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Thursday
Sep182014

FILEMAKER: Insiders Vs Outsiders

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

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

There are at least 2 different types of people that will access your database from the root security levels. The ones you know about ( insiders ) and the ones you don’t ( outsiders ). Outsiders are people that have found a way to hack into your network and then hack their way into a FileMaker solution. Outsiders can also can access by an insider giving them the log in and password information to enter a secured system.

Although outsiders are a threat, I do not think they are a primary concern unless they have been given information from an insider or former insider. Then they typically will have a specific motivation to breach security and an easy method to do so.

Insiders are people that have been granted access to a network or FileMaker solution for a specific business purpose. This can include ...

Current Employees - Most employees are good people that only want to do their job and go home to their family. However, disgruntled employees, employees with more than casual relationships to competitors and employees looking for an unfair advantage over other employees can be a real threat. They may have access and motivation to breach security or share information with an outsider.

Former Employees - If a network administrator is not on the ball, a former employee may have access to information and have a motivation to perform a breach of security.

Temporary or Contract Employees - May have access and may have a motivation to breach security.

Vendors, Outsource Vendors and Other Business Associates - You may share information with another business that may have a motivation to breach the security of your FileMaker solution.

Most security level abuse within FileMaker based solutions are inside jobs. This means that out of millions of users, there are probably a few bad eggs. This can be because of lack of training, misunderstandings, malice or for financial benefit. For this reason alone, you should implement some planning, documentation and level of security in your FileMaker solutions.

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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.

Wednesday
Sep172014

Related Fields On A FileMaker Layout

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

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

There are occasions were you will want to have a related field on a layout but you don't need a portal. You just want to show one related record. A classic example may be when you only want to see the latest value of a related record. Say that you have an employee table and a table that holds all their promotions with salary information. You may only want to see the latest record. So you decided to put the related field on the layout and here are the step for that.

1. Go to layout mode and go to the layout you want to put the related field on.

2. Drag over an empty field from the status area, which will bring up the dialog box to pick a field. Above the list of fields for the current table for the current layout, you will see a pull down menu. From the pull down menu, choose the table occurrence that has the related field you want to use.

NOTE: If the relationship is not there, you will need to define the table occurrence in the relationship tab of the define database dialog box and link it to the table occurrence for the layout you are on.

3) Select the field you want to use and click the OK button. This will place the field on the layout.

NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT: The sort order of the relationship can be important and would be in this case. By default, the related field you place on the layout will show the first compared value of the relationship to the table occurrence. Unless you specify a sort order for the relationship, you will see the first related record created. This is NOT what you would want in the example above because it would give you the first related promotion / salary information and you want the last or most current information.

To see the latest record, be sure you sort the relationship you are using, so the most current record appears first ( just like you would if you wanted it to show up that way in a portal ).

NOTE: The behavior of a related field on a layout changes, if there are no related records. If you do not have the relationship option checked to automatically create related records, then you cannot do anything to that field from that layout.

However a related field on a layout using a relationship to create new related records automatically can be quite handy. If you have no related records and have the new related records automatically setup in the relationship dialog box, then you can type new data into that field just like a field that belongs to the parent table. This is like a relational splice between table occurrences.

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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.

Tuesday
Sep162014

The FileMaker Summary Fields

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

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

Summary fields are normally used to return a numerical result for records in a current found set or that fall within a sub summary part of a layout. Some examples would be monthly sales, averages of profit per product and other such numerical decision making aids. Summary fields are one of the eight possible choices in the Define Fields dialog box. Just like calculation fields, you cannot enter data into a summary field while in browse mode.

Do not be misled into thinking that summary fields have to be about numbers only. You can summarize numerical data from text, date, time and even container fields with the COUNT OF, MAXIMUM OF or MINIMUM OF options. The summarized total can be affected at any moment and shown live. Typically, it's not a good idea to put a summary field on a data entry screen because the data entry screen may be tied up doing a recalculation on a summary field. You then have to wait to do your work until the calculation is complete. This isn't too bad on moderately sized databases but as the database grows in overall size of records, the delay in recalculating the summary field will grow also.

One thing which is often confusing to new users is a Summary field that calculates on on the current found set or on the set that applies to a sub summary part. This means you have to take into consideration the "found set" when you have summary fields in reports that run from scripts. Say, for instance, you have a summary field for sales named "Sum of Sales." It's the sum of a field called Subtotal. We used the Subtotal field because we don't want tax or shipping amounts to show in our sales number. If you perform a find for sales in 1998, this field will show the sum total for those records. If you search for June of 1998, it will only result in the total for those records.

Working with three sub summary layout parts on a layout, the first shows a sub summary when sorted by year, the second by month and the third by salesperson. When you put the same summary field, in this example, "Sum of Sales" in each part, you get three different answers (after you do the correct sort operation, of course). The first time the summary fields appears (in the part sorted by year), it will give you the annual totals, the second time by each month and finally by each sales person for that month.

There are seven different types of summary fields, which are:

Total Of
Average Of
Count Of
Minimum Of
Maximum Of
Standard Deviation Of
Fraction of Total

Here is a closer look at the available options for summary fields.

TOTAL OF - Returns the total of a selected numeric field (or calculation field with a numeric result) for all the records in the current found set. This would be used to give you a total of sales in a sales report. There is a check box option called "Running Totals" that will summarize the current total as to move from one record to the next . This is the equivalent of a spreadsheet sum function where 2 + 2 + 2 = 6.

