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Integrating FileMaker Pro with Magento Shopping Cart

August 15th, 2011

 

Productive Computing, Inc. works with COFA Media to deliver a state-of-the art website for SundryDrop.com.  The website integrates SundryDrop’s existing FileMaker 11 database combined with FileMaker’s “ESS” and “Execute SQL” features to transfer data to and from a Magento based web store engine.  Magento is perhaps one of this most not the most sophisticated and full-featured open source web site / web store engines ever created.  FileMaker is one of the most flexible database engine / front end systems that was already running Sundry’s brick and mortar business.  Together the combination is a lethal “one-two punch” that delivers a highly flexible, highly customizable complete business solution for SundryDrop.  The amount of integration between these two technologies is unprecedented and to our knowledge the first of its kind on this scale.

SundryDrop.com is a brick and mortal business that buys collections and sells on consignment.  Having sold for more than 17 years, they enjoy over 60% repeat business and strive for high customer satisfaction.  What makes this integration more advanced is that SundryDrop simultaneously sells collectables through Amazon and Ebay, their new Magento based website, as well as their own retail store front.  Having four avenues to sell collectables is effective and necessary but managing the inventory is very difficult for your average Mom and Pop business.  Using FileMaker and the direct integration with the webstore provides a highly efficient operation .  For example, SundryDrop might make a particular collectable available on both Ebay as well as their main website at the same time.  If a customer were to purchase the item from Ebay, that inventory item is updated and automatically removed from the website because there is a direct connection between FileMaker and Magento.

Author: Categories: Information Technology Tags:

PCI Wins Small Business of the Year

March 5th, 2011

Productive computing Inc. wins the “Small Business of the Year 2011 from the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce (http://www.carlsbad.org/). The chamber is the second largest in the San Diego area and the 10th largest in the state of California.

Small Business of the Year 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlsbad his home to quote a few notable corporate headquarters such as:

The award was quite an honor and we were in the company of several other successful businesses and fellow nominees.  Here the details of the other nominees. (Brilliance in Business).

Author: Categories: Chief Executive Officer Tags:

Hidden Tab Control

October 6th, 2010

The following video demonstrates how to create a FileMaker hidden tab control. There are occasions when you want to utilize a given space on a layout and make the objects that appear in that space dynamic based on the record type that is currently being displayed. For example, you may have customers and vendors in the same table. You may want to display the customer specific fields when you’re on the customer record and vendor specific fields went you are on the vendor record.

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Transcript:

Hi, in this video we are going to take a look at creating a Hidden Tab Control. That’s done with the following steps:

0:06 First you’ll create a standard tab control and put that on your layout. Then you are going to apply the fields, objects or whatever you want to display in that area under each tab. Then you are going to assign a tab panel with an object name. For instance, if I had two tab panels one might be customers and one might be vendors. Finally you will hide the tab and create a brand new script that will switch between tabs using the “go to object” script step. And then you’ll create a layout script trigger which will call your script on record load or at an appropriate time when the data changes. Let’s go take a look at how that’s done now.

0:57 In this video we have a simple contact management database that I just created, and I have two records. One record is a type Vendor and the other record is a type Customer. So there are occasions when you want to use the same real-estate within your layout for different types of information depending on the type of record you’re on. So over here on the right I have a couple of different types of fields. Here are a couple of fields that pertain only to vendors and here’s a field that pertains only to customers.

1:35 So first we’ll draw a standard tab control; like so. I put the customers up ahead of vendors and I’ll go ahead and put the information related to customer on the customer tab and I’ll put the information related to vendors on the vendors tab. Let’s make this a little smaller. And let’s say for example I had some other information down here; I’ll just draw that with it, standard box with a light gray fill. Ok, so a lot of times it’s desired to hide the tab and simply use the area to change dynamically based on the type of record. So let’s go ahead and do that now. Now that I’ve got the tab, let’s go ahead and hide it. Before I do, I’ll go into layout mode and click on each tab panel, open up my inspector and then name the object; in this case I will name that tab customer and I’ll name this tab vendor. Ok, so now we’ll go ahead and hide the object all together. I can make sure I have both tab controls selected which in a sense selects the entire tab control; I’m holding the shift key when I select both of those, and hide and make it where there are no lines, no effects and nothing in the fill. Finally I will double click and make the tab width a fixed width of zero pixels. Back to browse mode and I have completely hidden the tab.

