Parsing XML Data
Getting data from web sources is the trend in FileMaker (and all other languages) these days. With the popularity and breadth of web services available to your clients, it’s no wonder they need it.
For example, your client may be using a web store order consolidation service, one that brings in all their orders from Amazon, e-Bay, and other similar online stores (OK, it just so happens I have a client doing this…). The consolidation service is valuable, but it is a large company and suffers from the large company curse: It’s not easy for them to customize for individual customers, which opens a door for enterprising developers willing to learn.
So when a client wants to get data from, or send data to, the service, it’s up to the developer to find a solution. That means you need to find ways to make FileMaker talk to the service.
One very popular way data is offered to clients by companies like this is XML. Others common sources include custom API’s (Get, Push, SOAP, etc) and JSON.
fmplugins, a tumbler site devoted to FileMaker plugins, shares one way of parsing XML data you need from the XML data file sent by the company (getting that data file to your computer is the subject of a different post): Troi’s Text plugin.
Essentially, once you have the XML file, it’s pretty straight forward to get the data out and into FileMaker fields. Other ways to get this data include other plugins and XLST style sheets,, which seem to be on the way out with FileMaker.
This looks like a reasonable solution, and the price is reasonable, as well. For the more economically minded, there are some free alternatives for XML support to consider:
The solution you pick is up to you…what is important that you get started now parsing XML data, as well as other types of data, if you want to stay ahead of the curve.