FileMaker 19 Add-ons And You

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Overview of the new Add-ons feature in FileMaker 19

With FileMaker 19 comes several new tools that bolster the toolkit we have access to as developers. Among them is the Add-ons feature which allows you to simply select pre-developed features to quickly add and remove from an existing app.

This affords us an order of magnitude leap in our ability to iterate when working on our apps. If we consider what the process looked like before we can recognize the substantial benefits in terms of the amount of time saved for implementing features.  So before Add-ons, to integrate some new functionality the process looked something like this depending on your feature’s dependencies:

  • Import Tables
  • Import Custom Functions
  • Configure the ERD
  • Update field definitions
  • Add Layouts
  • Import Scripts
  • Copy over Value Lists
  • Import Themes
  • Copy over layout objects.
  • Add Script Triggers
  • Add Accounts/Privilege Sets
  • Add Custom Menus

Quite the process just to add something you’ve already spent the time developing.

So, let’s look at the new addon feature process for some comparison.

  1. Go into layout mode and select the Add-ons pane
  2. Click the plus button
  3. Select the Add-on you want to add
  4. Click Choose

From here FileMaker will now add all of the supporting infrastructure including layouts, layout objects, relationships, scripts etc.  This is a big deal! It affords us the ability to quickly add functionality in a fraction of the time it previously did. Not only that we can just as easily remove the feature should we decide it doesn’t meet our particular need. That process looks like:

  1. In layout mode, select the add-on you’d like to remove
  2. Right-click it and select Uninstall Add-on
  3. From the dialogue select Uninstall Add-on

That’s the whole process. Any schema, custom functions, layouts, scripts are removed as if they were never even there! This is an incredible step forward for FileMaker development and I am personally grateful the team over at Claris recognized the need that we have to make our code more portable.

What is it that you’re are looking forward to with Add-ons and how it can impact your development? Please comment below.