I’m always very wary of adding features to either BaseElements or RefreshFM that are locked to a single platform or require external applications to make work. In my mind all of our applications should be completely self contained and not rely on other applications to work for the core of their functionality.
In my mind if you’re buying a product from us, it should have everything you need to make it work and none of the features should be broken or missing because you haven’t bought another application. I consider this just good behaviour.
So I’m confronted with a dilemma in RefreshFM at the moment in that there are two places that are crying out for some automation that it doesn’t currently have, and where I have a solution for this that works on the Mac but not in Windows. Well it might but at least not yet.
I’m referring to the setup of the Table Occurrences and Layouts. At present in both of these there is no way within FileMaker to either copy paste, or to auto generate them in the background like we’re doing for File References and Script Steps. You need to work through them one at a time and create each one, making sure you don’t miss any.
But I’ve done enough RefreshFM setups myself to know that this process is tedious and time consuming and is crying out for automation. I’ve even written two AppleScripts that control the user interface that you can run that will step through all of the items and do all of the work for you.
At the moment I don’t have the resources or the Windows user interface scripting nous to write the same thing for that platform.
So I’m going to make these scripts available to anyone who wants them, but not build them into the product just yet. Mostly because they are just such a time saver that you’d run the RefreshFM setup on a spare mac just to take advantage of this even if you’re deploying it on windows.
For anyone interested, I’ve attached copies of the first draft of my scripts. I have one outstanding issue I haven’t resolved yet : some button clicks take six seconds to process and I’m not sure if this is a FileMaker issue or an AppleScript one. So it might seem slow to process, as there is a six second pause after each new TO or new Layout click, but that should be solvable. ( and it could just be an issue on my machine too )
So if you’re looking to test RefreshFM and set it up for one of your solutions, and you’re on a Mac, and you are happy to run an AppleScript, I’d love some feedback on whether or not these worked or any issues you had.