Recently, Dave Graham and Todd Geist led a webinar about Otto, our Dev Opps tool for FileMaker. Watch the video here:

What is Otto?

Todd kicked off the meeting by describing what Developer Ops means. DevOps (as we call it) is anything that will help automate the processes you have to go through when you have to manage a FileMaker Server and FileMaker Applications.

Otto is easy to install on your FileMaker server machines.. And once on the machines, Otto provides many features for the developer:

  • Automated Data Migration
  • Proxy – API keys
  • Config settings that
  • a Developer API

These features and processes are available via your favorite browser. There are some caveats with installing Otto on server machines, and Todd clearly lays those out.

Data migration

In the webinar, Dave demonstrated how to perform quick data migrations using Otto Migrator. He showed how the developer tool does all the work for you when it comes to:

  • Pausing a file on the dev server.
  • Moving a clone of the dev file from the dev server to another server (in this case the production server).
  • Migrating the data from the old production to the clone.
  • Removing the old production file
  • Replacing the old production file with the new production file (the clone)
  • Opening the files on both the development and production servers.

He showed how easy it was to set up the routine to happen at the moment or scheduled for a later time.

Otto Migrator is a great way to reduce all the work that used to take hours into minutes. With Otto Migrator, you don’t need to plan an entire weekend for file transfer and data migration. It is all done while you get that last cup of coffee at the end of the development cycle when a file is ready to be sent to staging.

Todd then continued the webinar by going over the remaining features. Here are the highlights.

Proxy & API Keys

We have wrapped the FileMaker data api in a proxy, allowing us to add Api keys and allows us to connect directly to browsers from anywhere.

Config Settings

Many of the FileMaker Server config settings were removed from the Admin Console, putting them into the command line or the dapi. Otto makes those settings available again. Otto provides a rich, interactive user interface that shows your files’ status, your backups, and even allows you to download any backup.

Built in help

Otto has our documentation built in. There’s also a chat mechanism. Chat with Todd or Dave if there’s an issue and get help immediately!

Put it on your calendar

Todd showed off how a developer can add each schedule and completed migration to your Outlook or Google calendar. The task gives you a lot of details including whether it was successful or not and provides a link to the actual migration log in Otto.


The session ended with a standard Q & A session. Many of the participants asked great questions, and Todd and Dave took the time to answer.


Check out the webinar, and download Otto to try out yourself.






For quite a few years now, I’ve worked with JavaScript inside of FileMaker. And I’ve tried every possible way to deploy the code from an editor into the custom app. During the implementation of a web viewer widget, I’ve looked on the process with some angst or reluctance. There wasn’t a good way to deploy HTML / CSS / JavaScript into a custom app without building extra tables, fields, relationships. Or the deployment method was such that I couldn’t edit the code in a simple way. In times past, there were a lot of problems in deploying FileMaker web viewer widgets.

WidgetStudio solves the problem of deployment. The developer tool makes it a simple process to deploy a FileMaker web viewer widget that you have customized into any custom app. There’s literally no thinking about it. Click a button, and the code is deployed. Well, there’s a little more to just a button click, but honestly, not much more. Let’s take a look at the types of deployment, the implications of each type, and how easy it is to use any of these methods.

Embedded Web Viewer

Using this method, WidgetStudio actually creates a web viewer object for you and copies it to your clipboard, ready to be pasted onto a layout in your custom app. It is that simple. Watch the GIF below.

Embedded web viewers are good for simple widgets. They’re fast and easy to deploy.

Here are the details

  • I make customizations in WidgetStudio.
    • Since this widget has data coming back to FileMaker, I have the option “FileName”. I make that one “Calculated” which will use Get(FileName) calculation.
    • The widget also needs a script. I hardcoded the script name here “GetDateRange”.
  • I press the “Embedded Web Viewer Button”. The web viewer object (named “web”) is copied to my clipboard.
  • In my custom app, “JobTracking“, I went to the popover where I wanted to place the widget and pasted the object, resized it to make it fit.
  • I then created a script called “GetDateRange”. That will be called from the widget.

