FileMaker releases training guides for version 13

There are many systems in the corporate landscape that require business professionals to learn a new set of skills to be successful. However, learning these systems is not as easy as it seems, and because of how advanced the solution is, learning the skills could be complicated.

According to a press release from the company, FileMaker has released a new version of its training services series that is designed to help businesses learn the essentials of FileMaker 13. The system is available through Book and DVD, PDF and iBooks.

"Learn how to build a custom solution utilizing the full capabilities of the FileMaker Platform that meets the ever-changing needs of your business. 'The FileMaker Training Series: Advanced' covers a comprehensive set of topics to help you master the essentials of FileMaker 13 solution development," the article reads. "'FileMaker Training Series: Advanced' comes with a detailed, step-by-step manual and includes demo files, exercises and videos to help guide you through the materials."

There are several modules that make up the series that users will be able to master if they complete these projects. They include:

Introduction – This is the basics of the FileMaker platform and is the start of the journey. This is where organizations will be able to gain a fundamental knowledge to start using the database.

Data – FileMaker is a database, so understanding the basics of data relations, integrity and implementing multiple-table solutions are critical. This includes learning about certain types of data, auto-entry, validation, field storage and indexing. It also incorporates images.

Interface – This is the ability to work efficiently with several layouts, which is an essential skill for any developer. Whether accessing data from a mobile, desktop or the Web, the layout needs to be tailored to the specific environment in order for it to be successful.

Solution Logic: Calculations – This is a specific function that works in the calculation engine and can be applied in several contexts. These custom functions are built and use them in database solutions. There is also a set of specific functions for the mobile platform.

Solutions Logic: Scripting – Scripting allow users to create routines that can be triggered in a variety of ways. These make it easier to write and troubleshoot scripts for several platforms.

Reporting – Create reports in FileMaker with a number of techniques. Explore basic and advanced systems that can be used to learn cross-tab reports. This also touches on ExecuteSQL functions.

Security – This is a crucial component of every technology solution on the market. There are several built-in security features that need to be handled for companies to be successful.

Deployment – Work on deploying a FileMaker solution with the new FileMaker WebDirect technology and the improved FileMaker Go mobile application.

Integration – There are several different systems that can be integrated with FileMaker. These include SQL, ODBC connections and External SQL Data Source capabilities.

While this idea of self-learning can be help companies and individuals who have the time to learn it, it will not work for all businesses. This is where a FileMaker support service can come into play and help train an organization on all the best practices of FileMaker 13.

Archeologists use FileMaker to improve data gathering onsite

When most people think about gathering and sorting data, they think about using Excel. While it is a powerful spreadsheet tool that has its place in the corporate world, it may not be the best place to house your data if you are working with anything other than numbers.

When you consider that the world is becoming increasingly mobile, drastically improving the kind of information companies gather and the way they sort it, Excel becomes less effective. This is where a more powerful database is needed, and FileMaker has two decades of experience in this field and has embraced the mobile platform to go places never thought possible.

An article from CITEworld features an in-depth interview with Michael Jennings, a Chicago University Ph.D student and archeologist. Along with the fedora and whip, as part of his tool kit on a dig in Palestine of the 11th century Islamic castle at Khirbet al-Mafjar, near Jericho, Jennings is relying on FileMaker Go and an iPad.

While on-site, archeologists are constantly taking pictures, drawing sketches and writing notes. Traditionally this requires parties to carry large binders filled with paper records. The problem is that these can be lost or damaged. One archeologist who was working on the northern area of the site suddenly found all of his records missing, causing the team to redo all of this work.

Not only were teams required to carry these bulky binders around the site, but transport them back to the university departments in carry-on luggage when every page was scanned and information was entered manually into a computer system.

Jennings and field director Jehad Yasin realized they had an opportunity to improve operations here, especially considering that the database program used at the university was FileMaker. There is where the Go version of the software came into play and an iPad version of the existing database was quickly created.

Now, while examining the palace, the archeologists are able to snap pictures using the iPad's camera and sketch on the screen. They have also be able to create several drop-down menus so they can more easily enter accurate information. This is faster than writing everything down and makes it easier to analyze after the fact.

