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December 2008

Welcome to the latest Databuzz eNews. In this edition we discuss ways of accessing your FileMaker data when you're out of the office, preview our new fmSMS product and share some tips about working with FileMaker.

We hope you enjoy this edition and welcome your feedback.


Quote of the Month


I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.

Thomas Edison


FileMaker Web Publishing


FileMaker is a great tool for small businesses and workgroups to share data quickly and easily and works great from inside your office. However there are going to be times when you need access to your FileMaker data when you're out of the office. We've been working on a number of projects recently that involved publishing FileMaker data to the web and we thought we would share with you some of the results so you can experience FileMaker on the web yourself.

We decided to create a simple FileMaker Contacts database which at the moment has just 50 sample records with dummy data. Normally you would use FileMaker Pro to open this database and browse and edit/create new records. However if your database is hosted by FileMaker Server 9 which has a built in web publishing engine you can also, with some work, make the database available via the Internet so anyone with the appropriate credentials can access the site.

Click here to view our sample Contacts web site running on FileMaker Server 9. This site is set to open without requiring you to enter an Account Name and Password. You will notice the navigation bar across the top appears on every page where you can Search, Create a New Record, View All Records and View a Summary Report. We've integrated popular FileMaker functions, such as using drop down valuelists and being able to sort the search results by the column headings. We've also added a live Google Maps feature showing a map for the Contact address (only works for the existing 50 dummy records). Hopefully this will give you a feel for how a FileMaker web published database works (we didn't spend too much time on the site design as we concentrated on functionality).

You might have noticed a link on the home page of this site to an iPhone version for the same site. Apple's new iPhone has quickly become one of the fastest selling mobile phone handsets and it's Safari web browser provides one of the best experiences for viewing web pages on a mobile phone. It also allows developers to create iPhone specific versions of their website that are optimised for viewing on the iPhone and take advantage of some of the iPhone's cool features. When you access the iPhone version of this site remember you are still accessing the same FileMaker database driven site as the original site - it's just the pages that are different and the functionality.

We're going to be adding some few functionality to these sites in the future, including the inclusion of photos (Container fields) with the ability to upload a photo and also update the Google Maps feature so it works with new records. There will also be the option to delete records and login with different privileges. We will also be creating a Instant Web Publishing version of the site which requires FileMaker Server 9 Advanced to demonstrate another way of publishing your FileMaker data to the web.


fmSMS Coming Soon!


fmSMS Logo

We’ve been hard at work finalising a new product of ours - fmSMS - which is the culmination of over 7 years 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.

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 5 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

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 reply to this email with your comments.




Another option for remotely accessing your FileMaker data if you have an iPhone is the FMTouch iPhone application, billed as "FileMaker in your Pocket". It's a nice replacement for the FileMaker Mobile application which was discontinued by FileMaker Inc last year and offers a lot more functionality than FileMaker Mobile did. FMTouch, like FileMaker Mobile, requires some initial setup on the iPhone and then you sync your FileMaker databases to the iPhone and resync them again when you return to your computer. You generally will need to design layouts that are optimised for FMTouch and a copy of FileMaker Pro Advanced is also required for the initial setup.

Databuzz can assist with the initial setup of FMTouch and creating layouts that are specific for viewing on the iPhone - contact us for more information..


Finding, Sorting and Replacing Data


One of the most common tasks when working with FileMaker Pro is finding, sorting and replacing data. Most users are familiar with the basics of entering Find mode and entering your search criteria using a single find request. However there are more advanced options available when you can't find what you need using a simple find request, for example when you want to search on the same field more than once (e.g. find NSW and VIC records in the State field) or you want to find a range of information (e.g. sales in the last 3 months).

The built-in FileMaker Pro Help available via the Help menu has all the answers to doing complex finds. You can also view this information online here which covers the following topics which you might find useful:

  • Finding numbers, dates, times, and timestamps
  • Finding ranges of information
  • Finding empty or non-empty fields
  • Finding duplicate values
  • Finding records that match multiple criteria
  • Finding records except those matching criteria
  • Viewing, repeating, or changing the last find
  • Hiding records from a found set and viewing hidden records
  • Constraining (narrowing) a found set
  • Extending (broadening) a found set


Databuzz on Twitter


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