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Minutes of previous meetings

  • Meeting 53 - Monday 6th July 2020

    Agenda

    • 18:30 Welcome
      Jul Carson

    • 18:35 Discussion: How would you approach updating a legacy system to modern methodology?
      Gary Palmer

    • 18:55 FM Server CentOS "Preview"
      Phil Coates

    • 19:25 Security - Think about it!
      Gary Palmer

    • 19:45 Discussion: Why authenticate using oAuth?
      Jul Carson

    • 20:00 Claris Connect - What might you do with it?
      Robin Penfold

    • 20:30 CoreML and FileMaker 19
      Ian Jempson

    Virtual Bar Opens at 21:00


    10 minute refreshment break


    • 21:10 CoreML - Creating a model with live coding
      Ian Jempson (a brave man!)

    Further talk into the night. Beer or wine (almost) obligatory!

    This meeting was online in Google Meets. We had about 25 attendees online, including guests from Germany and Greece. Many thanks to all those who made it a great evening!

    You can download the chat transcript here.

    The recording of the meeting is available in our YouTube Channel. To be ensured of keeping up to date, why not subscribe to the channel?

  • Meeting 52 - Monday 4th May 2020

    Agenda

    • Data migration demo
      James Kelly

    • Partner Council Introduction
      Jordan Watson - Solis Digital

    • Discussion: Script to set any field to empty
      Have your examples ready or talk on the fly

    • Data logging – can the Data API help?
      John Renfrew

    • FileMaker 19 Demo
      Doug Wallis

    • Virtual bar

    This meeting was online in Google Meets and broadcast live on YouTube. We had a 44 attendees online at one point, including guests from Germany, Canada, France and Greece. Many thanks to all those who made it a great evening!

    You can download the chat transcript here.

    The results of Gary's Star Wars trivia poll are here. The correct answer was picked by the majority!

    The recording of the meeting will be available soon. Go to the Files area for presentations and files.

  • Meeting 51 - Monday 2nd March 2020

    Agenda
    We are very grateful to Claris for making a Doug Wallis available to give a half hour presentation on the keenly awaited Claris Connect at this meeting. The presentation will be a remote presentation and will start at 7:15pm UK time.
    There will be about 20/25 minutes after for a Q&A
    We're hoping to have Doug do a follow up at the next meeting in person.

    A big thanks too to Gary Palmer for making it possible to come to this meeting online. Click this link at the time to join us live.

    • Broadcasting meetings
      Jul Carson

    • Setting up a FileMaker-Sage integration
      Ara Martirossian

    • Claris Connect
      Doug Wallis

    • Quick update on FM 18 local client cache
      Gary Palmer

    • Barcode creation and scanning in FM
      Jul Carson

    • BYO issue/technique

    We were relieved to have the live meeting technology up and running in good time, enabling us to run the event from two locations - The Dock, Hove and Gary Palmer's Offices in London. A good number of people were also able to attend online from the US to Greece as well as in the UK.

    Broadcasting the meeting was well received, so we will continue to do this. We may trial other technologies, but the Google Meet worked well.

    We welcomed some new members, inclluding Michael and Mehedi at the Brighton venue, who came down from London, Penny in London and numerous others. A special mention for Orlando, who brought some delicious macaroons, branded with the Claris logo.

    The meeting started with a great presentation by Ara Martirossian of Red IT on connecting FileMaker and Sage. He took us through the latest release of his excellent plug-in, which takes away all the pain of setting up and maintaining scripts to link to the multiple Sage API endpoints. Using Ara's plugin, transferring data to and from Sage can be implemented rapidly and seamlessly, giving you access to everything in Sage.

    This led nicely in to Doug Wallis's presentation of Claris Connect, which was released the following day. Doug took us through the features and cost. He also took us through a live demo of setting up a flow linking TypeForm, Filemaker and Slack. He showed us how easy it is to set up a flow and link to one of the 60 odd fully supported APIs at launch, pointing out a couple of actions that need to be taken that are not immediately obvious. He also showed that you can connect to virtually any unsupported API using WebHooks, as well as including approval in the flow process. It certainly looks as though Claris Connect can save a developer a lot of work in setting up and maintaining links to other apps. There was time for a number of questions, which Doug answered knowledgeably. We hope to have Doug present in person at the next meeting.