As they started to explore the possibilities of using the iPad, certain tweaks needed to be made to optimize operations. This included adding more controls, which is easy to do with FileMaker Pro on a computer. There are several layouts, controls and themes designed specifically to be compatible with the iOS platform, making it easy to update as needed.

With the Web-publishing capabilities, it was also easy for multiple team members to be work and update the same database at the same time.

"Depending on what you need, you can keep things simple or set up a more powerful way of distributing your database automatically," the article reads. "That's exactly what FileMaker offers: you can make a very simple system for viewing your database and updating it, or you can add in more features to get something more powerful without having to become a database expert."

While not every business needs to gather data while searching the catacombs of an ancient palace, this does highlight the real world possibilities of FileMaker. With the help of a Connecticut FileMaker developer, any organization can improve the way that it handles databases.

How FileMaker has helped push Apple’s enterprise IT adoption

We all remember the "I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC " commercials that ran from 2006 through 2009. They created the idea that Apple hardware and software was designed for the creative types and having fun, while the PC was the stuffy system needed for work. While it helped push the younger generation to look into the iMac and MacBook line, there was not much focus on the enterprise.

If your computing needs are spreadsheets, word documents and some of the more boring but critical uses, the PC can a better choice. This was because the ads focused more on making podcasts, movies, photos or listening to music. Later versions focused on viruses and mistakes within the Windows operating system.

Over the last few years, Apple has taken up a bigger push to show the potential of the Mac in the enterprise. Aside from specific price points and services that are only for corporate customers, each Apple retail store has a completely flushed out business sales team that specializes in implementing Apple products into the enterprise in an effective manner and supporting the unique needs of these consumers.

A recent article from ComputerWorld examined some of the more specific ways that Apple has been able to move past the image of being just for "creative types" with "shiny toys" and become a true company for the enterprise. The piece touches on iOS 7 and Mac OS X Mavericks improvements that were made just for businesses, the growing demand from companies and how the hardware has upgraded.

The article also covers how the database creation application FileMaker has become a key component to Apple's rise in the enterprise. The tech giant has owned FileMaker since the 1980s, and the technology has performed well from the beginning.

The latest version of the technology, FileMaker 13, came packed with some of the largest improvements to the database solution that is used by millions of consumers yearly. The piece said that there was some disappointment around FileMaker 12 because of a file format change to modernize the code. However, the new version takes this change and expands upon it to boost developer productivity when designing database-driven solutions for PCs, Macs, mobile devices and the Web.

One example of this is the improvements to real-time data collection and the ability to have all systems access that information at once. While the ease-of-use is still one of the top reasons to adopt the technology, it has improved the enterprise-level security, multiple developer features and productivity enhancements that could be as simple as adding a data entry keyboard to the iOS platform.

"We've made it easier to learn and more powerful and productive for developers using it on a daily basis," FileMaker product manager, Eric Jacobson, told the news source.

FileMaker has been one of Apple's main enterprise applications. With both Pro and mobile versions (FileMaker Go), the software has evolved over nearly 30 years to be a key system not only for Apple but also for many businesses. For companies that are looking for FileMaker help, a local software developer that specializes in the service can become a valuable solution provider to fully embrace the technology.

FileMaker announces 2014 Developers Conference

Many businesses have been using FileMaker to create dynamic databases for a number of different purposes since 1985. However, as with every software solution, no one knows everything and gathering with others in the industry can be great way to spread knowledge and create new solutions.

This week, a press release from FileMaker, Inc. announced the details of the 2014 FileMaker Developer Conference. This is the largest annual gathering of worldwide FileMaker independent and corporate custom business solution developers, trainers and users. The 19th annual conference will be held July 28-31 at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, Texas. There are projected to be 1,200 FileMaker enthusiasts and 45 speakers from 27 countries participating.

The theme of this year's event will be how companies can run their "business without boundaries."

"Attendees will hear about FileMaker Platform futures, exchange tips on developing solutions, learn new skills,; network with developers from around the world and see new products and services," the release reads. "Seven conference tracks will help attendees learn how to remove the boundaries to running their business and create custom solutions with the FileMaker 13 Platform that meet their unique needs."

