Archive for category FileMaker Tips

Join us at AutoEnter Live 2022

AutoEnter Live

NRG Software will be a sponsor at the AutoEnter Live: a 2-day virtual conference for the Claris Community on July 19 & 20. This event is free to attend and is being hosted by Proof+Geist and Soliant Consulting. Register for free on the AutoEnter Live website.

As a long-time sponsor of FileMaker DevCon, we’re excited to connect with the Claris developer community again. Drop by our virtual booth to hear about best-practices for shipping with FileMaker Pro, including how to use our carrier-certified NRGship solutions, Claris Connect or integrations with other web services. You’ll see how you can have shipping labels created right from your database in under 10 minutes to simplify your workflow and reduce shipping errors. While you’re there, don’t forget to signup to win some UPS unstoppable gear.

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Create device-agnostic HTML links for mapping data

We recently did a project where HTML emails were generated with a list of stops for a delivery route. During the testing phase, we found that creating map links across devices was not so simple.

Apple Maps Link

Apple’s iOS URL handler is maps: but the preferred method is to use https://maps.apple.com/ with the location data. If you use this URL instead, it will open in the Apple Maps app on iOS/macOS or redirect to Google Maps on Windows/Android.

To display a map for a specific address, you would use a link like <A href=”http://maps.apple.com/?address=1,Infinite+Loop,Cupertino,California”>Map</A>

To display a map with a given latitude and longitude, you would use a link like <A href=”http://maps.apple.com/?ll=50.894967,4.341626″>Map</A>

For more information on Apple Maps links, check out the Apple Developer Documentation.

Google Maps Link

Sometimes mobile users don’t like the Apple Maps application and would prefer to use Google Maps instead. On iOS, there is no way to set a default Maps application so the workaround is to use a universal URL, simpliar to the Apple Maps URL. If the Google Maps app is installed on iOS or Android, the link will open in the app, otherwise it will open the map in the default web brower.

To display a map for a specific address, you would use a link like <A href=”https://www.google.com/maps/search/?api=1&query=1,Infinite+Loop,Cupertino,California”>Map</A>

To display a map with a given latitude and longitude, you would use a link like <A href=”https://www.google.com/maps/search/?api=1&query=50.894967%2C4.341626″>Map</A>

For more information on Google Maps links, check out the Google Maps Platform Documentation.

Encoding

Note that all maps links should be properly URL encoded. Each mail application handles links differently and you must encode or you may face issues. If you are using Claris FileMaker Pro, a function like GetAsURLEncoded can be used to encode your link data.

Preferences are always nice

If possible, add a preference for each email recipient so that you can dynamically create the map link based on their desired map provider.

While our primary development efforts at NRG revolve around shipping and carrier APIs, we often assist other Claris developers with projects related to other APIs. Contact our sales department for more information on our custom development services.

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Connect WordPress Ninja Forms to Claris FileMaker Pro

We recently saw a posting on a FaceBook group requesting some help with sending WordPress form data from Ninja Forms to Claris FileMaker Pro thru the Data API without the need for the paid add-on Ninja Forms Webhook plugin. Even with the Ninja Forms Webhook plugin, you’d still need server-side code that would take the form data and convert it into a format that could be used with the Data API.

Soliant Consulting has an article with code for FileMaker 17 but the poster had issue getting it to work with FileMaker 19.

FileMaker Webhooks

We’ve built FileMaker webhooks for a varity of needs in the past and have found that creating a generic table to accept data is an easy way to add future functionality without having to change a lot of PHP code. Processing of the data is then handled inside of FileMaker with common scripting.

We created a github project for this free Ninja Forms plugin in hopes that it will benefit other FileMaker Pro users.

This project consists of two parts – the first is a WordPress plugin that you modify for your FileMaker Server host, and then upload to your web server. The second part is a FileMaker database that accepts the submitted form data. Please consult the readme file that is included with the download for a walkthru of configuring the plugin.

Our Approach

In order to simplify submission of multiple forms, we take an approach where we use a simple table that has two basic fields – the form name, and the form data as JSON.

Sample form data

There is then a script, Process Webhook, that gets invoked and that can be used to parse out the data for other needs. For example, if the form_title value is “Contact Me” then the script could create an entry in a “To Do” database for a salesperson so that they make contact with the person who submitted the form. Using a common table also allows for business logic in the processing script – for example, you don’t want create duplicate records in your CRM or you may want to add some filtering for invalid data.

If you’re interested in hearing more about how NRG can help connect your FileMaker database with WordPress, please contact our sales department.

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Here’s how to create FileMaker server-side Snapshot Links

Have you tried to create Snapshot Links in your server scripts but they fail when users try to open them? When creating Snapshot Links with server-side scripts, the IP of the host is used to create them which leads to invalid Snapshot Links for clients running outside the local network. Often, the host IP is an internal IP number which is not accessible to the outside world. When these Snapshot Links are emailed to users, they throw an error when they try to open them. Snapshot Links created using the FileMaker Pro application don’t have this issue because the links are built using the host used to access the database file, which should be a fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) if you’re using best practices.

Snippet from a Snapshot Link file showing the internal IP numbers

Using the Data File script steps that have been available since FileMaker 18, you can easily read in the Snapshot Link file, replace the IP number for 127.0.0.1, and then send the Snapshot Link in an email from a server script.

In the sample script below, we first go to the proper layout, record and sort order that we want the user to be on when they open the Snapshot Link. We then save the Snapshot Link. Once saved, we open the file and read the contents. The contents then have a simple subsitute to replace 127.0.0.1 with the valid FQDN of the host. We then write the file back to disk and send it out as an email attachment. Problem solved!

Using FileMaker Data File script steps to fix the Snapshot Link file

NRG Software has utilized Snapshot Links to automate server-side reminders for common business needs like Reorder Emails, CRM follow-ups, etc. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss adding server-side automation to your FileMaker Pro solution.

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Updating FileMaker data with Zebra mobile devices

We were recently working on a project where we needed to verify order fulfillment and staging prior to pickup by the shipping carriers.

In most instances, we’d use FileMaker Go on an iPod Touch or iPad for mobile users, but this project required that we scan barcodes quickly for optimum performance.

As a proof of concept, we created a simple FileMaker Web Direct interface so that staff could scan boxes as they were packed, and before they were put onto a pallet. The Zebra TC20 is an Android 8.1 device that accesses Web Direct with it’s Chrome browser thru a wireless connection. The TC20 is ruggedized and features a built-in barode scanner which is perfect for use in a warehouse environment.

In the video below, you can see how this streamlined interface works. The user can choose from two scanning modes – one to verify packing and the other to mark which pallet the package is on awaiting pickup. We used just a single field for barcode scanning to reduce the overall complexity.

One option we considered was using FileMaker Go on an iPod Touch or iPad. We decided not to go this route for a variety of reasons:

  • Scanning barcodes is trickier with multiple appearing on the package. We wanted to reduce the chance of false-scans using the camera on the mobile device
  • External barcode scanners on iOS can be clunky to use. With the Zebra it’s one device to manage.
  • Using the the iPod Touch or iPad would require a ruggedized case
  • There’s greater chance of loss of device with an iPod Touch or iPad with seasonal staff
  • Using a iPod Touch sled like the Linea Pro adds considerable cost and requires the use of custom plugins along with the iOS App SDK.

Another alternative to using Web Direct is building a native web app that communicates with the FileMaker backend using the Data API to update order status.

Please contact our Sales Department for further information if you’d like help creating a mobile warehouse solution.

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