4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 4, 2016 4:37 AM by wimdecorte

    FileMaker Automation

    chad.m.baker77@gmail.com

      While I'm completely new to FM, I've been writing Java for a long time. For the most part, I'm blown away by FM and how accessible they make the solution to the end-user, should they need to change it. There are other scenarios though, that I've been surprised how labor intensive they are. Is it possible to automate any FM functionality?

       

      Windows Office, for example.. there are java and c# interops available to automate the creation of documents (usually just the backend xml) or develop plugins for those applications. Is anyone aware of any java apis or other automation options for the generation of FM files? (projects? databases?)

       

      For example, is it possible to generate template projects, based on my own custom archetypes. From an efficiency standpoint, it would be great if I could create an interface for myself, as the developer, where I make my own custom project config decisions, then generate a more useful fmp12 baseline to work from, hopefully eliminating some of the more tedious tasks.

       

      Thank you kindly

        • 1. Re: FileMaker Automation
          bigtom

          I am not sure this is possible, but I am hoping someone will say that it is. It would be great for development if you could generate a solution that is tailored to a specific client using certain selections but built off of a template.

           

          The only thing that may come close is the ability to import records into a new table. This does not give you the relationships though.

          • 2. Re: FileMaker Automation
            Vaughan

            chad.m.baker77@gmail.com wrote:

             

            ...it would be great if I could create an interface for myself, as the developer, where I make my own custom project config decisions, then generate a more useful fmp12 baseline to work from, hopefully eliminating some of the more tedious tasks.

             

            I'd wager that all developers at some time make a "starter template" from which a solution can be built efficiently. My experience though is that efforts that endeavour to make an infinitely flexible, fully customisable interface often start adding complexity that can get in the way of efficient development later. By that I mean that the framework that you make to have the "one template to rule them all" ends up being a limitation, particularly when better ways of doing things become possible with later versions.

             

            Sometimes it's far easier to have a template with lots of basic scripts and techniques in it, but make a lot of it bespoke. I am maintaining a solution that has scripted navigation with centralised switching points and script parameters and repeating fields for button navigation and all manner of moving parts that are needed for what was an awesome generic template, but it now just makes maintaining a defined solution unnecessarily difficult and opaque. As well as learning FileMaker, and learning the business domain, I also have to learn the framework.

             

            I chuckle (or groan) every time I see solutions with "1" calc fields in every table.

            • 3. Re: FileMaker Automation
              CarlSchwarz

              I've tried keeping Filemaker templates, but each solution I create is very different.  I find that if there is something that I've done before that I want to use again then I just copy-paste the bits that I need, it's so easy to do that. 

              I regularly use the same design patterns and it is quick to make something with those patterns.  I find it quicker to create something new than to try and re-work an old solution.

               

              In other languages I definitely create templates and keep them.  For example for iOS I have an app with a list, notifications, background GPS, data storage, (and BLE).  I re-use that template.

              • 4. Re: FileMaker Automation
                wimdecorte

                chad.m.baker77@gmail.com wrote:

                 

                 

                Windows Office, for example.. there are java and c# interops available to automate the creation of documents (usually just the backend xml) or develop plugins for those applications. Is anyone aware of any java apis or other automation options for the generation of FM files? (projects? databases?)

                 

                 

                Only in a roundabout way.  FM does have an ActiveX API on Windows and an AppleEvents API on Mac.  The ActiveX one is very limited, the AppleEvents one is bigger.

                 

                About a decade ago I created a product called FMrobot (New Millennium » FMrobot) that manipulates the UI to create the FM objects, largely based on reading the XML DDR output from other files.

                 

                So in short: it can be done but not a straightforward as having a fully developed API and object model than say Office has.

                 

                Also note that you can create tables and fields through xDBC...