Learning FileMaker Pro 14

Complete Course for Mastering FileMaker Pro
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  • Lectures 219
  • Length 37.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 11/2015 English

Course Description

Experience Richard's dynamic and exciting teaching format, while learning both basic, intermediate, and advanced FileMaker development skills. With 25 years of FileMaker experience and a long time speaker at FileMaker's Developer Conference, Richard will teach you all the ins and outs of building FileMaker Solutions, while keeping an eye on customizing your own copy of a FREE Starter Solution!

  • Learn basic skills such as adding fields and managing layouts.
  • Learn intermediate skills, like script triggers, relationally connecting tables, and mastering the relationship graph.
  • Learning to write scripts... that can do anything... like automatically create Reports, and then send them out via email.
  • Learn advanced skills like configuration and security of FileMaker Server.
  • Learning about deploying and hosting the database for hundreds of simultaneous users.

The work file for this software is a copy of FM Starting Point, which is a completely free and unlocked CRM. This free database works on Macs, Windows, iPads, iPhone and Android devices. We'll teach you how to customize it for your business needs while learning important FileMaker skills.

This course is a good step toward getting your FileMaker Certification.

For maximum awesomeness... this course will reference a number of third party products, a couple of books, etc. I make NO money in these references. During this course, we will also reference the use of FM Starting Point... to use as a free software... to anchor the development of your internal systems. You will be required to input your personal information to get this free software.

What are the requirements?

  • This course assumes the user has FileMaker Pro 14 installed on their computer. Additional free software will be recommended and is optional to download.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Learn to to build and deploy FileMaker 14 solutions
  • Learn to organize and design a database
  • Learn to create buttons, and write scripts
  • Learn to enable security and passwords as well as encryption
  • Learn beginning, Intermediate, and advanced FileMaker skills
  • Learn to build scalable databases
  • Learn about performance tuning... so a database can be shared with a dozen people or a hundred people.
  • Learn how configure FileMaker Server, to set backups etc.
  • Learn to build a new database... by started with a FREE starter solution... not by starting from scratch.

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is a big course that covers topics for basic, intermediate and advanced skills.
  • No programming knowledge is required.
  • Intermediate users will learn a great deal, moving them into the "Expert" category.
  • Advanced users will benefit from learning techniques that they probably missed because they did not attend the annual FileMaker Developer's conference.
  • People with simple skills, like basic Excel skills will learn a tremendous amount from this course

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: 0100 - Introductions - Overview

Quick Course Summary

This training course focuses on FileMaker 14 and FM Starting Point 4.5, but is largely applicable to FM 13, 12, and 11. There are corresponding versions of FM Starting point for these versions of FileMaker.


FileMaker is a Box of Tools!

The FileMaker platform consists of many powerful products that allow you to build any type of custom solution you need... to solve any type of business need.

0103 - What kind of Solutions can be made with FMSP?

Operating System Compatibility issues, etc

A guide to understanding what devices and operating systems are needed to run various versions of FileMaker. Also, for those with older operating systems.... you can purchase the current versions of FileMaker... and then "downgrade."


Which FileMaker product(s) should I purchase?

Picking the right mix of FileMaker products is critical for successful business deployment. THe current product lineup: One Server, and 3 types of clients - Pro, Go, and WebDirect


Whats new in FileMaker 14

Android Support

Script Workspace

Lots of additional cool features


What do I need to know...

Plugins now need to be 64 bit... for Windows and Mac. 32 bit plugs won't work anymore. Keep in mind that I think that there is a 32 bit version of Pro available for Windows. For this... 32 bit Plug-ins should be fine.

FileMaker Server has been 64 bit since FileMaker 13.


How do I host a file?

Basic outline of peer to peer hosting and FileMaker Server hosting... concepts and benefits of using FileMaker Server.


Pro Advanced is for Developers...

