SeedCode’s ProMaps template comes with support for “neighborhoods” or areas: shapes our users employ to depict things like sales territories or city borders. Usually, these areas are a single, contiguous shape, like the neighborhoods in Seattle shown in red below in a stock copy of ProMaps.

Google Maps Template for FileMaker


Stock copy of ProMaps showing neighborhood areas in red

But what if an area consists of multiple separated shapes? Much of the time, city, municipal, and congressional boundaries are not just made up of one simple shape, but a set of multiple shapes. Or maybe you want to represent something like national forest boundaries or oil fields as in the examples below:

Areas in ProMaps for FileMaker


Oil fields in Indiana; all red areas are one “area” in ProMaps

Oil fields in FileMaker Pro Maps


Zoomed in on oil fields.

It turns out that this can be done with a very small tweak to ProMaps. To do this, we need to first define how to separate the multiple arrays of latitude/longitude pairs for one area. For this example, we’ll stick with formatting similar to JSON. This means each polygon will be wrapped in brackets ( [ ] ), and separated with a comma. When specifying multiple polygons, our object is going to be an array of arrays, so everything will need to be enclosed in brackets to define it as a single array object. Here’s the template for how multi-polygon area data should look:

The next step is to update the “Set Variable [ $sc_areaBorderCoordinates…” script step on line 26 of the “Export Map HTML” script. We’ll update the calculation value with the following:

It’s important to note that we’re sticking with ProMaps’ use of return characters to indicate the separation between each lat/long pair. Because of this, it’s vital that you follow the format in the example (no extra line breaks), or the substitute function will result in a malformed object.

With this one script change and formatted data, you’ll be able to see multiple polygons drawn on the map for a single area!

Learn more about the ProMaps template

DayBack’s scheduling grids highlight gaps in your schedule across multiple weeks, so you know if you’re on track or overextended. These multi-week views are designed to be customized, and we’ve recently helped a customer create an exquisite depiction of their workload.

A Customized Scheduling Grid

SeedCode’s Ann Kiser customized this view in collaboration with our customer, Pär-Anders Björklund, from Linjepunkt Repro in Sweden. Linjepunkt offers high-end retouching and image processing services; the grid below shows their current project at the left and their resource allocation for each day.

Resource Scheduling in FileMaker


Customized scheduling grid for Linjepunkt Repro

Based on DayBack’s Built-in Pivot Views

This customization is a compact version of the “pivot views” built into DayBack Calendar. Below you’ll find a couple of screenshots from this stock pivot view. The first has “compression” set to off so that you see all of the text for each event. The second image has compression turned on, so each event only takes up one line.

FileMaker Calendar Scheduling


Built-in pivot view showing trucks as rows and days as columns

Field Service Scheduling in FileMaker


Built-in pivot view with compression turned on

In addition to this version, where each column is a day, pivot views are also available at smaller time scales. In those “timed” versions, each column is anywhere between five minutes and one hour.

Note that both of the screens above have calendar analytics turned on. The analytics chart that the bottom of the screen is reporting the value of the net invoice field in each appointment’s record. You’ll see a colored line for the invoiced amounts from the three resources/trucks. The orange dotted line represents a goal of $2,100.00 per day, per truck.

Charting Resource Revenue with Calendar Analytics for FileMaker


Configuring analytics to sum the values in a specific field

While this example uses analytics to track money, you can also use it to track time. Inside SeedCode, we use analytics to budget our time and make sure we’re able to keep our promises to customers. Here’s a short video on how we use analytics to track customizations to DayBack: Schedule Balancing with Calendar Analytics.


Resource scheduling, pivot views, and analytics are all built into DayBack Calendar for FileMaker.

Big thanks to Pär-Anders for letting us share this work!


 

The holidays often occasion a wintry mix of goal setting and castigation. Sometimes we need to change how we work. Other times, we just feel something is missing. Whatever the reasons, the seasonal shame spiral gets real.

Keep your self-improvement projects in perspective with these two posts from dayback.com.

And be kind to yourself this holiday season =)

Time Shame Road Trip

Time Shame: Plan Your Day Like a Road Trip

Our industry’s focus on productivity can encourage us to be ashamed of how we spend our time. Shame isn’t a signal to cram more into your schedule.

Projects Running Late

We Can’t See Late: The Consequences of Getting a Late Start are Widely Misunderstood

If projects are frequently running late, it’s often because we can’t recognize projects slipping until the slip is unavoidably large.

 

FileMaker can do a lot more with the Google Maps API than just showing pins on the map and creating routes. This mod of SeedCode’s ProMaps template is a great example: it reacts to earthquake alerts. It visualizes the impact zones for seismic events and reports on the affected properties.

