UFOs and Card Windows

UFOs and Card Windows

12. November 2020In Filemaker Examples, FMP19By Karsten Risseeuw2 Minutes

What do UFOs have to do with Card Windows in FileMaker? Not much at first glance. However, at a second glance, a few similarities can be discovered. This makes it easier to understand the characteristics of Card Windows.

How do Card Windows work in FileMaker Pro?

Card Windows were first introduced in FileMaker Pro 16. It was a new type of window. When you use the New Window command in a script, you can specify the type of window. The new type was “Card”. The Card Window was born. First of all, Card Windows were introduced in FileMaker Pro for Mac and Windows. The application for a desktop computer is perfect. WebDirect, the internet edition of FileMaker, was left out. Claris has now made WebDirect for Card Windows compatible with FileMaker Pro 19.

“UFOs and Card Windows”

Under the title “UFOs and Card Windows” there is now an example file to highlight Card Windows in FileMaker Pro. While Card Windows already were introduced in FileMaker Pro 16, it is only this year, that Card Windows became enhanced for WebDirect as well.

While Popover menus were very popular to display detailed data from any record, the Card Window is much more flexible. Unlike popover menus, the card window does not belong to the underlying layout, nor does it need a link to a valid table occurence. A card window, so to speak, can be from anywhere. Consider it an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) until you decide what to do with it. While a card window is much more flexible as a popover window, it does need some extra attention. The biggest benefit though is to simplify and improve user interfaces.

  • How to create a card window
  • One card window displaying multiple layouts (after one another)
  • Menus in card windows
  • Stacked card windows (and alternatives)

Download example file

Tools for FileMaker developers

FM Designer

10 FileMaker themes for outstanding user interfaces.

FM Registrations

License codes for your own FileMaker applications

FM Starter

Starter file for new FileMaker projects

Date formatting in FileMaker

Date formatting in FileMaker

The importance of localization

1. October 2020In Filemaker ExamplesBy Karsten Risseeuw6 Minutes

The local information in each FileMaker file

Dates in Europe and, for example, in the states are different.

In Europe, the specification “01.10.2020” is interpreted as “1 October 2020”,
but in the States as ” January 10, 2020 “.

In order for FileMaker to understand how to interpret a date specification, the local information is anchored as a fixed specification in the file when a file is created. This allows the date to be interpreted, but should the file be opened on another operating system, FileMaker can synchronize new date entries (between system settings and the information anchored in the file). This ensures the integrity of different date entries.


Because there are different interpretations of dates and times worldwide, the operating system manages different options. FileMaker puts the system settings for formatting (the local information) into the file as soon as it is created.

Regional settings

FileMaker sets a handle to interpret the date, and this fixpoint (or local information) does not change if the file is opened on a system with different date formats. Internally, the anchor remains in place even if a date is entered differently due to a different operating system.

If a FileMaker file is created in Europe but then opened in the USA, the following situation occurs: Internally in the file, the date interpretation has been set to the European DAY/MONTH/YEAR. However, for users in the USA, the system settings are MONTH/DAY/YEAR. In date fields this is no problem – FileMaker can adjust the representation (!). Internally, however, the European structure is retained. This can lead to problems.


Date calculations are unpredictable

Problems occur with date calculations if the settings of the file are different from those of the user. Two sample files are provided here as download: It is the same file, but once as a file with European reference and once as a file with American reference. If you open a file, the following happens:

If you open a file that is not part of your system settings, the following happens: Dates written to text fields get the file internal formatting (which is wrong). There are also problems with date calculations. The best way to see this is to open both files in parallel.


In this example: The system runs with EU settings. The EU file is OK.

In this example: The system runs with EU settings. However, the file was created with American settings. Now the date calculations are no longer OK.

