FM401 - Connecting FileMaker to the Web - Todd Geist

Document created by communitymanager on Jun 2, 2017Last modified by Todd Geist on Jun 13, 2017
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Todd Geist (Geist Interactive)




FileMaker 16 is the biggest change to the FileMaker platform since FileMaker 7. It radically extends the reach of the FileMaker Platform to include the global API economy and it embraces the Open Web Platform. The power to integrate with public APIs like those from Google or Microsoft or Basecamp, or with private internal APIs is now built in. In addition, FileMaker’s web and API publishing capabilities have been enhanced and a clear direction set for the future.  FileMaker is now a first-class citizen of the web.


In this course, we’ll learn that while working with APIs and the Web in FileMaker may seem new, it isn’t necessarily unfamiliar. Anyone who uses a web browser or a smart phone uses APIs and the Open Web Platform. We’ll introduce and explore the key concepts behind how APIs and the Web work and how they can fit right into our FileMaker systems. We’ll learn about each of the new features in FileMaker 16 that enable this new level of integration, and we’ll see how together they allow us to add value to our already powerful custom FileMaker Applications.




Attendees should be able to write FileMaker scripts and calculations, design layouts, and work with the FileMaker relationship graph.


The course will cover a wide range of topics, always starting at the basics and working our way towards more advanced concepts and techniques. People who have no experience with web development or other programming languages, should be able to follow along for most of the course.  People who have worked in web development, or languages like JavaScript and PHP, will follow along easily and we’ll include some advanced topics just for them.


Course Structure and Topics


There will be broken up into 6 sections of varying length.  Each section will be made up of a brief lecture. Four of the six will include hands on coding challenges designed to let attendees develop some experience with the new features and concepts.


Although we will focus on a single API for our integration examples, demos and coding challenges, the principles are universal. All APIs work approximately the same way. What you learn in this course will help you integrate FileMaker with any API or part of the Open Web Platform.


Course Sections


  1. Introduction
    1. What’s Changed since 2000. Why this matters?
    2. Overview of the new features in 16. How they fit together
      1. JSON, cURL, FM Data API, JavaScript
  2. JSON
    1. Lecture
      1. New JSON Functions
        1. What they are good for
        2. How they work
        3. Caveats and Gotchas
    2. Coding Challenges
      1. JSON Functions Quiz
      2. Scripts with JSON APIs


  1. Connecting to APIs
    1. Lecture
      1. Intro to HTTP Requests
      2. Insert From URL
      3. Connecting to an eCommerce Shopping Cart to update Products and Download Sales
      4. Generator – Developer Utility for FileMaker.
    2. Coding Challenge
      1. Add Products to Shopping Cart API from FileMaker using Insert From URL
      2. Download Orders using Generator
      3. Get Customer Data from Shopping Cart
  2. Publishing an API with Node.js
    1. Lecture
      1. Introduction to Node.js and JavaScript
      2. FM Data API
    2. Coding Challenge
      1. Build a simple Node.js script that connects to FileMaker
      2. Expose a FileMaker Table through the FM Data API for other systems to connect to it.
  3. Custom Web Publishing with JavaScript
    1. Lecture
      1. Introduction to CWP with just JavaScript
      2. Connecting to FileMaker Data API from a Web Page using JQuery
      3. Styling with Bootstrap CSS
    2. Coding Challenge
      1. Modify Webpage to get different data from FileMaker Server
      2. Add customer account screen to web site.
  4. Wrap Up Lecture
    1. The Open Web Platform
    2. FileMaker As a First-Class Web Citizen
      1. Embraces JavaScript
      2. JSON
      3. cURL
  5. Q and A ( if time )


What to Bring


If you want to participate in the coding challenges you’ll need to bring a computer with a few things already installed on it.  Here is the list.


  1. FileMaker 16 Advanced, ( Pro might work, but not recommended )
  2. Node.js version 8. - Installers available here.
  3. Your favorite text editor or IDE. I’ll be using the free Visual Studio Code, but you can use what every you like as long as it can handle JavaScript.


How to Prepare


We’ll try to get you up to speed, but if you want to get a head start on this new material, the following resources will help.


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