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Tuesday
Apr212015

FileMaker Contextual Relationships And Layouts

From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-PBA, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

So as you know, FileMaker has the ability to have multiple tables within a file. This increased capability does have one slightly bitter after taste. Since you can have multiple tables in a file, FileMaker constantly has to know what table you are addressing at the time you do many common things, such as ….

- what layout does the table belong to
- what table(s) do a calculation elements refer to
- what table(s) are touched during the various stages of script execution
- what table(s) are needed for dynamic value lists
- and the list goes on and on

For many of these questions that are not layout specific, still come back to the current layout and how it is setup.

Here you can see in the middle of the layout setup dialog box where you choose what table occurrence you are attaching the layout to.

FileMaker will use the linked table occurrence for all the fields that are on it and scripts that are running on it at that time. The common term for this is table context.
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More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc

Tuesday
Apr212015

Validation Of FileMaker Data: On Entry Only Or Always

From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-PBA, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

To keep your database a smooth running data engine, you may need to exercise control over what goes into it. In many ways, it is easier to control what a database allows a user to enter, than to educate and enforce every users data entry habits. Here we will discuss the various settings of the field validation dialog box. In total, there are eleven main choices with a refinement related choice for what to tell the user when validation fails. The eleven main choices are used to know when ( or when not ) to validate data and what validation requirements you want to set for the data.

The first section in the validation setup dialog box is labeled "Validate data in this field." Here you can select if the data in the field is validated only on data entry processes or all the time. When set to always you can even validate imported data. We cover the different aspects of import validation in more detail in a following discussion.

I should also mention that your validation is not rock solid unless you uncheck the "Allow user to override during data entry" option. When checked, users will get a warning dialog box when validation fails but they can override validation settings. There are both good sides and bad sides of this setting, no matter which way you set it.

When checked, you are allowing the user to decide if validation is important during their data entry process. In many cases, the user will make the correct validation override decision. In some cases, the user may make a poor decision about overriding validation and it could harm data integrity in the file.

Unchecked, this setting requires the user to enter in data in the form compatible to validation or revert the field back to it's previous state. They may have a valid reason to override validation but they cannot do so. Also it is possible ( although rare ) to put the end user in an endless loop of wrong answers, where they have to force quit FileMaker to get out. One final note about any of your validation settings, TEST THEM before you go live with the settings.

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More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2007 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.

Monday
Apr202015

You May Have To Unlearn What You Have Learned About FileMaker Relationships

From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-PBA, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

The saying of ... "Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die" might apply to some FileMaker developers in regards to the FileMaker upgrade. Everyone wants a significantly more powerful FileMaker application but they can get a little frustrated to have to learn a bunch of new stuff!

FileMaker is a fantastic database program and that is probably preaching to the choir. No debate from this guy what so ever! Now that I have that little disclaimer out of the way, FileMaker relationship graph can be a little tricky for the person that may have mastered or was on the way to mastering FileMaker 6. The multiple tables in one file is one of those areas, that looks very easy on the surface. However, it has a few twists and turns that can take some getting used to.

Things like lookups, portals, layouts, calculations and value lists can get a little weird due to a thing called relationship context and generally is affected by the current layout. A layout can be linked to some relationships but not related to others. FileMaker 6 didn’t have any relationship restrictions based upon the layout you were using.

I am about to publish a series of discussions on a design method called Anchor/Buoy. This is not a method that I have seen discussed in the FileMaker manual or online help system. However, it is not a hidden secret either. It is (for lack of a better description) one way you can go in your relationship graph. For me, it is the only way to go. So you are warned that I might try to sell you on the idea that I have purchased myself.

Thing is, it might require you to “Unlearn Some Of What You Have Learned”. I ask that you have an open mind because this method can be very powerful of cleaning up relationship clutter that can occur in a complex database.
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More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.

Monday
Apr202015

DYK: Calculating The FileMaker Else Command

From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-PBA, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

In FileMaker, you can even use a calculation as part of an else statement. This means you can do away with a lot of lengthy nested If scripts or sequential If scripts!

Basically the Else If script step is a combination of the If and Else script steps. I wrote the following on purpose because it the actions are actually flipped (as the name implies).

The ElseIf needs to follow an IF script step (or another Else If) and it allows you to embed a calculation. If that calculation is a TRUE result (1=1 for example), then the script will perform all the script steps between that ELSE IF to a branch ending script step (such as another ELSE IF, END IF, Exit or Halt).

As I alluded to earlier, you can have many ELSE IF script steps in a scripts. This allows you to write a script that has an almost endless number of different branching actions.

Monday
Apr132015

Locking A FileMaker Record Via Validation

From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-PBA, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

As you know, FileMaker can be setup to validate data that is entered into a field. You can setup the validation settings via a number of dialog box controls. When validation fails, you can even give the user a customized warning dialog box.

There is a fairly straight forward and simple way to lock a record so that the information within it CANNOT be edited. This can be done with validation in the key fields you want to protect. Validation will allow information in a record that conforms with the specified validation method. So you can create a field that is used like a light switch. If the switch is on, you are secure and changes cannot be made. If the switch is off, changes can be made.

The first time I used this technique was building a double entry accounting system. In this system, when a record was posted, the accountant did not want the money transaction information to be edited. Posting in an accounting system means that data is locked. Once locked, they are never to be edited. Adjustments have to be handles as their own credit / debit records adjusting the overall values for those accounts.

When a record was posted, information was sent to a FileMaker file called CreditDebit.FP5. If you unlocked a record, those associated records would be deleted and the record was marked as an unposted record.

The technique of field validation as part of a security scheme isn’t used that much anymore. You can do much the same thing by using a privilege set and controlling the edit capabilities via a calculation. However, you might still run across the above technique in some converted database solutions.

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More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2007 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.