Archive for the ‘Success Stories’ Category

PCI Performs BigCommerce Integration

October 24th, 2017


We recently assisted a customer integrate BigCommerce with their Core4 CRM FileMaker solution.
BigCommerce is an online platform that helps businesses build an e-commerce presence. The platform allows customers to build and customize their site, take orders, and manage shipping.

Our client sells restoration parts for the MOPAR auto industry and they recently upgraded to FileMaker 16. We were asked to write a routine to help them better integrate BigCommerce with their elaborate FileMaker solution.

Our client had two problems with their daily workflow.

Problem – Duplicate Data Entry
The first issue they were dealing with was redundant data entry. The same product information needed to be entered into FileMaker, BigCommerce, and QuickBooks Online. The client wanted FileMaker to be the main point of entry for data and from there the data could be pushed to QuickBooks Online and BigCommerce.

Problem – Data Accuracy
It is important that all data is consistent across all three programs (QuickBooks Online, FileMaker, and BigCommerce). When an order is created in BigCommerce it is imperative that the data exactly matches what is in FileMaker, because when the order is placed with BigCommerce, it is then imported into QuickBooks Online and subsequently pulled to FileMaker via the FM Books Connector Online Edition plug-in. This cyclical process is easily broken if any of the data does not match across the three programs.

To solve these issues there were two main objectives.

Objective – Pull BigCommerce Categories
The first task was to “pull categories” directly from BigCommerce so that these categories could be used in dropdown lists in FileMaker.

We used FileMaker 16 and cURL to pull the categories directly from BigCommerce using the BigCommerce API. Once these “official categories” were in FileMaker, users could easily and more accurately pick items for use on their sales orders and invoices directly in FileMaker.

In order to add a new category to their FileMaker dropdown list, the user first adds the category in BigCommerce and then clicks a button in FileMaker to pull the new category into their solution.

We also scripted the customer’s solution with the ability to “push categories” from FileMaker to BigCommerce. This gave the customer the option to either pull or push new categories, but we cautioned them against using both options interchangeably. We recommended selecting a consistent direction (for example, always pulling categories) to ensure better workflow and to make internal training easier. To be consistent with their current workflow, we suggested setting up rules that all categories must be first entered into BigCommerce, then pulled into FileMaker.

Objective – Push Products to BigCommerce

The customer keeps all their product items in FileMaker and is accustomed to entering all data there. The customer asked for the ability to “push these product items” to BigCommerce. Product items consist of a product description, pricing, and additional details.

Now, these items are entered and managed in FileMaker and pushed to BigCommerce. Pictures for the product items are stored on an FTP server (to ensure BigCommerce would have public access to them) and each photo is linked to FileMaker.

As part of their updated process to add a new product to BigCommerce, the user enters the necessary information in FileMaker, then clicks a button and, using the cURL technology in FileMaker 16, the data is automatically entered into BigCommerce.

Due to their workflow, the customer only wanted the ability to push one product at a time. However, as with most data transfers, it would have been easy to create a batch push script and loop through a found set of products in FileMaker and push them all to BigCommerce at once. Likewise, a server-side script could be instituted to run every hour to automatically push products from FileMaker, creating a sense of true synchronization between FileMaker and BigCommerce.

Result – Client Impact
Predictably, as a result of this integration the client has seen several hours of time savings per week. This is due to the fact they are no longer entering the same data into multiple systems and they do not have to spend time fixing data errors associated with manual entry or order errors that occurred because of data errors.

Result – Capabilities of FileMaker Data API
As developers, we strive to learn something from every integration. One of our most prominent revelations from working with this client was the increased integration capabilities available with FileMaker 16. We discovered that these kinds of projects (REST API integrations) can be completed in less time and with less overhead (no plug-in to install) than traditional integrations. REST APIs, in general, can be a little tricky to learn, but once the process is understood it opens up a lot of possibilities to interact with data across other platforms.

Why the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is Renowned and Productive

October 16th, 2013

The historic Del Mar Racetrack, located in the Northern San Diego coastal suburb of Del Mar, CA, has a prominent reputation of being one of North America’s major horse racing venues. The venue coined the slogan “Where the Turf Meets the Surf,” and was built by founding members Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien, Oliver Hardy, Joe E. Brown and other Hollywood insiders. On July 3, 1937, Del Mar first opened its doors with Bing Crosby personally greeting the very first fans. Over the following decades, Del Mar would inevitably become one of the finest thoroughbred racing scenes offered on the West Coast. To this day thousands of attendees migrate to Del Mar each race season to place bets on the stunning thoroughbred ponies.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC) books a myriad of racegoers each year with many being booked by group reservations. In 1998 Marc Larochelle, President of Productive Computing Inc., was working on the computers at Del Mar when he noticed the company was using very dated methods for making their group reservations. Employees of the DMTC were walking around and manually recording group reservations with twelve paper notebooks. Only one reservation could be taken at a time per notebook. When Marc witnessed this he knew something had to be done in order to boost their efficiency. He soon approached the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and offered to automate the ticketing system for their Group Sales department.