If you need to turn on encryption, debug a script that's going sideways, or import a script, table, or field from another file... then you will need FileMaker Pro Advanced. There are an additional 8 or 9 other extra features as well.


License Requirements for Server

FileMaker Inc. changed the licensing requirements for connecting "Free" clients to FileMaker Server, and this video covers the details regarding connection licenses. Concurrent connections are required for FM Go clients as well as WebDirect clients.

Section 2: 0200 - FM Starting Point Walkthrough

Beginning Technical Walk through

Beginning of our technical walkthrough series, discussing the Preferences table, which has ONE RECORD. We do not show the status area when displaying layouts. Adding records to the preferences table is bad, and will result in erratic behavior of FMSP.


Desktop, iPad and WebDirect

Get the inside scoop on how and why RCC organized the FileMaker layouts the way we did, plus how we can support the devices that we support. For example, there is minimal support the for the iPhone. Why? Watch and find out.


Learn our organizational secret for Scripts in FMSP

Well, it's not really a secret. It's pretty straightforward, but new developers never think to do this. We start you out on the "right foot" with FMSP.


Complexity is Banned in FMSP... violators will be banished

I want FMSP to be understood by new FileMaker users... power users... or by "junior level" developers. More experienced FileMaker developers who write complex advanced scripts prevent new FileMaker users from understanding a database... and as a result... prevent them from making useful customizations.


Technical Walk through

Accounts are really companies or organization. Does your new project really need the accounts module? If not, you can remove it. FMSP key fields have prefixes. We also walk through the various sections and secondary navigation modules.


Technical Walk through for Invoices

Includes instructions on how to customize Invoice Status. Also what fields may be removed... depending upon the structure of your database. Also there is a limited inventory tracking system built in.


Technical Walk through

Email Template automated system... for quick selection of emails.


Technical Walk through

The features here have been in use for a long time... and people really like it. The 2nd half of the video is a technical under-the-hood look.


Discussion of Feature - Transactional Model

We discuss... our deployment of a "transactional model" within FMSP. We don't do this that often... but we need to here... because the FMSP Invoice Starter solution has a serious defect.


Also in Estimates

Margin and Markup are totally different formulas... so don't let their similarity fool you.


Also in Estimates

Margin and Markup are totally different formulas... so don't let their similarity fool you.

0212 - FMSP Unlimited Related Digital Document Upgrade

Super-Advanced Conversation on Calendar

The Calendar Displays makes use of 3 Layers of data that project through each other to make a functional calendar. Medical Warning...your head may explode...if you watch this video.


Advanced Conversation about how the FMSP Calendar Works

The Calendar projects data from the Activity Notes...and from the related Tasks.

Section 3: 0300 - Fundamentals & Basics

Basic video overview

Collections of Similar types of information goes into Tables. Fields are individual data elements. What are outside examples of a database? Ebay is one! Database = Template = Solution. The FileMaker platform uses the .fmp12 file format. FileMaker uses screens, called Layouts.


Basic video overview

Files, Tables, Fields, and Layouts... and now we have relationships. Relationships are driven by key fields. Relationships allow data from multiple tables to be displayed on a single layout at one time. Scripts are little computer programs that can help automate activities in FileMaker.


Browse, Find, Preview, and Layout

Browse mode is for using the database and editing the data. Layout mode is for customizing the look of the database. Find mode is for executing a Search in the database. Preview is for "previewing" how a print job will look if the print command is run... or if a PDF is created from the current layout. The menu bar changes based upon the mode you are in.


Basic database usage by end users

Super basic video that might be good for people who have no previous exposure to FileMaker. Navigating between fields, Browse mode, flipping between records. Deleting records is not necessarily a good thing, so think about that carefully.


Yah... its totally automatic.

FileMaker saves pretty much everything automatically.


Upgrading a DB from FileMaker 7, 8 , 9, 10, and 11 to 13

Pretty straightforward... but a couple of "gotcha's" and FYI's.


Upgrading a DB from FileMaker 4 or 5 to the FM 7 format...

