Free FileMaker JavaScript, JSON and cURL Training Series

At last months FileMaker DevCon, I had the honor of presenting 8 hours of training for the Innovation Track. The material covered JSON, cURL, the FM Data API and JavaScript.  It was great fun. But it was a lot of material, and we didn’t get all the way through. In order to make sure that everyone has access to this very important material, I am going to be releasing a very long series of videos, blogs, tutorials, and webinars covering all of the material, starting in the first week of September 2017.  Here is how we are planning to pull it off.

Format

I’ll be releasing a video, tutorial and sample files at regular intervals, hopefully, every week. There will be a slack channel for people to ask questions. And we’ll have occasional Webinars for advanced topics and tutorials. We plan to do this for as long as we have topics.  See Below for the Topics we’ll be covering.

Signup

If you are interested in getting notified when this gets going, signup below.

Topics

JSON, cURL and Tools

We’ll spend some time on these.  But not as much as the JavaScript stuff.

  • Using JSON in FileMaker Development
  • Reading API documentation
  • Using Tools
    • Generator and PostMan

Publishing an API with FileMaker and JavaScript

These will cover connecting to FileMaker with the both the FileMaker Data API and XML Gateway. It will also cover the basics of node.js development, all the way up through building a full API to connect to FileMaker

  • Intro to Node.js Development
  • Setting up your Dev Environment
  • Connecting to FileMaker
  • FM Data API
  • XML Gateway
  • Connecting with OAuth ( maybe? )
  • Intro to Express.js API Framework
  • Connecting to FileMaker from Node.js
  • Create a Full Express API connecting to FileMaker

Publishing An API with FileMaker and JavaScript Part 2

These will cover advanced topics, such as deployment, application architecture and other frameworks

  • micro.js
  • feathers.js
  • GraphQL
  • deployment
    • pm2
    • now cloud service

Custom Web Publishing with FileMaker and JavaScript

Here we’ll look at using a few react.js based frameworks to produce websites that are super fast, responsive, and interactive. The site will connect with FileMaker APIs we covered in the first section.

  • Intro to React
  • Using Bootstrap with React
  • React Router
  • Data Fetching from a FileMaker Server
    • Axios, Fetch and Appolo
  • Gatsby Site Generator
    • Super fast Hybrid Sites

 

 

 

Geist Interactive Wins Third FBA Excellence Award In Four Years

This year’s FileMaker DevCon was a blast. Our booth was often packed 3 and 4 deep with people trying to catch the latest on FMPerception. We delivered over 10 hours of presentations, training and vendor sessions. We won our third FBA Excellence Award in 4 years. Coming on the heels of our promotion to Platinum FBA Partner, I couldn’t be more thrilled with how DevCon went.

FBA Excellence Award

Way way back in 2014, Jeremy Bante and Geist Interactive won Commerical Product of the Year for Barcode Creator. In 2015, we were recognized with an FBA Excellence Award for Development for our role in creation and documentation of the Selector Connector graph pattern. This year we won for FBA Excellence Award for Advocacy, for our work in evangelizing and advocating for the powerful new FileMaker Platform.

We think a strong vibrant community is essential to the success of any platform, FileMaker included. We make contributing to the community a core part of our strategy. The FBA Awards are a way to recognize the efforts of individuals and companies all across our ecosystem for their contributions to the platform.  This year’s group of winners was excellent and we are proud to be among them.

Presentations

Dave Graham, our VP of Services, gave a presentation titled “Data Modeling that Scales”.  Even though it was his first ever DevCon presentation, he looked like an old pro up there. He kept The packed house glued to the screen as he walkd everyone through using the Party Model to model Contacts and their myriad relationships.

Training

I gave an 8 hours training on the latest new stuff in FileMaker centered around web integration. It was a huge topic and we covered a lot of ground; everything from cURL and JSON to building APIs with node.js.  By the end of the day, we had a room full of people, many of whom had never opened a text editor or a terminal, building a node.js HTTP API connected to FileMaker.

I’ll be giving that training again in one form or another very soon. If you are interested in finding out about that signup to get notified when the dates are set.