    Following Doug's presentation, there was a discussion of what our initial reaction to Claris Connect is. Questions were raised over pricing and the whole commitment to Cloud.

    Jul gave a brief presentation on creating bar and QR codes using apis and a brief demo of scanning codes to go to specific records and opening urls. The level of knowledge in the room meant it was a bit like selling sand in a desert!

    The meeting closed at 9pm and several of the Brighton attendees went for a meal and more FileMaker talk.

  • Meeting 50 - Monday 13th January 2020

    Agenda
    - Qlik - Setting up your first data sheet
    Gary

    - Discussion: Which Server version and why?

    - Discussion: Physical or virtualised server?

    - Data Migration Tool Demo
    James

    - Discussion: Interest in non AWS/FileMaker Cloud 2 hosting?

    - Discussion: The Big Night Out?

    - Discussion: Subs and invoices update

    - Something from Jul
    Jul

    Apologies from several members; we welcomed a couple of new attendees. We tried broadcasting the meeting using Zoom; this met with some success. Ara was able to attend the meeting but others did not manage to log on. The intention is to carry on with this and see if we can do better next time.

    Gary took us through more aspects of using Qlik with FileMaker, focussing on setting up. Another fascinating talk - thanks Gary. He has offered us a template set up which will be posted into the files and resources area in due course.

    There was a discussion about the merits of hosting on virtualised servers, FileMaker Cloud, on premise etc. Virtual servers seem to be the preferred option, with some questions remaining about FileMaker Cloud, though several developers like the easy set-up and intro for small groups of users.

    There was a fair degree of discussion based around the advantages of using FileMaker, based on the requirements of Barbara, who came to see us the representative of a small group of users in a university environment.

    The Big Night Out was deferred and a brief update on subs and invoices was given.
    Unfortunately, with all the messing about with Zoom, we did not have time fo James to demo the Data Migration Tool. That has been postponed to a future meeting.

    Several of us retired for a curry after the meeting.

  • Meeting 49 - Monday 11th November 2019

    Agenda

    • UK Devcon recap Jul, Orlando, Clive
    • Discussion: Where is Claris headed and what does it mean for us?
    • Qlik and FileMaker demo Gary Palmer
    • FileMaker Server 18 performance with big data Gary Palmer
    • Achieving the unachievable - text boxes that scale to fit Roger Wilkey
    • Standardising Execute SQL queries to speed your development Jul
    • Discussion: The Christmas Event!

    Apologies were received from Craig and Ian Dunk-Collins.

    We welcomed Gary to the group and enjoyed an excellent, if rapid introduction to Qlik and its use with FileMaker. Gary showed us the power and flexibility of Qlik, which is used by Titan Publishing/Forbidden Planet to analyse the vast amounts of data within their FileMaker systems, live. He showed us how you can slice and dice the data and drill down to resolve anomalies it brings up. He also showed us how non-developers can create their own data sheets with minimal training. Altogether, an amazingly powerful tool to use in conjunction with FileMaker (and other data sources). Many thanks to Gary for coming down and showing us this.

    Jul, Orlando, Gary and Clive gave a recap of the one day so called UK Devcon event, the primary focus of which was to confirm and extend the changes to Claris introduced at the US Devcon. This brought us onto the discussion about where Claris is headed and what it means for us. The general outlook was optimistic, but suggestive of a change, or extension to, our working practices.

    A couple of means of scaling text boxes to fit were discussed, from using Preview mode and Shrink to Fit, to HTML code in a web viewer - where were you when we needed you Craig?

    After a brief discussion of possibility of a Christmas Event, there was little time left to discuss standardising Execute SQL so Jul skimmed over it.

