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In FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training, Cris Ippolite demonstrates the principal features and functions of this popular database software, including creating tables and relationships, managing fields and records, and working with layouts. The course shows FileMaker developers how to find, sort, and share data as well as how to create reports, calculations, and scripts. It also covers brand new features in FileMaker Pro 11 such as the Inspector tool, charting, and portal filtering. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you're getting familiar with scripts, another good thing to do is get familiar with the Manage Scripts window. All of the scripts created for a given database files are stored in the Manage Scripts window, and you can find that under the Scripts menu, and by choosing Manage Scripts. You can also access it under the File > Manage option and choose Scripts. Either way it will take you to the same window. The first thing that you'll notice on new files is that you don't have any scripts created. It's your job as a developer to add the scripts necessary to automate repetitive tasks and provide controls for users to manipulate the system.
But when you first open up your file, you won't see any there. So once you have scripts in your database, you'll be able to see them listed in this window. Now if you look on the bottom of the window, we've got a couple of controls. For example, if we hit the New button, in the bottom left-hand corner, it will automatically create a New Edit Script window for us. Closing that window will now show the new script we've just created in the list, with its default name. If you have more than one script in your window, you can use these handles, after selecting the script, to move them up or down in your lists. You might be familiar with this interface from working with the Manage Layouts window.
FileMaker has adopted the same window for Managing Layouts and Managing Scripts, so that you can use that familiarity to your advantage. Now there's a check box that you see in the left-hand side indicates whether or not a script should be viewed in the Scripts menu. For example, you can see, since both of them are checked, now I see both of the new script, scripts, listed here. If I uncheck one of them, now only one of them is listed. You'll also notice that when a script is listed under the Scripts menu, it also has a corresponding quick key next to it. It will have the Command+1 all the way through 9 options available in Mac, and Ctrl+1 through Ctrl+9 available in Windows.
Then after that it won't have script keys available. So basically up to nine different scripts all get a corresponding Quick Key. You'll also see, back in our Manage Scripts, that I can change the name of the script inside the Edit Script window, and now whenever I make a change inside a window you'll notice this asterisk here next to the name of script in the title bar, which means that it's unsaved. I can save my script by going back under the Scripts menu and choosing Save Scripts, or I can just use the Command+S on Mac or Ctrl+S on Windows option.
But also you notice that I can save All Scripts, which means that all unsaved script windows will all be saved in one shot. So if you're about to shut down FileMaker and you want to save your work, this is a good way to do so. You can also revert any of the changes you made by hitting Revert Script. But if you choose not to save your changes, you'll be prompted with this window here, which allows you to say, Don't Save. So there's a couple of ways to either revert or don't save if you don't want your changes to be applied. Here we'll hit Save, and now we see our name change applied. Now you may have noticed that our first two scripts are both called New Script.
FileMaker does not require unique names for scripting, but it's probably in your best interest to make sure that every one of your scripts does have a unique, easy-identifiable name. The other thing that's worthy of note is that if you open up multiple scripts at a time, you'll notice that you can have as many script windows opened at a given time and that you can still toggle back to the original window of your file. This helps you if you've got a couple of scripts that are both talking to each other, and you still need to see what's going on onscreen. That way you can toggle between everything in your Windows menu. Back in our Edit Scripts window, you can see that the window is made up of three parts.
The Script Step List is on the left- hand side and shows a list of every script step available in FileMaker. You'll see that these are also the same script steps that we saw in the assigning a script step to a button window. The Script Authoring area is in the middle here, and it's clearly blank at this point. But every time that you select a script step or double-click on one, it'll appear in a top-down list inside your authoring area. And then for each script step that you choose, after double-clicking or hitting Move, you'll notice that the third area, the Script Step Options area below it, will be populated with whatever options are specific to that step that you've chosen.
In most cases your scripts will contain more than one script step, and it's important to take into account the order that those script steps will execute. You can get familiar with the different categories of script steps, much like your calculation functions, by looking at them within the context of their own category. Or if you've familiarized yourself with the names of the steps, you can just choose all by name and find them alphabetically. You can even click inside the list and then of course double-click on the script step to edit your authoring area. In the upcoming movies, we'll work with many of these steps and create scripts using these within a window, just like this.
You'll also notice a pretty important dropdown in the bottom left-hand corner of the Manage Scripts window. And it's labeled Show Compatibility. You see that you've got four different options here. You should be aware that not all script steps will work in all environments. For example, if you're working in the FileMaker Pro client, all of your scripts will run. However, if you choose to use the option to have a FileMaker Server run a script for you in an automated schedule, then only some of the scripts are available to you. You'll see the ones that are not compatible all grayed out.
Some of them make sense, because there is no client interface for them to be able to communicate with, so a lot of these just don't make sense for you to run. But if you want more information on running scripts in a schedule back up off of your server, see the documentation for FileMaker server. Also, you can share your FileMaker database via a technology that's called Instant Web Publishing, which allows users to access your database via a Web browser. If you choose to do that, you should know that a majority of your scripts will work because there is script compatibility from a browser.
You'll see here that there are series of grayed out ones that will not work, and those are very similar to the ones that are inactive for server. You'll also notice that within your chosen steps, any incompatible script step for the technology that you've chosen in the dropdown will also gray out. Back in the Manage Scripts window, you'll notice there's some navigation you want to be familiar with, pretty self-explanatory for the most part. But here you see you can create a New Empty Script, which is what we've done before, or you can create something called a New Default Script. The New Default Script functionality is a feature that was actually brought back from very old versions of FileMaker.
In this case a new script is created for you that already has some script steps on there. And the script steps are the most recent actions that you've performed. So, for example, if you navigate to a layout or perform a search in a layout, then sort, and you'll see all of those script steps listed here. So here you can see that what we've just recently done is entered Browse mode, navigated to the Customer Detail, and then at some point performed a Find. So all of that information is stored in there for us, so if you really want some help learning scripts, then just perform a couple of functions in Browse mode, or whatever modes you want to work with, then go into Script Maker and hit New > Default Script.
It will give you some good practice at understanding what different actions are called when they are labeled as Script Steps. Then finally, you can choose Script Folders. Much like in your Manage Layouts, you can grab different scripts and drag and drop them into Folders, which then help you organize and view these folders a little bit easier. Finally, you can edit a script by selecting when you hit Edit, or of course, delete a folder or a script, and when you delete a folder, it deletes all of the script within it, and you can duplicate a script. If you have the script that's going to be very similar, you can just hit the Duplicate button and then make modifications as necessary.
It's always a good idea to print your scripts as well, so that you have backups, in case something happens with your file. And finally the last feature I want to show you is the ability to import a script from another file. So let's say you've got a script that's working in another file and you want to bring in that similar functionality, pretty easy couple of steps here. Hit the Import button. Find the file that you want to import from, in this case we'll choose Invoices. And you see a list of all of the scripts there. We'll pick one of them, or you can pick as many as you like. Hit OK, and then you see a message pop up that gives you a summary of basically what happened during the import.
If you do notice any errors, you can get more details on those errors by choosing the Open Log File. Here you can get details on exactly what errors you might have found. A lot of times what they're going to be are things like fields are missing, and you got to make sure that you are defining those fields in the new database. Otherwise, you can just hit OK and double-click on your New Script and update some of the missing values. And then finally, if you select a script on the list, you can hit the button in the far right-hand corner to perform the script. This will go and run all the different actions, so you can test your script out before you deploy it. Once you've gotten familiar with the Manage Scripts dialog and the Edit Script window, it's time to move on to understanding how to edit a script.
In upcoming movies in this chapter, we're going to take a closer look at building some sample scripts.
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