If you have a simple database, then this can be a simple process. But if you have a large complex solution, then this can be an ugly process. You will need MetaDataMagic to help analyze the .fp5 format to determine all the issues that have to be mitigated.

You might want to weigh the cost of migration, versus the cost of a total rebuild. A number of companies opt to go with the rebuild.


Use a custom sort order to sort BC and AD date fields.

Use a custom sort order to sort BC and AD date fields.

Section 4: 0400 - Performing Finds & Sorts

Search, Queries... FInds in FIleMaker

"Found sets" are collections of records that match a particular find request. Find mode focuses all user activities on the "found set." Default searches in FileMaker are wild card searches that search the first part of each word.


"and & "or" searches in FileMaker

Learning to do finds for various items at one time as an "and" find... or as an "or" find is an important skill to learn.


Hunt down ranges of records based on a date

Performing a range search in FileMaker is one of the most useful skills to use, and to teach other FileMaker users.


Reserve characters can help Finds.

Special operators... i.e. reserved characters can do magical things when in FileMaker find mode. Search for an empty field, email addresses, exact searches, or other wild card searches.


Where the rubber meets the road...

Understanding Indexes is the key to understanding how to make your finds run fast. Make sure that fields that users will search on will be indexed. If they are not indexed, expect SLOW performance.

Stored Calcs... will perform FINDS much faster.

Unstored Calcs ... cannot be indexed, resulting in slow searches.


95% of FileMaker users never use this.

Extending and Constraining a found set are super helpful skills to help figure out more complex finds... especially where multiple requests need to be worked out. Unless you're a rocket scientist and you can do everything in your head, you will want to learn this skill set to help build complex finds.


Fundamental Basic Skill Set

Sorts are limited to the current found set. Keep in mind, that added sorts will cause a performance hit on the database when you do it. So automatic scripted sorts should only be used for those sorts that you actually need. We haven't talked about scripting yet... but for now remember to limit sorts to perform only when needed. Not just for fun... especially for shared databases on the internet.


Sorting AD and BC date fields.

Sorts sound simple, until you have AD and BC dates.

Section 5: 0500 - Working on Fields & Layouts

Overview of Layout Menu Bar

Basics of the layout tools for building and editing layouts. Detailed discussion of the tool bar in layout mode.


4 panels of goodness

Understanding all the panels of the inspector is important, and will come with time as you start building solutions in FileMaker. FM12 only had 3 panels, but FM13 and 14 both have 4 panels. We talk about the POSITION panel more in a later video on object alignment. This is more of a well rounded summary.

Short discussion about naming objects


Formatting fields - Adjusting Currency... etc.

Adding new fields; finding space on an FMSP layout for new fields; introduction to Tab Objects; introduction to locking objects; Aligning objects; format painter tool; formatting number field for financial currency data type; reordering tab panels.


Basics of Defining Calc fields and Hiding Objects.

Introduction to calculation fields and hidden objects.

*** We do NOT discuss Unstored Calc fields yet.


Defining fields, and Custom Formatting of Fields

Creating fields for a survey is easy. Creating an easy-to-use survey takes more work. Formatting the fields for easy data entry is the trick. We will need to find a section in FMSP to build our pet survey. We will need to delete some existing fields to make some room.


How Value Lists really work - Basic Value list setup

Radio buttons and check boxes gone wild... in FileMaker. These tools can auto enter data into normal text fields which can be super handy. Radio buttons and checks boxes can also obscure actual data in the field... if the actual data in the field does not match an approved value for the value list.


Also Managing Objects Layers in FileMaker

Deleting objects on a layout without affecting the database structure, managing object layers, and customizing Tab Controls which are made up of individual tab panels. More advanced Object layering with hidden objects and conditional formatting of text blocks.


What do you do with funky formatted text?

Users frequently copy and paste text from other sources into a FileMaker database. This creates local styling which can override your nice pretty layouts. You need to clean the text and learn how to format text fields. Selecting multiple objects in layout mode.


