All posts by Beezwax Team

Our d3.js Saturday – Beezwax at d3.unconf

Beezwax was a proud sponsor and participant in the first ever d3.unconf in San Francisco this weekend. This event was created as a one-day gathering of data visualization practitioners, centered on d3.js, a powerful and flexible JavaScript data visualization library.

As a participant-driven “Unconference”, d3.unconf allowed us to interact with other d3 devotees in sessions that ranged from “New to d3” through “Multivariate Data” and “Visualizing Neural Networks”.

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Inspired by Address Book – Part I: Hiding portal scroll bars

On vacation, waking up to a dreary Pennsylvania morning…

I found myself staring at the OS X Address Book and wondering, “how did they do this?” I couldn’t help compare this little application to the many FileMaker-based contact management solutions I have seen, and concluding, a bit sadly, Apple’s is nicer.

Now, comparisons between OS X-native code and FileMaker Pro are not always fair to begin with. However, I felt the Address Book presented some useful ideas and perhaps a starting point for a different kind of FM-based contact management solution—one that looks and behaves more like Address Book!

So the journey began…

Got white space? Hiding the portal scroll bar…

Once I got started, I realized I would need to work on making FileMaker Pro feel different. Because I really like all the white space of Address Book, one of the first items I tackled was how to make the portal scroll bar disappear if there were no additional records to display.


Image: Portal scroll bar – showing (left) and hidden (right)


Assuming the portal position is set to enlarge vertically and show additional portal rows, here’s a custom function I came up with:

Use in Conditional Formatting on transparent object
placed over portal scroll bar, so if Result is “1” make
the object Fill = White (hides portal scroll bar)

Assumes portal is set to enlarge vertically while
maintaining original row height – i.e. display
additional portal rows when it grows vertically.


Portal Layout Object Size

Default # of Portal Rows Displayed

Default WindowContentHeight

Road Map:

dph = default portal height as layout object

dprc = default portal row count

dwch = default window content height

id_portalRecord = ID_Field in Related Portal Table



Afterwards, I found that others had tackled this particular problem before me, but I still like my custom function best—easy to grok, very quick to implement, and doesn’t rely on object names. It doesn’t work with filtered portals, and it does rely on the physical size of portal object, and number of rows displayed in layout. It also depends on the default WindowContentHeight, so please adjust the sizing to fit your needs.


Beezwax Team Completes Speed-Developer Challenge at DIGFM

Can you build an Assets Management database in FileMaker Pro in 80 minutes?

Thursday night Beezwax completed that challenge!

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Top four FileMaker 11 features that improve the user experience

FileMaker 11 is here! Are you ready for the next generation of the world’s most widely used, easy-to-use database?

As Platinum members of the FileMaker Business Alliance and long-term beta testers with FileMaker, we’ve been testing the new version of FileMaker for a while now and wanted to share some of what we’ve learned.

We’re extremely pleased to report that FileMaker 11 makes some core improvements for the user experience and these are what we’re going to focus on in this article. There’s a bunch of under-the-hood improvements that developers benefit from, but for now, we’ll focus on improvements for users.

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Ruby scripting in FileMaker

[Authored by Alex G]

There are many cases where FileMaker’s scripting isn’t always the best tool for the job and where a language like Ruby can bring a lot of power to your FileMaker development. The following is a description of a simple technique for using ruby scripts from within a FileMaker solution without the use of a plugin. I’ve found this technique useful for employing regular expressions for complex text parsing, making web requests to work with web APIs, and for parsing and generating XML and other serialized data structures. Ruby has a wealth of great libraries for doing anything you can imagine and is just plain fun to write.

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FileMaker/web integration technology overview

[Authored by Ian]

Doing a Google search for “FileMaker web” brings up a bevy of methods, technologies, and acronyms that all seem to have something to do with making FileMaker available to Web users. What follows is a digest of many of these technologies, based on Beezwax’s extensive experience with them. While all of them claim to be the be-all-and-end-all, we’ve found that many of them are dead-ends. Others are useful, but only in very narrow cases. Hopefully, our experience will help you sort the wheat from the chaff and choose a solution that works for your needs. Be warned, however: there is no silver bullet.

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FileMaker/Web integration architecture design

[Authored by Ian]

This is the first of several articles on designing and implementing FM/Web integrations. Future articles will give in-depth discussion of implementation details.

One of the basic questions when considering a FM/Web hybrid solution is how FM and the Web will relate to each other as clients, servers, or peers1. Each possible architecture has characteristic strengths and weaknesses.

A client is essentially a front-end to a server. It relies upon the server to house and process data, and does not share its resources with any other nodes (nodes are any other entities) in the network.

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FMCakeMix : A FileMaker driver for CakePHP

[Authored by Alex_g]

[01/04/15 – Editor’s note: Beezwax no longer maintains FMCakeMix, but the open source project became maintained by Atsushi Matsuo. You may find more information, and his contact info on the FMCakeMix GitHub project.]

Developing FileMaker applications for the web can be a sometimes slow and arduous process. The available custom web publishing tools from FileMaker and open source offerings such as FX.php are very helpful in bringing basic data and interactivity to a FileMaker driven page or form, but their structure leads to poor code maintainability and repetitive code writing practices for larger and highly customized web projects. In recent years web application frameworks have become the tool of choice for rapidly developing robust browser-based applications. These tools provide the structure for good code keeping practices and already include code for common tasks such as the basic CRUD (create, read, update, and delete) operations required to work with a database. The common architecture followed by most frameworks separates the data-source and data access from presentational code by way of an application logic component. This type of architecture is known as MVC (Model-View-Controller) and the frameworks that support it will often also support a large number of common database sources, including MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, etc. Unfortunately FileMaker is never among these offerings and is not natively supported in an MVC framework.

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FMPRoRHTTP, or, making FileMaker interface with Rails over HTTP

[Authored by Ian]

I’ve been doing work on a couple projects integrating Rails with FileMaker Pro (FMP) over HTTP. There are a few different FMP features and plugins the FMP developers use to connect to Rails, none of which I truly grok. Notwithstanding my lack of FMP knowledge, I wanted to write-up what I expect from FMP as an HTTP client, and what I think would be neat to see.

A Good Foundation

When I’m integrating with another system over HTTP, I usually provide usage examples for my Rails-based service using the lingua franca of *nix system tools like Bash, Curl, WGet, LWP, and Telnet. I expect an integrating client like FMP to be able to perform the same basic functions those commandline tools perform.

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