Pretty simple. It took me less than a minute to deploy the FileMaker web viewer widget.

The data

The data needed for this FileMaker web viewer widget is either hardcoded or a calculation. And this is found in the Let Statement variable declaration.

The data, highlighted in yellow, can be changed once deployed, or it can be adjusted in WidgetStudio.

Embedded web viewer advantages

This method is advantageous for a few reasons. The widget code is fully contained within the web viewer object. The object can be copied and pasted to other layouts, and the script that is called can be used in other places, or you can point any additional widgets to a different script.

Scripted render

So far in my work with WidgetStudio, I prefer this method. I’d rather let scripts control actions in my custom apps (because I can control the scripts themselves). WidgetStudio offers this option for all widgets.

Essentially WidgetStudio creates an entire script that does the work of compiling the code to run the widget. Watch this:

Here are the details

  • I make customizations in WidgetStudio.
    • Since this widget has data coming back to FileMaker, I have the option “FileName”. I make that one “Calculated”. The file name is gathered at run time with the Get(FileName) function.
    • The widget also needs a script. I hardcoded the script name here “GetDateRange”.
  • I press the “Scripted Rendering”. WidgetStudio copies the steps to my clipboard.
  • In my custom app, “JobTracking“, I went to the popover where I wanted to place the widget and placed a web viewer. I named that web viewer “web”.
  • I pasted the script steps in a script called “Render Date Picker”.
  • On the popover, I added an onObjectEnter trigger to run the “Render Date Picker” script.
  • I then created a script called “GetDateRange”, which will be called from the widget.

The data

As I said before, the beauty of this method is the fact it’s scripted; I can completely control the creation of the data. The data is set at the top of the script.

Though the date & time picker is simple, a complex data need requires a subscript to run. In my pivot table widget, I need a script to gather the data in the correct format and pass it back to this script. Below is a scripted render of a charting widget.

Scripted export

The scripted export method works pretty much the same as the scripted render method, with a few minor differences. This process exports your entire code to your local temp directory and then causes the web viewer object to read from that path. The created script looks like this:

The Details

In order for this method to work, you need to create a container field (invisible or off-layout) that this script can use. In line 18 of the script above, you’d set the field name there.  And again do this in line 52 of the same script.

This method is less useful since it requires a few other steps. I wouldn’t use this method at all except if I use using a widget that involved the FM WebViewer Bridge.

Solving the ‘deploy FileMaker web viewer widget’ problem

WidgetStudio’s three methods of deployment solves the problem of deploying FileMaker web viewer widgets to a custom app. There’s no rolling up of one’s sleeves to begin the arduous of creating schema. Nor are we lacking a place to edit the widget’s code and options. WidgetStudio allows us to deploy a widget in a matter of seconds.

I look back at past files I’ve created to deploy a widget. While they were good for the time and a step in the right direction, I’ll probably never go back to one of those older methods. WidgetStudio’s methods are fast and global.

Give WidgetStudio’s demo a try. Deploy the three included widgets as a test, and see how easily WidgetStudio solves the huge problem of deploying FileMaker web viewer widgets.




Geist Interactive and Carson Lind of Eagle Optimizations, LLC is proud to introduce WidgetStudio – FileMaker WebViewer Widgets that everyone can use.

WidgetStudio makes it easy to use, design and share powerful interface widgets, like calendars, gauges, charts, and timers. Pick from the constantly growing set of included widgets or build your own. Freely share them with your customers or friends.

Get it done quickly!

There is no need to learn any other programming language to use WidgetStudio. If you can design a FileMaker Layout, you can use WidgetStudio’s built in point and click interface to modify the look and feel of the widget. Just few more clicks and your customized widget is embedded into your own FileMaker file, ready to go!

