2 Replies Latest reply on Apr 21, 2012 5:20 PM by tbaker

    Importing data questions


      Hi Everyone,


      I am really new to Filemaker Pro 12, have bought a couple books and been reading on here a lot but I have a couple questions I'm hoping you might be able to help me with. I am using an iPhone app (iFormbuilder) to collect information in the field (up to 50 columns each record, including 1-2 pics/audio files), and would like to import that data and make reports/summaries with it. Looking at a couple of database programs, seems like FMP would be the best choice so I'm playing around with it to see if it could do what we need. Running Windows.



      Importing Data:

      • What is the best option for file format to import? (I have options of the following data feeds: xls, xls analytic, xlm, json, rss, & atom)
        • A little more info for that, a couple of the forms have subforms due to their length. Exported into excel, these show up as seperate worksheets. Would it be possible to have them imported as one table with another format instead of creating relationships between tables?
      • Probably a dumb question, but would this information automatically populate in the FMP database (if it's being updated in realtime at the data feed)?



      • Are in the containers as URLs, is there a way (script?) to automatically download them?




        • 1. Re: Importing data questions



          First of all you may consider using FileMaker Go instead of iformbuilder - then your import problems will all just disappear!


          If you were to use FileMaker GO on the iPhone and FileMaker Pro on your server then the data would be updated live. If I form builder can get the data into an SQL database then FileMaker can access it live using ESS technology. Otherwise you'll need to build a periodical import - but FileMaker will do that for you with a single click of the mouse when you import the data for the first time - simply select the option to perform a repeated import.


          FileMaker can import only one excel worksheet at a time but you can write two imports to import the two worksheets one after the other. You can have one table in FileMaker if both imports share the same ID, the second import is an update with matching ID.


          Prob xls is your best choice. Xls analytics I don't know. If you meant XML that's also a possibility but you need to write your own XSLT transformation. JSON is not a supported format; you could import it as a text field and parse it yourself but it's a lot of work. Any XML format is potentially importable.


          Regarding the image URLs: FileMaker 12 has a new script step to download items from a URL and so it is possible to download the image residing at a URL into a container Field.


          Hope that helps!



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          • 2. Re: Importing data questions

            Thanks for the info MrWatson!


            You make a good point about Filemaker Go... Don't know if the company would go for it as they already have a lot in place with it, but worth a shot.


            If we can't access it with ESS, how "periodical" is the periodical import you mentioned (seconds, minutes, hours?)   I did mean XML, sorry about that.


            Would you be able to point me in the right direction for that script to download items from a URL?