Add Dynamic data to a Text block

Seamlessly adding dynamic data in the form of fields, tightly mixed with blocks of text data is best handled by Merge fields, which cannot be manually edited in BROWSE mode.


Performance and Update Issues

Sometimes you have a choice between using a Stored Calc, and an Unstored Calc. But often, FileMaker will FORCE you to use a unstored calc... because of the contents of the formula.

3 Things That can Make a Stored Calculation Field Reevaluate:

(1) When you First Define the Field... (Duh)

(2) Make a new record. FileMaker will reevaluate the Calculation

(3) If LOCAL referenced data Changes (Local... Not related data). Variables are NOT considered Locally referenced data. They are nothing. Not Local data and not referenced data.

Stored Calc cannot handle variables at all... and will not evaluate reliably. Think of Variables like transient Get functions. Always in flux and changing. For that reason... if your connecting a variable to a calculation filed, make sure it is unstored.

Unstored Calcs have the Same Dependencies, plus one additional One:

* If the Unstored Calc is drawn on screen... it will reevaluate


FileMaker forces a Calc to be Unstored if:

(1) Reference Related Data

(2) Reference Global Field

(3) Reference Summary Field

(4) Reference another Unstored Calc (in case you're trying to cheat)


Summary of Button Options

Use conditional formatting to control Glyph Color.


Button Bar used in a Very Clever Fashion

Thanks to FileMaker's Nick Hunter for showing this technique to me.


Understand these layout objects

Slide Controls were added in FileMaker 13 and sometimes developers get confused as to the proper deployment for Tab Controls... as opposed to Slide Controls.


Popovers quickly display additional info

Popovers may seem cute and cuddly, but they have some serious short comings for both the FileMaker Go and WebDirect platforms. For FileMaker Pro... Popovers provide another awesome option for providing data, adding navigational controls, etc. Record locking is discussed.


Lots of options of auto populating data into fields

Auto enter options can fire upon creation of a record, upon modification, or upon trigger of a calculation, etc. They are extremely powerful. They are used to form the "backbone" of the automatic processes that drive FileMaker. My opinion... is that they are still useful... but more complex situations would probably be better suited by leveraging script triggers, which are new tool with exponentially more precision and power.


Digital Document Storage

Starting with the release of FM 12, and improved in 13 and 14... Digital Document Management is now built into the base FileMaker Platform... without the need for 3rd party add-ons.


Understanding streaming, Scripting etc

Selecting "Interactive Content" can hose performance... for a hosted solution. Plus we wrote some scripts to allow for easy opening of the container content. We also show how FM Go shows "Interactive" containers. We also show how to script the export of the container, into a temporary folder, and then have the operating system open it.

0520 - Containers in FMSP

Major concept for Developers

Understanding how FileMaker files behave when shared with multiple users is an important skill... if you do much work in FileMaker. Understanding record locking, sorts, find, and Global fields... are all important to successfully deploying a shared solution. Of course FMSP already is designed to be shared... so we thought this out in advance... but you will want to learn this if you do much development.


Unique tools...one value for every record

Globals are a great tool for scripting or other unique data organization. Globals have different properties. One value ... for the table... but essentially accessible anywhere in the file through a relationship.


Popup text by mouse hovering

A user can add a text description to various objects in Layout mode. This text will then pop-up when a user hovers their mouse over the corresponding object. This has limited uses... largely due to the lack of controls provided by FMI.


Lots of features means lots of little icons

Part of learning to develop in FileMaker is learning all the little icons that may be assigned to an object in layout mode.


Aligning Objects and Misc features

Learning the various methods for aligning objects, and learning what works for YOU as a developer is an important step in your development. We will also spend some time in the VIEW menu item and also the POSITION panel of the inspector. Multiple Inspectors, Grid system, & customizing toolbar is "User Specific" so changes are not shared with other people. Also learn about: Unlimited number levels of undos and Grouping and Ungrouping objects.