Use your web language skills

If you like JavaScript, HTML and CSS, you will love the familiar built in code editors. Enjoy language specific code formatting, coloring and syntax checking, while you are building or tweaking widgets. When you get it just right, share them with your friends.

FileMaker WebViewer Widget Super Powers

When you use WidgetStudio you get the following super powers:

  • Access to constantly growing set of ready-made widgets
  • A simple user interface for adjusting the look feel and behavior of any widgets
  • Easily embed widgets in your own files with no dependencies
  • Integrated, HTML, CSS and JavaScript code editors for advanced developers
  • A simple and consistent format for sharing widgets with other developers
  • Royalty free redistribution of widgets.

Royalty Free Distribution

You are free to share and distribute the widgets that are included with WidgetStudio in anyway that you want, provided you leave the copyright notice in the generated code in place. There is no runtime dependency on WidgetStudio or any plugin. Once you place a widget into your file, WidgetStudio is no longer required for the Widget to function. It has become part of your solution, and you can use it forever.

An Essential Escape Hatch

The FileMaker Workplace Innovation Platform provides a powerful framework to hang any custom application on. You can get incredibly far without having to resort to advanced techniques and traditional programming languages. But it also has what we call escape hatches, for those times when you need to do something that can’t easily be done with the tools out of the box.

One such escape hatch is the FileMaker Web Viewer. With it we can design any deploy any kind of interface widgets we need to FileMaker Go and FileMaker Pro, using JavaScript, HTML and CSS. It is incredibly powerful and means we never have to say “ we can’t do that “ to our customers. WidgetStudio is designed to make this escape easier to use for everyone, including both the people who want to use widgets and those that want to build them.

Give it a try

Download the WidgetStudio demo and give it a try. With the demo you can

  • Customize the three widgets that are included.
  • Deploy the three included widgets to your custom app.
  • Share the three widgets with others.
  • Create a widget.
  • Download widgets from the library.

See the documentation about the demo for more details.

Join us. Use JavaScript in your custom apps

We’re excited for you to see and use WidgetStudio.  We at Geist Interactive and WidgetStudio’s creator, Carson Lind at Eagle Optimizations, LLC invite you to see what you can make and use.

Join us for a free webinar about Otto, our Automated Deployment and Dev-Ops utility for FileMaker Server. Otto handles the tedious, and error-prone tasks of transferring files to servers and performing data migrations.  If you regularly have to perform data imports and data migrations on your FileMaker systems, you will want to attend this webinar.

Read more

Geist Interactive is releasing a major upgrade to Otto, our powerful Data Migration and Developer Operations tool. Otto automates the complex and error-prone process of migrating and upgrading FileMaker solutions, making it a key component of your Workplace Innovation Platform. Version 1.6 comes with many new features and improvements. There is a free limited license available. Get it now and give a try.

Otto is Data Migration and Developer Operations for FileMaker

Otto is the most powerful Data Migration and Developer Operations tool available for FileMaker Server today. It includes a powerful responsive web user interface, a completely open and unlocked FileMaker file for you to customize as you want, and a full developer API that allows advanced users to create powerful server automations and migrations in any way they see fit.

Version 1.6.0 Highlights

Restore From Backup

If you make a mistake and deploy a broken version of your application, or just need to revert, Otto can restore the previous version, at the click of a button or a through the API.

Redo a Migration

Once you set up migration and run it once you easily repeat that same migration over and over again, with the click of a button in the new Web Interface.

Migration Calendar Subscriptions

You can subscribe to a calendar of all your migration with your favorite calendar application. This makes it easy to see when a migration happened and what the results were in line with the rest of your calendar items.

Saved Versions

You can now configure Otto to use a previously-saved version of a file or files in the migration.  This is great if you need to deploy the same version of a file to many different servers.  Vertical Market solution providers will love this, as it makes it easier to deploy a new version of their solutions to all of their customer’s servers.

New Improved Web Interface

Otto’s web interface has several new useful features. It includes a File Manager for downloading FileMaker backups, migration backups and log files.  It also has much better reporting of migration results making it easier than ever to troubleshoot any problems with configuration or setup.

