Andrew Duncan from Databuzz to speak at WordCamp Sydney 2018

 

WordCamp Sydney 2018 is on 28 & 29 July this year at the University of Technology Sydney. 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 can continue to update this with new features and improvements.

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

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

fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) Now Runs Natively on FileMaker 16 Platform

When we first released fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) back in 2016 the functionality required to integrate with the WooCommerce REST API did not exist in the current version of FileMaker Pro, therefore we had to use a FileMaker Pro plug-in to handle the API requests, set HTTP Headers, encode JSON and parse the JSON response. This allowed fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) to run under FileMaker Pro v12 and later, as well as under FileMaker Server with the plug-in installed, however it prevented it from running on FileMaker Go which does not currently support plug-ins (except via the iOS App SDK).

With the release of the FileMaker 16 platform we got a number of new functions and script steps, including support for working with JSON data and being able to specify supported cURL options with the Insert From URL script step. These new features meant that we were no longer dependent on plug-in functions and we could replace these with native FileMaker features. We’re pleased to announce that v1.5 of fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) is now available and includes a number of new features, including native support for FileMaker Pro v16 and later. This is a free update to all existing customers (simply download using the same link that was on your original order email).

We’ve updated all the requests for downloading and uploading to the WooCommerce API to use native FileMaker functions and script steps so you no longer need to use a FileMaker plug-in if you’re using FileMaker Pro v16 or higher. This means you can also use fmEcommerce Link on FileMaker Go natively (requires FileMaker Go 16) – we’ve also included an example for using Perform Script on Server to have FileMaker Server handle uploading a Product to WooCommerce.

In working on this update (which was a much bigger update than we anticipated and took much longer than we planned!) we tried to avoid making too many unnecessary schema changes. We’ve simply updated the scripts to check which version of FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go or FileMaker Server is being used and if you’re using v15 or earlier we simply use the previous plug-in functionality, and if you’re using v16 or later we now use native functionality. Everything works exactly the same regardless of which version of FileMaker Pro you’re using, but we can now include support for FileMaker Go as well as having one less dependency to worry about.

You can get all the details on our version history page – we’re busy working on adding native FileMaker 16 support to our other products, as well as some further updates to fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) including support for uploading Orders from FileMaker to WooCommerce.

Eliminating Double Data Entry with eCommerce, FileMaker and Accounting Integration

Are you a small business that uses FileMaker to run your business (Contacts, Invoices, Suppliers, Leads etc) but also have an online store and use another accounting software? Do you find yourself re-entering online orders multiple times in your FileMaker CRM then once again in your accounting software?

There is a better way – we know as we once were in that situation ourselves. Over the past five years we’ve introduced a number of new systems into our business operations, including:

  • 2 online stores for our main Databuzz site as well as for our fmSMS product both running WooCommerce
  • switched from a  desktop accounting software to the Xero Cloud accounting platform

We also use the FileMaker platform internally to run our business and like many of our customers we suddenly found ourselves in the position where we had to enter a new sales order multiple times in different systems. The workflow for a new order became:

  1. receive notification via email of a new online order
  2. create a new order in our FileMaker CRM and copy/paste the customer and order details from the email
  3. logon to Xero and create a new Customer and Invoice and enter the Payment manually via copy/paste from FileMaker

The online order was being manually typed twice in FileMaker and our accounting software, leading to data entry errors and wasted time handling the same order multiple times. At Databuzz we like to “eat out own dogfood”  and most of our Products have been the result of a need to solve a problem within our own business that we suspected other businesses would also have. With the help of our fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) solution as well as fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) and the power of webhooks we’ve been able to completely eliminate all data entry for our online orders.

The new streamlined process looks like this:

  1. a new order is created in one of our online stores which triggers a WooCommerce webhook to push that new Order to our internal version of fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition).
  2. this calls a FileMaker script which then pushes the online order to our internal version of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition). It checks to see if the customer already exists, otherwise it creates a new one.
  3. a staff member does a quick sanity check to make sure everything looks correct and then clicks a button to upload the new Invoice and Payment to Xero.

We’ve managed to reduce this business process from 5-10 minutes to 5-10 seconds –  this has freed up time to be spent on more productive tasks instead of mindless double data entry. Whether you’re using WooCommerce or Shopify for your online store and Xero or MYOB AccountRight/Essentials for your accounting it is possible to integrate all of these with FileMaker in the middle so that new online orders flow directly into FileMaker and then into your accounting software without any more double data entry.

