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FileMaker 17: Intro to Add-on Tables

By May 15, 2018 May 7th, 2019 No Comments

With the release of FileMaker 17 comes a variety of new features and capabilities for both users and developers. Learn about how the new add-on tables and how to leverage them in your solution here.

Video Transcript:

Hi. My name is Dawn Heady. I’m a Senior Technical Solution Architect with Soliant Consulting.

Today, I want to demonstrate the new feature of FileMaker Pro Advanced 17 called “Add-on Tables.”

So, what I have on screen here, is a copy of the new meetings starter solution. I created it by going to File > Create New and choosing Meetings. It’s a nice, light-weight application.

I want to show you what is involved in it first, so you can see what we have before we start adding to it. There are just two layouts. We have this “Meeting Detail,” and we also have a “Meeting List.” I can navigate to it from File > Manage > Layouts and go back to the detail.

I also have a couple of scripts. They are all in a Meetings folder. These are the three scripts that came with it.

Finally, under File > Manage > Database, you can see that I have three tables. They are joined together in a simple relationship off of Meetings. A meeting can have many topics and it can have many action items. That’s nice light-weight solution.

I’ve added two more tabs to the tab controller that comes with Meetings. I’ve added Docs and Attendees. You can see both of them are blank right now. Let’s change that.

Let’s imagine that for our meetings, we would also like to attach some files — maybe the agenda, the budget, things like that, that a person would need to have access to maybe during the meeting or before the meeting. This new feature in FileMaker makes that pretty easy to do.

First, I’m going to enter Layout mode. I’ll select the Portal tool. It doesn’t matter what size I draw the portal, because it will be defined by the add-on table’s definitions. You’ll see what I mean in a minute. I’m going to make it very small, just to call that out.

For “Show records from,” I can choose from existing related tables or now, even my own table. But, for this demonstration, I want to show the new feature “Add-on Table.” When you choose that, FileMaker opens up this nice Add-on Tables dialogue where it makes available to me these objects that are all ready to go. We’re going to use attachments for this example.

When you click on one of the add-ons, it shows you some details about it to the right. I get a little preview about what the portal will look like when I build it out and a little bit of information.

I’m going to choose that one. Now, I can name it whatever I want. Since I decided that “attachments” is kind of a big word, I wanted a shorter name. I’m going to call this “Doc” for Document. FileMaker has added for me, automatically, this portal. It has also included buttons, fields and a button here for deleting. I have a button for “New” and for “Delete.”

Let’s enter “Browse” mode and see what that looks like. I’ll save my changes. We can see all the objects that FileMaker has created for us. First, let’s going into File > Manage > Database > Relationships. Notice that I did not have to create any scripts. These buttons were automatically created, and they work just fine. When I click “New,” I can add something new.

Let’s see all the objects that FileMaker has create for us. First, let’s go into File > Manage > Database. Now, you’ll see that I have a new table called “Doc,” and it has a relationship to Meetings. It’s assumed that I would want to relate the primary key of the meetings to the foreign key of the document.

I, also, get scripts. So now, in addition to my “Meetings” folder, I have a “Doc” folder. It’s very nice that it named all of these things “Doc” for me, even though it started out being called “Attachments” when I selected the add-on table. You’ll notice, when we look up layouts here, that no additional layouts were created. That is true for all of these add-on tables with one exception, the “People” table. Let me demonstrate that one very quickly.

Let’s enter layout mode again, and I’ll select the portal tool. This time, I’m going to choose add-on table and pick “people.” “People” is a little more complicated. It actually created a people table plus a join table to hook them to the meeting.

It always makes it about this size right now, for the standard add-on tables that come with FileMaker Pro 17. I could, of course, make this wider. Maybe I don’t want such a big button. I want the button to look more like it does over in, say, “Topics.” Let’s see, its width is 60, so I’ll also make it 60 here.

Since I have plenty of room, I can make mine more like this. I could probably fit two more rows this way. That looks pretty good, so I think I’ll save my work. Go into “Browse” mode and save it.

Let’s look at what I get for attendees. My “New” button is already wired to create a card window. It will open a card window for me. I’m going to put my name in.

Let’s first look at File > Manage > Database, and see what FileMaker created for me. From “Meetings,” I now have a “People” table. Imagine, that I would have a whole list of people that would go to a variety of different meetings. One person might be allowed to go to multiple different meetings and each meeting is probably attended by more than one person.

FileMaker automatically creates the join table for me, which is assignments. That is all the people that are attending that meeting; that’s an assignment.

Let’s look at the tables. We get a lot of good things we would want to know about the person, their email address, their phone number, the company they belong to. Assignments basically is just for documenting that that person was invited to this meeting. That way, we can have multiple people attending this meeting.

This is the one add-on that actually makes layouts. Let’s go to File > Manage > Layouts.  You’ll see that now we have a “People” folder. Within it, FileMaker has five layouts. Just like we had Meeting list and detail, now we have People list and detail and options to build out the card window. This last one is assignments. That is just a layout that is jointed. Only list and details are visible. The others are there under the hood.

We also get some scripts. There is our “Doc” folder, and now we have a “People” folder. It has a whole series of scripts.

It’s a really nice way to build out your application so that it can perform more functionality.

Thank you very much. I hope you have enjoyed this video. Please check back at Soliant TV for other videos that show you the great new features in FileMaker Pro Advanced 17. Thank you!

Dawn Heady

Dawn Heady

Dawn is a Senior Technical Solution Architect, designing and developing FileMaker solutions for large and small companies for more then twenty-five years. Though affiliated with our Chicago office, she generally works from her home just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana. Dawn is a FileMaker Trainer, frequent presenter at FileMaker DevCon, and co-author of the book "FileMaker 12 Developer's Reference: Functions, Scripts, Commands, and Grammars".

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