Other Fixes and Improvements

  • Better Realtime Migration Updates – Improved the migration progress bar visible during the migration, in both the Web UI and Otto Migrator UI
  • Better Error Messaging – Migration results are clearer and easier to understand.
  • Better Pre-migration validation – Otto now pre-validates and warns you if you migration will fail because of mistyped URLs or username and passwords.
  • Easier to Report Issues- You can export a migrations result to a JSON file that can be sent to support for easier tech support and troubleshooting.
  • Better Handling of SSL passwords
    Otto can import, encrypt, and store your SSL Passphrase, without you having to ever log in to an insecure server.
  • Better Large File Support – Very large files would sometimes cause timeouts.

Availability and Pricing

The new version is available now. Pricing starts at $400 (USD) for a 3 server pack and is free for current license holders. You can always download the latest release from your account on our website.

Free Limited Version and Trial

Otto is available in a free version with a slightly limited feature set. The features that are available with the free license do not have a time limit. They are available forever and for free.  See the Otto page for more details and how to get your free license.

Geist Interactive is a sponsor of the CIO/CTO Focus event series in Ventura County California.  The next event will be Feb 19, 2019, and will feature a discussion with leading Chief Information & Chief Technology Officers (CIO & CTOs) from the area. Todd Geist, CEO of Geist Interactive will be moderating the event. If you are CIO or CTO in the area and would like to come, please register using the link below.

Featured Executives

Moderated by Todd Geist, CEO, Geist Interactive


The CIO/CTO Focus event series is intended to bring together local executives for an ongoing discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing technology executives today, especially those who are helping to lead companies with significant business operations in the Ventura County area.  The event will be held 4 times a year at a private home in the Thousand Oaks, CA area.

Register and RSVP

You can register at

Download Flyer – CIO_CTO Focus Invitation

We at Geist Interactive, Barbara, Dave, Lance, Jeremy and Todd (and the ghosts) wish everyone a happy holiday. No matter your celebration plans this season, we wish it to be full of warmth and love and joy.

Thank you for coming along with us as we continue to push what is possible in FileMaker and encourage developers to try out something new.

As a special treat, we are offering an End of Year sale, where every product and package in our store is 20% off.

Use this code: HOLIDAY2018  (colors not necessary) on any purchase and the 20% savings will be applied! It is available now through January 4, 2019, so act fast!

Get yourself or another FileMaker developer one of our products or tools. May we suggest:

  • FMPerception A must have for all FileMaker developers. Its realtime-developer intelligence is unmatched and is extremely useful in your day-to-day development.
  • Implementation packages: Pick up a 3- or 6- or 20-hour package and spend time with one of us to help you through some sticky parts of your solution. We’d be happy to write a few scripts for you as well.
  • Otto. We can’t imagine developing without this tool. Otto is the best tool for migrating files from Development to Production or Development to Staging to Production. It uses the data migration tool.
  • LedgerLink. LedgerLink (formerly fmQBO) is the easiest and most powerful method for keeping FileMaker in sync with QuickBooks Online.

The 2018 year was full of JSON and Karbon and JavaScript and FileMaker for us and for the community in general. Here’s a list of what has happened here and in the FileMaker community.

  • Lance, Todd, and Jeremy spoke at FileMaker DevCon 2018. We also were a diamond sponsor of the event.
  • We released Karbon, our ambitious framework for developing custom apps
  • We defined what we consider to be native FileMaker, and caused quite a discussion about it.
  • FileMaker 17 came out, and with it, features that continue to expand the platform’s limitless possibilities
  • The Workplace Innovation Platform was introduced (our favorite video is “Yoga Balls“).
  • We released a lot of blog posts about FileMaker: Like a Boss, JavaScript, and FileMaker 17.
  • Todd and Jeremy toured the west coast speaking about FileMaker Professional Tools.
  • We released new products: GoDraw3, Editor, Kanban, and have refreshed established ones: LedgerLink and GoZync.