Alan Corkhill at Marx Okubo recently had us put together some significant customizations to their copy of ProMaps, integrating data on seismic events (earthquakes) from ShakeAlert. The ultimate result is that, when data on new seismic activity is received, the data is automatically imported into ProMaps, creating a visual representation of the severity waves from the event and which properties are likely to be affected. FileMaker then creates reports for those properties, including images from ProMaps.

Connecting FileMaker, Google Maps, and Seismic Event JSON

This was quite a broad, challenging project, but the end result is fantastic. Here’s a little more detail on how we accomplished this:

Using Jason Young’s example file for integrating Gmail with FileMaker, a server-side script periodically checks a special mailbox for new alerts. The script scans those emails for seismic event details: specifically, for a link to the full details of the event.

We then use that link to download a JSON file with all of the details of the event and parse the data into FileMaker records. Those records contain “zone” data, which includes:

• Latitude and longitude data for points of a polygon (the impact zones)
• A percentage likelihood that properties in that zone will be affected by this event

With this data, we can load the map with a visual representation of each of these zones.

FileMaker Map Showing Earthquake Data

Next, using Google’s JavaScript API, we determine which properties fall within a zone of the seismic event and send that data back to FileMaker for reporting.

The last step in this process is creating the reports: each needs a picture of the property on the map’s satellite view. The trick here is that this all needs to happen on the server, rather than a FileMaker Pro client. How did we make that happen? We used PhantomJSCloud. PhantomJSCloud is a service that renders a page as if you were viewing it in a browser, then takes a screen-shot and sends that back, all with a simple Insert from URL (CURL) command. This allows us to process the seismic event data, render the map, and take the images for the property reports, all using FileMaker server-side scripts.

Here’s the final result for an example property:

Automatic Earthquake Impact Report from Filemaker

This whole solution has been implemented in a series of small deliveries, and now it’s great to see everything come together like this, up and running in Web Direct. Big thanks to, Alan, for letting us share this work!

Learn more about adding ProMaps to your file

Using a different icon and pin colors on your map is a great way to visualize found sets. Fortunately, ProMaps for FileMaker makes it easy to assign different icons based on different values in your fields. Sometimes, though, you may want to create icons and color combinations on the fly.

Brian Ouimette and Jonathan Sherry at Full City Consulting have come up with a great looking icon selector for ProMaps. This allows them to create markers, set a color, then choose between a pin icon or truck icon, and the marker image will be automatically rendered by their scripts.

To make this happen, their FileMaker scripts perform the following steps:

  • Custom JavaScript code is loaded in a new web viewer
  • That code is passed preset SVG shape data
  • The JavaScript code converts that SVG shape data into a PNG based on the selected color
  • That new PNG image is passed back as a parameter in a FileMaker script using the FMP URL protocol, just like ProMaps and DayBack
  • The image is then saved into the marker’s container field in ProMaps

While the scripting is a bit complicated, the end result is really easy for schedulers:

Thanks, Brian and Jonathan for putting together this great example!

(For more on creating icons on the fly, checkout using the Google API to generate pins.)

DayBack Calendar lets you style your events with colors, icons, and custom CSS. This means you can make a visual sense of even an extremely dense and complex schedule.

For example, you can add Font Awesome icons to the summary of any event. While Font Awesome icons are great for many solutions, they look flat and you have to specify their color in the CSS. Some people want fancier looking icons, and Unicode emojis work great for that!

Here’s an example of a calendar where items with a status that starts with “Paused” have a pause icon at the beginning of the summary, and those in a “Done” status have a party emoji icon:

Emoji Calendar Icons for FileMaker

Since these icons are part of the Unicode character set, you can add many of them directly into your event summary calculation using FileMaker’s “Char” function. Others that don’t work in FileMaker can still work in the web viewer calendar by adding a <dbk-css> element and referring to a custom CSS class for the icon.

Instructions on adding Unicode emoji characters to your DayBack solution can be found in the documentation here.

If you’re feeling adventurous, leave a comment showing off your use of fancy icons in your DayBack solution!

Here’s a great trick for highlighting a found set in your FileMaker calendar. Gerhard Huber customized his copy of DayBack so that when he clicks on an event, the project for that event shows up in the calendar’s left-hand sidebar. At the same time, he adds a flag icon to every event for the same project so he can see these in the context of all his other projects:

Flag icons in DayBack FileMaker Calendar

Flags are done by adding event-styles to DayBack Calendar. You’ll find instructions here: event styles.

Gerhard is a serious craftsman who’s made some truly slick mods to DayBack; he is looking forward to showing off his work to anyone who’s interested at the German FileMaker Conference in Hamburg. Find him and say Hi for a private showing in between sessions.

FileMaker Conference Germany

Thanks, Gerhard for sharing your work!

