Track estimated vs. actual time right in your FileMaker Calendar

We recently customized DayBack for a team tracking the manufacturing and assembly trade show displays. Folks on the manufacturing floor use DayBack to see what they’re scheduled to work on AND to log their time. They can then compare estimated to actual time with Calendar Analytics.

DayBack is designed to be customized and provides several hooks where you can add your own time tracking scripts and layouts. This post illustrates five different approaches and includes instructions/examples below.

If you’re using DayBack to see what you need to work on, it makes sense to log time right there as well. Here’s what we did for this customer:

Time tracking in FileMaker Calendar


Logging time in a card window from within DayBack Calendar.

Time Tracking FileMaker Estimated Actual


Comparing estimated to actual time in Calendar Analytics

Time Tracking in FileMaker: Five Methods within DayBack Calendar

1. Card Windows

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By modifying just one FileMaker script, you can add CSS specific to certain users or privilege sets. Use this to…

  • Swap out or remove buttons
  • Show or hide different calendar views
  • Show or hide individual fields in an event
  • Add icons for certain event statuses
  • Show or hide help icons
  • Code examples for all of these, and more, are here.

Edit the script “Export Theme ({Preview})” and in the Else branch, replace the single ExportFieldContents line with lines 22 through 31 in the screenshot below. You’ll see just a single branch here for the user “Bob”, but change that to “=” and you can create a separate branch for each user who needs special CSS. (Click on the image for a larger version.)

Custom CSS for each DayBack User

Line 25, which you can’t really read in the screenshot, is where you actually add new CSS. Here is the second part of the SetField dialog and the example here just turns off the green plus button:

Don’t forget to include the regular CSS at the end, in the last two lines which reference the CalendarInterface::ExportGlob. You’ll find examples of some common CSS changes here: customizing DayBack’s CSS.

Note that the script above only runs at startup, so if you are having users log in and out of your solution after startup, you’ll want to run DayBack’s “Upon Opening” script after each login change.

Enjoy!

Analytics (charting) is now available on all scheduling views in DayBack for FileMaker. Here are some screenshots of the same data, first in the multi-day scheduling view and then in horizon view.

Calendar analytics in multi-day scheduling for FileMaker

Three trucks over 10 days: when the chart crosses the orange threshold, that truck is overbooked.

Here’s the same data in Horizon view.

Both views have their advantages: horizon view is easier to read, but the scheduling view is great if you need to see what times are open. So now you can use analytics on both views.

In this example, we set the dotted orange threshold at three-installations-per-day and can now quickly see which days are exceeding our capacity. (If this field service use case applies to your work, we have a video going over the example in more detail.)

Learn more:

Overview: how analytics drive better decisions

How we use analytics at SeedCode

Download an unlocked 30-day trial of DayBack and add it to your file.

Add this to your copy

This is a free in-app update to DayBack, so existing users can add it to their file without disrupting customizations they’ve already made. If you’re new to DayBack Calendar or in-app updates, here’s how they work and how they let you take advantage of new version of DayBack while you continue to customize it: in-app updates.

SeedCode can now customize your ProMaps solution so you can run your maps in FileMaker WebDirect.

ProMaps doesn’t work in WebDirect by default, but KC Embrey and Jason Young have figured out how to customize it to create a seamless user experience. Check out this short video showing ProMaps running in WebDrect: notice how it can call FileMaker scripts in WebDirect and pass found sets between WebDirect layouts and the map. We’re thrilled with how this turned out!

Add This to Your File

If you’d like to run your copy of ProMaps in WebDirect, it’s a pretty complex modification. The description below meant to show advanced developers what we’re doing with WebDirect and how they can replicate that or extend it. Unfortunately, it’s not intended to be a step-by-step guide for getting your copy of ProMaps running in WebDirect. That’s not something we can describe in a blog post, but it is something we can set up for you if you’reinterested.

If you’re a developer fluent in custom web publishing or the new Data API, read on, and we’ll describe how we’ve set this up. If you need more guidance than that, we’re happy to get you an estimate and set this up for you: once it’s up and running, you can customize it like regular ProMaps. Please get in touch.

Maps in FileMaker WebDirect – Why Is This So Hard?

Until now, the problem has been that it’s tough to call scripts in a WebDirect session from inside a web viewer in the same session. If you ask your web viewer to run a FileMaker script by URL, for example, WebDirect will ask you to log in again and start a second WebDirect session, run your start-up scripts, etc. This is a terrible user experience. WebDirect has no support for tokens or deep linking which make this kind of thing simple in most web apps: once you’re logged into Google Apps, for example, you can open a document by URL without having to log in again.

