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).

 

Deadlines sneak up on us because we’re always focused just a week ahead of time. Our tools don’t help since most calendars keep deadlines off-screen until it’s too late. We need a calendar that can easily zoom out from your daily work to scan your horizon of deadlines, goals, and commitments.

Long-term thinking is coming to DayBack at DevCon 2019.

FileMaker DevCon Long Term Thinking

Free in-app update

This will be a free in-app update for current users. (New to in-app updates? They let SeedCode add features to DayBack without overwriting your customizations: check it out.)

DayBack helps you work at longer time scales, so deadlines don't sneak up on you. Click To Tweet

What’s long-term?

It’s different for everyone. DayBack will easily slide from viewing a week, to a few months, to several years. It will also show inter-generational projects that can last for a hundred years. Or several hundred years.

Come by our booth at DevCon to see some really long term calendars.

Making custom software is hard. So is project management, estimating, accounting, and all the other things solo-developers and subcontractors are often expected to take care of alongside their code. Being a FileMaker Developer can be a great life–on your own, as a subcontractor, or inside a big firm–but it can also be very stressful.

Fortunately, our community loves to share what works, and there will be people talking about these tough issues at FileMaker DevCon. In fact, there’s enough on these topics to make a whole (unofficial) “Get your sh*t together” track at the conference.

So if you’re having trouble estimating, meeting deadlines, or getting paid, you might want to invest in yourself and check out some of these sessions: Read Full Article →

Maps and calendars work together to make field service more efficient. Here’s an example of using the routing options in ProMaps to optimize your schedule. SeedCode’s KC Embrey wrote FileMaker scripts to send a day’s appointments to ProMaps for routing, and then pull that route information back into DayBack Calendar to determine the start time for each appointment.

Route Scheduling for FileMaker Maps

Scheduling Routes with FileMaker and Google Maps

Routing is built into SeedCode’s ProMaps template. KC’s customization takes the response from Google’s route API and interprets it to schedule the day’s appointments in DayBack, assigning each a start time based on drive dive defaults used by the customer. A fancier version of this could use Google’s own travel-time estimates to set the start times. Here’s a short video of the customization in action:

Thanks to Duncan Chidley at Coastal Comfort for letting us share this customization!

More Map & Calendar Integrations

The movie above shows how our customer is using routing in ProMaps to determine the order of appointments. Here are some other customizations we can help you craft between ProMaps and DayBack Calendar:

  • Use travel times from the Google API to schedule the time between appointments
  • Color code the map by day-of-the-week so each day’s appointments are clustered near each other
  • Automatically assign customers to territories (or technicians) based on the customer’s location
  • Add leave-by times to the calendar for each appointment

If your field service operation could benefit from tighter integration between your routes and schedules, please get in touch. We’re here to help.

 

ProMaps lets you filter your properties by “area” or “territory” and show all those territory borders on the map. In the stock version of ProMaps, you’d create these territory borders once and then paste them into FileMaker. Map Territories in FileMakerHowever, if you have many territories or their borders are frequently changing, you may want to visually edit those borders inside FileMaker.

Here’s a customized version of ProMaps where you can visually manage your territory borders by dragging them around on the map inside FileMaker:

SeedCode can add this visual editing of borders for you (or customize ProMaps to run in WebDirect). Please get in touch for an estimate. Once these changes are in place, you’ll still be able to customize the map, add your own pin icons and colors, and add buttons inside the map to run your own FileMaker scripts.

Download a demo of ProMaps and learn more here: ProMaps for FileMaker

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