Marc finished development of a custom FileMaker Pro system for DMTC in about four months. As a result, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club could simultaneously book reservations in every area with any staff member. Reservations could conveniently be booked with customized pricing based on seating area and date. In addition, the system incorporated confirmation letters with custom merge tags to be sent to clients for each group reservation. Thus, the DMTC gained the ability to keep track of all reservation correspondence history quickly and easily. With the success of the automated group reservation system, PCI was soon brought on again to generate an accounting report. This report, known as the Sales Summary Report, was developed by Paul Dacanay and provided a “bird’s eye” comparison of ticket sales for all areas across current and previous years. With Paul as the main developer, the custom-built FileMaker Pro system Productive Computing designed would predominantly increase DMTC’s operational accuracy and control.

The following year in 1999, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club asked PCI to create a nametag system for the Group Sales department’s entrance and seating. They initially requested development for printing tags to a thermal ticket printer; however, this wasn’t possible in FileMaker without incorporating some sort of plug-in. Richard Arakelian subsequently created the Change Printer plug-in for this purpose. Change Printer effectively enabled communication with their thermal ticket printers, and at the same time, added the ability to send a print job to multiple printers with just one script. The plug-in facilitated group nametag printing with attendee details on each perforated sticker including Group Reservation Name, Area, Seat Number, and Race Event. This powerful print automation allowed the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club to print both nametags and confirmation letters with a single button.

Productive Computing would continue to keep the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s FileMaker Pro database system up to date in the years following. New features and updates are consistently applied in conjunction with FileMaker’s latest version releases.

“Building a solid FileMaker Pro solution in 1998 that is still in use today is a testament to both FileMaker and the creative minds of the Productive Computing staff. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s database showcases FileMaker’s continuous capabilities in flexibility and scalability. We are proud to enhance the efficiency of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s historic establishment, and will surely be committed to supporting and improving the system for years to come.” —Marc Larochelle, CEO, Productive Computing Inc.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has gone down in history as one of Productive Computing’s oldest clients. The FileMaker Pro system developed for them was one of PCI’s first projects and continues to successfully be in use to this day.

Productive Computing Inc. – DMTC Developers:

– Creator: Marc Larochelle

– Change Printer Developer: Richard Arakelian

– Main/Current Developer: Paul Dacanay

Productive Computing Inc. held its latest staff appreciation event at the Del Mar Racetrack on August 30, 2013. PCI booked a group reservation with tables at the Clubhouse Terrace Restaurant, an appealing trackside dining eatery. Staff members and their respective guests wore perforated nametag stickers all labeled with “Productive Computing Inc.” reservation details. With the significance of DMTC as a client in mind, the staff was thrilled to take advantage of the Group Sales database and experience first-hand what PCI had developed. Whether it was the charming luxury of the Spanish-themed architecture, the anxiety of betting on races or enjoying the live concert series, the place “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” certainly lived up to its prestige and celebrated history.


About Del Mar Thoroughbred Club:

Since founder Bing Crosby opened the doors in 1937, this historic institution has served as a seaside attraction for high-stakes fun. With the rhythmic clacking of competing thoroughbred horse races, the track has lured fans of all ages and backgrounds, providing a battle zone for bettors and, oftentimes, a playground for the stars.

For more information, please visit:


A New System for Superior Efficiency

January 28th, 2013

Nth Generation Computing, Inc. hosts over 25 Special Events each year including an annual 3-day technical symposium.  Nth’s Special Events bring customers together with industry analysis, technical experts, and introduction of new technologies.  These events offer all attendees the valuable elements of both networking and education.

Although Nth was faced with a problem―they were using separate systems to manage their event registrations.  Registrants would have to enter their information on a web page with a static ASP form, and subsequently an e-mail would be sent to Nth’s marketing department.  The marketing department would then have to find the registrants in a contact file, manually add them if they didn’t exist, and finally register them in the FileMaker system.  The company needed a way to convert their existing web registration into a FileMaker back end to interface with the rest of the marketing process and database.  Nth had never used web applications with a FileMaker database before, so this was inevitably going to be a challenge for them.  This is when Productive Computing, Inc. was contacted to help solve the problem.

