SQL Explorer for FileMaker 12

Very proud to have shipped SQL Explorer, a tool for learning SQL (so you can use ExecuteSQL in FileMaker 12) using FileMaker metaphors you already know. You can learn more about the Explorer and download a copy here: SQLexplorer But I wanted to take a moment and point out three things that make this a new kind of product for us…

1. This is the first product we built using a FileMaker 12 theme. All the layouts in the solution are based on the Onyx theme, though we did add some of our own objects, most notably the big tab-based navigation bar at the top. This made some things a lot easier (not as many design decisions to make) but I can’t say it really sped things up. Since the portals and fields in Onyx have an inner glow (a glow not addressable in the inspector), we couldn’t use them in virtual list portals where we wanted empty fields/rows to disappear. Portals like those on the tables tab took a lot of work. Not more work than in 11, but the theme wasn’t a silver bullet. 

2. Jason created a walk-through video for every screen of the software–every step of creating a query–and I can’t believe how well it worked. It really makes it easy to jump in here and, if you get stuck, there is a video of how you’re supposed to do it right at your finger tips. 

3. This was also our first wizard-based solution, and the native tabs and script triggers in FM12 made this much(!) easier. I’d encourage folks to take a look at the “Steps…” nav bar on the Query Builder layout: that’s just a “body-less” tab control with a script trigger on it so it acts like a  button bar. Jason says that this turned out to be a very flexible object: and doing that in 12 was substantially simpler than doing it in 11. We’ve already written about how hiding and conditionally formatting tabs is a huge help in 12, and that was the case here as well.

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  • perusi

    download link doesnt work. can you send it please?

  • Ruth

    the system keeps saying file not modifiable when i try to press anything on the screen. how do i solve that??????

    • seedcode

      Hi Ruth,

      It sounds like you may be opening the file from within the still zipped archive (from within the zip it can’t be modified): this is more common on windows machines. To resolve this, quit FileMaker and right-click on the .zip you downloaded, selecting “Extract…” and then make sure you’re opening the extracted .fp7 or .fmp12 files.

      Hope that helps.

  • Jim Weber

    Thanks for this exquiste tool. While I’m fairly proficient using FileMaker, I know very little about SQL. This is a great learning tool.

  • Greg

    I am trying to use the “Group By” function and am getting the error code “?”. What I did was to replace the “Order BY”.

    is the Group By supported?

  • Hi John.

    Since this is a wizard designed for those without much SQL experience, people who have named fields and tables without using traditional SQL standards may have some issues. For examples those that happen to use reserved words and characters such as the underscore as a prefix for key fields will need to escape out those items either using Quote () or escaped quotes. I don’t know if its worth the effort incorporating it into your file but considering those the target audience, perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    Great job as usual.

    • Thanks John; take a look at the equation you can copy out of the explorer and you’ll see we’re quoting out table and field names for just this reason. (Table names courtesy of Kevin Frank: thanks!) We’re also managing carriage returns in the results, in case you want to use returns as a row delimiter.

  • Thanks, John and Jason for putting this together and sharing it with the FM community. It looks like it will be very useful in learning how to write SQL queries. 🙂

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