bBox FileMaker plug-in: Easily add AppleScript, Shell, Grep, and more to your FileMaker projects

Today we are making bBox, our toolbox of external functions for FileMaker, freely available to all FileMaker developers. Use it to extend the reach of your FileMaker solutions to resources outside of FileMaker by launching and communicating with other programs, utilizing the powerful commands built-in to Mac OS X, and easily creating, processing, and managing files.

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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.

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Convert FileMaker value lists to AppleScript expression

Passing values between FileMaker and AppleScript can be a pain. Sure, you can use a named field and table in FileMaker to do this, but if you (or someone else) ever changes either of the names your AppleScript routine breaks. So, even though its not the most efficient way to do things, for short routines I often prefer to use FIleMaker’s ability to run a “Calculated AppleScript” (i.e., compile and run a script from a calculated text).

Other than efficiency, one problem with this approach is that you need to convert data into an AppleScript expression. This custom function makes it a simple task to pass a values list from FileMaker to an AppleScript subroutine:

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ValueCountSpecific ( lst ; value )

 

Ben Miller and I came up with this tiny little function to tell us how many times a specific value occurs in a list. It’s smart enough to consider full values (carriage-return delimited), rather than partial text strings.

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Converting textual dates in FileMaker

If you’re working with data from outside of FileMaker, you’ll commonly have to work with dates that FileMaker’s GetAsDate function won’t understand. To handle this, I created a custom function that allows conversion of a wide variety of date formats.

Some examples of how the function works:

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Never write a render_foo method again

[Authored by Ian]

I’ve probably written a hundred render_not_found methods in my life as a Rails dev. Usually they just render a static file under /public, and maybe, if I’m feeling nice, give an XML response. No more!

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Setting the Commit Author to Pair Programmers’ Names in Git

[Authored by Sam]

In beezwax’s webdev division we generally work in pairs, but our commit logs didn’t used to show this. We wouldn’t bother to reconfigure the git author every time we sat down with a new pair so our git log only recorded one of the programmers’ names. Bryan Helmcamp has a nice script for setting your git commit author in pair programming situations. Here’s another one which works interactively.

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Remote Pair Programming: Part II: Sharing the server

[Authored by Sam]

[01/04/15 – Editor’s note: This post was written in 2008. In 2015 we don’t use this “reverse ssh tunnel” method much anymore, but the technique is still interesting.]

In my last post I described how to use reverse ssh tunnels and screen -x to setup a remote pair programming environment.

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Remote Pair Programming: How we do it

[Authored by Sam]

[01/04/15 – Editor’s note: This post was written in 2008. In 2015 we don’t use this “reverse ssh tunnel” method much anymore, but the technique is still interesting.]

There’s a lot of talk about remote pair programming, but the fact is it can be a pain to set up.  Using iChat screen sharing is a popular method, but can feel a little cludgy, and doesn’t work for developers running Linux. Here’s another method using reverse ssh tunnels and screen -x we use a lot at Beezwax.
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