Utilizing custom development and programming techniques, PCI was able to integrate FileMaker Pro with Nth Generation’s event web registration.  The end result proved to be highly beneficial to Nth.  A substantial amount of time was saved during the registration process for all parties involved.  Registration results turned out to be far more immediate, efficient, and accurate compared to the manual system they had previously used.  Considerable amounts of labor and overhead were saved since Nth had made the change.

“The new web registration system you guys built for us is saving us from having to hire two people. That’s huge!” —Rich Baldwin, President, Nth Generation Computing, Inc.

Not only was Nth excited about the quick registration aspect, they were also pleased with various other features of their new system.  Using PCI’s Outlook Manipulator plug-in for FileMaker, registrants were automatically sent convenient Outlook calendar items and reminders.  Furthermore, qualification and dynamic survey features gave the company a valuable summary of their client base.  Nth’s new registration system offered just what they needed―built-in flexibility with customization based on event data.


About Nth Generation Computing, Inc.:

Nth Generation Computing, Inc. has been providing technical consulting and IT infrastructure solutions for enterprise-class organizations since 1987.  They are a full-service IT engineering firm dedicated to helping clients protect, access, and manage their enterprise data.  Nth’s customers range from Fortune 500 companies to mid-tier organizations across many industries. All share the need to protect mission critical information while maintaining rapid, reliable, and secure access.

For more information please visit:


TheraQuick: A Design of Power and Splendor

February 22nd, 2012

Productive Computing, Inc. has an esteemed reputation for developing custom products for companies of various industries and over a decade of experience producing commercial solutions.  Utilizing the powerful database software tool, FileMaker Pro, PCI has the ability to create customized solutions to meet the unique specifications of any organization.

Dale Stuart, President and owner of StarQuick Solutions, Inc., wanted to find a FileMaker consultant that could assist her with bringing her vision to the market.  Dale spent about two months searching for the right vendor that could provide a wide range of services including technical development and customer sales.  That is when she discovered Productive Computing.  Soon PCI would start work from the ground up providing Dale with a road map of her idea, TheraQuick.  After 1,800 hours and many late nights for both parties involved, TheraQuick was launched on October 15, 2009 to rave reviews.  This state-of-the-art billing and practice management solution was built for mental health professionals and practitioners.  A very rich and comprehensive feature set is available with an unparalleled ease of use.  Customers have praised TheraQuick for both its elegance and power.

“Having an experienced, well-trained support staff that is patient and knowledgable is hard to come by these days. PCI has exceeded my expectations and made my clients very happy with the level of service and knowledge.”

— Dale Stuart, CEO, StarQuick Solutions, Inc.

Paul Dacanay, a PCI Database Design Specialist, was the lead developer for the project and found that developing TheraQuick was a very gratifying experience.  “Along the way we encountered many challenges that required us to think outside the box in order to develop specific features needed for the system,” stated Paul.  These specific features included EDI data support, product registration, and an automated update module.

“As TheraQuick continues to mature into an increasingly feature-rich, yet user-friendly therapist practice management solution, we look forward to continually offering the caliber of support StarQuick Solutions, Inc. needs as it moves forward for years to come.”

— Paul Dacanay, Database Design Specialist II, Productive Computing, Inc.

TheraQuick Dashboard
Customers love TheraQuick’s elegant, aesthetic user interface featuring comprehensive client management, billing, & scheduling features.

In 2009 a strategic collaboration agreement was formed with Productive Computing and StarQuick Solutions.  PCI was to provide a range of services necessary to offer the best possible assistance to TheraQuick users.  Having many years of experience with FileMaker and solution development, Productive Computing was indeed the ideal partner for StarQuick.  “PCI’s previous experience in bringing products to market saved us an enormous amount of time,” said Dale, “Plus it gave me the confidence that it would be done right.”  The Chief Executive Officer at PCI, Marc Larochelle, went on to say, “This collaboration is an example of how Productive Computing can be leveraged to provide a uniquely tailored service to its customers and to the FileMaker community at large.”


About StarQuick Solutions, Inc.:

StarQuick Solutions, Inc. was formed in 2008 by a rocket scientist, software programmer, human factors & interface design expert, and psychologist with assistance from a profoundly intelligent poodle.  The primary goal of StarQuick Solutions is to bring software tools to providers of mental health services in an easy and inviting form.  TheraQuick was designed to be intuitive, aesthetic, practical, and powerful.  StarQuick Solutions exploited their team’s expertise in human factors and human engineering to make TheraQuick work the way people think rather than the way programmers program.

For more information please visit:


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