Users run into this any time the map takes you to a FileMaker layout or runs a FileMaker script. When you click on a button to view a property record in your own layout, or when you perform a find in FileMaker and then as the map to show the found set: these kinds of action require communication between the web viewer and the WebDirect session. And this communication is not built into WebDirect.

The Solution

Using a Session Table. KC and Jason figured out that on-timer triggers in WebDirect could call scripts seamlessly: the trick would be telling the on-timer to run a different script depending on what the user asked to do. So they created a session table in ProMaps which has one record for every logged in user. Now when you click a button in ProMaps that would typically run a script, ProMaps instead sends the name of the script to your record in that session table. An on-timer script in ProMaps queries your session record to see if there are any scripts it needs to execute and when it finds one, it runs that script along with any parameters.

But how does the WebViewer write to your record in the session table if the whole problem is that the WebViewer can’t call FileMaker scripts without spinning up a new session? Instead of editing your session record with a script, ProMaps uses the web publishing gateway or the Data API to edit your session record. In our deployments, we use fmxj.

fmxj.js is an open source JavaScript wrapper for FileMaker XML web publishing. Jason Young created this in 2015 for DayBack Online. We wanted a dead-simple way to talk to hosted FileMaker databases in JavaScript without a lot of dependency on third-party apps. In this ProMaps solution, it’s used to let the web viewer edit your record in the ProMaps session table; we could have used the new Data API, but we’re very familiar with fmxj and it already has a method in place for handling authentication server side.

If you’re interested in using fmxj in your own projects, here are some resources:

Note: the “drop a pin” example in this video is not a stock ProMaps feature–KC added that for a customer and wanted to show that it also worked in WebDirect. All the other functions shown in the video are built into ProMaps. If you’d like your map to do something fancy, just get in touch.

SeedCode’s Ann Kiser has added a version management component to SeedCode Complete as part of a custom project she’s working on. Complete comes with a built-in audit log, but document versioning goes further by preserving all previous iterations of an attached file and tying that to an approval process so you can know which versions are available for use. This is part of a thorough customization Ann is doing with Mark Thomas for Okamoto Corporation, the largest sock manufacturer in Japan. (We love manufacturing projects at SeedCode!)

The solution runs in both Japanese and English, and Splash, Inc. is helping with the localization.

FileMaker is a great tool for tracking this kind of approval flow since it’s so easy to send email notifications when documents pass each stage of the approval process. SeedCode Complete makes this even easier as it includes template scripts for server-side email notifications. Details on the built-in audit log can be found here: audit log.

Complete even includes a process template builder that you can customize to add milestones to your calendar as project pass through different statuses. That doesn’t do document versioning, however, without some customization. If you’re looking for a new approach to document versions and approvals, please get in touch: we’d love to chat with you.

The new analytics in DayBack Calendar have really changed the way we work at SeedCode. Here’s a closer look at how we’re using it to manage custom projects, along with some of the things that have surprised us about the user interface and design.

Your Calendar is Not a Poster

https://medium.com/@seedcode/your-calendar-is-not-a-poster-its-a-game


 

New to calendar analytics? This is a free, in-app update to DayBack Calendar for FileMaker. Videos, screenshots, and use case examples here: calendar analytics.

Here’s an extension of SeedCode Complete designed by Jim Parvin of Parvin Paving and Sealing. In addition to the master-detail location browser on the left, Jim brought all the slide panels forward as tabs since he had large monitors and lots of space.

SeedCode Complete FileMaker Template

I like how Jim used the slide panels in Complete as a palette of interface elements and brought forward the ones he wanted, arranging them on a single screen. (Jim designed these layouts, and SeedCode’s Dan Wheelon and Ann Kiser put them together.)

We’ve seen many folks do this, moving things off slide panels into tabs or card windows and arranging them to build new interface elements. For example, the master-detail pane used for selecting locations above borrows filters from Complete’s contact selector. That was our goal with the SeedCode Complete template: to wire up the hard stuff and the basics so that developers could quickly add value with customizations specific to their business.

Big thanks to Jim at Parvin Paving and Sealing for letting us show off his app!

The SeedCode Complete starter solution is on 20% off during our DevCon Sale
Get a head start on your next project.

 Download SeedCode Complete  

New to DayBack for FileMaker, Calendar Analytics let you measure your schedule.

Plot progress against your goals over time, balance your workload, and quickly see patterns that are invisible in traditional reports.

