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Friday
Nov212014

The FileMaker Parent Key Field

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

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

The parent key field is the field defined for the current layout table occurrence that is used in a relationship. Say you are on a layout that is linked to a table occurrence named people. All the fields used in relationships in that table are parent key fields. If you move to a layout that is linked to a table occurrence called Invoices, then the key fields in that table are now the parent key fields.

The above picture is taken from the relational graph area of where I store my blog posts.
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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
Nov112014

The FileMaker Text Operators

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

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

Text operators are very easy to use and are designed to work with strings of text to make them larger, work with literal text strings or add paragraphs.

Concatenate ... ( & ) ... applies to putting two more fields together to build a calculated key or an array. If you are using it to build an array, you need to put in a separator that you can identify but would not be found in the data. Say we want to build an array of peoples names, titles and phone numbers. We have those three fields for all the records in a found set and we want to combine them into one field on one records that we can later parse out into 3 fields and however many records again (using FileMaker text functions and a script). Typically, I use the "|" character when separating the text strings. This is the character above the return key with the shift held down. Using this character, my array of LeSaux folks would look something like...

Dwayne|Wright|Designer|2174423038
John|Reid|WebMan|2174423028
Dan|Wright|Marketing|2174423028
Marianna|Beasley|Bookeeping|2174423028

Using 4 fields and four records, I have concatenated them into one array that could later be parsed out by using FileMaker text functions by looking for the "|" character and/or the a carriage return. Then I would slice the data from both sides of the "|" character and create a new record once I encounter a carriage return.

Literal ... ( “” ) ... is used when you are placing a string of characters in a calculation saved as a test result. The string needs to be enclosed between the two “” characters. For example say that you have a person name field and a birth date field and you wanted to make a calculation field return a birthday message. The calculation could be something like Person Name & “ birthday is “ & Birth date.

The Literal Text symbols ( “”) can also be used in searches to get a found set of records for literal matches. Normally if you did a search for Dwayne Wright in FileMaker the search would return records with Dwayne Wright and Wright, Dwayne. A search for “Dwayne Wright” would only return records matching Dwayne Wright.

Carriage Return / Paragraph / Pilcrow ... ( ¶ ) ... is an operator symbol that represents a carriage return. This symbol will need to be inside the quote marks because it is considered text. This can be used in calculations that combine fields with literal text to make an intelligent message on a record by record basis.

Perhaps I should give an example. Let us say that a calculation that has ...

"FileMaker" & "¶Rocks!"

would return ...

FileMaker
Rocks

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

Monday
Nov102014

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.

Saturday
Nov082014

Auto Enter: A FileMaker Calculated Value

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

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

Any time you can introduce the calculation engine in a place you wouldn’t expect it, your design options extend radically. The auto enter via a calculated result is no exception.

Here you can see the field auto enter dialog box.

The idea is that you can auto enter a value that is calculated at the moment the record is created. In most cases, you could create a calculation that covers almost all your other auto enter options combined into one calculated result.

For the most part, auto enter via calculation will include a healthy dose of Get functions. These are functions that capture behind the scenes information such as the current date, user, security settings, computer in use, FileMaker version and much more. However, you can use all the FileMaker functions in your arsenal as well as any other fields in the current table, related tables, related files, plug-in calculation functions, information gleaned from the internet (via the 8.5 web viewer) and more!

Setting up the auto enter via calculation is just like setting up a standard FileMaker calculation field except to the result can be edited after the fact. This is because the calculation is used just to put the initial value as specified for auto enter.

That is except (don’t you love those except statement in technical information just when you grasp the concept?) if you uncheck the setting for “Do not replace existing value in the field (if any)” box. By default, the box is checked and you have a permanent stamp of auto enter information (unless edited by the user). Taking the check out of this checkbox makes the auto enter via calculation dynamically refreshed and the data within it is overridden as it is triggered by something parameter the calculation itself.

One of the early and still popular uses for this is formatting of a phone number field. What you can do is use a custom function to automatically format a phone number field into (XXX) XXX-XXXX format for US domestic numbers. There are even calculations that auto format phone numbers outside of the US but they grow in complexity as is usually the case with increased flexibility.

This is a bit ahead of our topic at this point but I’m going to chat about it anyway. You can create your own functions with a copy of FileMaker Advanced. You can also place a custom function that someone else has created much easier. If you go to www.briandunning.com, you will find a large collection of shared custom functions. At some point in time, you will probably want to investigate what custom functions can do for you.

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

Friday
Nov072014

A Reader Asks: How To Get "No Records"

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

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

A READER WRITES:
I need to goto my layout and have zero records ... initially. Currently Filemaker defaults to "All Records" so I have to going into find mode, and recently I discovered that I can go into find mode before going to the layout.

But once I am on the layout, how do i ask of zero records.  Going right into "Browse" mode ... all record show.  I am force to find something ??? So, currently I enter in a data far off into the future and that yield my "Zero" record request. I am not looking for "Empty" records,  just "NO RECORDS"

Is there a better way?

DWAYNE RESPONDS:
The way I would go about it is via a script that has ...

Show All Records
Show Omitted Only