13 Replies Latest reply on Feb 23, 2017 4:56 PM by BMyers

    Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?

    dr_john

      In other words, whenever they are dealing with an email, it's already in FM attached to the person who sent it. If not, a new person request adds their details to your PEOPLE file.

       

      Your reply is saved and logged in FM, and then sent by whatever means, your yahoo, or gmail, or company system which you never need to look at or see once it's set up correctly of course.

       

      Maybe it's too "Blue Sky" but this dream suggests I might never need or see anything else but FM to manage my various businesses, interests, girlfriends, etc.

       

      Has anyone reading this reached this lofty mountain top. If so, can you give us the benefits of the experience and knowledge.

       

      My current sense is that the right plug in and and Amazon mail-server would do the trick. I just wondered if anyone was actually living this way live in the "real world" under current social conditions.

       

      Thanks for any info

       

      dr_john

        • 1. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
          JackRodges

          There are several plugins that would help with this and if you search you will find sample databases and maybe one or two for sale.

           

          This is something I would avoid unless someone paid me a lot of money to design it... 

           

          Heres a starter url: Sending Email via FileMaker and Gmail - FileMaker Today - The Original FileMaker Forum & Community

          • 2. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
            monkeybreadsoftware

            We just worked with a client this week to download emails from Exchange server using IMAP.

             

            See the examples coming with MBS Plugins for IMAP and SMTP.

            • 3. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
              hherbst

              Hi Christian,

               

              did you and your customer evaluate the EWS-Inferface? Especally for working with Exchange Server this could be a cool way using cURL. You would of course need a good Exchange-Admin, EWS seems to have no GUI for setup. I recently talked with C# collegues who told me this works like a charme.

               

              best regards, Holger

              • 4. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
                CICT

                Our core CRM system has a fully integrated email module that clients can send emails from all the modules, such as quotations, invoices, etc. that automatically attach PDFs generated within FileMaker. We have templates linked to a mail merge system that can be selected manually or automatically if wished to provide personalised standard content.

                 

                We allow multiple email servers, domains, email headers/footers/signatures and the system sends HTML formatted emails.

                 

                The harder part is if incoming emails are required to automatically link to an existing contact, where a lot of data scraping has to be carried out, but does work.

                 

                The above is all achieved using the Dacons MailIt plug in. Other options such as from 360Works are available, but the Dacons product was our choice from years ago.

                 

                It is a lot of work, it requires an integrated HR type system to manage accounts and we wouldn't recommend this replacing someone's personal mail app, particularly when you consider mobility and multiple devices. However, for ensuring all communications history (this runs alongside telephone cals and a letters module) are recorded against contacts, jobs, etc. it does work well.

                 

                Regards

                Andy

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
                  jfletch

                  Andy, is that a commercially available solution or is it an internal-only code-base.

                  • 6. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
                    monkeybreadsoftware

                    Sorry, but clients don't tell me normally what they use it for.

                    You can use Exchange with web services and I talked with people about that, but didn't get much feedback.

                    • 7. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
                      BMyers

                      I would love to see this also.  It appears to be possible to replicate the functionality but it also appears very difficult to create an interface that is superior to existing email programs.

                       

                      I did some experimenting on another approach.  Since this is for a different purpose maybe it wouldn't work for you.  I found a way to link FMP records to email rather than trying to build a replacement for email.  I used it in a FMP solution that is for what we might call executive project information, the triumvirate of Projects, Contacts, and Tasks.  Imagine the typical: an exec gets an email, then there is an email thread, then a phone discussion.  The exec can take notes in FMP and then link the notes to the email.

                       

                      I learned that all email programs give every email a unique ID.  I created an Applescript attached to a button that extracts this unique ID and creates a FMP link to the Notes record.  I suppose I could have it do this for every email, but I don't want to log every email.  If it's important to have a link, it's just a button away.  Going the other direction, a click on the link in FMP causes the focus to shift to the email program and opens that particular email.

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
                        CICT

                        Hi

                         

                        I'll try to answer this as short as possible, but this is a part of our suite of products we're building that form our, yet to be officially launched, SaleFaith brand of SaaS databases, where we're trying to bring enterprise grade software to small and medium organisations. These currently include standard business, insurance management, publishing, cases/projects and donations products. All of this is centrally managed and delivered via streaming over the Internet, therefore a full copy of FileMaker is delivered for use over the Internet that operates as quick as, or sometimes even faster than one running locally on a LAN.

                         

                        We have parts of the website put together but had to put a common interface across all products, which we've completed, but now need to use these to create the videos that the website needs. We're up about 50% on business this year compared to last, so the website isn't much of a priority at the moment.

                         

                        Due to the integration into every other module from contacts, through quotes, marketing, invoicing, etc the system is very integrated, but we do try to design as modular as is practical. It also requires maintenance of the MailIt plug-in as email technology changes and the 'data scraping' to identify the incoming messages has to accommodate many different structures of messages depending on the email client that has sent it. We used to pickup copies of all incoming messages to a copy account, but now our customers tend to use SaleFaith for all outgoing messages and then forward incoming messages from their own email client to the system that they wish to have recorded within the database. This ensures private messages don't automatically get put in the system and prevents the server constantly processing  and deleting spam messages.

                         

                        Rather than point you to an out of date video, I'll create a video and post the link here if you'd like to see it in operation. We're travelling on business in Ireland until the middle of this week, but will put something together after that.

                         

                        Kind regards

                        Andy

                        • 9. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
                          jfletch

                          Nice!. Yes, I (and I'm sure others) would like to see that!

                          • 10. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
                            dr_john

                            >>I found a way to link FMP records to email rather than trying to build a replacement for email.

                             

                            This seems kind of interesting, other than it's a apple script only.

                             

                            >>  I learned that all email programs give every email a unique ID.