3:55 Now let’s create a script; I’ll call it Switch. And the script is going to be simple. We are just going to create an IF statement that says “If the type equals customer”, and the magic is using the go to object script step. And if it isn’t the customer then it’s obviously the vendor in this case, but you could do several tab controls or several tabs I should say. You could have a customer type, a vendor type, an employee type and you can switch tabs accordingly. So if the type of record is customer; we’re going to go to the object customer, if not we’ll go to the object vendor. And that’s the script and the whole script is called Switch. 

5:00 Finally go to layout mode or you can actually go right directly to Manage Layouts, and I will edit that and perform a script trigger. It says “On record load, call the Switch script” that we just created. Back to browse mode. Now notice I’m on record 1 and I’m on a type of customer. If I flip to record 2, because that’s a vendor, I’m now displaying the vendor fields. And you can see here that it’s seamless; that there are fields that are on top of each other because they are hidden behind a Hidden Tab Control.

Author: Categories: Software Tips Tags:

Easy Tasks to Maintain Your Windows PC

June 21st, 2010

Occasionally clients ask us what they can do to maintain their computer with the intention to speed it up and keep it clean and running well. Although there is a laundry list of things that could and should be done to keep your computer clean and running well, here are three items that can at least get you started and that don’t require a technical expert to configure or adopt..

Disk Defragmentation

Disk defragmentation is the process of resorting all the data on a hard drive so that it starts at the beginning of the disk and is ordered in a sequential nature. Defragmentation is of vital importance to maintaining a properly running computer.

Below is a video demonstrating this on Windows 7. The same concept applies if you’re using Windows XP although the exact location may vary slightly.

http://www.productivecomputing.com/blog/video_library/EasyThingsYouCanDo/defrag.flv

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Disk Cleanup

The idea of disk cleanup is to remove files that you don’t need anymore. The main purpose is to save hard drive disk space. Although the act of removing files from your computer may not result in noticeable speed increases, it’s always a good idea to only store what you need and remove what you don’t. The more files you have on the computer the more your computer has to keep track of those files in its internal index.

Below is a video demonstrating this on Windows 7. The same concept applies if you’re using Windows XP although the exact location may vary slightly.

http://www.productivecomputing.com/blog/video_library/EasyThingsYouCanDo/Disk Cleanup.flv

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System Updates

System updates are important releases that either patch or enhance the operating system and related operating system components. The updates are generally comprised of recommended and optional updates.

Although few could argue that installing a required security update is important, many are perplexed by exactly how and when these updates take place. Some would argue that the updates happen at the most inconvenient times like when you’re trying to shut your computer down on your way out to appointment and you get the screen that says “Installing updates 1 of… please do not shut down your computer…” To avoid this from happening, you can schedule when your system to automatically downloads and performs updates.

Below is a video demonstrating this on Windows 7. The same concept applies if you’re using Windows XP although the exact location may vary slightly.

http://www.productivecomputing.com/blog/video_library/EasyThingsYouCanDo/Install Updates.flv

Author: Categories: Information Technology Tags:

5 Reasons to Connect FileMaker to Outlook

November 25th, 2009

5 Reasons to Connect FileMaker to Outlook

 

FileMaker to OutlookPeople sometimes ask us the question:  “Why would I want to connect FileMaker to Outlook?”  My reply is, “Why wouldn’t you?”

 

Microsoft Outlook is a popular e-mail application that comes complete with contacts, appointments and tasks. It has been around for years and its proliferation in the Windows-based work environment is as wide as it is deep. For companies that use FileMaker and also use Outlook, it may seem painfully obvious that connecting the two could yield some newfound benefits. Let’s explore some of these connection points between these two important applications.

 

First of all, let’s identify what Outlook does well. Outlook does a fine job handling incoming and outgoing e-mail.  Outlook is a mature e-mail application that comes complete with all the bells and whistles. Its feature set has been defined and refined over the years and it is the standard by which other e-mail applications are judged.

 

Outlook also efficiently handles your basic task list and your appointment schedule.  Outlook comes complete with its own address book to store contacts.  Because Outlook has been around for years and is so widely used, nearly every third-party application that has anything to do with managing contacts and calendars readily connects to it.

 

In today’s world, having data in your mobile device is more important than ever. Outlook really shines in this area as I can’t think of a modern mobile PDA/phone made that Outlook cannot synchronize to either through MS Exchange or a third party sync tool.  When you think about the significance of Outlook’s uncanny ability to connect to just about everything, you soon realize that once your data is in Outlook, it can be distributed and synced most anywhere.

