FileMaker 8 Functions and Scripts Desk Reference

FileMaker 8 Functions and Scripts Desk Reference

by Scott Love, Steve Lane, Bob Bowers

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FileMaker 8 Functions and Scripts Desk Reference is the only book on the market expressly focused on describing each calculation formula and how and when to use each one. With this book's real-world, concrete examples of how to use each function, you will go far beyond FileMaker 8's help system. Just as a dictionary helps supplement one's

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FileMaker 8 Functions and Scripts Desk Reference is the only book on the market expressly focused on describing each calculation formula and how and when to use each one. With this book's real-world, concrete examples of how to use each function, you will go far beyond FileMaker 8's help system. Just as a dictionary helps supplement one's memory, this book is an invaluable companion to users working to develop solutions to their every day software problems.

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IntroductionIntroductionWelcome to the FileMaker 8 Desk ReferenceJust the Facts, 8 to the Point

This is the book we want on our desks—even after writing it. Just as a writer always needs a dictionary nearby, we've found over the years that it would be great to have a quick set of reminders within reach. It's impossible to recall each function's syntax, or every script step's attributes. Although we use the Let() function every day, the exact output of RelationInfo() can be a little less fresh in our minds. This desk reference contains notes on all the script steps and calculation functions in FileMaker, and provides lists of other facts like error codes, port numbers,

Help Is a Function Key Away

Before going any further, we'd like to congratulate the tech writers, engineers, and product managers at FileMaker, Inc. for an excellent help system and set of both printed and electronic documentation. If you've never used FileMaker's help resources or website, you're missing a wealth of information. Both are fantastic places to learn, refresh your memory, or uncover areas of FileMaker you had no idea were there.

Sometimes, however, it's nice to leave what's on your screen unchanged, keep your work and your reference material separate, and be able to turn to actual paper. (It's hard to take notes in the help system, for example!)

Some of this book may overlap a bit with the help system, especially in cases where there's really nothing more to add: for example, as in the Abs() function. Where we hope this book will prove useful is in the additional information and examples we'reable to provide, the fact that it's collected all here on paper, and that it's a bit more accessible during those times when you may not be in front of FileMaker or a laptop.Hopefully, Some of This Is Familiar

For those of you paying attention, you may note that we've made use of material presented in our 2004 Special Edition Using FileMaker 7 book (Que Publishing, ISBN 0-7897-3028-6). We discovered that the prior book, aside from qualifying for its own ZIP Code, was struggling to serve two audiences: developers looking to find quick reference information and people trying to learn or understand the concepts behind developing systems in FileMaker Pro.

This desk reference is intended to be just that—a reference. It should serve beginners and experts alike and isn't intended to be read from cover to cover. Rather, the intent is that you'll look up functions you've forgotten, dog-ear useful pages, take notes, and find it a handy tool for building solutions quickly in FileMaker.

If you'd like to learn more about developing solutions in FileMaker, digest in-depth techniques, or get more background information, we hope you will find our companion volume, Special Edition Using FileMaker 8, helpful. In applicable locations, we've provided cross-references between the two books.How This Book Is Organized

FileMaker 8 Functions and Scripts Desk Reference is divided into six parts, each of which can stand on its own.Part I: FileMaker Specifications

This first part covers the nuts and bolts of FileMaker's product family.

  • Chapter 1, "FileMaker 8 Product Line," provides an overview of all the FileMaker products and what purposes and audiences they serve.

  • Chapter 2, "Specifications and Storage Limits," details the various hardware and software specifications of each product and other pertinent load statistics.

  • Chapter 3, "Field Types and Import/Export Formats," reviews field data types and import/export formats supported.

Part II: Calculation Functions

Part II details all FileMaker calculation functions, syntax, and usage.

  • Chapter 4, "Working with Calculations Primer," reviews the layout and functionality of calculation dialogs.

  • Chapter 5, "Calculation Signatures," lists the syntax and the output type for each calculation function.

  • Chapter 6, "Calculation Functions," provides a complete description of each calculation function, lists examples, and in many cases offers additional comments on usage.

