FileMaker REST using BaseElements Plugin
Matt Petrowsky, of ISO FileMaker Magazine, puts out high-quality instructional videos and example files on a weekly basis. And to support this, he charges a very modest fee for access. If you are serious about developing FileMaker, it’s a smart move to subscribe. The time savings you’ll reap by watching his videos are alone worth more that the cost of the subscription.
That said, Matt occasionally puts out a video (and the accompanying example file) that is not behind the subscription paywall. It’s free. Smart marketing, as it lures in those not in the know.
Matt released one such video, FileMaker REST using BaseElements Plugin, last summer, and I missed it. And I missed learning how to implement FileMaker REST. But I did find it yesterday, and to make up for lost time, I spent a couple of hours yesterday absorbing the content.
REST (Representational state transfer) has quickly become the de facto standard for communication between services and apps. Before it, came SOAP and XMLRPC, but the two buzzwords you’ll hear over and over these days are REST and JSON.
When it comes to FileMaker, you’ve always been able to do super basic REST with the Insert from URL script step. Later down the road, FileMaker added in support for the POST method of service interaction with the httpspost:// url scheme.
While the basics are always nice to have, you can’t do much beyond access public services with what FileMaker provides natively. If you’re ever going to work with a truly powerful API such as those offered by YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, Google Apps and Vimeo, then you have to use something a bit more powerful.
Fortunately, for FileMaker developers, we have a number of possibilities. One of those options is the freely available BaseElements plugin. The plugin can access pretty much access any web service and will allow you to perform the full suite of possible interactions. It uses the very popular cURL library behind the scenes and with a little bit of knowledge, you’ll be interacting with web services in no time.
If you have the need for integrating true REST client functionality within a FileMaker solution, then you’ll be glad you watched this video!
Connectivity is King
If there’s one subject I return to time and again, it’s the fact that the real power of FileMaker going forward is it’s ability to ‘talk’ to the rest of the programming world in a variety of ways. And that it’s not that difficult to do. The downside is that the learning curve is a bit steep, and the terminology is somewhat daunting at first. But, like anything else, it soon becomes second nature with practice.
But it’s much easier when you have a mentor, and Matt Petrowsky is here to help.
This video on FileMaker REST will open the doors to connecting to, grabbing information from, and manipulating all kinds of online services from FileMaker. And the techniques you learn apply to other services as well, such as SOAP/XML.
If you are interested in connecting to the rest of the world, watch this video and study the free example files provided. And subscribe. You won’t find a faster way to get there.
Say Thank You in these 7 Situations
More good advice from James Clear, especially helpful in those situations when it’s hard to know what to say, like when someone loses a family member, or when you have been criticized unfairly.
From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.
Sir Winston Churchill
British politician (1874 – 1965)