 release. You can try Gutenberg now by installing the Gutenberg plugin – I was impressed by what Gutenberg can do and it really brings the WordPress editor into the modern age.

The videos and the slides from the conference should be available on WordPress.tv in around 2-3 weeks. I’ve uploaded a copy of my slides here as well if you would like to download a copy.

I’m looking forward to attending more WordCamps in the future – you can see all the upcoming WordCamps at the WordCamp Central site. I would like to thank all the event organisers and the sponsors for putting on a great conference at an excellent venue: UTS has changed a lot since I was a student nearly 30 years ago!

fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) Multi-Location Inventory Update

At this year’s Unite event Shopify announced Locations, which enables merchants to manage inventory, fulfillments, and restocks across multiple locations from the Shopify admin. Currently inventory is set and adjusted on the product variant and is not tracked by any particular location. In anticipation of multi-location inventory, Shopify have released a new Inventory API, which includes two new endpoints: Inventory Item and Inventory Level. The Inventory API will allow apps to effectively manage inventory quantities across multiple locations.

We’ve just released a free update to fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition) to include support for working with the new multi-location inventory features and APIs. The main changes in this update are:

  • two new tables: InventoryItems and InventoryLevels
  • the ‘inventory_quantity’ from Product Variant uploads has been disabled as this is now deprecated (use Inventory Level endpoint instead)
  • added examples for working with multi location Inventory: download Inventory Levels and upload Inventory Levels
  • Product Variants: added examples for uploading, downloading and deleting individual Product Variants without having to upload the parent Product

Shopify have announced that the new multi-location inventory features will go live on August 1, which means the API changes will also happen at the same time. The main impact for fmEcommerce Link users is that you will no longer be able to set inventory on the Product/Variant APIs and must use the new Inventory Level API instead. We recommend reading the following articles on the Shopify website to get a better understanding of these changes:

The following chart from Shopify illustrates the relationship between a Product Variant and the new Inventory Item and Inventory Level resources:

 

With the new multi-location inventory changes each variant is now always linked to a single InventoryItem – there is a new 1:1 relationship between a Product Variant and an Inventory Item. Each product variant includes a inventory_item_id. Each InventoryItem must be stored in at least one location at any given time. Inventory stored in each location is represented by the new InventoryLevel resource. We’ve added a new Inventory TAB in the Setup screen where you can view all Locations, InventoryItems and InventoryLevels:

When viewing a Product Variant you can now view all related Inventory Levels:

and within each Inventory Level you can set the Inventory Level for that Location, adjust the Inventory Level up/down and delete the Inventory Level from Shopify:

This is a free update to all our existing customers – you can get the full details of the changes in the release notes for fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition). Existing customers can download this new version using their existing download links from their original order – please contact us if you have any issues downloading this update.

The following video demonstrates how to use the new multi-location inventory features in v1.1 of fmEcommerce Link (Shopify Edition):

FileMaker and the Twilio API

Here at Databuzz we’re longtime fans of Twilio, the company with the strange name that offers a Cloud communications platform, providing the building blocks to add messaging, voice, and video in your web and mobile applications.

For many years we’ve been working with the Twilio API, primarily to send and receive SMS messages using our fmSMS FileMaker solution. Twilio provides great coverage and very competitive pricing and we’ve been recommending Twilio to our customers for many years – when they ask which SMS Gateway we use at Databuzz we don’t hesitate to recommend Twilio.

Earlier this year we had the chance to attend the first Twilio Engage Sydney and learn more about the company’s strategy and participate in some great product demos. Twilio are opening 2 new offices in Melbourne and Sydney and it was great to be able to meet some of their Australian based staff in person.

We’ve written about how we use the Twilio API in the past, including a demonstration for Voice Calling with FileMaker and Twilio as well as sending Emojis from fmSMS. We’ve also made some custom solutions for customers to allow them to send and receive MMS (picture messages) messages from the FileMaker platform.

Over the past few months we’ve had the opportunity to work on some additional Twilio APIs that enhance the functionality found in our fmSMS solution, including:

  • adding phone number lookup functionality via the Twilio Lookup API
  • adding the ability to poll Twilio for any incoming messages that may not have been delivered due to a local server/Internet outage when using the regular Webhooks

For some customers the ability to check a number before sending an SMS or MMS message is important as it allows you to verify that the number you are about to send a message to is indeed a mobile number. For example you might have a list of Customers and associated phone numbers, but you aren’t sure if the number is a landline number or a mobile number. Using the Twilio Lookup API you can make a request to verify a number and receive information about the carrier and optionally (where supported) the caller name, allowing you to confirm the veracity of the number.

fmSMS includes the necessary PHP files to receive incoming messages to your Twilio number and have these pushed automatically to your FileMaker Server, but there may be times when your server or Internet connection is offline but you would still like to download any missed messages into your FileMaker solution. We’ve helped customers add the ability to “poll” the Twilio Messages API for any incoming messages to their Twilio number that they might have missed during a planned or unscheduled outage.

We’ve put together a simple demonstration video showing these in action – you can watch the video inline below or directly on YouTube:

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) and Unit Price Rounding in Xero

By default the Xero API accepts unit prices (UnitAmount) to two decimals places – this means that if you were entering a line item on an Invoice and entered ‘1.795’ for the Unit Price it would be rounded to $1.80 in Xero. For most customers 2 decimal places is sufficient for the line item unit price, however there are some customers that do require greater precision. Xero offer a way to opt-in to 4 decimal places by adding a parameter to your API request.

For example if you wanted to create an Invoice and include 4 decimal places on the unit price for the line items you would change the URL from:

https://api.xero.com/api.xro/2.0/Invoices

to:

https://api.xero.com/api.xro/2.0/Invoices?unitdp=4

Unfortunately it wasn’t as simple as changing the URL in the appropriate fmAccounting Link scripts – even after changing the URL and including unit prices on the line items with 4 decimal places they were still being rounded to two decimals places when uploaded to Xero. We’ve come up with a solution to this to allow you to specify unit prices with 4 decimal places – you’ll need to simply install an updated version of the BaseElements plug-in (v3.3.8) and make sure you change your request URL to include the additional querystring parameter.

If you need to specify unit prices with 4 decimal places please get in touch and we’ll send you the new version of the BaseElements plug-in to use. You can get more information on the Xero developer website here:

https://developer.xero.com/documentation/api-guides/rounding-in-xero