Thursday, April 19, 2012

FileMaker 12 update.


I am impressed with the new FileMaker Go features, especially the ones that work around the container-stored audio and video files.  

Here's the set-up and workflow:
  • Set-up a database with your basic info to identify what you are listening to or watching. In this layout include a container field.
  • In Layout Mode, highlight the container field and on the floating inspector palate (under data formatting) select the "Interactive content" option.  This option makes it possible for the mp3 or movies to play.
  • With sharing preferences turned on in the data base on your computer and the data base open, open FileMaker Go on your iOS device and open your data base there.
  • On the device, click into the container field you want to fill with audio or video and the iOS device will ask if you want to use the mic or the camera.  Take your pick.
  • After you are done recording, FMGo 12 asks if you would like to use this or retake. (Nice time saver if you need to redo it... beats starting at square one.)
  • Depending on the speed of your network and size of the file, the video or audio make their way to the corresponding field in your data base after you click out of the container field on iOS device.  Magical.
I think I just made this sound harder than it is.  It is fairly intuitive.

I haven't figured out the most useful application for around school yet, but I am picturing using the camera  and microphone in my iPad to document the interesting academic things I see everyday.

I wonder what ideas you might come up with for the A/V features of FileMaker 12 and FileMaker Go 12.  Is this a low budget way to collect clips as kids film them for a bigger project?  How about a web site of local oral history?  I know! before and after examples of the latest technical project in band.  Reading teachers need audio documentation for a read aloud project?

I haven't tried to find the limit on the length of the clips.  I am sure that will have something to do with disc space on the computer end of things and the size of the storage on the iOS device.  I am pretty sure most of the projects I do are pretty short, so I will be fine.  The other thing is this works on the network,  how robust is your network?  Ours is pretty good, but it does have its slow spots and times.  My short clips are working well.  FileMaker Go is free, but you need FileMaker Pro on a computer to set-up the databases and to run the backend of the iOS magic.  Just yourself as a user? Then FileMaker or FileMaker Advanced will do.  Multiple users? Then FileMaker Server is recommended.  

It is nice for connecting that the computer has a static IP address, otherwise you may end up looking up the current IP under File>Sharing a lot.  Most of the school networks I know use some kind of dynamic addressing, so check with your IT guy if this bugs you.

Overall, this is an excellent upgrade to the FileMaker family of products.  FM12 and FMGo work better together than ever before.  Have fun with the containers!


Anonymous said...

You have nice, clear info on putting audio on the Filemaker Go and sending it to the Filemaker Pro 12 on the main computer. Unfortunately, our assumption that it will then - play - on the main computer in the container field may not be valid. here is a copy of a post I just put on the Filemaker forum ...
I have a IPhone 4s with the new Filemaker Go on it. My Windows XP laptop has the Filemaker Pro 12.

My goal is to use the IPhone to send data to a database form on the computer. I've designed a form on the computer which includes a container field to hold audio recording. In the Inspector settings for that audio container field I have it set to be Interactive.

When I share the database from my laptop to the IPhone all works fine and I'm able to see the computer form and record on the IPhone into the audio container field.I can play back the recording on the IPhone fine.

However, when I go to play the audio in the field on the laptop I get a message ..

"The file you are attempting to play has an extension (.m4a) that does not match the file format. Playing the file may result in unexpected behavior". So I cannot play back the audio recording in the container field on the form.

I have the lastest version of Quicktime (free version) on the laptop.

John Fish

Roger Whaley said...

I haven't tried to replicate your problem, yet. (It is Sunday and I am not at work where my version 12 is sitting.) But I have an idea for you to try! This sounds like a problem with how the container field was defined. On the computer end of the process, open up the list of fields and check the option for "Interactive Data." Containers can hold many different types of data (jpgs,pdfs, gifs, mov, etc.) and not all them need a playback button. Hopefully, you just need to refine your container a bit more. More on it here!: on FileMaker 12 update.

Jon Sullivan said...

Thanks Roger,

I was getting very frustrated trying to figure out why all of my audio recordings I'd just made from my iPhone on Filemaker Go would not play on my Mac (using FMPro 13).

Your solution is exactly right. The container field I had set up had, by default, the setting Optimize for "Images (JPEG, PNG, BMP, etc.)" in the Inspector (in Layout mode). With this, all of my iPhone audio recordings just sat there as pictures of audio files and did nothing at all when I double-clicked them.

Based on your suggestion, I switched the Optimize setting to "Interactive content (PDF, MP3, etc.)" and now the files play fine on my Mac.