Since we’re in the holiday season, check out Advent of Code 2018. This little event is a great way to refresh your FileMaker development experience. Solve puzzles outside of the normal grind.

And one more thing. Please take a moment to read about One Spark Academy and consider helping this organization.

Here’s wishing you and yours a great holiday season and a prosperous new year. We’re excited about 2019: FileMaker DevCon, FileMaker 18, and more blog posts and techniques, and more pushing what is possible.



In years past many of you FileMaker people have supported our non-profit learning center, One Spark Academy, with an end of the year tax-deductible donation. We are very grateful. This year, due to some terrible tragedies, we need your help more than ever.

Our community of Thousand Oaks was hit hard by two catastrophes in a single day. Families were devastated, lives were lost, and homes destroyed. The community has rallied to do what we can. It has been both deeply sad and wonderful to see our community pull together.  People have opened their homes, their wallets and given freely of their time to try to help.

Memorial for Thousand Oaks, Ca shooting victims.

It has also directly affected One Spark. Luckily, no one in our community lost loved ones or had their house burn down. But the school was used as a command post during the shooting and evacuation center during the fire. It was closed for more than a week. Two of our students’ families were forced to move away because of the devastation in their neighborhoods. Just when kids needed us more than ever we had to keep our doors closed.

We are also finding it very hard to ask for money. How can we ask our community to give more at a time like this? Yet we rely on this fundraiser every year to close the gap between what we charge for the school and what it costs to run it. We still need the money! We have to find it somewhere!

Please consider a tax deductible gift

So I am asking our global FileMaker community for help. If you have been following our school since its founding 8 years ago,  if you just appreciate what we do, or if you want to help our community recover from devastation, please help.  Our kids really need it.

Please visit our campaign page to make your donation.

Thank you!


Todd Geist
CEO Geist Interactive
President Of the Board, One Spark Academy.

Once a year, software developers all over world gather online to compete in the Advent of Code. During the festive and joyous time of the year, geeks race against the clock to solve coding challenges using their platform of choice, to be one of the first to solve it in as little time as possible. It’s a stressful and panicked time, this end of year tradition. Happy holidays.

Over 41,000 people started the journey last year, December 1, 2017. Among those were FileMaker developers.

That’s right. Besides being innovators, we are also software developers and problem solvers. Our platform does all that any other platform such as JavaScript or Python or .Net can do. So when I stumbled on this last year and wrote a discussion post about it on the forums, I figured we can be a part of the fun.

Here’s the quick rundown:

  • The site is Register on the site.. Take a look around.
  • Each day of December, two puzzles are released, one after the other. The goal is to read the problem and use any platform (even and especially FileMaker) to solve it.
  • Once problem one is solved, and the answer is submitted to the site, problem two is released. Usually this one builds off of or branches from problem one.
  • There is a leaderboard, and the leaders on the board are determined by the elapsed time it takes to solve the problem.
  • There are example solutions to the problem, given a different starting point. These are used to test.

It was a little exciting

There was a pretty good response from FileMaker developers to this challenge last year. I think because:

  • The puzzles are a nice ‘brain break’ from we work on each day. Advent of Code doesn’t have us building card windows for new records or have us determine the fiscal year. I daresay the puzzles in the game have nothing to do with real life, and for some, that is great. The challenges exercise a different set of skills for us.
  • The small group of folks who participated shared their ideas. We supported each other without judgement.

A Puzzle from Last Year

Unfortunately the method I chose to talk about this wasn’t useful. Scattered among the main questions and discussions in the community were posts for each day of the challenge. Those got lost, and there was no good way to really talk about it.

