FileMaker Announces Schedule for FileMaker Developer Conference 2010 in San Diego

FileMaker, Inc. have announced the sessions and workshops schedule for the FileMaker Developer Conference 2010, the largest annual gathering of worldwide FileMaker independent and corporate database developers, trainers and users. This year’s conference will be at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, August 15 to 18, 2010.
This year’s conference will feature more than 80 sessions and workshops, the most ever offered, led by recognized FileMaker experts. Key sessions will focus on FileMaker database development best practices and techniques including FileMaker Server configuration, content sharing between FileMaker and Microsoft Office, FileMaker and the Cloud, working with calculations and more. Conference sessions and workshops will also include detailed information about designing databases on a large scale and displaying information through reports.
Databuzz is pleased to announce that Andrew Duncan will be presenting two sessions at this year’s conference. The first session is titled “Integrating SMS/TXT Messaging to Your FileMaker Solution Session” and is part of the Integration/Web stream. In this session attendees will learn how to integrate the ability to send SMS messages directly into your FileMaker solution. The session will cover:
  • what is required to start sending SMS messages from FileMaker Pro – how to use simple FileMaker Pro native technologies to send an SMS (e.g. scripts steps, Script Triggers and Web Viewers)
  • when to consider using external plug-ins instead of native technologies and which plug-ins to use
  • when to consider using a hardware modem and how to configure ESS for this
  • how to receive incoming SMS messages directly into your FileMaker Pro solution
The second session is also part of the Integration/Web stream and is titled  “Building a FileMaker Pro/Custom Web Publishing Solution for Internal and External Users”. Many FileMaker in-house solutions often require limited access by external parties that do not use FileMaker Pro. In this session we will walk you through how to approach the development of a “hybrid” solution that has 2 types of users: in-house staff using FileMaker Pro and external customers/users using Custom Web Publishing. Find out when and how to use the FileMaker API for PHP to give access to external users to your FileMaker solution. Several case studies will demonstrate how these problems have been solved and what lessons we have learned along the way (things I know now that I wish I had known then).

Attendees can save US $200 on the conference price by registering by May 21, 2010. You can get all the details at the DevCon website

Cleaning up Smart Quotes in FileMaker Pro v10

One of my pet hates is the use of “smart quotes” in FileMaker Pro. Smart quotes are the curly quotation marks and curly apostrophes and are usually entered in 2 ways:

1. the setting for smart quotes is enabled by default for the creation of new .fp7 database files on Mac OS X but not for Windows XP, so anytime you enter an apostrophe or a quote mark you will be using smart quotes.

2. pasting in text from Microsoft Word, which also has a preference setting for smart quotes and which is also enabled by default (you can get instructions for how to turn this off on Windows here)

Here are some examples of how they appear:

Single Left Smart Quote: ‘

Single Right Smart Quote: ’

Double Left Smart Quote: “

Double Right Smart Quote: ”

The smart quotes setting in FileMaker Pro can be found by opening a database file and going to the File menu > File Options, and click the Text tab (note that you must log in using the Full Access privilege set to edit items in the Text tab). Here you can toggle smart quotes on and off- if you enable smart quotes when it was previously off this will only affect new typing as any existing data will not be edited automatically.

For many users smart quotes are not problematic, but when it comes to exchanging data with other database platforms (e.g. SQL) and systems (particularly web based systems) their presence will often cause data exchange processes to break or for text not to be displayed correctly, which means you then have to deal with any smart quotes in your data. I was recently working on submitting FileMaker data to on online system and was required to URL encode my data. Everything was working well until one day data was being truncated for no obvious reason. After many tests I realised that some of the apostrophe and quotation characters were not being URL encoded correctly (I was using this handy custom function to URL encode the data before submitting it via HTTP POST). Once I zoomed in on the text to 400% and changed the font to a sans serif font all was clear – the text was using smart quotes which the customer has enabled as this was the default setting for a new .fp7 file on Mac OS X. I quickly turned that off which meant any new data entered directly into the fields would not be using smart quotes, but all the existing data needed to be cleaned up. I created a new custom function RemoveSmartQuotes (text) which uses one of the new functions in FileMaker Pro v10 to reference a character without having to actually type/enter the character into a calculation.

The following calculation uses the Char function to identify any instances of the single and double smart quotes/apostrophes and replace them with plain (straight) quotes and apostrophes:

Substitute (

text ;

[ Char ( 8216 ) ; “‘” ] ; // left smart quote
[ Char ( 8217 ) ; “‘” ] ;  // right smart quote

[ Char ( 8220) ; “\”” ] ; // left double smart quote
[ Char ( 8221) ; “\”” ]   // right double smart quote



I’ve dcreate a custom function that uses this calculation that you can copy/paste into your file which should appear shortly on Brian Dunning’s custom function site. This custom function can then be used in a number of ways to clean up text that cannot have any smart quotes in them, for example as an auto enter calculation on a field or in a script that transforms data. If you’re using a version of FileMaker Pro before v10 you simply need to change the use of the Char function with the actual smart quotes themselves and remember to escape the double quotes.