    Then it was off to Shiraz for more talk over a meal.

  • Meeting 48 - Monday 2nd September 2019

    Hello Claris… again
    US Devcon 2019 - Brief summary and flavour, is it worth the trip?
    Accounting updates - Xero Devcon, Sage Brexit changes
    Carafe FM - a little gem - introduction and use
    oAuth - Getting it to work from scratch
    Discussion: UK Devcon - our plans
    A FileMaker project, step by step - Part 2

    A well attended meeting to get back into the groove after the summer break.

    We welcomed our newest member Ian to the meeting. He presented his feedback from the US Devcon this year, with additional input from Orlando. The keynotes are available online already here. All the sessions will be put up online in due course here. There was a brief discussion of the name change back to to Claris and what might lie behind it. The acquisition of Stamplay, to become Claris Connect was also discussed. Ian found the cost of the trip quite high, especially when it includes family members. Despite the value of meeting people, making connections and learning new skills, it is not clear if these merit the cost, especially since recordings of all the sessions will be available online.

    Ara updated us re Xero and Sage. It would appear that Sage has done the minimum to cover itself in the light of the possibly upcoming Brexit. Xero is far more welcoming and supportive. The drawback is that for business customers, it is light on purchasing order modules etc. However, when tying Xero into FileMaker, using its well documented and clear API, or the forthcoming Claris Connect, this can be covered. Generally, there is a clear opportunity for FIleMaker developers here, notwithstanding existing products from the likes of DataBuzz that are easy to implement into your own development.

    Ara went on to talk about Carafe and sing its praises. However, he wanted to highlight a problem he had retrieving information via an API, especially in the light of our frequent contentions that it isn't hard and once you've done one, they are all similar. He showed us an example that works in Postman but not in FileMaker and presented it as a problem for us to solve. Fortunately we managed to get to the bottom of it in a few minutes. The issue was how and where to retrieve an access token and how you code that in the cURL options. James led on this with contributions from mainly, Orlando and Jul and in the process learned something himself which is easy to overlook - the recent option of saving the result of Insert from URL into a variable rather than putting it into a web viewer.

    oAuth was discussed within the context of the above and it was deemed best to leave that demo for another meeting as we had a full agenda.

    There are a few of us going to the annoyingly brief one day UK Devcon. None of us thought it worth staying up the night before or after, so we will be there for the day only and meet up for a drink after. Orlando is going to research venues for us. Someone will keep notes for feeding back to the group. Of more interest is dotFMP 2020 in Berlin. Several are planning to go to this.

    Ian Dunk took us through the small amount of progress he has made with his own project. We discussed security options in particular, primarily the ability of recent Mac chips to secure files so they will only open on the machine on which they are encrypted and the implications of that when hosting FileMaker on such a machine. It appears there are arguments for doing this in some circumstances, so long as backups are scheduled directly from FileMaker Server to another drive/machine.

    Finally a number of us legged it down to Shiraz for a meal and further discussions.

  • Meeting 47 - Monday 1st July 2019

    New resources.
    Live FM Server Installation.
    API Power - Making Tax Digital
    A FileMaker Project, step by step - Part 2
    The new While function
    HTML email using cURL

    A great meeting filled with lots of useful information.

    We welcomed a new member of the group, Robert before having a brief talk about recording the sessions. Jul trialled recording his sessions using Quicktime. Clive has said he will record his when he re-does it. The recordings are available on the website, along with sample files. Access is restricted to group members.

    Jul went through some new resources free to the FileMaker Community. The intention is that this will become a regular feature at every meeting. New resources included Elemental, a couple of FileMaker server admin console apps and Carafe as well as some others. Links and a PDF are available in the Files area. There was a brief discussion, as one of the links is a utility for creating Assisted Install files, as to how useful the Assisted Install is now that we have to use a certificate.

    Clive had another go at doing a live FileMaker Server 18 install on Windows. There were a few issues mostly to do with connectivity to the server, but the install was successful and a useful demo.