For attendees, those tracks include:

Pre-con – This allows participants a chance to take a crash course in FileMaker in six two-hour sessions prior to the start of the conference.

Mobility – Attendees are able to gain a first hand look at what is possible with mobile devices and FileMaker Go. This includes synchronization, location service and the new features to the mobile version of the software like barcode scanning and iOS keyboard types.

Innovation – This examines the latest innovations that developers are working on in areas including integration, business intelligence and high-volume systems.

Core – This focuses on the fundamental skills needed for FileMaker including data modeling, scripting and best practices among others.

Design – Attendees are able to uncover the benefits of designing with the user-centered software to create the most effective solutions possible. You will also be able to learn the new themes and styling tools that have been incorporated into FileMaker to create visually appealing solutions.

Web – This is a focus on using FileMaker solutions for the web. Not only does it touch on the new platform FileMaker WebDirect, but also custom web publishing with PHP, HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

Business – Many organizations are using FileMaker as a tool to run a successful organization. Leaders will share their stories and best practices for developing this system for the future.

The event will feature the popular hackathon event, where attendees create solutions to specific challenges and the Visionary Bar, which is a support area similar to Apple's Genius Bar in the retail stores. 

There will also be multiple sessions and panels that touch on all the tracks including "Building a Very Successful FileMaker Go Business," "Under the Hood with Database Encryption and FileMaker Server 13" and "Five Lessons for FileMaker WebDirect."

The FileMaker platform is helping many companies create dynamic solutions. Following the conference, FileMaker developers could have a number of new tricks up their sleeves to help clients use the platform in new ways.

A deeper look at the FIleMaker 13 layout

Yesterday, we continued our series looking at the new features of FileMaker 13. The focus this week is on the improved layout features that make the system easier for many organizations to use.

A recent article from Technology Tell dove deep into FileMaker 13, examining all of the new features. Throughout the review, the layout comes up.

There was one drawback that the review points out. This is in the pre-made layouts for the desktop that do not have a counterpart within the Touch layout. In FIleMaker 12, there were 35 desktop layouts and five of those were specifically designed with touch in mind. For FileMaker 13, the number of desktops increased to 42, but only nine of them are comparable with touch.

With how much support and focus is being put in FileMaker Go, it would seem like the touch/mobile landscape would have a bigger focus. However, it is important to point out that FileMaker 13 does have the ability to import layouts. This means that these numbers could start to even out as more desktop versions get touch comparable versions.

There was also another improvement to the layout that was not touched upon yesterday. One of the new features is WebDirect, which helps organizations transport their information to the Web. The new feature has modifying the database design with fields, layouts, scripts and relationships.

While there may still be a little work to make the system perfect, the layout upgrades allow developers to help users make more useful solutions. A FileMaker developer can help businesses use these new layouts to improve their databases.

FileMaker 13: How layout has improved

When it comes to any software solution, simplicity is crucial for success. We are in the middle of a weekly series looking at how FileMaker 13 was upgraded to improve operations while remaining simple enough for users to understand and create with. This week, the focus is on the new layout enhancements.

There have been several improvements to the layouts in FileMaker 13. First is the enhancement to the container field which automatically get metadata from items stored in container fields using the "Get Container Attribute" functions. There are more than 40 attributes available.

The new system has calculated tab control titles and dialog button titles. There is also dynamic locale formatting for adding dates, times and numbers based on the system settings on the computer running the solution to make it easier to create solutions that will work in multiple geographic regions.

There are also improved script steps including HTTP post for uploading files and submitting completed web forms, triggers a script to perform on the server that it hosting the file and a refresh object script that steps updates the content, conditional formatting and visibility state for the specified object.

The layout redesign is also present in the new version of FileMaker Go and the iOS platform. It allows layouts and reports that are optimized for different devices. It also adds slide controls, swipe gestures and popovers.

These upgrades allow developers to help users make more useful solutions more efficiently than before. A Connecticut FileMaker developer can help businesses use these new layouts to improve their databases.

