02. Setup [7:35]

Description: This video explains the following:

  1.  How to manually install (FileMaker 11 or earlier) and register the File Manipulator plug-in on a Windows machine.
  2.  How to manually install (FileMaker 11 or earlier) and register the File Manipulator plug-in on a Mac machine.
  3.  Where to access the external plug-in functions.
  4.  How to create a plug-in checker script and hard code the registration process in FileMaker.

Transcript:

Let’s take a look at the basic setup of the File Manipulator Plug-in. This video will address these four areas: How to install and register the plug-in on a Windows machine; How to install and register the plug-in on a Mac machine; Where to find all available External Plug-in Functions; And how to create a Plug-in Checker Script and hardcode the registration process.

0:29 Windows Plug-in Installation & Registration: In order to manually install the File Manipulator Plug-in on a Windows machine, you will first need to download the plug-in bundle from our site which will look something like this. Since the bundle is zipped up for protection, the next step is to un-zip or extract the contents of the bundle. This can be done by either right clicking on the zip file and selecting Extract All or by double clicking on the zip file and selecting Extract All Files. This is an important and necessary step on a Windows machine. With FileMaker closed, I will copy the actual plug-in and paste the plug-in into the FileMaker Extensions folder typically located here. You have now successfully installed the plug-in; let’s register. For demonstration purposes; let’s begin FileMaker, open the demo file that came with the plug-in and manually register. You have the option to manually register the plug-in from the demo file provided or your developer can hardcode the registration process in your solution, which will be discussed later in this video. This plug-in splash screen here will disappear once we have registered a licensed plug-in version. Here I can see the plug-in operating mode and plug-in version installed. Currently I am running in UNREGISTERED mode. To manually register, simply enter your license ID or use the demo license provided and select the Register Plug-in button. If running in demo mode, please be mindful of the demo limitations and timeouts.

2:21 Now let’s demonstrate how you install and register the plug-in on a Mac. Download the bundle from our site, which will look like this. Close FileMaker, then copy the actual plug-in and paste the plug-in into the FileMaker Extensions folder located here. You have not successfully installed the plug-in, so let’s begin registration. First we’ll open FileMaker and open the demo file that came with the plug-in in order to manually register the plug-in. This plug-in splash screen will disappear once we have registered a licensed plug-in version. Here I can see that my machine is running in UNREGISTERED mode. Simply enter your license ID or use the demo license provided and select the Register the Plug-in button. Remember, your developer can also hardcode the registration process in your solution which will be discussed later in this video.

3:40 Next let’s take a look at all the External Plug-in Functions for the File Manipulator that are made available. Since I have FileMaker Pro Advanced installed, I can utilize various additional development tools. I highly recommend that all developers obtain a copy of FileMaker Pro Advanced to aid and assist during the development process. Let’s open the Data Viewer, navigate to watch and select Add Expression here. In the upper right hand corner of the drop down list, I will select External Functions. Here I will find a list of all available External Plug-in Functions. All functions are prefixed with their unique function header. For example, we can see that all File Manipulator plug-in functions are organized beneath the plug-in name and all begin with PCFM_ as shown here. The naming conventions of the plug-in functions are determined by the plug-in manufacturer. Now that I have the plug-in installed and registered, I can use these additional functions made available by the plug-in. For a detailed description of each plug-in function, please refer to the plug-in documentation provided by Productive Computing Inc.

5:05 Lastly let’s discuss the Plug-in Checker Script. This script ensures that the plug-in has been properly installed and registered before attempting to use any of the plug-in functions. This script can be created in less than 10 minutes and is recommended in a multi-user environment in order to alleviate user frustration or error. The three functions used to create this script are: PCFM_Version which determines if the plug-in has been properly installed; PCFM_GetOperatingMode which determines if the plug-in has been registered and what mode the plug-in is running in; and PCFM_Register which registers the plug-in behind the scenes if needed. Let’s look at these FileMaker script steps. First let’s check to see if the plug-in is installed by calling the Version function. This function will return empty results or a question mark if the plug-in is not installed. We can show a custom dialogue if the plug-in is not installed alerting the user, and it might even be a good idea to go back to the main setup layout and halt the script. Next let’s check to see if the plug-in has been properly registered by determining the operating mode. If the GetOperatingMode function does not equal live, then we will call the Register function, hardcode the four parameters including your license ID and register the plug-in behind the scenes. If the registration result does not equal zero, then we can display a dialogue “Plug-in Registration failed.” Once you have created the appropriate plug-in checker script, you can simply now add the script step at the beginning of any scripts using the plug-in functions. There are various ways you can implement and write and plug-in checker script; the Version, GetOperatingMode and Register functions are explained in further detail in the plug-in documentation.

This is just one example to get your creative juices flowing. Now we can begin to integrate the plug-in into your FileMaker solution. Please ensure you utilize all available tools we provide; such as additional training videos, documentation and reverse engineer our demo file. If you need additional assistance, please contact us via email, phone or browse our forum for answers. We are happy to assist you with any integration steps or even design a solution for you. Thank you for watching and Happy FileMaking!