Do it better

So this year, we’re going to try something a bit different. I’ve been thinking of this for awhile, and, it turns out, so has Mr.Watson-gbs. (Great minds, and all that). Here’s what we have for this year:

  • A separate community place (coming soon) that you can be a part of (or not) and follow (or not). Thank you Rosemary for this separate space.
  • Mr. Watcon-gbs has a template file that we can use (though there’s no requirement. Use your own if you wish).
  • For each day of puzzles, a document containing the text and translation of the text will be posted. Likewise, a discussion for each day will be posted.
  • On the discussion you can post your own solution to the problems. You can ask for help, talk with each other about their solutions, etc.

We’ll basically work together to solve these puzzles.

Additional thoughts

  • Register to the Advent of Code site and post your answers, track your progress, and view your place on the leaderboard, as much as you wish.
  • There will be no official leaderboard in the community for a few reasons:
    • 1. I don’t have any mechanisms to test each answer and get the timestamp, and
    • 2. this competition is not found in the FileMaker forums. There’s nothing at stake here. There’s no reward save for the utter enjoyment of solving puzzles with your fellow FM developers
  • Ask for help about a puzzle, get feedback on your method of the solution, and critique others’ solutions. But that’s as far as we’ll go. There will be no judgement.
  • Again: ask for help. Though many FileMaker developers will post their answers, ask for help if you’re struggling. Don’t just open someone’s solution and copy it. Try to reason through it and ask for guidance in that process.
  • This space will be around (as well as the puzzles ) for a long time, so feel free to come back to a day and try them out well after the festive month has ended. Feel free to bump the topic and revive the conversation.
  • Feel free to try out the puzzles of 2017. They’ll give you some idea about what to expect.
  • Use any programming language you want; FileMaker is not required. In fact, I strongly encourage the use of other languages; I’d love to see how these are solved in Java, for example. If you could help the rest of us out and make it so we can see the code and run the code, that would be great.

I encourage you to join the group as we talk Advent of Code puzzles. What I’m excited about, what dawned on me about a year ago, is that we can do these puzzles in FileMaker. We can, along side Java, C++, JavaScript, Basic, and Fortran programmers, find solutions to fun problems. I really don’t think it takes an expert FileMaker developer to do these. Anyone can participate.

Let’s talk about the puzzles together, let’s critique and discuss. I think this is a way to make us better in our craft: take on some challenging puzzle and attempt to solve it in our language.

I’m committing to working on each puzzle every day, though I probably wont get up the second each day’s puzzle is released to be the first so solve it. I’ll use FileMaker, and, if time, JavaScript (I love JavaScript).

You have a month to prepare, to test out some puzzles from last year, and to get yourself ready.
See in Advent of Code 2018!

TODAY  – 10/22/2018  – 6:30 PM Pacfic!

Next Monday ( October 22 ) Geist Interactive will be hosting the San Diego FileMaker User Group at our office in San Diego, if you don’t live in the area and still want to attend, you can join us via Facebook Live on our Facebook page.

We are going to attempt something interesting.  This is not just a webinar, or Go To Meeting. This a multi-camera Live Streamed event. We’ll have a  “director”, who will be able to switch between multiple camera angles and the presenter’s screen to provide the best view of what’s happening at the event. If everything goes well it’ll be like a TV show with a Live Studio Audience.  We’ll also take questions from the online crowd via Facebook Live.

Last Of the West Coast Tour

This is the final leg of our 2018 West Coast Tour, where we have been talking about Power Tools for The FileMaker Workplace Innovation Platform.  Here are some of the topics we have covered in the earlier shows.

  • JavaScript Intro and mini-workshop
  • Karbon – our free Ambitious App Starter.
  • Otto –  Fully automated data migrations
  • LedgerLink – Connect to Quickbooks from FileMaker

Watch the Live Stream

The Live Stream will start at 6:30 PM Pacific Standard Time. October 22nd, 2018. Join us on our Facebook page.

Attend in Person

If you are in the area please come in and be part of our studio audience. We gather for food and drink starting 5:30 PM at our office in San Diego.  The presentations will begin at 6:30 PM


Geist Interactive
1855 1st Ave Suite 103,
San Diego, CA 92101