FileMaker 13 improves protection for data at rest

Yesterday, this blog gave a broad overview of the security features that were added to FileMaker 13. These include a powerful AES 256-bit encryption, visual encryption state indicator and SSL certification management system. While all of this is considered a major security enhancement, some are excited for one smaller feature – encryption of data at rest.

In a recent blog post for the FileMaker Forum, Steven Blackwell, who focuses on security, said the most significant enhancement is the improved protection for data at rest. This refers to information that is currently inactive and is stored physically in any digital form like in a database, spreadsheet or mobile device. It makes up one of the three stages of data, the others being “in use” and “in motion.”

Blackwell mentioned that now, more than ever before, organizations are under attack by different forms of cyber crime. This can either be a direct approach from criminals, or if a piece of malware is downloaded accidentally.

“For developers who support business areas with regulatory compliance requirements related to data confidentiality, the new encryption of data at rest will make securing the file much easier,” the article reads. “It can also provide increased confidence in the solution’s ability to meet those regulatory requirements.”

He added that for files containing sensitive, confidential or proprietary data that is not often in use, encryption of data at rest is highly recommended. Nearly all business solutions need to make sure data is protected in all three phases.

For companies that are using FileMaker, these new security features should allow them to release a sigh of relief.

An overview of new FileMaker 13 security features

For every business relying on the latest technology, security is a high priority. The Target network breach reiterates how important it is to ensure that every aspect of the business is safe and the system is examined with every update.

Any user that upgraded to FileMaker 13 since its release in December was met with several new security features that will help businesses rest a little easier.

The biggest addition is the ability to secure wherever it is housed—desktop, mobile device or serve—as well as when it is moving around the network or the web. This is done through a powerful AES 256-bit encryption that prevents unauthorized access though it does require FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced.

There is also a new visual encryption state indicator that is housed at the top of the page so users are always able to ensure there is a secure connection with the server and that all third-party certificates have been validated. It is easy to understand as it is represented by a lock symbol that turns green when a secure and trusted connection has been made.

There is also a new encryption state function that returns a value representing a file's current state of encryption. This function is used in FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go.

Aside from encryption, there is also an improved SSL certification management system. Unlike years past, when using a single machine installation, users only need one certificate to support all clients including Pro, Go and WebDirect.

While this is a round-up of what the new security features are, there is still more to cover. Check back tomorrow when we will cover what could be the most significant upgrade — encryption of data at rest.

C.F.D.G. Meeting – March 12, 2014

The Connecticut FileMaker Developer’s Group will be hosting the next meeting on March 12th at 10:00 AM in the Student Center at the Central Connecticut State University. We will have a round table show and tell about our favorite new things in FileMaker 13. Bring samples of how you have used the new features and see your peers samples. ——————– Connecticut FileMaker Developer’s Group Meeting Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Student Center Central Connecticut State University New Britain, CT 06053 View the e-mail meeting notice. Subscribe to the mailing list.

FileMaker 13 SQL – What do the critics say?

Earlier this week, our profile series on FileMaker 13 features explained Structured Query Language (SQL), which has been around since FileMaker 9. However, it experienced a big upgrade in FileMaker 12, which has continued to evolve in the latest iteration.

The positive feelings from experts about FileMaker 12, where ExecuteSQL was introduced, still remain. The new service brings a number of advanced features to database creation and gives developers the ability to apply SQL commands against the data of the current FileMaker file.

According to a review by Seed Code, one of the more exciting, but less obvious features in FileMaker 13 is an upgrade in the SQL syntax. This was not announced and was only known to those individuals that played around with the system or read the reference guide.

Specifically, article focused on two specific clauses “OFFSET” and “FETCH FIRST.” These are two functions that users of this system have been asking for some time. They provide the ability to filter results in different ways within the query and improve certain situations.

OFFSET allows users to skip a designated number of rows and display the results. FETCH FIRST lets users limit the number of results in the query.

While the ExecuteSQL feature takes away the “anyone can make a database” legacy that has made FileMaker so popular, it is there for those that choose to take the time to learn it. General users are still able to take full advantage of the solution, but there is now a powerful second level that advanced users can operate.