    James took us through his experiences of beginning to work with APIs, from a simple famous quotations API, via NASA to HMRC VAT return submission. In the process he has developed a really useful development file that provides a clear route to your goal and allows you to test along the way. He has very generously provided this extremely useful resource unlocked and free. You can find it in the Files area. This was a great and very clearly presented session. Thank you James!

    Ian has had some delays in his project, so we still await Part II.
    Orlando gave us an excellent run through of the new While function, clarifying for us what happens, when and where in the function. He showed us comparisons against Custom Functions and various reasons why we should leverage this feature as well as some real world examples. Another fascinating and really useful presentation. Thank you Orlando!

    Having succeeded in installing FM Server 18, Clive then embarked bravely on obtaining, downloading and installing an SSL, clarifying the process throughout and pointing out some of the pitfalls and making some suggestions as to good places to obtain an SSL. To great applause, he installed the SSL succesfully and connected to a file on the server showing the desired green lock icon. Great work Clive and many thanks!

    Finally, Jul took us through creating and sending an HTML email natively in FileMaker - no plugins, no APIs - the Holy Grail that FileMaker introduced rather quietly. This was based on the very clear blog and example file from Skeleton Key (link in the Files area) combined with techniques derived from Matt Petrowsky's ISO FileMaker examples for generating the HTML.In this instance, a modified standard HTML Email template is used as the basis, which is populated with live data to generate invoices for the meeting subscriptions. Bespoke comments can be added and the email, or just the invoice can be previewed. A pdf and or html file can be attached to the email; this is to provide ease of printing out. The email meets popular standards and can even be read in plain text. The recording is up on the site. I will try to create a demo file at some point.

    After the meeting, some of us retired the Shiraz for a meal.

    Great to see everyone and look forward to seeing you on 2nd September.

  • Meeting 46 - Monday 13th May 2019

    Live Server Installation - delayed due to technical issues!

    Implementing Otmar Krimis' free calendar. Craig showed us how to do this and outlined the benefits (great calendar, relatively easy to integrate and customise, great support) and some drawbacks (hard to build in completely - best kept as a separate database, hard to get to some of the code, even if it is open).

    Importing Bank Statements into FileMaker - several developers had, as always, several different suggestions. Hopefully Roger went away inspired!

    Making Tax digital was postponed to the next meeting as James could not make this one.

    Ian took us through the first steps of setting up a FileMaker integration from scratch. Part 2 next time.

    Curry and more lively discussion this time!

  • Meeting 45 - Monday 4th March 2019

    The future of FM-Bug… is assured! We have agreed on subs of £20 plus VAT for working developers and whatever anyone else can afford.

    HMTL Email generation - we can prep it, but sending still requires a plug-in or API integration.

    So Simple Calendar integration - Clive showed us how it's done and some of the drawbacks.

    Logging techniques - a few solutions out there. Grow your own was popular, but most seem to create too much overhead at some point.

    Craig's mystery moment - was a mystery…

    There was a lot of lively discussion about general matters FileMaker.

  • Meeting 44 - Monday 7th January 2019

    Graph database connectivity - A brief introduction to an interesting way of dealing with Big Data.

    How de we create layouts in new solutions - everyone has a different method!

    The FileMaker Roadmap - No one was up in arms!

    Delays in compatibility with the latest iOS - agreed to be a shame and not FileMaker's best moment.

    Logging techniques - carried forward to next time.

    Something from the HTML wizard disappeared in a puff of smoke!

    HTML Email generation - carried over to next time.

  • Meeting 43 - Monday 5th November 2018

    Nice to see some old faces, but we missed the Yoda of HTML as he couldn't make it to this one.