Databuzz now FileMaker 10 Certified

We’re pleased to announce that Andrew Duncan recently sat the FileMaker 10 Certification exam and passed!


We aim to maintain our certification with each new version of FileMaker that is released. FileMaker Certification lets our customers know that we’re experts in the FileMaker industry and is the only credential sponsored by FileMaker Inc

FileMaker Pro v10 Script Triggers and Pop-up Menus/Drop-down Lists

FileMaker Pro v10 has been out for over 9 months now and in that time developers have come up with a range of new and innovative techniques in the application of Script Triggers to real world problems. One of my favourite uses is to combine a Script Trigger with a field formatted to use a Pop-up Menu or Drop-down list and compare the “before” and “after” value and apply business rules where appropriate. Using a Script Trigger you can capture the “before” value if you pass this as a Script Parameter to the calling script. You can then compare that the new new changed value that you have selected from the menu/list. Due to the timing of the OnObjectModify script trigger a user can change a field using the menu/list – for example changing a Membership Type from “Bronze” to “Silver” – and the script trigger can capture the original value before it is committed from the passed parameter and compare that against the new value stored in the field.

I’ve created a simple sample file that demonstrates this technique that you can download here.

FileMaker Pro 10 – Script Triggers

I’m in the process of updating one of my main solutions that previously used script triggering via the zippScript plugin under FM9 with FM10 native script triggers. zippScript worked really well and was a great all round script triggering plugin but one thing it couldn’t handle was keystroke based script triggers which are native in FM10. For many years I’ve yearned for a way to update a field that counts both the number of characters entered and the number of allowable characters remaining (this is for an SMS solution that has a max of 160 characters in the message field). With FM10 this is now a snap and combined with conditional formatting you can do some nice interface tricks (e.g. make the count field red when it exceeds a limit) and show a dialog when you hit 160 characters etc. I’ve put together a simple demo file for anyone that’s interested at:

I’ll hopefully have some more demo files online shortly.

Do you Twitter?

We’ve been reading a lot about Twitter lately and have now joined the Twitter community. You can see us on Twitter at or just click the Twitter logo below.

If we see that you’ve started following us we’ll endeavour to follow you also.

Databuzz eNews – December 2008 Released

We’ve just released our eNews newsletter for December 2008. You can view it online at:

If you want to be added to the newsletter mailing list just leave a comment below and we’ll add you to the list until our new automated subscription service is operational.

fmSMS . . . Coming Soon


We’ve been hard at work finalising a new product of ours – fmSMS – which is the combination of over 7 years of experience integrating FileMaker Pro with SMS (Short Message Service/TXT) gateways to allow you to send single/bulk SMS messages at the click of a button from a FileMaker Pro database. I can still remember the excitement when I sent my first SMS message from a FileMaker Pro v5 database to my mobile phone and seeing it arrive within seconds. That same “wow factor” is also seen by all of our clients when they first implement SMS with their FileMaker solutions and see how easy it is to sent short messages to their customers.

We’ve decided to start from scratch and combine all the great features of FileMaker Pro 9 with the power of SMS communication. With fmSMS you will be able to:

  • send an SMS message to a single Contact which is typically received in under 10 seconds
  • send a bulk SMS to a group of Contacts using templates and merge fields so each message is personalised
  • check on the delivery status of each message that you have sent
  • schedule a message to be sent up to 7 days in advance (for example you could send an SMS today and have it delivered on the weekend or holidays. Make it look like you’re in the office on XMas!)
  • check your available SMS credits
  • purchase additional SMS credits

There’s a stack of other great features that we’re finalising now. You will be able to access over 700 mobile networks in over 200 countries with SMS prices around AUD 6-8 cents each.

We’d love to hear about any must have features that you’d like to see in fmSMS in case we’ve missed anything – just leave us a comment below. If you’d like to be added to the notification list when we release fmSMS just leave a comment with your name and email address and we’ll take care of the rest.

UPDATE: fmSMS has now been released and you can get all the details at A trial version is available to download.

We’re FileMaker 9 Certified!

Andrew Duncan finally found time to sit for the FileMaker 9 Certification exam today and we’re pleased to announce that he passed with flying colours. We aim to maintain our certification with each new version of FileMaker that is released. FileMaker Certification lets our customers know that we’re experts in the FileMaker industry and is the only credential sponsored by FileMaker Inc.


FileMaker 9 Certified!

Latest Databuzz Newsletter Now Online

We’ve just released our latest eNews for October 2008. You can read it online at: