How FileMaker Powers Mobile Solutions

Claris FileMaker is designed to make custom databases available to virtually everyone. This accessibility is a key component, not just in terms of ease of use and flexibility (although it certainly checks those boxes), but also in terms of how end users can literally access these databases.

Currently, FileMaker offers built-in support for desktop, web, and mobile phones, allowing for interfacing from anywhere and from (almost) any device. This allows businesses to focus on use-cases and problem-solving, as opposed to worrying about device compatibility.

FileMaker Go is the specific application that allows for this, available on both Android and Apple phones or tablets. This allows for much more efficiency during development. As opposed to creating two similar applications in parallel, FileMaker can effectively automate the process of adapting a desktop application for mobile. There are a few steps required, but they’re simple and time efficient (especially in comparison to building a mobile application from the ground up).

It’s as simple as dropping existing windows into a container designed for mobile. Some designs might require tweaks to the layout, especially in terms of button placement and size, to make navigating on a touchscreen device more intuitive. 

These applications can then be shared with FileMaker Server, allowing users to navigate the application and update information in real time. This is perfect for businesses that have employees doing a variety of work in a variety of locations (like a warehouse and office), employees who do remote/hybrid work, and companies that have employees in the field. Conversely, feature sets and layouts can be turned into an offline, self-contained solution. 

By default, FileMaker Go also allows users to take pictures and record video, scan barcodes, use electronic signatures, and manage local files, all within the app. This allows for each of these items to be implemented into workflows.

For example, warehouse workers can use tablets to scan the barcodes of incoming or outgoing shipments. These shipments are then automatically updated in the database in real-time. Now everyone, from the sales team to the accountants, knows if an order has shipped, and can take next steps.

Similarly, employees can draft invoices while visiting a client, and the client can sign and provide payment all through the app. For businesses with employees in the field, FileMaker Go makes conducting business much more efficient.

It’s worth noting that FileMaker Go is designed to function as an extension of FileMaker, not a replacement. That is to say, users cannot add new files or create databases and feature sets within FileMaker Go. FileMaker Go still requires these platforms to be built out within FileMaker proper, but once they are, exporting them to the mobile application is easy.

If FileMaker and FileMaker Go sound like they’d be great additions to your business’s toolkit, Kyo Logic is happy to help. Just click here to request a consultation, and we’ll show you all the ways a custom application can streamline your operations.

8 Simple FileMaker Tips and Tricks for Beginners

FileMaker is a “low-code” platform, which means it’s designed to be used by virtually anyone. It operates through a GUI, or graphic user interface, which is a fancy way of saying someone can use it through an actual piece of software as opposed to typing out lines of code.

Of course, experienced developers will be able to do considerably more with the platform. But for beginners, there are a handful of easy-to-execute tips and tricks.

  1. Know your shortcuts. While this isn’t crucial to getting the most out of FileMaker, it is helpful in terms of spending less time clicking through menus and dropdowns or hunting for the right window. Some of these shortcuts may be familiar if you’ve used similar programs. A full list of shortcuts can be found on the FileMaker website. Please note that these keyboard shortcuts are for Apple users. Windows users use “CTRL” instead of .
  • +Z will undo the last command
  • +SHIFT+F opens the find/replace dialogue box
  • +SHIFT+L opens the manage layouts box
  • and “up” or “down” arrows allows you to flip through pages
  • +SHIFT+D opens Database Manager
  • +SHIFT+S opens Script Workplace
  • +SHIFT+L opens Layout Mode
  • +SHIFT+B opens Browse Mode
  • +SHIFT+F opens Find Mode
  • TAB will allow you to move between windows. Speaking of which…
  1. Familiarize Yourself with Different Layouts. When choosing “Window” and then “New Window” from the dropdown menu, you can use different layouts that allow you to see multiple windows at once.
  1. Keep the List of Error Codes Handy. You can find Claris’s official list here. This is incredibly helpful in understanding why something isn’t working, and what can be done to fix it.
  1. Use Table View. This effectively zooms out to give you a look at all the information you’re working with. This is especially handy when you’re working with lots of complex data..
  1. Know How to Use Search Functions. Right-clicking a field and selecting “Find Matching Records” will give you all fields that match what’s selected. This can even work with highlighting a particular word, phrase or number within a field, allowing you to find all fields that contain that particular query. Right-clicking and selecting “Constrain Found Set” will allow you to search with additional parameters in another field. Simply put, you can search items that contain your first AND second search terms or values. 
  2. Utilize Rulers, Guides, and Grids for Formatting. These tools allow you to design more accurately and make more granular tweaks to your layout. Rulers will show you the exact size of a particular layout, in points, inches, or centimeters. Guides will overlay a series of blue lines on the layout, allowing you to line up various elements. Grids places a layout of 1/10th inch boxes over the layout, for spacing accuracy. Together, these tools can save time and effort and give you the perfect layout.
  1. Change Your Theme. Choosing “Change Theme” from the Layout menu allows you to make a variety of changes, from sweeping alterations to the overall color palette, down to granular tweaks in font. This includes things like changing how text boxes react to inputs and adding a highlight when hovering over clickable objects. While you may not want (or need) to tweak everything available, the level of customization users have over the interface means you can really make it your own.
  1. Create Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts. You may find yourself needing to access different aspects of FileMaker often, at least compared to the default keyboard shortcuts mentioned above. Selecting “Specify” will allow you to use your own key combinations to perform commands. Note that this can even override existing commands.

