BERLIN, Germany – Our senior developer Christos Savva attended the dotfmp.berlin 2022 “Unconference” held in June in Berlin. The conference was the first in-person opportunity in over two years for leading Claris FileMaker developers across Europe to meet, share their work, and explore what’s happening in the developer community.
At dotfmp.berlin 2022, more than 70 developers from eighteen countries talked through tools and techniques from their Claris playgrounds. Adding to that excitement was participation by Claris’s engineering and product management teams.
In the spirit of sharing, here are some of the highlights and insights we brought back from participating in the conference. You can also check out more details on the dotfmp.berlin website, as well as view presentation content, and even download demo files via the publicly-available dotfmp.berlin conference content.
What’s new in the world of Claris? Part I
Claris Studio & The Future of Development
It’s no secret that the launch of Claris Studio will bring new directions for the future for FileMaker. The Claris platform will also introduce ESS+, a way of connecting Claris Studio with FileMaker Pro (soon to be known as Claris Pro). While FileMaker integration via Claris Studio and ESS+ is still at a developer preview stage, at dotfmp.berlin several developers discussed how they’ve been working with MongoDB, as a prototype architecture.
Christos noted, “If using MongoDB, the ESS+ connection might use the mongo-bi-connector-odbc-driver. This is a fork of the mySQL-connector-odbc-driver, potentially allowing FileMaker to call MongoDB in a way that’s very similar (if not identical) to regular ESS using mySQL and ODBC.”
Some other potential tools for development, sync and migration between an RDBS (like FileMaker) and MongoDB include:
- AWS DB Migration Service
- Studio IT
- Altova Mapforce
- Compass (client app)
- MBS plug-in
There was also a demo by MonkeyBread Software about how to potentially use the MBS plug-in with ESS+ to allow client-side, field-level encryption.
Being Flexible with FileMaker
Turns out you can teach an old (or new) developer new tricks. Some innovative techniques we learned about at dotfmp.berlin include…
Digitally-encrypted signatures are quickly replacing electronic signatures due to their ability to securely verify identities. Instead of creating an electronic signature in a FileMaker container field, Johan Hedman from Sweden demonstrated how developers can use a third-party application to encrypt document signatures for authenticity. Popular APIs for this include Scrive, Entrust, Digicert, or Docusign.
Automated Installation of FMS on Linux
Danish developer Claus Lavendt shared shell scripts he uses to automate the installation of FileMaker Server on Linux. Something noteworthy that resulted from the discussion was that if you use AWS AMIs with FileMaker Server pre-installed make sure that the SSL certificate isn’t installed when creating the image, otherwise it will fail when you spin up a new instance.
Printing in a Vertical Solution
To address the challenges of structure-driven PrintLayouts, German developer Phillip Puls demonstrated a new technique by packaging data and sending it to a single printing solution. He starts a script in a separate file, then uses MBS Quicklist to transfer a package of specific and ephemeral data to PrintLayout rather than the entire external data source. The result is more secure and less prone to issues with structural changes.
A Survey of AI Techniques
Protecting FileMaker Servers from Ransomware Attacks
Michigan developer Chris Moyer used Racketeer, a ransomware simulator, to demonstrate potential hijacking on FileMaker Servers (or FileMaker “servers”, lowercase, as many attacks target the lower levels of operating and file systems). Moyer showed how the r77 toolkit is able to cloak files on the server while allowing them to still function – “security by obscurity”.
Anonymous functions in WebViewer
Data API Explorer Add-On
Using the Execute Data API script step, Dutch developer Menno van Beek showed attendees how they can build and run simple or complex queries with the Data API Explorer Add-on, available freely on the marketplace.
What’s new in the world of Claris? Part II
Claris Products: “An In-Depth, Under-the-Hood Q&A”
Peter Nelson & Robert Holsey of Claris held a live Q&A session with dotfmp.berlin attendees – providing fresh answers to burning questions concerning the inner workings of Claris Studio, and FileMaker/Claris Pro:
Claris Studio will…
- Be cloud-based.
- Have one version, meaning no installation or rollbacks, similar to any current SaaS.
- Have no license limit to building entities.
- Have metadata fields shown before launch.
- Launch with multilingual support & analytics.
- Eventually have dynamic value lists – differently from FileMaker.
- Eventually be available as on-premise software.
- Begin its initial launch at the US West Coast with subsequent roll-outs.
More information from Claris included:
- Working on making ESS+ as fast as ESS for refresh on launch.
- Launching new features on FileMaker Pro and Claris Pro as they continue in parallel.
- Existing plugins & SDKs will work with Claris Pro just like FileMaker Pro.
- FileMaker Pro 18 & 19 will not connect to Claris Server 20, since the latter uses SSO with AWS Cognito for user authentication and not FileMaker’s native.
- Nested layouts for FileMaker Pro are still a work in progress.
- Claris document signing features are on the backlog.
- No current plans to bring MongoDB on-premise with Claris Pro.
dotfmp.berlin Conference Wrap-up
dotfmp.berlin was a valuable opportunity to connect with developers and expand the scope of what our FileMaker development teams can do. We’re excited to learn about new developments with Claris as they continue to release information about the future of their platforms. Great events like these are happening all around the FileMaker community and we look forward to attending many more.
Thanks to Christos, and everyone at dotfmp.berlin for a fantastic and insightful conference!