If you would like to discuss integrating your FileMaker solution with your eCommerce system please contact us for a free initial consultation to discuss your requirements. We also have a number of FileMaker integration solutions available if you would prefer to do the integration in-house:

fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) Update

We’ve just released a minor update to fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) – v1.34 – that includes one new feature and one bug fix:

  • we’ve updated the Get Orders download script to check for any previously downloaded Orders with the same WooCommerce ID and skip them if present. This makes it easer to download new orders multiple times a day without having to worry about ending up with duplicate Orders
  • we’ve fixed a bug that was failing to delete the Products Meta Data records when updating a Product from WooCommerce

Once again 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.

fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) Update August 2017

We’ve just updated fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) – our solution for integrating FileMaker with WooCommerce – with a number of new features and bug fixes. We love getting requests from our existing customer base in many different countries and have included a few feature requests in the latest update, including:

  • Products: we added support for Grouped Products so you can now create and update these from FileMaker
  • Products: we added the ability to Delete a Product in WooCommerce from FileMaker
  • Products:  you can now view Product Images using a Webviewer (you no longer need to download Images into Container field to View them)

We’ve had a number of requests for the ability to create an Order in FileMaker and upload that to WooCommerce so it is available for customers to view when they login. We had been planning to add this in already so this will now be included in the next release – there’s quite a bit of work involved in ensuring the Order data is valid and gathering the correct line items, shipping lines, taxes etc, but we’re hoping to have this released in the next 4-6 weeks.

We’re also working on an update for FileMaker Pro v16 users to take advantage of the new JSON functions and cURL options in the FileMaker v16 platform – this will allow you to no longer need a plugin to communicate with the WooCommerce API, making it easier if you’re using FileMaker Go and FileMaker WebDirect and not having to use server side scripts.

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). If you have any additional feature requests please get in touch.

The Benefits of eCommerce Integration with your FileMaker CRM

 

In Australia and other parts of the world this week marks the start of a new financial year, which is a great time to review your business processes and eliminate any inefficiencies that is costing your business time and money.

One of the most common businesses processes we see in many small- medium sized businesses is the double data entry of orders from online eCommerce systems into the FileMaker custom business application (and sometimes once more into the Accounting software). We work with many small businesses that have an online presence, selling products and services using online platforms such as WooCommerce and Shopify. Many of them are unaware they it is possible to automate the exchange of data between eCommerce systems and FileMaker using APIs (an API is an Application Programming Interface that a company makes available to other software developers to allow you to get your software – FileMaker in this case – talking to their software).

If you’re using FileMaker as your CRM (Customer relationship management) application to track your customers, sales, invoices and payments there are a number of advantages of integrating it with your eCommerce software, including:

  • no more double data entry in FileMaker. The order and customer details have already been entered by the customer in the eCommerce system – with the click of a button the order details can be downloaded to your FileMaker custom application in a few seconds
  • no more double data entry of Product details in your eCommerce system. If you’re using your FileMaker application as the central repository of product data you can push/upload data from FileMaker to your eCommerce system (including images) at the click of a button
  • less errors between your eCommerce system and your FileMaker custom application. Being able to download and upload data between your eCommerce system and your FileMaker application means there is less likelihood of data entry errors between the 2 systems
  • free up staff time for more productive work. Rather than having staff spend countless hours each week doing double data entry they can be freed up for more productive (and enjoyable) work, such as following up on sales leads, customer service, marketing etc.
  • it also allows staff to upload and download data to the eCommerce software without giving them direct access to the eCommerce software

We’ve helped customers save between 1-2 hours of time each day for staff that were previously manually entering online orders into their FileMaker application. Now they download all the orders in the morning for the previous day and the whole process takes under a minute. We’ve even helped some customers use the power of Webhooks to have new orders pushed directly to their FileMaker Server so they don’t have to download any new orders – they instantly appear seconds after being placed online.

If you would like to discuss integrating your FileMaker solution with your eCommerce system please contact us for a free initial consultation to discuss your requirements. We also have a number of products which allow you or your in-house/external FileMaker developer to do the integration yourself with the WooCommerce and Shopify eCommerce platforms:

fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) Now Supports WooCommerce 3.0

Earlier this year we wrote about the upcoming release of WooCommerce 2.7 and how it would be introducing a new version of the REST API (v2) with a number of new API endpoints, particularly for Product Variations. Shortly after our post WooCommerce decided to re-version 2.7 to 3.0 to better reflect the significance of this update and push the release date to the 4th of April, 2017.