Knowing the above should help make creating FileMaker databases easier for beginners. But the best way to get the most out of FileMaker is to have a team of experts at the helm. To really learn what FileMaker can do for your business, contact Kyo Logic today.

How Claris FileMaker and Connect Work Together

At KyoLogic, we’re FileMaker experts. We believe it’s a powerful platform that allows small to midsize firms the ability to create virtually any piece of software we need. It’s had an incredible impact on the software development space, and drastically expanded the audience for custom applications.

Claris, FileMaker’s developer, recently released a new piece of software that has the potential to be equally game-changing: Claris Connect. It can integrate seamlessly with applications developed in FileMaker, but it’s true purpose is to integrate with… well, just about everything else. Claris Connect can even function independently of FileMaker, but it’s the combination of the two platforms that really creates amazing opportunities for workflow.

Claris Connect itself is designed to create connections— which it refers to as flows— between otherwise independent pieces of software. It fills a unique software need known as iPaaS (integrated Platform as a Service). It allows users to automate otherwise time-consuming tasks. For example, one flow may automatically upload specific documents to your team’s cloud storage as soon as they arrive in your inbox, even pinging your team over chat that there’s an update. Everything from Slack to PayPal to Twitter can be integrated into these flows, leaving your team to focus on the most important tasks.

It’s the symbiotic relationship it forms with FileMaker, though, that allows for truly comprehensive solutions. While FileMaker could “talk” to these platforms previously, it would have to do so through the FileMaker Data API. It was generally time-intensive and cumbersome, and involved creating additional plug-ins or scripts to get two applications to interface. Now all of that is unnecessary. It’s the equivalent of daisy changing a series of power strips to plug a computer into a wall outlet, versus being able to plug the computer directly into the outlet itself.

Through Claris Connect, any custom FileMaker application can now “plug” into this suite of powerful business tools. Oftentimes, businesses that require custom tools would choose to run every aspect of their business through a series of FileMaker nodes. It’s effective, but it’s also costly, especially when other, potentially more cost-effective solutions exist.

Claris Connect allows for these custom solutions to plug into an existing work ecosystem. It means less time, money, and resources spent creating new applications. Your new sales software, internal report system, or HR portal can lean on applications like Slack or DocuSign.

Similarly, the ability to create scripts in FileMaker means templates in Connect can be customized even further. If there’s a gap in a particular workflow, FileMaker can fill in those missing links. For instance, in a flow where Shopify orders automatically create a Quickbooks invoice, FileMaker can act as the hub, updating contact info and invoices and sending an automated message when the order is fulfilled.

Together, these two offerings mean any business can create incredibly complex systems to maximize their resources and ensure their employees can focus on other areas of opportunity. If you’re looking for ways to see how FileMaker and Connect can change the way your business operates, you can contact KyoLogic here.