02. Setup [6:15]

Description: This video explains the following:

  1. How to manually install (FileMaker 11 or earlier) and register the Exchange Manipulator plug-in on a Windows machine.
  2. Where to access the external plug-in functions.
  3. 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 Exchange Manipulator Plug-in. This video will address these three areas: How to install and register the plug-in on a Windows machine; Where to find all available External Plug-in Functions; and how to create a Plug-in Checker Script and hardcode the registration process.

0:24 Windows Plug-in Installation and Registration: In order to manually install the Exchange 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, the next step is to unzip 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 then copy the actual plug-in and paste the plug-in into the FileMaker Extensions folder located here. You have now successfully installed the plug-in, so let’s go ahead and 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. For demonstration purposes, let’s start FileMaker, open the demo file that came with the plug-in and manually register. This plug-in splash screen will disappear once we have registered a licensed plug-in version. Here I can see the plug-in operating mode and the plug-in version installed. Currently I am running in UNREGISTERD mode, indicated here. To manually register simply enter your license ID here or use the demo license provided and select the Register the Plug-in button.  If running in demo mode, please be mindful of the demo limitations and timeouts.

2:20 Next let’s take a look at all External Exchange Manipulator Plug-in Functions that are made available in FileMaker by our plug-in. Since I have FileMaker Pro Advanced installed, I can utilize various additional development tools. I highly recommend 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 from 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 Exchange Manipulator Plug-in functions are neatly organized beneath the plug-in name and all begin with PCEM_ 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 in FileMaker. For a detailed description of each plug-in function please refer to the plug-in documentation provided by Productive Computing, Inc.

3:37 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 plug-in functions. This script can be created in less than 10 minutes and is recommended in a multi-user environment to alleviate any user frustration or error.  The three functions used to create this script are: PCEM_Version, which determines if the plug-in has been properly installed; PCEM_GetOperatingMode, which determines the operating mode of the plug-in; and PCEM_Register, which registers the plug-in behind the scenes if needed. Let’s take a look at these simple FileMaker script steps now.

4:20 First we will check to see if the plug-in is installed by calling the Version function. This function will return an empty result 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 we’ll check if the plug-in is properly registered by determining the operating mode. If GetOperatingMode 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 that the plug-in registration failed alerting the user and halting the script. Once you have crated the appropriate plug-in checker script, you can now simply add this script step at the beginning of any script using the plug-in functions. There are various ways you can implement and write a plug-in checker script, the Version, GetOperatingMode and Register functions are explained in detail in the plug-in documentation. This is just one example to get your creative juices flowing.

5:35 Now we can begin to integrate the plug-in into your FileMaker solution. Please make sure you utilize all the available tools, such as additional training videos, documentation and reverse engineer our demo file. If you need additional assistance, contact us via email, phone or browse our forum for answers. We are happy to assist you in any integration steps or even design a solution for you. Thank you for watching and Happy FileMaking!