FileMaker 17: Intro to Default Fields

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

Video Transcript:

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

Today, I want to share with you a new feature of FileMaker Pro Advanced 17. That feature is Default Fields.

I’m going to open up FileMaker Pro Advanced 17, and I think I’m going to create a new solution. I’ll start with one of the sample files about meetings. I’ll just save it onto my desktop.

Okay, so I have a nice little lightweight application here called “Meetings.” We’ve got a couple of layouts. But, let’s say that I want to add a new table. I’m going to go to File > Manage > Database. You can see that I have three tables so far.

Let’s say that I’m going to add a new table, and I’ll just call it “Test.” Here is the Default Field feature. Whenever you create a table, FileMaker is automatically going to create these five fields for you. They have quite a bit turned on for you. For example, I have a primary key field and a comment telling me that it is unique.

There are some different option settings. For example, it is automatically going to set this to the calculated Get UUID. It is going to prohibit modification, and it’s already set for minimal indexing. CreationTimestamp is already set to auto-enter the CreationTimestamp. This is a nice group of fields.

What happens if I would really rather FileMaker not do this? Let me show you that first.

I’m going to keep FileMaker open, and I’m just going to move this window out of the way. These default fields are defined inside the FileMaker application package. But, FileMaker has also made it possible for us to customize that list. The first thing we could do is to customize it to say nothing. I don’t want any fields at all to be created. First, let me show you where that path is.

This is the name of the file. It’s called “DefaultFields.xml.” We’ve got the path here for Mac and if it’s Windows. If it’s Windows, we’re going to go to whatever the drive is > program data (and don’t mix that up with app data) > FileMaker > Shared. Inside there, we’re going to put this file. We’re going to go to Users > Shared > FileMaker > Shared.

Let me open up the hard drive. Here is my user folder. If I go inside there, I’m not going to go inside my own user account. Instead, I’m going to go inside the Shared folder that is there. There will be a folder for any applications that might use the sharing. Here is the FileMaker folder.

This part is a little confusing. You might actually have a folder for FileMaker Pro Advanced. Don’t worry about that. Look at the Shared one shared across all FileMaker applications. It will be empty.

What I’m going to do is, I’m going to create a little text file. I’m going to make a blank file and make it plain text. Then I’m going to save in on my desktop and call it “DefaultFields.xml” and close that file. Then I drag the file into the shared folder. I’m going to share it into that location that I already opened. So, I’m in my User > Shared > FileMaker > Shared > Default Fields. Notice that I didn’t even close FileMaker. I am again going to go into File > Manage > Database.

Now, I am going to create that table again. Remember that last time when I started, we created the test table, but I cancelled it. FileMaker didn’t actually create it. Let me type “Test” again, and we’ll create the table and check the automatically added fields. This time, no fields were added, because we’ve now set a custom preference with an empty default fields file. Therefore, it creates no fields.

If you found this video useful, check out my next Soliant TV offering entitled “Customizing Default Fields.”  In that video, I’ll show you how to make the fields that match your naming convention and customize it on the fly for different projects.

Thank you. Have a great day!

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