Managing Stencils for all the iOS Devices

In addition to customizing a prebuilt FileMaker template like FM Starting Point, you can create a layout from scratch. You can specify a custom layout size in the Stencil. When you create a layout, you can also specify a custom layout size. Please reference the 2 cheat sheets in the work files for this training course.


Old school field Validations...that apply at the field definition level

WordCount allows you to count the number of words.


When I was your age...I walked 10 miles to school...barefoot...in the snow!

Before FileMaker 3... we needed repeating fields... and the LOOKUP functionality to make basic databases in FileMaker. Now... we use repeating fields sparingly. FM Starting Point uses repeating fields to help manage containers. In the mathematics and engineering fields... these are essential arrays... 1-D arrays.


Stay in Layout mode...and understand the badges...

No more drilling down for conditional formatting, etc, etc. FileMaker 14 has Layout level tooltips... to tell you all the attributes for an object. Very cool!


Managing Portals and Invoices...

By modifying your portal you can create a multi-page invoice. It is simple, yet powerful.


Inside the Event Management Starter Solution...

The Event Management Starter Solution demonstrates some cool new menus and labels


Container fields in FileMaker will act different depending on whether they are set with interactive content or not.

Section 6: 0600 - Advanced Layout Techniques

Shared Styles and Themes Part 1

Most legacy layouts will have the "Classic" theme, and that is very wasteful and slow when compared to other themes. Using a custom theme and shared Styles, like what we did for ALL layouts in FMSP 4, will make layouts load twice as fast. Before we start customizing a theme, we should remove unnecessary objects from the layouts... to minimize network traffic from the server to the client.


Shared Styles and Themes Part 2

Learn to make a layout load twice as fast. This video is one of the most critical videos to watch if you want to learn how to lighten your layouts and make the load 200% faster. No Joke. This is a new technique in FileMaker 13 and optimized in 14.


Shared Styles and Themes Part 3

Learn not to blow up your hard work of shared styles. Avoid the format painter tool because it creates it own blocks of CSS... AKA a "local CSS override." Be careful about copying objects from one layout, to another layout that uses a different theme.


Massive Performance Improvements

This is a super clever process that I learned from Nicholas Hunter at FileMaker Inc. This saves a ton of processing time and effort if you have a number of hidden objects with the same formula. This can be a factor in performance improvements.


Scanning for hidden objects...

This Get function is handy for determining if something is actually hidden... without using a big long calculation.


With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility!

OnWindowFirstOpen, OnWindowOpen, OnWindowClose, and OnWindowLastClose.


Pre Trigger and Post Trigger Execution, and Layout Targeted Triggers

OnLayoutEnter, OnModeEnter, OnRecordLoad. OnLayoutSizeChange is pretty much targeted at FileMaker Go users, so we cover this trigger in our $29.95 FileMaker Go video course... in detail.


Stopping Pre Trigger Events...with a Script Parameter

OnObjectEnter, OnObjectKeystroke, OnLayoutKeystroke, OnPanelSwitch... for Tab or Slide Panels.


Managing field validations and workflow

OnObjectModify, OnObjectValidate, OnObjectSave, OnObjectExit. Some of the most used script triggers!

New content dealing with more subtle issues of the script triggers. We also discuss Directed Workflow... for workflow management.


Exiting Objects, Records and Layouts

OnRecordCommit, OnRecordRevert, OnViewExit, OnModeExit, OnLayoutExit, OnWindowClose, InstallOnTimer.

InstallOnTimer is an automatic Window Script activator tool.


*** Super Advanced Topic ***

Advanced discussion, covering the use of OnRecordLoad Script Trigger, Get (NthRecord), Get(RecordNumber). Cartesian Join, Summary field List field.


*** Super Advanced Topic *** Uses Virtual List...

You need to have mastered the previous video on virtual list prior to watching this video.