 

Ok, so now enter FileMaker.  FileMaker (for those of you who already own and use it, consider this a review) is undoubtedly the most powerful data management database system ever created that doesn’t require traditional computer programming skills to create and use.  Once you use FileMaker, you’ll most likely have your organization’s data stored there – after all, it is a database.  Now let’s talk about the 5 reasons why you should connect FileMaker to Outlook.

Reason #1: Populate Outlook with FileMaker address book data

Probably the most common reason people want to connect FileMaker to Outlook is because they store contacts in FileMaker, yet they send e-mail using Outlook. Outlook has its own address book and here in lies the problem. When you generate a new e-mail from Outlook it’s going to use Outlook’s address book to gather the e-mail address.  Why not create a routine that copies your FileMaker address data into Outlook on a periodic basis. This way you don’t have to worry about having two address books, you can safely e-mail people directly out of Outlook knowing full well that your data originally came from FileMaker.   People commonly create a routine in FileMaker that copies contact data either daily or weekly as a “one-way push” from FileMaker to Outlook.

http%3A%2F%2Fwww.productivecomputing.com%2Fvideo%2Fvideo_library%2FOutlook_Manipulator%2FOutlook_Contacts_Push.flv

 

Reason #2: Populate FileMaker with Outlook address book data

So let’s assume you are new to FileMaker and you have all your contact address data already in Outlook.  In this case it would be helpful to create a routine that gathers Outlook data to create corresponding records in FileMaker. In addition you may want that periodic routine to perform a query on the Outlook data gathering only those records modified after a certain date or associated with a specific category.

http%3A%2F%2Fwww.productivecomputing.com%2Fvideo%2Fvideo_library%2FOutlook_Manipulator%2FOutlook_Pull_Contacts_Calendar_Tasks_and_Notes.flv

Reason #3: Calendar Management

For years people have used FileMaker as a mechanism to store calendar schedule data.  For instance, if you had a meeting and planning database system built in FileMaker, it’s safe to say that you have several hundred events listed in FileMaker all with numerous details and attributes.

 

Often times it would be helpful to have a system by which you could be reminded of these events or better still, take your events with you in your mobile device. Since Outlook already has a built-in reminder system and ability to move events to mobile device, it makes good sense to get that data into Outlook and leverage what Outlook does best. You can create a routine that periodically moves events from FileMaker to Outlook giving you additional options to be reminded, to have your data in a mobile device, or to view your data in one of the many built-in Outlook views such as month view, day view, week view, category list etc.

http%3A%2F%2Fwww.productivecomputing.com%2Fvideo%2Fvideo_library%2FOutlook_Manipulator%2FOutlook_Calendar_Task_Notes_Push.flv

Reason #4: Task Management

As in reason three above, tasks are often times entered in FileMaker just like events are.  And just like with events, Outlook can also remind you of upcoming tasks as well as move those tasks to your mobile device. If you have a list of tasks in FileMaker complete with priority, category, and notes, you can move all that data from FileMaker to  Outlook. 


 Reason #5: Create a company-wide Email Archive in FileMaker

Organizations often have their contacts in a centralized FileMaker database. And of course, it makes sense that these contacts would include an e-mail address. A common situation is that each member of the organization sends and receives e-mail each from their own Outlook client. you could say that the e-mail is “trapped” and each individual’s  “inbox” and/or  “sent items” folder.

http%3A%2F%2Fwww.productivecomputing.com%2Fvideo%2Fvideo_library%2FOutlook_Manipulator%2FOutlook_Email.flv

You can create a routine that imports email directly from Outlook into FileMaker. Once the e-mail is imported, you simply match each e-mail with the e-mail address for each FileMaker contact. What you get in the end is a complete organization wide e-mail history attached to each FileMaker contact. Imagine going to John Smith’s record for example and viewing all e-mail sent and/or received to and from anyone in the organization.

Getting Started 3Get Started: Moving data between FileMaker and Outlook can be accomplished with the use of the Outlook Manipulator plug-in by Productive Computing (Outlook Manipulator). Programing the routines mentioned in this article from scratch using the Outlook Manipulator requires intermediate FileMaker skills in the areas of scripting, calculations and relationships. Included in the download package of the plug-in is an unlocked FileMaker demo with all the routines listed above clearly demonstrated.