We’re pretty visual people. It’s usually easy to consume data when it’s represented graphically as opposed to tabular format. When we’re looking at our schedule of activities and events, we typically like to see that information laid out in a standard calendar form.
It’s probably fair to say that we all rely on calendars to maintain organization and punctuality. Calendars are ubiquitous; they’re on our walls, phones, watches, tablets, computers and even on some fancy new refrigerators. The use of calendars dates as far back as the Bronze Age. Many of the artifacts left by ancient cultures, from rock carvings to monumental structures, were built originally to serve as public calendars. And, since they’re an effective timekeeping mechanism, we learned how to read and understand them at an early age.
Given the prevalence of calendars in our daily lives, why has it been so hard to display and interact with them in FileMaker? Sure we’ve been able to push our FileMaker data into third-party solutions for years. And we’ve painstakingly crafted calendar-like interfaces in FileMaker by using a bunch of portals laid out in a grid. But neither of these solutions offers optimal performance or the precise user experience that we want. Thanks to the arrival of FileMaker 19, Claris has given us a way to bring calendar functionality directly into our custom app, using our data as its engine.
CALENDARS MADE EASY
If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with creating calendars, check out our downloadable sample file (Ed. note: The first download posted here did not have FullCalendar files needed for the sample to work. The download file has been updated and contains new links to external files) (Note 2: Updated 7/6/20 to fix issues with WebDirect and to remove passwords) (Note 3: Updated 7/27/20 to a slight correction to the data API call in the sample file. Specifically, we changed the search for the dates from “or” to “and.“) You can transfer aspects of this file into your solution and then point a few scripts and calculations to your data and you’re off!
- Calendar layout – with a web viewer on it; this is used to view and interact with the calendar.
- CSS layout – CSS is the web’s language for creating style; modifying areas of this field’s content will change the color, font and other formatting aspects that you see in the web viewer.
- HMTL Layout – this is the real meat of the calendar and you don’t really have to modify anything, but if you’re an advanced developer, this is the hood you’ll want to poker around under.
- Settings Layout – this field contains all the levers and knobs you’ll want to pull or turn to tune the HTML engine to your specifications.
- Events Table – this is where the data is stored; it’s associated with a few of the card window layouts used to create, read and edit them. This table will most likely already be in your solution, so you simply would need to hook into it.
- The Scripts – by and large, these are copy and paste affairs; however, we strongly suggest using them as examples of how to create your own. In the end, if you use the scripts as a reference, you’ll gain a good understanding of how they work. Then you’ll be in a position to support and extend these features in the future.
Admittedly, this sample file is relatively limited and it’s not as polished as a production app would be. It’s basically intended for demonstration and educational purposes. Nevertheless, the sample file should open the door, just a crack, and give you a peek into the future possibilities for extending your FileMaker solutions.