Part III: Custom Functions

Part III offers real-world examples of custom functions.

  • Chapter 7, "Custom Functions Primer," introduces the mechanics of creating custom functions, including how to build functions that use recursive logic.

  • Chapter 8, "Useful Custom Functions," presents a collection of functions the authors have found useful or representative.

Part IV: Script Steps

Part IV reviews FileMaker's script steps and their options in detail.

  • Chapter 9, "Scripting Primer," provides an overview of the mechanics of ScriptMaker and of working with script parameters, script results, and script variables.

  • Chapter 10, "Script Step Reference," lists in alphabetical order all script steps in FileMaker, their options, and notes on usage.

Part V: Quick Reference

Part V provides quick reference to commonly needed FileMaker facts.

  • Chapter 11, "FileMaker Error Codes," provides a complete list of all error codes.

  • Chapter 12, "FileMaker Keyboard Shortcuts," lists shortcuts for both Mac and Windows.

  • Chapter 13, "FileMaker Network Ports," lists information useful for IT/infrastructure support.

  • Chapter 14, "FileMaker Server Command Line Reference," lists common commands used with fmsadmin.

  • Chapter 15, "FileMaker

Part VI: Other Resources

Part VI will help you discover other ways to learn about FileMaker.

  • Chapter 16, "Where to Go for More Information," presents a list of additional resources we have found helpful in FileMaker development.

Special Features

This book includes the following special features:

  • The new version icon—This icon will identify things that are new in FileMaker 8. We've used it to call out areas that are particularly new and noteworthy in 8, or things that are particularly different from the way things would have been done in earlier versions.

  • Cross-references—Many topics are connected to other topics in various ways. Cross-references help you link related information together, no matter where that information appears in the book. When another section is related to one you are reading, a cross-reference directs you to a specific page in the book on which you will find the related information. We have also added cross-references to relevant sections of Special Edition Using FileMaker 8, where appropriate.

Typographic Conventions Used in This Book

This book uses a few different typesetting styles, primarily to distinguish among explanatory text, code, and special terms.Key Combinations and Menu Choices

Key (and possibly mouse) combinations that you use to perform FileMaker operations from the keyboard are indicated by presenting the Mac command first in parentheses followed by the Windows command in brackets: (Command-click) for Mac and Ctrl+click for Windows, for example.

Submenu choices are separated from the main menu name by a comma: File, Define, Value Lists.Typographic Conventions Used for FileMaker Scripts

Monospace type is used for all examples of FileMaker scripting. FileMaker scripts are not edited as text, but are instead edited through FileMaker's graphical script design tool called ScriptMaker. As a result, scripting options that are presented visually in ScriptMaker need to be turned into text when written out. We follow FileMaker's own conventions for printing scripts as text: The name of the script step comes first, and any options to the step are placed after the step name, in square brackets, with semicolons delimiting multiple script step options, as in the following example:

Show All RecordsGo to Record/Request/Page First Show Custom Dialog Title: "Message window"; Message; "Hello, world!"; Buttons: "OK"Who Should Use This Book

We hope that anyone who develops FileMaker systems will find many aspects of this book useful. It's a book we, the authors, will use in our day-to-day work, but that doesn't mean it is limited to experts. The reference material is meant to be convenient and accessible to everyone.

Again, we'd like to plug our companion work, Special Edition Using FileMaker 8, as a good place to turn if you'd like to learn how to use FileMaker, explore more deeply the functionality and features within its suite of tools, and get information on data modeling, programming concepts, and how to approach building and deploying a FileMaker solution.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Scott Love is Vice President and manager of Soliant Consulting's California office. He co-authored Que Publishing's Special Edition Using FileMaker Pro 7 and is an authorized Professional Training Foundation Series instructor. Steve Lane is Vice President and manager of one of Soliant Consulting's Chicago area development teams. He has written for FileMaker Advisor magazine, and co-authored Advanced FileMaker Pro 6 Web Development and Que's Special Edition Using FileMaker Pro 7. He was awarded the FileMaker Fellowship Award in 2003 for "pushing the boundaries of FileMaker Pro."

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