Sample files available from http://www.newleafdata.com


*** Semi Advanced Topic ***

How to jump from one record... to another through a relationship. Also covers how this interacts with Anchor Buoy, and the design methodology of FMSP.

Also covers error trapping error 101, and the option of setting up Portals to add records by clicking on a new line... i.e. "Cascading adds"


*** Semi Advanced Topic ***

Richard Carlton and Michael Wallace go under the hood of the RCC FileMaker Layout Optimizer. From analyzing scripts to discussion of the Base Elements plugin, there is a lot of great info to be learned!

To download the RCC FileMaker Layout Optimizer: http://rcconsulting.com/downloads.html


You need to hack SVG's to get them to work with FileMaker

Featuring Claus Lavendt of DataManix... who explains what an SVG is... how its different that a PNG... and how to hack the SVG to get it to work with FM14. Unless it is hacked, FMI won't be able to control the color the icon dynamically. The helper tool assists with this.

Section 7: 0700 - Emailing, Imports and Exports

FileMaker can be the center of your digital world

Importing, Exporting, generating Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, etc. Manual or automated activities. Email generation. We plan on touching on WebDirect and Barcode management in this section as well.


Basics of manually importing data into FileMaker tables...

FileMaker reads lots of different file formats, including Tab Delimited, Comma Delimited, Excel, Merge, etc. FileMaker will not directly read a PDF or Word document without the aid of a 3rd party plug-in. 360Works has a Plugin that assists in have FileMaker integrate directly with MS word.


Basics of manually exporting data out of FileMaker...

Export data into Tab Delimited, Comma Delimited, Excel File, etc.


Save your Ad-hoc Imports and Exports by Creating a Script

Power users and new developers forget to "save their work" when doing Ad-hoc imports or exports. This will cause a lot of wasted time reproducing the import or export a 2nd or 3rd time... from scratch.

Also, we cover a couple of additional import dialog options.


Recurring Imports, Scripted on a Robot, Scripted on a Server


What is SMTP...basics...and then more advanced skills

Learn the basics before getting into deep email Kung-Fu. We have a sample file to learn and play with the SendMail script step. You can get this file as part of our "pack" of work files... in a Zip... on the RCC website.


*** Important *** I failed to mention that the emails FileMaker sends are plain text... and NOT HTML based emails... which is unfortunate.


Use Lee LukeHard SMTP Interrogator tool to hunt for your settings


Digging through FMSP Code in detail

Passing script parameters, looping records, SMTP settings, and IF THEN decision trees. Substitute function to customize the body of email with custom values from each specific record. We didn't have to use the let function, but my developer got overly cute.

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Instructor Biography

Richard Carlton, CEO & Senior Engineer

Richard Carlton
CEO & Senior Engineer
Richard Carlton Consulting Inc
Senior Trainer and Platform Advocate

Richard Carlton is the CEO, and a Senior Engineer at Richard Carlton Consulting Inc. and its subsidiaries.

Richard has been involved with the FileMaker platform since 1990 and has grown RCC into one of the largest top tier FileMaker consultancies worldwide. Richard works closely with RCC's staff: a team of 28 FileMaker developers and supporting web designers. He has offices in California, Nevada, and Texas. Richard is a frequent speaker at the FileMaker Developers Conference on a variety of topics involving mobile application development, and client server integration.

Richard is the Product Manager for FM Starting Point, the popular and most downloaded free FileMaker CRM Starter Solution.

Richard has previously worked with VTC as a Video Training Author, and then later, started a new video publishing company, dedicated to the needs of the FileMaker community. LearningFileMaker is a new startup, and is dedicated to the FileMaker Platform, with hundreds of videos and upwards of 50 hours of recorded content available for free.

Richard won 2015 Excellence Award from FileMaker Inc (Apple Inc) for outstanding video and product creation, leading to enhanced business development.

RCC and LearningFileMaker are headquartered in Santa Clara, CA.

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