All posts by Tom Fitch

About Tom Fitch

Tom Fitch is a FileMaker developer in Portland at the Oregon Public Health Division's Office of Disease Prevention and Epidemiology, Acute and Communicable Disease Section. Past careers include graphic and website designer, Macintosh consultant, and musician. He's a Certified FileMaker 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 13 Developer and is active on FMForums.com, where you may recognize him as the flying pig.

Better FileMaker Portal Sorting

How do you offer your FileMaker users the ability to sort portals?

One method that’s been around a long time is to create a calculated field in the “child” table (the table whose records appear in the portal). This calculation is used as the portal’s sort field. The formula can become somewhat complex if it needs to account for a mix of data types, e.g. fields for date, text, number, etc. And if you want to sort by multiple fields, it gets even messier.

Another method has gained traction since the advent of tab objects (in FileMaker 8), and that is to create multiple copies of your portal. Each copy is placed on its own tab and given its own sort order. The addition of object names (in 8.5) and zero-width tabs (in 9.0) further refined this technique.

The problem with both of these methods is maintenance. In the first method, the calculation has to be revisited any time you change the fields in the portal. And in the second method, making changes to multiple copies of a portal is just a pain.

The method I’m going to show you does use a calculated field, but it’s relatively easy to grok and you never have to change it. Sound interesting? Stay tuned!

When FileMaker Server fails to start

Today FileMaker Server 11 Advanced failed to start on my iMac running OS X 10.5 (it’s my developer server). I could launch the admin console and click the start button, but nothing would happen. The FMS command line was no help either.

Fortunately I have an archive of email from the fmpexperts mailing list. A year-old post from Stephen Wonfor (thanks, Stephen!) provided the answer, which was contained in this link:
Terminal Tips: Rebuild your Launch Services database to clean up the Open With menu

I downloaded the free utility Maintenance, ran it, and chose the rebuild LaunchServices option. Problem solved!

DevCon Updates

For those of you interested in knowing more about my session topics — plugins and credit card processing — I have posted some links and info that I think you will find interesting. Thanks very much to all of you who participated!

I’ll be adding things here and there, so check back occasionally.