Since the release of WooCommerce 3.0 we’ve been busy working on an update to fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) to support the new v2 of the REST API and associated changes. We’re pleased to announce that v1.3 of fmEcommerce Link is now available as a free update for all existing customers (details have been sent via email about how to download this update). As v1 of the REST API has now been deprecated by WooCommerce we’ve decided to create 2 versions of the fmEcommerce Link file, one for each version of the REST API:

  • fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) REST API v1.fmp12
  • fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) REST API v2.fmp12

WooCommerce 3.0 is a major update and WooCommerce recommend that you ensure your store extensions and themes are compatible before upgrading, test on a staging site if you can, and make a backup for peace of mind. Since the 3.0 release on April 4th there have been 7 updates already fixing bugs with both WooCommerce and the REST API.

The major changes in fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) 1.3 include:

  • now supports the WooCommerce REST API v2 only
  • Product Variations are now stored in their own table to match the new Variations endpoint (you can now update Variations independently of their parent Product)
  • added support for additional fields exposed by the v2 API for existing endpoints
  • added new Meta Data tables which are included with most of the API endpoints (Customers, Orders, Products etc)
  • added support for new Payment Gateways endpoint
  • added support for new Shipping Methods endpoint
  • added support for new Shipping Zone Locations endpoint
  • added support for new Shipping Zone Methods endpoint
  • fixed issue when uploading a Product with no Images when Product previously contained images

WooCommerce 3.0 supports both v1 and v2 of the REST API so you can upgrade to WooCommerce 3.0 and continue to use your existing version or integration of fmEcommerce Link and everything will continue to work as it did with WooCommerce 2.6. If you wish to take advantage of the new API endpoints (e.g. the ability to upload Product Variations separately to the parent Product) you will need to switch to the new v2 API and make some changes to your existing scripts etc using the examples from the fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) REST API v2 file. If you are not planning to upgrade to WooCommerce 3.0 in the near future you do not need to make any changes.

All future development we now be focussed on the v2 REST API as that is the version that WooCommerce will continue to develop – we’ll certainly fix any bugs that arise with the v1 REST API. You can get the full details of all the change on the version history page.

PayPal launches PayPal Business in a Box (United States)

As part of National Small Business Week in the United States PayPal today announced PayPal Business in a Box aimed at U.S. small business owners who would like to take the leap into online sales. You might be just starting a business for the first time but you don’t have web design capabilities to develop an online store or know how to set up online or point of sale payment methods, or an established offline business looking to move online.

PayPal have partnered with two of our favourite companies WooCommerce and Xero to deliver a simple, integrated solution that gives you the tools you need to start an online business. If you’re using the FileMaker platform to run your existing business you can also take advantage of our solutions that integrate WooCommerce and Xero with FileMaker:

FileMaker, WooCommerce and Xero make a great combination when it comes to running your business – we should know as we’ve been using these platforms for many years to manage our business, online store and accounting needs. We’ll be publishing a new article shortly about the benefits of integrating FileMaker with WooCommerce and Xero and how you can save time and money and avoid unnecessary double data entry.

fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) Updates

We’ve been busy in 2017 with updates to fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) – we’ve just released the 7th update this year. The latest update is mainly focussed on adding the ability to create and update records for some of the endpoints that you don’t frequently interact with, including:

  • Tax Rates
  • Attributes
  • Terms
  • Tax Classes
  • Product Tags
  • Product Categories
  • Shipping Classes

We already had examples for downloading from these endpoints but we now have examples for downloading an individual record as well as pushing up new and updated records from FileMaker to WooCommerce. We wanted to get these updates completed before WooCommerce 2.7 is released and fill in some of the missing gaps in the fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) file. We’ve also added the ability to update the Status of an Order from FileMaker.

Once again 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).

Getting Ready for WooCommerce 2.7

WooCommerce 2.7 is getting close to final candidate release – this promises to be a major release with lots of structural changes designed to improve performance. There will also be a number of changes to the WooCommerce REST API that our fmEcommerce Link (WooCommerce Edition) FileMaker solution integrates with.

You can read about all the changes in WooCommerce 2.7 on the WooCommerce blog – at this stage it looks like they will introduce a v2 of the REST API and keep the current v1 functionality so products like fmEcommerce Link will continue to work. We’ve reported a number of bugs with v1 of the REST API which will be fixed in the v2 API – we’ll keep monitoring the status of the changes to the REST API and incorporate the changes in the v2 API in a free update to fmEcommerce Link for all our existing customers.

There will be a number of changes to the REST API endpoints with the WooCommerce 2.7 release so we’ll need to make some associated changes and do a lot of testing to make sure all the existing functionality continues to work. Most of the changes related to Products and Variations which are the most complex endpoints to integrate with, so we’re looking forward to a more simplified way of creating and updating Product Variations.

The updated version of fmEcommerce Link will then only support WooCommerce 2.7 or later going forward (v2 of the REST API) – we’ll let everyone know when the new version is available once we’ve completed our development and testing.