5 Replies Latest reply on Aug 5, 2014 3:51 PM by philmodjunk

    Windows File Management

    italley

      Title

      Windows File Management

      Post

           I have been searching for features in Filemaker that allow access to local files on a windows operating system. My ultimate goal is to create a custom file sorting interface that allows employees to create filters to locate a specific file. The majority of these files will be in PDF format and are named according to an established convention and folder system. 

           Does Filemaker support such features? 

           I plan to accomplish the filtering process by reading the file names as would be done with a CSV. In my case I have named the files with a dash(-) for separation. (e.g. Building - Room - Asset Type - Asset Number)

           Thanks

        • 1. Re: Windows File Management
          philmodjunk

               FileMaker does not directly support such features. There are plug ins and system scripts that can be used to do this, however.

               And in many cases, such management of files in FileMaker might best be done by inserting those files into container fields--probably externally stored container fields.

          • 2. Re: Windows File Management
            italley

                 I have considered inserting the files into container fields and storing them externally. This seemed to be an issue since the files would be ever changing and the number of files growing. The number of files will also be in the thousands. 

                 I would be interested in exploring the system scripts you mentioned. Do you know of any good sources or examples for such scripts? Are they implemented through the web viewer?

            • 3. Re: Windows File Management
              philmodjunk
                   

                        This seemed to be an issue since the files would be ever changing and the number of files growing. The number of files will also be in the thousands.

                   And why would that be a problem? The files can be opened for editing and "saved" back to the container field via script. Each file would be in a separate record's container field so adding more files to the system is a matter of creating more records in the database.

                   When I perform a system script, simply open the text file that contains the system script or batch file. Open URL, or Send Event can be used for this purpose. I've also stored the command lines or VB Script lines as records in a table and used Export Records to export the records and automatically open the file after it was exported.

              • 4. Re: Windows File Management
                italley

                     Maybe my understanding of how this would work is incorrect. These files, mostly consisting of technical drawings, will be added to and updated in the folder system outside of Filemaker(the files are exported to PDF by our drafter and placed on a shared drive for easy access to others). From my understanding the container fields will not be dynamic so, in the case that a drawing gets updated and the date in the file name changed, the connection to Filemaker will be lost. With that clarification does a system script seem to be my best approach?

                     Thanks

                • 5. Re: Windows File Management
                  philmodjunk

                       I'm not trying to sell you on container fields for this, just make sure that you don't decide not to use them for the wrong reasons. What I am spelling out here is not perfect but has some advantages to go with the disadvantages.

                       Here's how you would modify the file using container fields with external storage:

                       A script would use export field contents to export and open a copy of the file using the computer's default setting for the specified file type. After making changes to the file and saving them, a "save" button would insert the new copy of the file back into the container field. Since you are inserting a new copy of the file, a new file name will not be an issue once the file is inserted, but it may create challenges for the script to be able to find an insert the new copy of the file. And note that you have to save the file twice, once back to the local machine and then once back to FileMaker. If you forget to do the second "save", your changes are not retained.

                       System scripts are an option, but plug ins may be easier to work with unless you are already proficient using comand lines, VBScript or the like to do things on your computer system.