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One of the most powerful features in FileMaker Pro is the ability for users to be able to create scripts. Now to understand what a script is, a script is a sequence of stored instructions that will allow developers to automate some repetitive tasks, or even control how their users interact with the system. So really almost anything that you can do manually through a keyboard, or a mouse or through the menu commands can be scripted, and all of this is really best learned through practical application. For example, if you know there are some things that you do everyday on a regular basis, and you might want to automate them, for example, if you know there are some things that you do everyday on a regular basis, you might want to automate them through a script.
Some examples that you might already be familiar with will be for things like navigating from layout to layout, or assisting users in data entry, doing import and export of data on a regular basis, or even creating reports, because of course, in reports, there is a couple of steps. You have to write layout, the right Found Set and sort orders and different things like that, and you can do all those for your users by creating a script through all those actions. In essence, a script is a sequence of instructions for accomplishing a task, and if you're new to scripts, you might find it helpful to think of scripts as you would as a recipe for cooking something.
When you are cooking, a recipe provides instructions such as chopping, simmering, or separating into two round pans, and so on; these actions, in the case of a recipe, would need to be performed in a certain order, and they must operate on a prescribed set of ingredients, as well. Some recipes and scripts are simple, and others are more complex and take a little longer to complete. So your job as a scripter is to write a recipe of sorts that the computer will follow. The first thing you will want to do when you're scripting is determine what the end goal is going to be. For example, some end goals might be just printing a Sub Summary report or navigating to another layout, and what you'll find out is as you fine-tune your skills of scripting, there could be many different ways to accomplish the same end results, but experience will help you become familiar with the most clear and efficient ways to do so.
Learning how to write scripts is really all about learning how to combine sets of script Steps, and when you combine these steps together, you can achieve a desired end goal. It's difficult to learn the steps individually because many of them really don't have an interesting or practical purpose unless they are combined together with others, but combining these together will then create the script, or your recipe. So really the best way to understand the possibility of scripting is to become familiar with the script Steps themselves. The movies in this chapter are going to examine the script Steps, and we'll also be putting them together into entire scripts.
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