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 was the first of several articles around 2009 on designing and implementing FM/Web integrations. Some methods are outdated, but we’ve kept them on our blog because we like some of the general approaches described.

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.

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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.]

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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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