OPTIONAL External File Reference - NO Dialog (Modular FileMaker)

Idea created by mrwatson-gbs on Nov 2, 2015



    External References need to be more modular/looser:

    1. It should be possible to refer to a file that may or may not be present WITHOUT FileMaker presenting the user with an error message or an open file dialog (maybe an [X] Optional reference checkbox in the External Reference dialog),
    2. Additionally a function would be necessary to discover the resolved path of an external reference, e.g. GetExternalReferenceInfo( ExtRef ),
    3. It would be useful to be able to specify file paths relative to the home and temp folder,
    4. It would also be necessary to have a Refresh External Reference script step, so that an external reference could be prompted to dynamically find newly created referenced files.


    Thus a solution can first test to see if a file is present, or which file, and take the appropriate action, possibly being to create a local file and refresh an external reference to reference it.





    It is an essential component in providing modular functionality:

    • Helps Make FileMaker more modular
    • Currently it is not possible for FileMaker to dynamically test if its' known external references are present or not, without causing a plethora of dialog boxes - requiring interaction from a user. (We can catch a perform script error, or set field error, when a file is not present, but we cannot catch the file not present error itself!)
    • Making it possible to test an external reference will make it possible to remove files (optional modules) from a solution WITHOUT having to do any recoding - or any other customizing, for that matter.
    • Requiring no user presence will also make it possible for automated processes, job schedulers, etc. to handle optional modules.
    • Customizing solutions via modules would become FAR easier
    • Developers can produce reusable modules more easily
    • Customers get more befitting FileMaker solutions more quickly
    • FileMaker sells more licenses


    Use cases


    • Optional email module - if a customer does not buy the email module, it can just be not delivered - no extra coding!
    • Create + use local database file (similar to HTML5 Local Database + SQLLite) - the speed of a database can be improved by freeing up bandwidth by storing data in a LOCAL database file. For example static GUI + language objects can be created + referenced locally: At the beginning of a session the login script could check to see if the "StaticGUI" External Reference points to a local file (e.g. in the documents folder or temp folder), and if not it can create a local file, refresh the external reference and use the static data from the local file, saving GBs of bandwidth.
    • FM-GO modules. Product X could have hundreds of extra modules. FM-GO user just has to receive an optional module by email, install it in FM GO and start Product X, which finds the module and initializes it ... ,...


    Happy modular-FileMaking