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:

Everyday

Yoga (Adatasol) Daily, Tue-Thu 6:30 am. Dan Weiss from Adatasol has been leading morning yoga at DevCon for five years. It’s a great way to take time to focus on what’s important amid the craziness of the conference (and the networking isn’t bad either).

Tuesday

What Works and What Doesn’t: Things I learned becoming a SeedCoder (SeedCode) Tue 1:30 pm. SeedCode developers KC Embrey, Ann Kiser, and Dan Wheelon will be presenting a session about what they’ve learned running projects at SeedCode. They’ll talk about billing time, estimating, and structuring your week to meet your deadlines.

Survival for In-House Developers (Michael O’Neil, Boca Raton Fire Rescue, Retired) Tue 4:15 pm. Issues of leadership, ethics, communication, and office politics for in-house developers.

Wednesday

Talking Money with Your Clients (Susan Fennema, Beyond the Chaos) Wed 1:30 pm. Money always has the last word; do not miss this.

Thursday

Big or Small: How to Contribute to the Community — Lightning Talk (Makah Encarnacao, Soliant): Thu 11:15 am. We all need backup–a network of people we can turn to with questions. One of the best ways to build your network is to answer questions for others. You’ll make relationships that will last a lifetime. Really.

Getting It Done: The Tools of the Trade for App Dev Team Leaders — Lightning Talk (Gianna Harum-Alvarez, SmallCo): Thu 11:45 am. There is actual project management software that can help you keep track of all this.

Say What!? (Brandon Hayes, Kalos Consulting Inc.): Thu 12:45 pm. Learn tactics that make it easier to say the tough things when you know you should.


And don’t forget to stop by the SeedCode booth to meet our team and talk about what works.

 

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

All DayBack calendar views are now available on mobile! This means you can now use resource scheduling, week, and grid views in your favorite mobile browser (shown) and in FileMaker Go.

Mobile calendar for FileMaker Go

On iPhone, you can also set up DayBack as a home screen app, getting rid of the browser chrome and giving yourself a bit more screen real estate. Once you’re on the calendar in Safari, tap the Share button, then tap Add to Home Screen. Simple =)

Add the New Views to Your Calendar

If you’re using DayBack Online, the new views are available for you as soon as you refresh the DayBack page in your browser. If you’re using DayBack in FileMaker Go, the new views are part of our latest in-app update. Instructions for updating your copy are here: get the latest updates to DayBack. (And don’t worry, you can always update DayBack without overwriting any customizations you’ve made.)

Here are  some of the cool new views available in this new update to DayBack Calendar:

All current SeedCode products are compatible with FileMaker 18. The newest version of FileMaker also makes some significant changes to the way FMP URLs are managed.

You can now specify a version-specific URL like “fmp18://sales.example.com/Clients.fmp12?script=ListClients” For developers who often find themselves working in two versions of FileMaker at the same time (versions 17 and 18, for example), this will make web viewer apps like DayBack and Pro Maps confine their URL calls to the version that opened the file (at least for versions 18 and higher).

It’s great to see FileMaker reinvesting in the FMP URL and in web viewer apps in general.

FileMaker 18 URL

FMP URLs in FileMaker 18

FileMaker changed two things about the FMP URL in FileMaker 18:

1. FileMaker 18 now sets the default protocol for you when you install FileMaker 18. This was omitted in FileMaker 17 and users who installed 17 found fmp:// trying to open FileMaker 16 (or the last version of FileMaker on that machine before 17). While it’s good to see this fixed; this “default” has never worked for all machines, so refer to our instructions here if the fmp:// protocol isn’t working after you install 18. (Or just switch to the fmp18:// format as described below.)

2. You can now specify FileMaker URLs as either fmp:// or fmp<version 18+>:// in the form fmp18:// as described here: Opening Files with URLs. If you want to calculate the URL for a file in 18, try Floor() like this:

Other Cool Features in FileMaker 18

• You’ll find FileMaker’s own recap of the new features here: What’s New
• Details on the new SetRecursion and While functions from Kevin Frank: SetRecursion and While
• From AppWorks: Delegating User Management without Full Access
• Using the new file script steps to perform imports on FileMaker Server, courtesy of Vincenzo Menanno: Imports without Tariffs
• The improved import dialog from DB Services: Redesigned FileMaker Import Dialog
•A longer view from Todd Geist: FileMaker 18: the End of the Beginning

For DayBack Users – Changing DayBack’s URL format in FileMaker 18

Note that you don’t need to use the new version-specific URLs in FileMaker 18. For many users, DayBack will just work when you open it in FileMaker 18. For other users, who may have had a lot of older versions of FileMaker installed on their machines, the instructions here will tell you how to point the fmp:// protocol at a specific version of FileMaker: you can point it at 18 and not make the changes below.

