7 Reasons FileMaker Go Should be Your ‘App’

  1. Use your iPhone and FileMaker Go as a barcode gun. We did it. Read about it here.
  2. Extensibility. If you are already using FileMaker this is really a no brainer. It’s as simple as downloading FileMaker Go for iPhone or for iPad and pointing it at the appropriate server. Now your FileMaker system is mobile.
  3. There are thousands of stupid iPhone apps <http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2339926,00.asp> why not have at least one that could really improve your productivity?
  4. Have you ever wished you actually had pictures of your customers in your database? It’s easy now. Take a photo with your iPhone and add it directly to your databases on FileMaker Go. Take pictures of your projects and keep them stored nicely with the project data you’ll need later (not mixed up with pictures of your kids and Aunt Hilda).
  5. Convert your data to a PDF and then email it from FileMaker Go – all in a couple of clicks. Send invoices and hand off project tasks while you’re in line at the grocery store. Share data with non-FileMaker users (believe it or not the world’s full of them). The possibilities are endless.
  6. It’s like a rocket in your pocket!! Implementing a well choreographed FileMaker solution in a business environment can cause revenue to skyrocket. Putting that power in your pocket ought to be a forgone conclusion.
  7. Think of your FileMaker app as the meat of your business ~ it sustains you. (Okay that’s a bad analogy but stay with me, it gets better.) FileMaker Go, the iOS app itself, is like a stick. When you combine your FileMaker solution with FileMaker GO you’ve got meat-on-a-stick. It’s a well established fact that nothing is better than well cooked meat-on-a-stick.

FileMaker GoIf even one of these ideas resonates with you, please give us a shout we’ll gladly help you make FileMaker Go your app.

Turnaround Artists

Small Business Monthly Oct 2010 CoverThe team at Skeleton Key has been called upon to save many projects from disaster. It’s not uncommon for us to be brought into a FileMaker Development or Technology Consulting project when the project owners realize they’ve run off the rails. Many times we’ve been able to make heroic saves and give the customer a successful outcome. In July of 2009 Skeleton Key faced the biggest turnaround challenge yet. A variety of factors, including the economy, threatened to push us off the rails. Mark Richman, President and Fearless Leader of the Skeleton Key Crew, sat down with Jeremy Nulik of the St. Louis Small Business Monthly to discuss the predicament and how SK has changed as a result. The article is titled ‘Ready. Set. Grow’. That’s exactly what we’re doing.

FileMaker Go Barcode Scanning with CNS Barcode

Last week, I shared an article and video about integrating FileMaker Go with the free app pic2shop. The pic2shop app allows an iPhone’s camera to be used as a barcode scanner to scan UPC and EAN barcodes. In this article, I’m going to take a look at the new CNS Barcode app from Comm-unity Networking Systems. CNS was kind enough to give me early access to the app, which has been submitted to the iTunes Store and should be available very soon. Like pic2shop, CNS Barcode can be integrated with FileMaker Go to scan barcodes using an iPhone’s built-in camera. However, CNS Barcode includes additional features and options, including the ability to generate barcode images. Let’s take a closer look at specific features in CNS Barcode.

Barcode Scanning

In addition to UPC and EAN barcodes, CNS Barcode also recognizes Code 39, Code 128, Databar-14, and QR Code barcodes. The barcodes can be scanned through the camera or you can choose an image containing a barcode from your photo library. Camera Scan While pic2shop requires the phone to be oriented the same as the barcode, I found that CNS Barcode would happily scan barcodes that were upside down or sideways. It will even activate the iPhone 4’s LED flash when needed. The extra light could be rather handy in situations such as scanning equipment tags underneath a desk. One feature I missed from pic2shop was the option to display a keypad when scanning. Sometimes I encounter a barcode that is damaged and it’s nice to be able to manually enter a value. Of course this can be done within FileMaker Go, so it’s a minor issue. Here’s an example of a FileMaker calculation to use with the Open URL script step to launch CNS Barcode. The parameters included in this example tell CNS Barcode to use the camera to scan a barcode and then call the “launchurl” parameter as a URL, which resumes the hibernated FileMaker Go file and runs the “Scan” script with the scanned barcode as the script parameter.

"cnsbarcode://scan?method=camera&launchurl=fmp7script%3A//%24/" & Get ( FileName ) & "%3Fscript%3DScan%26param%3D::barcode::"

Note that the launchurl parameter has to be encoded. Without the encoding, the calculation result would look like this:


“::barcode::” is just a placeholder to indicate where the scanned value should be inserted.

Generating Barcodes

I wasn’t expecting CNS Barcode to generate barcode images, but it does. In fact, it will generate barcodes for all of the barcode types that it’s able to scan. The generated barcode can be copied to the clipboard or saved to the photo library. In addition, the cnsbarcode:// URL scheme can be used to generate barcodes from other apps, such as FileMaker Go. The value is sent in the URL and the barcode image is returned on the clipboard. Generate / QR Code One of the great things about a camera-based barcode scanner (or “imager”) is that it can read barcodes off of a computer display or an iPhone screen. For example, many airlines can read barcodes on passengers’ mobile phones as electronic boarding passes. A 2-D barcode format, like QR Code, can contain up to a few thousand characters. CNS Barcode gives us the ability to create some interesting new workflows with FileMaker Go. Barcodes can easily be generated and stored in container fields. Then they can be included in forms, reports, and even email. Information can be exchanged directly between devices by generating and displaying a barcode on one device and reading it from another.

Profiles and Options

CNS Barcode includes many useful options. For example, multiple barcodes can be scanned and then returned to FileMaker Go in a return-delimited batch. Scanned barcodes can be copied to the clipboard or saved as photos. URLs contained in barcodes can be automatically launched. The app allows the creation of multiple “profiles” to name sets of options. A profile can be used in different ways, for example you can specify one profile for standalone use and a different profile when using the cnsbarcode:// URL scheme. Profiles can even be created using the URL scheme. All of the options and the cnsbarcode:// URL scheme are clearly documented inside the app.


CNS Barcode is a great companion for FileMaker Go. It isn’t a free app, like pic2shop, but it’s a richer and more versatile tool that FileMaker developers can leverage to create exciting new solutions with FileMaker Go. I’m looking forward to opportunities to integrate it into our customers’ systems.

More info

CNS Barcode will be available here: http://www.cnsplug-ins.com/iOS/CNS_Barcode More information on the fmp7script protocol can be found here: http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7786/kw/fmp7script

Scanning Barcodes with FileMaker Go: The Movie

In a previous article, we shared some tips for scanning barcodes with FileMaker Go and the built-in camera on an iPhone. Here’s a short video showing the technique in action.