AVERAGE OF - Returns the average amount of a numeric field (or calculation field with a numeric result) for the current found set. This can be used to give you the average sale in a sales report. Say you are doing a report on product sales for the month of July. You have a multiple structured pricing scheme based upon the quantity purchased on one invoice. The average summary field would be great in figuring out what your average profit is per unit by subtracting... well ... should I say it.... the average cost of the product for the month. There is a check box option that is labeled "Weighted Average." This will weigh the calculated result based upon a field that you choose in the scrollable list to the right. Average is the equivalent of (2 + 3 + 4) / 3 = 3

COUNT OF - Counts the number of valid, populated entries in an indicated field. It is important to know that the Count function is intelligent enough to ignore empty fields and will not count them. One popular method of using the Count option is in the sub summary part of a monthly sales report. Here you can get a count of the number of invoices for each month in the found set and using the Total option, you can get the total sales amount. For example for June 1999 (54 sales - $5,000) and for May 1999 (49 sales - $4800).

MINIMUM OF - The smallest value (number, date or time) of a particular field in the found set of records or for the set of records in a sub summary part. Using the same monthly sales report example discussed above where June 1999 (54 sales - $5,000 Smallest Sale Was $10.00) and for May 1999 (49 sales - $4800 Smallest Sale Was $20.00).

MAXIMUM OF - The largest value (number, date or time) of a particular field in the found set of records or for the set of records in a sub summary part. Using the same monthly sales report example discussed above... June 1999 (54 sales - $5,000 Largest Sale Was $500) and for May 1999 (49 sales - $4800 Largest Sale Was $300).

STANDARD DEVIATION FUNCTION - A statistical element that shows how much a field value deviates from one record to another. It has a checkbox labeled "By population" that changes it from a statistic to a population element. A good example of how Standard Deviation might be used is if comparing test scores for different schools, the standard deviation will tell you how diverse the test scores are for each school.

FRACTION OF TOTAL OF - Returns a fractional representation of a value you specify against all the values in a numerical field (or calculation field with a numeric result) for a found set of records.

© 2010 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com
The material on this document is offered AS IS. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.

Monday
Sep152014

The FileMaker Go To Related Record Script Step

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

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

Commonly referred to as GTRR for short, this step goes to the defined related record in the related file and brings the related file's window to the front. If the user is within a portal when the script is executed, GTRR will go to that specific related record. If the script is executed while the user is NOT in a portal, GTRR will go to the first instance of a related record ( via the sort order or not ). There is an option setting for the GTRR step to show only the related records, which is similar to doing a find command because it will give you a defined found set of records.

When FileMaker 7 was introduced, the GTRR script step was given a unique and powerful twist. I’m not speaking of the aspect that you are going to a related table and not just a related file and that related table can be in the same file. That is, of course, unique and powerful as well. I’m talking about an option within the script step itself in which the related records can come up in a new window. This means that you can have two windows side by side telling you detailed information about the record.


Here you can see the dialog box that allows you to set the aspects of the GTRR command you want to invoke within the script.

As I was writing this, I did a snapshot of the dialog boxes associated with the GTRR script step. I forgot the the GTRR found set options. When you use this script step, you can view just the related records for the single parent record you are on or you can view all the child records of all the parent records in your current found set! I have no idea how I missed this in my concept work for this document. I use this all the time!

I’ll cover many of the variations of multiple windows and found sets in other discussions. So please stay tuned!

Here you can see the GTRR dialog box and it’s associated new window settings dialog box.

HOW IT IS USED
By far, the popular use is to see the related information in a portal row. Say you have a portal that shows all the sales for today. Listed in this portal, you see a huge order. In the row, you see a "Go To" button. By clicking this button, you get to see that particular invoice in detail. Well the button is likely attached to a script that uses a "Go To Related Record" script step.

However, as user get more sophisticated / experienced with what a FileMaker found set can do, the variations of how you can use GTRR are tremendous.

FYI...
When you setup the GTRR script step, you have to pick a relationship for it to work from. You can even define a new relationship on the fly, if one is not already there for you.

Got To Know Factor - 10

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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.

Sunday
Sep142014

Avoid Signposts Labels For FileMaker Fields, Layouts And Scripts

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

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

If you have a field, layout or script that has a higher level of security sensitivity about it, you may want to give it a name that suggests otherwise. If a hacker were to find a way to get into your FileMaker file, you want to make it as tough as possible to get to sensitive data. I’m not saying that you have to develop a sophisticated code for naming your design elements but just try to make them less obvious. As possible set of examples could be ...

FIELDS
Credit Card Number - change to cc
Social Security Number - change to sn
Password - pw

LAYOUTS
Developer - change to clean, maintenance

SCRIPTS
Show Status Area - change to Window Refresh
Log In - change to Internal Navigation
Delete Records / Delete All - change to clean up records
Bypass Security Settings - change to anything else!

I’m sure you can come up with better names. These are just a few examples of possible areas where you could have a common name and perhaps one less obvious to a potential hacker.

PLEASE NOTE - The changing of the name of one of these elements by all means does NOT make it secure. If you have these examples in your files, make sure they are protected by correctly using FileMaker’s account and privilege 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.