We also gave a sort of a preview of our new starting kit, called Karbon. Karbon is for building ambitious FileMaker custom applications. It uses modern software design principles to bring a level of scalability, modularity, and robustness, that is difficult to achieve otherwise. We’ll have more information about that very very soon.

Product Expo

Our booth was busy all the time, even during the in between time. Barcode Creator is always a hit, and FMPerception was on pretty much 24/7 at the booth. Dave Ramsey has developed quite a following as the guru of all things database analysis related. He was a non-stop FMPerception presenting machine.

This DevCon marks one year since FMPerception was first released. The response has been awesome. We have tried to reward such phenomenal support by releasing 33 new versions in the first year. We don’t plan on slowing down in year two either.

Biggest DevCon Ever

1600 people from all over the globe attended DevCon this year. That’s a new record. Clearly, I am not the only one who thought that FileMaker 16 was the biggest release since 7. It was great to see such a large crowd. The future of the FileMaker is bright indeed.

Thanks to everyone who came to visit us at our booth, or came to one of our sessions. You are the reason we go to DevCon.

DevCon 2017 Sales

We are still off at DevCon. What a ride!!!!  But we just wanted to let you all know the DevCon Sale is still going on. Here is a discount code that will get you 20% off every product in our store.

DC17ABZ1

We’ll have a DevCon update next week. 🙂

Generator v2.0.6

One of Generator’s primary jobs is to remove the tedium of doing the same thing over and over again.  Not only is it boring, but it is error prone.  If something can be automated it should be automated. In v2.06, Generator makes it even easier to go from JSON to FileMaker database fields. We’ll cover that in this video.

If you have some JSON on your clipboard you can quickly create all the fields in a FileMaker table, and create a script that maps those fields to your JSON object.  It takes about 30 seconds.  Of course, if you already have fields in your table you can map to those too.

There is clearly more we can do here.  We could add the table for example, or we could try to guess the field type before we create the field.  We’ll get to that at some point.

It’s Free!

By the way, in case you didn’t know Generator is completely free an unlocked!

Happy Generating 🙂

San Diego FileMaker User Group – July 7th, 2017

The San Diego FileMaker User Group will meet again July 7th at 5:00 PM. Anyone who uses or is interested learning more about the FileMaker Platform is invited. This month Marc Larochelle from Productive Computing will be presenting on the ins and outs of FileMaker hosting in the modern era. The hosting story is rapidly changing as we shift more and more into the cloud. Come hear how to get it done right.

Agenda

5:00 PM Drinks and Snacks
5:30 User Group Meeting Starts
5:45 Presentations

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About FileMaker Hosting but Were Afraid to Ask

Come join us where presenter Marc Larochelle from Productive Computing, Inc. gives us all the gory details, the dos and don’ts, and the pros and cons of FileMaker hosting.  Certified in FileMaker and AWS, Marc will explore the differences between on-premise versus cloud hosting.  Visit the future where we show you a brief look at AWS (Amazon Web Services) under the hood and hosting with FileMaker Cloud.  Discover all the other aspects of hosting you may not have even considered.  Walk away from this armed with the knowledge that you have a much better understanding of what it means to host a FileMaker database system giving you a big leg up on your next deployment.

Card Windows ( if time allows )

FileMaker 16 Card Windows are the big sleeper feature in this release. They have a couple of interesting unexpected behaviors that make them very good at making module solutions. We’ll take a quick look at how that works and what that might mean.

7:30 PM End

Location

Geist Interactive, San Diego
1855 1st Ave
Unit 100
San Diego, CA 92101

Geist Interactive at FileMaker DevCon 2017

This year’s FileMaker DevCon is not to be missed. FileMaker 16 is the biggest most important release since FileMaker 7 more than a decade ago, and DevCon is the place to be to catch up on all the shiny new features.  Geist Interactive will be there with much of our team. We’ll have a booth, and we’ll be quite busy with presentations and product announcements.

Presentations

Dave Graham will be presenting on Data Modeling That Scales on Wed June 26th at 1:00 PM. Dave will be talking about how to put together your relationship graph, so it remains flexible and scalable as your solutions evolve.