Screenshot - Calendar Analytics for FileMaker Pro

We’ve been using analytics internally for a few months now and are impressed with how it’s helping us make better decisions.

The most common question for us is “can we take on this new work and meet the customer’s deadline?” Analytics lets us plot our capacity on the calendar as a threshold (the orange line in the screenshot above), so it’s obvious when we’re approaching our limits versus when we have the capacity to do more.

'Capacity' is what's missing on legacy calendars and what's hiding on most reports. DayBack Analytics makes it explicit. Click To Tweet

Examples

Balancing Your Workload with Calendar Analytics

Agile development means delivering a lot of small features every week. The goal is to meet any deadlines you’ve shared with your customers without over-scheduling yourself. We’ll drag and reschedule items as analytics tells us to start working on some items earlier and to focus on just one item at a time for the largest deliveries.

 

Blocking Off Time: Measuring Your Schedule

Measuring is crucial to make sure you’ve blocked off enough time to meet your goals. In a traditional calendar, it can be tough to see how much time you have before significant deadlines. Analytics measures your plans: because you only get the outcomes you’ve planned for.

 

Field Service Scheduling with Calendar Analytics

We’re all “scheduling within constraints,” perhaps nowhere more so than in field service where you only have so many trucks, or so many installers available to service all your customers. DayBack shines at helping you scan for gaps in your schedule so you can get the most out of limited resources. Analytics now lets you work at longer time scales, showing where you’re overscheduled, where you have opportunities, and how your revenue maps to order status over time.

 

Limitations

Calendar Analytics in DayBack for FileMaker is currently only available on the horizon view and is limited to showing one chart at a time. It also employs just one chart type (the line charts you see above). If you have use cases that call for more, please get in touch and tell us about them. We look forward to expanding analytics based on your feedback.

Get It Now: Analytics is a Free Update

If you’re already using DayBack, analytics comes as a free in-app update: click “Admin Settings” on the settings tab then “check for updates.”

New in-app updates install in one click: there is no need to re-integrate DayBack into your file. Though with this update you will be adding a couple of new lines to one of the calendar’s scripts so that you can set some default settings for the charts.

Subscribers to DayBack get free in-app updates for the life of their subscription. If you purchased DayBack more than a year ago as an outright purchase (not a subscription) your in-app updates may have expired: your purchase included a year of free updates. Fortunately, you can extend your in-app updates when you’re ready.

 New to DayBack?  Download a 30-day trial  

 

Check out this beautiful availability calendar using DayBack for FileMaker by Sam Rini of Bayou Haven Weddings and Events: http://www.bayouhaven.com/Calendar/Calendar.htmlPublic FileMaker Calendar

Shared views in DayBack are great for sharing schedules with clients, contractors, or the public. And you can embed them in your sites as Sam did for Bayou Haven. (They have a stunning venue!)

Learn more about public FileMaker calendars here: Sharing in DayBack Calendar

Analytics is coming to DayBack Calendar.

Analytics is now live! Available as an in-app update to DayBack Calendar!

Measure changes to your schedule, and chart calendar data against your goals. More info, and examples, here.

Calendar Analytics for FileMakerCompare schedule data to your goalsYou’ll be able to chart any additional fields you’ve added to the calendar. And you’ll know when the crests or troughs of your activity cross your thresholds.

In the example above, we’re looking at one developer’s billable hours in DayBack. Her target is 25 hours per week and she’s exceeding that every other week.

Calendar analytics show you the consequences of your decisions. Click To Tweet

Analytics respond as you drag events to reschedule them. It’s designed to answer questions like these:

• When do I need to begin work on this project?

• Do we have the capacity to take on this new job?

• Have I blocked off enough time to meet this deadline?

• How often are we exceeding our goals?

• Have I planned for any of this?

 

For many of us, this will be the first time we can answer these questions and have the answers right in front of us in the same tool we use to plan our work. We’ve been using analytics internally for a few months and are very excited about it’s improved our decision making.

New DayBack Calendar Analytics Logo

 


Add this to your copy of DayBack: coming soon

Analytics will be available as an in-app update very soon. If you’re new to updates, you can see how they work here: In-app updates to DayBack Calendar.

Click “Account Settings” in the Settings tab of the left-hand sidebar, then click “Check for updates” to see if you still have access to updates.

Extend your in-app updates

If you’ve purchased DayBack Calendar on a monthly or yearly subscription, you can download in-app updates for the life of your subscription. But if you purchased DayBack outright, access to free updates ends after the first year. Extend your access to updates any time by purchasing here: extend your in-app updates.

Extend your in-app updates

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