    We reviewed the recent UK Devcon, which was much appreciated by all who attended and highly recommended. You should be able to find the presentations and files online, but if not try Ataki uk or get in touch with me.
    One of our members is faithful to FileMaker, but as a single user, finding it hard to justify the cost. Options were discussed, but the most sensible recommendation was to buy a Developer subscription (FDS) for about £80 a year (see the www.filemaker.co.uk website) which provides a full copy of FMPA and FMServer as one of the benefits, as well as access to the really useful forums. The FileMaker Training Series (no longer continued but still a great resource) and the FileMaker Custom App Academy videos on the FileMaker website were recommended as excellent learning aids. Other resources include ISO Filemaker Magazine and Lynda.com.

    Carl showed us a great insight into linking FileMaker to Xero, kindly letting us have a peek at some live development he's carrying out on this.

    Jul did a speedy re-hash of the JSON tutorial he gave at the UK Devcon this year. The presentation and supporting file are available on the Files Page.

    After a quick chat about the New Year do, it was off the Station Pub for a drink and more chat.

  • Meeting 42 - Monday 3rd September 2018

    The HTML wizard is back… oh no he isn't! Apologies from Craig for not being able to join us at this one. Instead, Jul jumped in and talked for much of the meeting about using the FileMaker API, but mostly about using APIs to integrate with other technologies.

    Ara updated us with what is happening in the Sage world and how he is dealing with FileMaker integration.

    This was a nice relaxed meeting as we had time to discuss various issues, including the increased reliance on external services, which was generally viewed positively.

    Then it was off for more chat over a curry.

  • Meeting 41 - Monday 2nd July 2018

    Yet another fab meeting.

    Jul showcased a transport management project he has been working on with Chris, leading onto to a demonstration of how use of the Google Maps API was incorporated for postcode lookup, place information and leveraging of the Distance Matrix to work out times and distances between route legs.

    Ara brought to our attention changes in the Sage API and how that has affected his existing implementations of data exchange between Sage and FileMaker as well the implications on a variety of versions of Sage. This was extremely useful for several developers present who have to integrate with Sage - many thanks Ara!

    That left little time to discuss the other scheduled items on the agenda -

    • BYO problem
    • How do we upgrade our customers
    • FM17 - what do we think?
    • Best Practices FM Security
    • Show off a couple of your favourite techniques
    Let me know if you want to cover any of these again/better in a future meeting. We spent bit of time discussing installing security certificates - an issue many of us struggle with. As always, we headed off to the restaurant afterwards to carry on informally. Thank you all for the support for these meetings!

  • Meeting 40 - Tuesday 8th May 2018

    Another thoroughly enjoyable and informative meeting.

    With the imminent arrival of FileMaker 17, we discussed some of the anticipated features and how useful we might find them.

    Clive took us through setting up Azure authentication with FileMaker Server 16 from zero to accessing a system using this - great work Clive!

    We had another discussion about GDPR some steps we need to take as developers, what we don't need to do, and some practical ways of handling the new regulations. Clive demonstrated and discussed his startup script that he is beginning to implement in relation to this.

    We also had a brief discussion about how to display a range of dates dynamically on a graph.

    Then it was time to head off to the restaurant!

  • Meeting 39 - Monday 12th March 2018

    A great meeting! Craig gave a very impressive demo of creating 2d drawings on the fly within FileMaker.
    Jul showed how to use JSON to pass script parameters and discussed the benefits and drawbacks of this technique.

    We discussed options for creating regular backups of single user/locally hosted files.

    We also discussed the impact of GDPR on the organisations we work for, ourselves and the opportunities it presents for us as developers.

    Finally, we touched on our experiences of using version 16.

    Many thanks both to those who presented and those who attended, also for the positive feedback about these meetings.

  • Meeting 38 - Monday 8th January 2018

    We broke in the New Year with a full and well attended meeting.

    Clive took us through a number of handy tools he uses during development, many of which proved popular and were downloaded on the spot by several people.

    Ara brought a reporting demo to the table, showing us how he handles reporting in and out of FileMaker.

    Craig gave a demo of the Holy Grail of FileMaker - drag and drop in his calendar module.

    We had a general discussion of which aspects of FileMaker we have been using lately.

    As it was a post-Christmas special, we had a blow-out at The Walrus after meeting with much further FileMaker chat.