Todd Geist will be leading one of the training day sessions called “Connecting FileMaker to the Web.”  This class will focus on FileMaker 16 new abilities to connect with just about any API, and it’s remarkably tight integration with the modern web platform powered by HTTP, JSON, and JavaScript.

Products

We’ll be demoing several of our very popular developer tools at our booth. FMPerception is the fastest database analysis tool available today. Barcode Creator is the easiest way to add Barcode generation to your FileMaker solutions, and fmQBO gives developers the power to connect their FileMaker solutions to QuickBooks Online.

Karbon

Karbon is our new free advanced FileMaker business template.  Karbon is the result of more than two decades of building and supporting FileMaker business systems blended with a thoroughly modern approach to modularity, data modeling, integration, and design.  We’ll be releasing it at DevCon. You can come and check it out at the booth, and it also has its own vendor session.  See below for times and dates.

Vendor Sessions

We also have two special Vendor Sessions. Dave Ramsey, the creator of FMPerception, will be leading an in-depth look at all of the ins and outs of FMPerception. That will be Tuesday, 10:30 in Grand Canyon 5.  We’ll also be talking about Karbon at 10:30 AM on Wed also in Grand Canyon 5.

The Big One!

This is a big DevCon, at an impressive hotel. I mean, come on, forget about all the excellent content, the hotel has a Lazy River! Who’d want to miss that!  Hope to see you there.

Geist Interactive Promoted to Platinum Level of FileMaker Business Alliance

Newbury Park, CA, USA — 6/9/17 — Geist Interactive, a leading FileMaker Platform developer, has been designated as a Platinum Level FileMaker Business Alliance (FBA) member. Partners who reach the FBA Platinum level are specifically selected by FileMaker, Inc., an Apple subsidiary, for exhibiting the highest level of customer service and technical expertise in creating innovative FileMaker Platform solutions.

“We are thrilled and honored to be joining such a prestigious group,” said Todd Geist, Founder, and CEO of Geist Interactive. “We look forward to working closely with FileMaker Inc, to help companies and groups get the valuable custom apps they need to succeed into today’s rapidly changing technological landscape.”

Geist Interactive believes that “Custom Software is a Right” and that no business or group should feel stuck using off the shelf applications that do not fit their needs. Geist Interactive blends the uniquely powerful FileMaker platform, cloud infrastructure, principles of the open web and thoughtful design to produce innovative and valuable custom apps for their customers around the world.

Pause Bootleg

Thanks to Tim Neudecker for recording this.

Testing FileMaker Custom Functions

Back when we shipped the original JSONCustom Function Library, we adopted rigorous testing as part of our development process. Testing FileMaker custom functions proved incredibly valuable. Those functions went to become critical parts of fmQBO, Generator, and every custom project we have done since.  We have a new library that we want to develop in the same way.  In this video, we’ll see how it becomes such a critical part of an open source project.

Contributions

We love getting contributions. We are trying to create useful tools that everyone can use. But to do that we have to be able to collaborate effectively.  We need to make sure that new bug fixes or features don’t break existing features.  The best way to do that is with tests. We ask everyone who wants to contribute to help us by writing simple tests.  Don’t worry they aren’t hard.  Our Contributing Guide and this video show you how to do it.  Remember it’s just FileMaker.

Moving Forward and Getting Smarter

When FileMaker decided to add native JSON functions to FileMaker they used the test file that we had made for our JSONCustomFunction library to make sure that the new functions behaved mostly like the ones we had created.  That’s why the native functions are so similar to ours.Testing FileMaker

Why did they use our Test file? Why not create their own tests?  Because our test file included a number of edge cases and tricky issues that needed to be solved in the real world. Every bug we encountered, every new feature we added had tests. Over time those tests got smarter and smarter and covered more and more of the use cases that we encountered in the wild. In short using the test file for our functions was the easiest way for FileMaker to ensure that the new functions were useful.

Testing FileMaker Custom Function is Easy

Testing isn’t hard. But it does take more work up front.  But once you out the tests in place you will be glad you did.  It will save you countless hours in the future.  We’ll have more to say about testing FileMaker scripts and other parts of FileMaker in the future.