Check out this sexy calendar modification by Jeremy Sanchez from aACE Software. I love how the statuses colors advance in chroma as the project moves through stages. Jeremy added FileMaker layout objects and buttons to the left of the calendar to more closely match the rest of the aACE business management software.

By adding their own FileMaker objects to the left of the calendar web viewer, they were able to reproduce and extend the functionality of DayBack’s original sidebar while making a couple of tweaks of their own.

  • They’ve moved the Advanced Filters and Clear Filters buttons to the top of the Filters tab so that their clients who have long lists of statuses won’t need to scroll down to find these buttons.
  • They’ve added an “Omit” button for toggling between including the selected statuses and omitting them, as well as a button for clearing all selected statuses.
  • At the top of the sidebar, they’ve added a “Jump to date…” button, which brings up a FileMaker drop-down calendar. Selecting a date from this drop-down calendar navigates the user to the selected date.

FileMaker Calendar Sidebar

If you want to add something like this in your copy of DayBack, controlling the calendar is accomplished by modifying DayBack’s filter objects and taking advantage of DayBack’s built-in navigation scripts to update the calendar view from FileMaker buttons.

Thanks, Jeremy, for another great example of a custom sidebar in DayBack!

And if you’d like help building your own custom sidebar in DayBack, please reach out to us, and we’ll schedule some time to chat!

If you came by our booth at DevCon, you likely saw our science fiction timeline. DayBack can now show multi-year projects on the Gantt Chart, and we created some long timelines to show how well this works. One plots when milestone SCIFI books and films were set, starting with Kepler’s Somnium in 1608. Check it out.

FileMaker Timeline

Make Your Own Timelines

You can make read-only URLs from any view in your calendar using DayBack’s sharing. Sharing is a great way to publish schedules to folks who can’t log into your FileMaker solution. The timeline above uses the new long timescales feature introduced as a free in-app update at DevCon. If you’d like to play with the timeline above, you can download a copy of DayBack with this SCIFI calendar already set up:

DayBack DevCon 2019 Demo

The latest version of DayBack, including calendars for the history of FileMaker (1985 – 2038) and Milestones in SCIFI (1608 – 21500).

Date Limits in FileMaker

FileMaker doesn’t support dates after the year 4000 (same with timestamps). Yet, we needed dates up to 21500 to put Dune on our timeline. Fortunately, DayBack does support dates this big, and when looking at FileMaker sources it converts all dates and timestamps to numbers. So, for the SCIFI timeline in FileMaker, we used text fields for dates and wrote a function to turn those into timestamp-numbers. This is tricky because while FileMaker’s date functions understand leap years, we couldn’t use any of those functions on text-dates that far in the future.

FileMaker 18 While Function

Fortunately, FileMaker 18 introduced the while function so we could have loops within our calculation to express the leap year rule ourselves. This is a very rough implementation we put together for DevCon. It only works with dates in the MM/DD/YYYY format, but it was fun to play with “while” and to see events 20k years from now.

This calc is included in the download above: in the fields DBk_TimestampStartCalcNum and DBk_TimestampEndCalcNum.

At DevCon this morning, CEO Brad Freitag announced that FileMaker is rebranding as Claris. The presentation concluded with their new mission statement, “Power to the Problem Solvers.” We couldn’t be more excited about this change.

To celebrate this milestone, it’s worth remembering where we came from. So here’s the history of FileMaker and Claris:

The history of FileMaker and Claris


The history of FileMaker and Claris from 1984 through 2038.

'The past is never dead. It's not even past' - Faulkner, on @FileMaker and software legacies Click To Tweet

If you’d like to play with this calendar in FileMaker, here’s the file we used to create this timeline. This also contains the long time scales demo we’ve been showing in our DevCon booth, so don’t hesitate to turn on the SCIFI calendar and slide horizon view out a few thousand years. The online version of this calendar was created with DayBack’s sharing feature. Learn more here: publish your calendar.

DayBack DevCon 2019 Demo

The latest version of DayBack, including calendars for the history of FileMaker (1985 – 2038) and Milestones in SCIFI (1608 – 21500).

 

DOWNLOAD
DayBack Calendar
DayBack's 30-day trial is unlocked so you can customize it and integrate it with your files.
Download DayBack and we'll send you a couple short emails with tips on how to modify it and use some of the coolest features.
Thank you! Please download: DayBack Calendar
Need More?
SeedCode tips & example files in your inbox
Need More?
SeedCode tips & example files in your inbox
Want More?
Be the first to see articles and tips like these
DOWNLOAD
TimeZync
Download TimeZync and we'll send you a couple short emails with tips syncing your FileMaker Go files.
Thank you! Please download: TimeZync
Want More?
Be the first to see articles and tips like these