FileMaker 17 Data API
The FileMaker 17 Data API is one of the least understood new features of FileMaker 17. Essentially, the Data API allows a FileMaker 17 server to interact with web services directly using the REST protocol. OK, let's unpack that a bit.
REST stands for Representational State Transfer, which doesn't shed much light on the subject. Let's try again. Essentially, REST lets the World Wide Web (WWW) communicate with a FileMaker database. Easily, because the REST set of tools exist in just about any programming language and are easy to use.
Let's try a real world example: Assume you have a WordPress website with form generator – something simple, like a 'Contact Us' form. Simply put, that form can add records directly to a FileMaker Database using the Data API.
How does that happen?
Since the WordPress API is a RESTful API, a programmer can easily communicate with your FileMaker database using a standard set of of commands to Create, Read, Update, and Delete records (CRUD - geeks love acronyms). The commands are pretty straightforward:
So, the WordPress form data is added to FileMaker directly, without FileMaker having to access the MySQL database directly. WordPress could also retrieve data from a FileMaker database and display it on a web page. Pretty powerful stuff. And pretty easy to setup in FileMaker.
DB Services offers a good look at the Data API in this video:
They also show how to set up the FileMaker Data API, how to connect to it using Postman, a free, powerful tool to test API calls, and a they give you a FileMaker Data API Postman Collection – a set of Postman calls that work with FileMaker. Free. Check it out at the link:
There's more, of course
Darren Burgess of BeezWax wrote a great post showing how to setup and use the Data API, too. Burgess also updated his FileMaker 16 API sample file and made it available for free. Upload his file to a FileMaker 17 server and you have the ability to open it remotely and send requests to itself.
How does this help? The file shows you how to use FileMaker cURL commands with the Insert from URL command to make REST calls, and shows you all the details of those interactions: End points, API tokens, the resulting JSON files, and more. Test GET's, POST's, PUT's and DELETe's until you understand exactly what is happening. And get comfortable using cURL.
What a deal! Download the file at the link below and get started:
And even more...
Mike Duncan of Soliant Computing gives you the code and the know how to connect your FileMaker database to a free WordPress form generator, Ninja Forms:
In this post, we demonstrate how you can submit a form built with a freely available WordPress plugin, Ninja Forms. This makes building web forms easy while staying compliant with a WordPress theme. This process also supports responsiveness of your WordPress deployment.
You do not need access to the backend MySQL database, which is not always easy or available. This makes it very portable and convenient to add as a WordPress administrator. You only need to add a custom action to the Theme Functions ("functions.php") file in WordPress and specify that custom action in your Ninja Forms configuration.
Their solution is a bit more complex to set up, but illustrates how easy the FileMaker Data API makes web connectivity easy to do. Get more information at the link:
So now you have all the tools and guidance you need to get started with the FileMaker Data API. What are you waiting for?
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.
~ Just saying ~