FileMaker 16 – Biggest Change Since FileMaker 7

FileMaker 16 is the most important release since FileMaker 7. It fundamentally changes both what you can do with the FileMaker platform and how you can do it. It provides first class connectivity to the global API economy, better user interface design tools, and new scripting and calculation features, that make it easier to write better, testable code.  These add up to radical new opportunities for those developers and business who choose to take advantage of them.

FileMaker is Changing. Maybe We Should Too

The technology landscape today is nothing like it was when FileMaker made its way onto the global stage.  There was no internet to speak of. Most FileMaker systems were written by 1 or 2 people and ran on a local area network.  Today applications are collaboratively written by hundreds or even thousands of people and then run in an always available global network of applications, APIs, and services.

FileMaker is adapting, adding new features that let us connect to this new world and design software that delights our users.  But we may need to change how we think in order to make the most of what we have been given. The usual practice of trying to solve old problems with new tools may not suffice.  What if those old problems are not even relevant anymore?  How would we know?  What are the new problems we can solve?  How do we learn this new approach?

John Sindelar and I designed this year’s PauseOnError conference to directly address questions like these.  We thought that a meditation retreat / tech conference / running clinic / art project would be an interesting way to try generate some new ideas, and maybe some new approaches to learning something new.  FileMaker 16 represents something new. There are still a few spots left if you would like to go.

I’ll have a lot more to say about what FileMaker 16 represents and the ways it has changed how I think about application building in FileMaker.  But for now, let me highlight a few of the most important features in FileMaker 16.

Card Windows

This new window type makes it possible to easily display two unconnected contexts in what appears to be the same window for the first time. This radically reduces the complexity required to handle many very common usage patterns. We can now spend time working on custom features for our customers instead of inventing complex and fragile user interfaces.

Native JSON Parsing

This solves a long standing problem around how to pass data around FileMaker. Obviously, it’s valuable for working with APIs, but it has a lot of value just for use within FileMaker itself. We can now create and process complex nested data structures, without having to hit the database. This will make it easier to create modular and testable code.  I’ll be introducing the concept of “Functional Scripting” in a later blog post that will cover this in more detail.

HTTP Support with cURL

Coupled with native JSON functions, FileMaker Pro is now a very capable HTTP Client.  For the first time, FileMaker Pro can natively take part in the API Economy, this vast globe-spanning network of interconnected services, APIs, and Apps. This is incredibly important. Custom Applications that don’t connect with the global network are at a serious disadvantage to those that do. It is getting harder to imagine a valuable custom application that doesn’t connect to APIs.

JSON and cURL may be very new to many FileMaker people. They aren’t actually very complicated, but they are different. Sometimes that can be a roadblock. We wanted to give people a tool that could help them use and learn these new features. So we created Generator, a FREE utility that you can use to try out the new stuff.  We have a version for FileMaker 15 and a new one for FileMaker 16 as well.  We hope you find them useful.

FM Data API & node.js

This one may not have a huge impact right away.  The Data API is in a beta release and is missing some key features.  But the decision to move to a standards-based based API server, built on node.js, will lay the foundation for even tighter integration with the global network of apps, APIs, and services. If you saw my presentation last year, “JavaScript is Eating the World“, you’ll know why I think JavaScript and node.js are important to pay attention to.

The Network Effect

This release begins to open up the FileMaker platform to the Network Effect.  I wrote a little about this back in 2014 in a post titled “What Can WordPress Teach FileMaker”. In that post, I pointed out that collaboration always wins. Make it possible for lots and lots of people to work on a problem, and it will get solved.  It’s a simple equation.  1,000 brains are more powerful than 1 or 2. Now that we can connect natively to the global network, we can gain access to the work product of millions of brains.

And Everything Else…

There are tons of other great features in this release, like PDF printing on the server, layout animations, and OAuth for Accounts.  Plus a whole new interface on Windows, and the awesome new Layout Objects viewer. Pro is better, Go is better, Server and Web Direct are better.  FileMaker 16 is a great big giant release. So glad it’s here.

Now… when is 17 coming?  🙂