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The Index Indexes makes finds and other features fast. Think of looking for a word in a book by flipping through each page. It’s much quicker to go to the index where it will tell you each page where the word is contained. This is exactly how an index works, it only stores each word once per field across all records. There are two types of indexing: Minimal and All. Minimal means only one index type has been created while All means two index types have been created. The most commonly used index type is a Word index and can only be created for text fields. Up to 100 characters of each word are indexed. Words are defined most often by spaces but can also be determined by commas, periods, colons and other characters. A word index does not differentiate between uppercase and lowercase. Searching for “FRED” also finds “fred”. A Value index is used for searching number, time and date fields as well as relationship key field matching. Up to 100 characters of each return-separated value are indexed. While searching can be done on partial text in a Word index, only complete values can be searched for in a Value index. When you think about it, why would you want to search for a partial number or date. Indexes are utilized in a variety of features other than finds such as value lists based on the contents of a field and unique validation. Understanding how an index works can help you better design a database.
Level: Intermediate Version: FileMaker 18 Category: General Tuesday, June 11, 2019
It took a while to scour the internet but I finally came up with my favorite videos and articles. I personally read each of these blog articles and watched every one of these videos. I've focused on choosing resources that use specific examples, rather than vague general discussions. I wanted to show off authors who took the discussion of the new FileMaker 18 to the next level and applied them in real-life scenarios. However, I will start off with some web sites that contain good overviews of the entire set of new FileMaker 18 features.
Quick Overview by FMI If you haven't gotten a general overview of all the new FileMaker 18 features, there's a couple places you can go. I'd recommend these avenues first before diving into the specific examples. The first destination is the filemaker.com web site to check out their "What's New" web page. It's very brief but does give you a great overview of the new features with snazzy screen shots. The point here is, it's quick and easy (even though it was written by marketing employees):
I also like the article by DB Services. It's short, sweet and to the point. There are some links to more information throughout the article but you can get a good overview of the new features in about fifteen minutes. It's also from the perspective of a developer, rather than the biased vantage point of the mothership. My guess is you'll pick up different stuff from these two overviews.
FileMaker 18 Documentation, Release Notes and FileMaker Help There's not much to read here but this FileMaker knowledge base article is a hub for everything about FileMaker 18, from the FileMaker, Inc. perspective.
Documentation and release notes are important but I'm mostly sharing this link for the online help. I use it all the time when I'm trying to remember how a particular feature works. Or, maybe I want to know the version it was released if I'm programming with a higher version than it will ultimately be deployed. Maybe I've forgotten how to use a function because it's been years since I needed to apply it. Sometimes I just use it in my video training to help explain a concept. The FileMaker online help is a plethora of information and shouldn't be overlooked. As far as new features, here's a link to the section that covers them all and then links to other sections of the online help for detailed information:
At the time I wrote this article, the FileMaker 18 online help hadn't been indexed by Google. As soon as it does, you'll be able to find information by typing "filemaker 18 xxx". Replace "xxx" with what you're trying to learn (e.g. filemaker 18 import). I'd also recommend quoting "filemaker 18" in your search criteria or Google will bring up web sites talking about all sorts of FileMaker versions. Just so we are clear, here's what you would type into Google if you wanted to find out about importing:
"FileMaker 18" import
FileMaker 18 Preview I still haven't gotten to the detailed discussion of new FileMaker 18 features but this video is certainly worth a mention. I mean, who wouldn't want to listen to the creators of FileMaker talk about their baby. Important folks on this video include Rick Kalman (Director of Product Management), Robert Holsey (Product Manager for FileMaker Advanced) and Neil Wright (Product Manager for FileMaker Server).
The above video is an hour long but is well worth your time to see how FMI views these new features. It's a little tainted by marketing executives but still a great watch.
Import Dialog OK, on to the good stuff. The first video I selected is one from Productive Computing in regards to the revamped import dialog. Stuart Hite shows the FileMaker 17 and 18 import dialogs side-by-side so you can best visualize the vast differences.
Stuart goes over all the new FileMaker 18 import features including searchable target fields, field names from any record, auto-enter at the field level and custom character imports. Make sure to check out the Productive Computing University for more FileMaker video training!
I also loved the Data File script steps discussion from PCI. While there's no specific real-world example, Stuart does an awesome job of demonstrating the ins and outs. With twelve new script steps, there are lot of details. For example, Stuart shows a graph of which steps require a file name and which require a file ID. He also incorporates the FileMaker 18 online help so you know I like that.
I also have a blog covering the Data File script steps but I took a different approach. I used a very specific real-world example so viewers understand how to implement this new set of features. However, this is at the expense of some of the details surrounding the data I/O script steps. I think if you combine Stuart's video with my article and example file, it's a winning combination for learning this complicated set of new script steps!
Importing from Server I think Vincenzo Menanno from Beezwax captures the spirit of FileMaker 18 by applying the new features to the problem of importing server side. With the aid of the new data file script steps, Vince walks you through how to import data using the Perform Script on Server (PSoS) and the new Data File script steps. Very nicely done Vince!
Digital Signatures Soliant Consulting always has great content. I'm not sure how they do it with such a big company but they always seem to pull it off. I've actually selected two articles from Soliant because they are so well written and pertinent to the every day development life of a FileMaker consultant.
The first is a gigantic request from just about every FileMaker developer out there. That request is the ability to send HTML emails directly from FileMaker without a plug-in.
The second article I chose is not as sexy but it's so well written and covers a new FileMaker 18 feature that I haven't seen anyone else consider. That subject is digital signatures and the importance of the new CryptGenerateSignature and CryptVerifySignature functions. I love how Mislav Kos uses an example from his every day life to help FileMaker enthusiasts understand of how important these two new features can be for anyone accepting digital signatures. Great job Mislav!
While Function I read a bunch of blogs and watched some videos and I think I'm safe in voting my discussion of the While function as the best. I watched a couple videos and read some blogs but I didn't find any real-life application of the While function. I cover half a dozen real-life examples and even provide downloadable files.
Read the blog entry also to get a more detailed discussion and to grab the downloadable files.
Don't Forget I always tell my students that good programming goes all the way back to FileMaker Pro 3.0 when features like Set Field, loops, script parameters and many other features were introduced. Don't get me wrong, I love the new features in FileMaker 18. Just don't lose sight that becoming a professional developer requires knowledge of all FileMaker features, not just the cool new ones in FileMaker 18.