FileMaker Go has some very nasty bugs that FileMaker engineers have trouble consistently reproducing. So far the only way to temporarily avoid problems is to frequently restart the App or the iPad. I'm convinced that the problem is memory related. The problem usually occurs when FileMaker Go has to create something like an copy of the file, pdf or print job.
FMGo isn't reliable at the moment. Yes, FMI can't reproduce.. but I got a medical app (FMGo), that doesn't count as it should - and in this context, that could be critical. Under iOS7, this app was working without ANY problem..
SOlution: Wiping away FMGo all the time, sometines a restart of the device will help. I git the impression, that devices with less RAM are more senditive to this )-:
ANd btw: I just won't believe that many folks at FMI are working with iPads on a daily base...
SOrry for the typing mistakes - the action-button shows no action at the moment, therefore no chance to edit )-:
Printing from FMGo gave me a lot of issues. My final answer was to use a print robot.
I created a table for things that need to be printed. With a timer script that loops through the table guickly to print what ever is needed to the appropriate printer. The nice thing is you do not need AirPrint compatible printers and you can script out the dialog so all the user has to do is tap a button and the print job is sent.
I use a field for parameters and a field for the printer to send the job to. The button sets the parameter and printer fields and the script does the rest. The script on the robot runs out to the proper layout and gets the print done quick without dialog for the user. The print queue handles multiple print jobs on it's own so there is never worry that you tried to print too many things at once. I like this most of all because the print dialog in iOS are horrible for users and slow down productivity. My users asked me "Why wont it just print when I push the button? Why do i need to select the printer and tell it how many pages?". Legitimate questions I think. For my purposes I know that I only need a certain number of copies per task and I know exactly which printer to send it to.
I have tested this from FMP and it is faster to print this way with robot and script than it is to print directly to the printers from the client machine. I am not sure why but it is a few seconds faster and the robot is connected to the server by wifi while the clients and the printers are wired connections. Downside is you need a robot box and a FMP license to do something FMGo should do without issue. Although, a lot of the problems lies with iOS and not FMGo.
Yeah I thought about this. I was first going to use FMS but alas that doesn't support printing with the perform on server script call.
I have one label printer model I write directly to the 9100 port that works fine through a system call, which gets performed on the server and another label printer I can FTP to. I was developing a system to print saved pdf files, but again FMS doesn't save PDFs, very annoying.
Thanks for the response, I think i'm gonna setup an extra Filemaker that handles the print jobs... Funny this reminds me of Xerox in the old days. I think Engelbart designed a "distributed" computer system where one would handle all the displays of the network terminals, another the print jobs, and another the storage.
Yes I always wondered why there aren't any great POS systems out there on this Platform, but I guess the conclusion is the iOS FM platform isn't ready for it.
Even if I say so myself, my own POS system is pretty cool, but it is riddled with issues outside my control. I have tackled a lot of them, like printing to label/receipt printers. I'll start recoding the printing to do that on a regular FMP machine and then this should be tackled as well. Then the mail an attachment still remains...
I think FileMaker should add more debugging/logging option on the Go platform then so maybe can put a finger on the sore spot and resolve the issue. This is costing clients, at least mine is shopping for other POS systems now as we speak.
Just as a side note by the way. The minute the printing doesn't work (the dialog flips away ) the mailing with an attachment does not work either.
That has the same problem, works fine at first then suddenly stops. I can only get to work again by reinstalling the app. Restarting the iPad and swiping app closed is not enough.
How are you setting up the mail attachment? In FMGo? You may want to have your print robot handle generating the PDF files for the mail attachments as well and just have your server send the emails.
I would do it with a layout print to pdf that saves to the FM temp path and then import the file back into a container if you need to save it and let the server process the emails on a schedule if the container is stored by reference. This way the server can use a variable for the file path to get the attachment.
I suppose you could script the print robot to send the emails as well directly when it is originally exported on the print robot. With only 3 iPads you wouldn't need a very strong machine to keep up with the process.
My timer print script runs every 5 seconds as that works for me and it can catch multiple print jobs in one loop quickly. I had it running as quickly as every 1.5 seconds and it worked fine as well. I upped the time a few seconds and did not see any real difference in print speed so I went with that. People told me not to run a timer script at that frequency but I have had zero issues with it.
I would be very interested to see how your POS looks.
By the way for the moment updating to 8.1.3 and FM Go 13.0.8 (delete and reinstalling it completely) seems to have solved the problem for the moment. What I also changed was not saving the attachment in the temp folder but the "FM GO" document folder on the iPad. Which does have the added benefit the user can resend the attachment later. I think this does clog up the document folder though. So I'll write a script to clean out old files after while.
About the POS
Here's a picture of it. It's tile based, the user can define the tiles with the product groups/brands etc. After drilling down you select an item which appears on the right. When done you hit "Afrekenen" that creates the bill/invoice and prints it etc..
The user can also choose a list view. I have another iPad synced to it (for the customer) which only shows the items selected with the prices. Just like in a store. In setting file you determine what iPad does what and which one is connected to which POS.
Second picture is the "management" side where the tile / groups are defined. That part is still under construction, but the user can determine (if he wants) in which column a tile appears and the sort order. The collapse/expand of a group works with levels and FM13 trick to hide items. So the images shift over each level.
That part is still under construction, but the user can determine (if he wants) in which column a tile appears and the sort order, if left blank it's sorted alphabetically.
The collapse/expand of a group in the management part works with levels and FM13 trick to hide items. So the images "shift" at each level.
Looks pretty decent.
Also you may have your air print back and working for now, but I still want to let you know that having a print machine with a looping script may start your prints faster. That is the experience I had. Without the box I was waiting 5 seconds for the print job to start printing plus the time to tap through all the menus. With the print box I am waiting 2 seconds and just the tap of a button on the layout is needed. I know this sounds like only a little bit of time, but it does make a difference when the world stops and people are staring at a printer to start working for 5+ seconds. I would assume in a retail environment this would be more important.
I really wish the printing from iPad to get better in general.
Yes I agree :-) When I started the project I was hoping to print from FileMaker Server, but I forgot to read the fine print haha. It is possible using the command line and writing directly to port 9100 of the printer (or FTP) Works great for label printers... But for more fancy stuff still figuring out the options. Some printers do have all this great "form" and "template" stuff built in. You only need to send the data and the template number. Great for fixed solutions like POS systems. Also fast, no need to download graphics.
Sometimes I feel like a multi-language expert print to Epson, Zebra and Postek printers.
I am working on the print robot, you suggesting it, gave a nudge to really go ahead with it.
At the moment I am re-programming the whole system to work mainly off-line. So I might end-up putting a mac-mini in each shop that handles the printing.