Read Full Article →

We’ve recently been adding lots of notifications to our customer’s calendars: sending emails and SMS alerts when milestones are approaching or when team members are assigned new projects. But notifications tend to get lost on your phone, so we decided it was time to level up our notification game with some FileMaker IoT.

FileMaker IOT device featuring Mjolnir

“You can’t automate everything,” a customer recently remarked. We’d been replacing their whiteboards with a to-do list based on DayBack Calendar, and some folks worried aloud that the software couldn’t account for some of the by-hand practices that had evolved around the whiteboard. We learned that one of those practices was to ring a gong every time a new construction permit was issued. We decided to automate that as well

We’d build a gong-ringer that received commands from FileMaker. And when users marked a permit as issued, FileMaker would ring the gong for them. The plan was to deliver it without anyone knowing, so that first new permit would be a big surprise.

And we’d ring the gong with Mjølnir, Thor’s hammer: just because.

3D Printing Mjølnir

In addition to designing the circuitry and motor for the device, Tanner Ellen also printed the hammer, motor housing, and hold downs shown in the photos below.

FileMaker and IOT Devices: Thor's Hammer

FileMaker Internet of Things Thor's Hammer

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Here’s a great example of using filters to display multiple calendars, each from a different layer of your business. A custom sidebar uses FileMaker scripts and buttons to show and hide calendars using the resources from each line of business.

Our customer, Parvin Paving, wanted to show their field service schedules alongside the schedule of their estimates and sales teams. They also have calendars for booking conference rooms and back office operations. Each calendar has its own set of color-coded resources–rooms, people, or trucks–and they asked for a tree-view of their divisions’ schedules. This became a new left-hand sidebar to filter calendars in DayBack.FileMaker Calendar Layout

Read Full Article →

Here’s a beautiful mod to DayBack calendar by Brian Ouimette of NorthEast DataBase Solutions. Brian scripted DayBack so that some views use the calendar’s default popover to show events, while other views show the event details to the right of the calendar in a new FileMaker layout object. Best of all, Brian sent us an example file and the scripts he used to make this change so that you can add this to your own calendar.
Customizing FileMaker Layout with a Calendar
This mod lets Brian add lots more fields to the event, and includes tabs or portals, so users can see a lot more information about their event without leaving the calendar. DayBack already includes methods for using your own layouts instead of the calendar’s built-in popovers, but Brian’s mod means you can use FileMaker layout objects on the calendar, without having to leave the calendar or take users to a card window.

This is probably an easier modification if you wanted to use this split-view on every calendar view–that would just be a modification of the existing use your own layout script. Brian’s mod uses DayBack’s default popover on some calendar views and the split on others. It’s really nice work.

Here’s a movie showing Brian’s changes in action:

Read Full Article →

SeedCode is looking to hire a beginner to intermediate FileMaker developer. This position would be a great fit for the part-time developer ready to jump-start their FileMaker career, or for an in-house developer looking to expand their depth and scope.

Find more details about the position and the hiring process here: https://dayback.com/hiring/

And if you have questions or would like to chat before applying, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

A customer reached out to us for help implementing ProMaps in FileMaker WebDirect. They wanted a mobile solution for their outreach campaigns. We’d already made some custom deployments of ProMaps running in WebDirect, but none of those were for mobile browsers. Working on mobile required redesigning an entirely new menu and mobile map view, which turned out really great!

Here are some screenshots of the final result:

FileMaker Maps on Android

ProMaps in FileMaker WebDirect

Filtering FileMaker Map on Mobile Phone

The entire solution can be accessed via WebDirect through a mobile or desktop browser so they can be out in the field and still access their solution through any device! We even added their current device location to the map so they can see where they are at all times in relation to the pins on the map.

If you’d like help utilizing ProMaps in WebDirect or want to create mobile map views like this, please get in touch.

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