Neutral storage of dates

A date can not only be saved as “Date”, but also as “Date Number”. FileMaker counts the days from January 1 of the year 0001, so any date since then can be represented as a number. This number is not dependent on any formatting. The date can therefore be defined as numbers:

ReadAsNumber ([DATE])

To be able to convert this number back to the date, the following applies:

ReadAsDate ( [NUMBER] )

With these two specifications, dates can be stored neutrally, or transferred as a number from one file to the next. When converting back to a date, the date settings of this file are applied where it is interpreted.

October 1, 2020 has the number “737699”. In a European file it is converted to ” 01/10/2010″, while in an American file it is converted to ” 10/01/2010″.


Removal of local information

The local information that FileMaker maintains when you create a file cannot be modified. There is only one way to “reset” the file, and that is by creating an empty clone of the file.

In the example file, there is a button that makes it very easy to create such a clone. The local information of the file is reset when the file is opened and therefore depends on the system the user is using. With the clone function it is relatively simple to test the behavior in different system environments.


To program a neutral date

No FileMaker file today is neutral in terms of date processing. However, one can consider whether one should strive for a neutral development of new solutions (using the date number).

New features since FileMaker Pro 19.1

Claris has added two important features in the latest version:

Get ( SystemLocaleElements )
Get ( FileLocaleElements )

With these two functions you get a complete overview of all settings, neatly packed in JSON – once from the system and once from the file. From this, for example, the current data can be retrieved from the system and used for feedback, formatting or other purposes.

It’s all about system settings and file settings. Of course, programmed features, such as language settings of a multilingual solution, are not included.


Download example file

File paths in FileMaker – the basics

File paths in FileMaker - the basics

File paths are used in FileMaker to do something outside of FileMaker. For example, to import or export something. How file paths are created is shown in this example file. There are also some examples of how to import pictures, videos, text or other files.

This example file is about:

  • File paths in FileMaker
  • Various functions for the import of files, pictures, videos and texts
  • Simple scripts for the basic functions.

WordPress REST API, JSON and FileMaker Pro

WordPress REST API, JSON and FileMaker Pro

An example file for the interaction between FileMaker Pro 16 and the WordPress REST API. This is not a ready-to-go solution, but the file shows several core techniques. Especially the processing of JSON data is shown here, and this file can be used to learn how JSON works in connection with FileMaker Pro.

  • REST API for WordPress and WooCommerce
  • Read JSON data (Insert from URL / cURL: GET)
  • Interpret JSON data
  • Parse JSON data into records
  • Build JSON blocks from records

The interaction between FileMaker Pro and web technologies is dramatically simplified by JSON. Knowing JSON helps to integrate with many webservices through a standardized interface. All techniques shown here not only apply to WordPress, but also to many other services.

3 Examples for a multilingual Filemaker solution

3 Examples for a multilingual Filemaker solution

  • Multilingual with the help of global fields
  • Multilingual with the help of global variables
  • Multilingual with the help of a global repetition field

At the german Filemaker Konferenz 2016 in Salzburg, Austria, I have lectured on several solution for a multilingual Filemaker interface. The example file can be downloaded here.

3 different approaches for a multilingual Filemaker solution


To create a multilingual Filemaker solution at first sight seems to trigger a lot of extra work. But there are many benefits – even for single language solutions:

  • All texts are managed in a table
  • Any number of languages
  • Multilingual interfaces
  • Multilingual value lists

3 Examples of a dynamic navigation with Filemaker

3 examples of a dynamic navigation with Filemaker

An example file with three variants of dynamic navigation. The file was created for a presentation at the Filemaker Conference 2016 in Salzburg.

3 variants for a dynamic navigation

  1. The navigation table is accessed via relations. (See also this old example.)
  2. The navigation table is populated into a global repeating field.
  3. The navigation table is filled into a global repeating field whose repetitions are used for a button bar.

The third variant is considered to be the most flexible. It is easy to implement, but requires further development.


Is there a ready-made solution?

Yes, but not as a free module. The best version is included in FM Starter, our starter file for new FileMaker projects. FM Starter has a multilingual, dynamic navigation with support for user groups, platforms and more. For new projects, FM Starter is the better choice and offers much more functionality. More about FM Starter can be found here:

FM Starter