                            >>   I created an Applescript attached to a button that extracts this unique ID and creates a FMP link to the Notes record.

                             

                            Could there be a direct way to get this unique ID from within FM, w/o apple script? It seems like there would have to be depending what the field is called. Use Javascript??? Doesn't FM do javascript now?

                             

                            But it's still not sending/receiving email within FM with no cares in the world which as I understand so far nobody is actually doing.

                             

                            The other thing I'd like to see which I'm sure could never happen is that only the records maintained in my FM would ever be allowed to populate the apple apps like "contacts" "messages" etc.

                             

                            There appear to be some next gen systems being built from what I read here as well.

                             

                            Thank you everyone for such good info. 

                             

                             

                            J

                            • 11. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
                              CICT

                              dr_john wrote:

                               

                              Could there be a direct way to get this unique ID from within FM, w/o apple script? It seems like there would have to be depending what the field is called. Use Javascript??? Doesn't FM do javascript now?

                              Yes, the MailIt plug in obtains the unique ID within FM on both Macs and Windows

                              But it's still not sending/receiving email within FM with no cares in the world which as I understand so far nobody is actually doing.

                              We'd not recommend replacing the Mail client with FM, but our system described above could do this, we have decided to make it more selective though and targeted the use of it. MailIt comes with some demo files that are already setup to receive/send emails, but the learning curve to develop further is quite steep.

                               

                              The other thing I'd like to see which I'm sure could never happen is that only the records maintained in my FM would ever be allowed to populate the apple apps like "contacts" "messages" etc.

                              There are apps, have a look at Address Book Manipulator - Connecting FileMaker Pro to OSX Address Book/Contacts for instance. Also, don't forget that FileMaker Go does a very good job of providing your data within IOS. Some of our cloud CRMs have FM Go apps that allow calls, emails, etc. from iPhones

                               

                              Regards

                              Andy

                              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
                                CICT

                                I've published a video demonstrating one of the SaleFaith systems using its email modules. The only demo I had quickly available with fake data was our Insurance system, which has resulted in a slightly longer video due to the way automatic attachments are generated. There is quite a lot to cover, hence the video is just over 7 minutes long and even then I forgot to show the Human Resources module where the users' email details are setup, the work in progress screen where emails, etc. that have been started but not finished can be accessed, or the Personal Settings screen from the home screen where each user can maintain their own password and signatures

                                 

                                All our CRM variants use the email in a similar way, but usually PDFs are generated within FileMaker and automatically attached, whereas this one first creates Microsoft Word documents, which are subsequently converted to PDFs.

                                 

                                Please note, the video was created running the system on an 8 year old 17" MacBook Pro. Because all the software being demonstrated is streamed from Windows cloud servers, it is centrally managed and doesn't require much processor power from the client running it. It also avoids software compatibility issues.

                                 

                                However, I hope you find it of interest and I'd welcome back any comments. There are a couple of bloopers on this demo copy, which I've highlighted.

                                 

                                The link to the video is: https://vimeo.com/205340592

                                 

                                Kind regards

                                 

                                Andy

                                2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                • 13. Re: Has Anyone Successfully Replaced All Their Email with a FM Front-End?
                                  BMyers

                                  dr_john (to Brian Myers) 3 days ago

                                  BLM wrote: I found a way to link FMP records to email rather than trying to build a replacement for email.

                                   

                                  Dr. John wrote: This seems kind of interesting, other than it's a apple script only.

                                   

                                  BLM wrote:  I learned that all email programs give every email a unique ID.

                                  I created an Applescript attached to a button that extracts this unique ID and creates a FMP link to the Notes record.

                                   

                                  Dr. John wrote: Could there be a direct way to get this unique ID from within FM, w/o apple script? It seems like there would have to be depending what the field is called. Use Javascript??? Doesn't FM do javascript now?

                                   

                                  But it's still not sending/receiving email within FM with no cares in the world which as I understand so far nobody is actually doing.

                                   

                                  The other thing I'd like to see which I'm sure could never happen is that only the records maintained in my FM would ever be allowed to populate the apple apps like "contacts" "messages" etc.

                                   

                                  There appear to be some next gen systems being built from what I read here as well.

                                   

                                  Thank you everyone for such good info.

                                   

                                  ___________________________________________________________________

                                   

                                  Dr. John, a couple quick thoughts.

                                   

                                  Is there a way to get the unique ID from within FMP?  Not that I know of, and I looked quite a bit.  I'll guess that the FMP designers assumed that we would use some method to push the data to FMP.  I chose AppleScript but I'll guess that you could find a way to use Javascript or Swift.  Obviously, if the email client was Outlook for Windows there must be a way to do it in the Microsoft world as well.  Sorry I don't have more information.  The AppleScript is only eight lines so I wrote it and stopped looking further.

                                   

                                  I'm happy with this because even if FMP was pulling the data (vs pushing data from the email program), the user still has to tell the computer which email is the target of the link.  With my implementation I click on the email in Apple Mail, switch to FMP and hit a button on the record that receives the email MessageID.  The AppleScript copies the MessageID to the FMP record.  Going from FMP, the user clicks on a button that switches to AppleMail and opens the mail record with that MessageID.  No matter how it's written, the user will still have to indicate the email and the FMP record, so push vs pull is of no matter to me.

                                   

                                  For outgoing email FMP easily sends email since there is a script step for this.

                                   

                                  I'll grant you that my method is really simplistic and has flaws.  E.g., the FMP link will open only a singe email and not the whole email conversation.  It works with AppleMail and I haven't yet tested other mail programs, etc.  But we work with the tools we have.  I would think this sort of thing would be standard for FMP, just like integration with Apple Contacts and Apple Calendar, but evidently the FMP execs have other things to do.