Beverly Voth, Claris Platform, Claris Pro, Claris Studio, Level: Intermediate

Claris Studio (part 2) – Integration with Claris Pro

About the author: Beverly Voth has been in the Claris FileMaker community many years. In addition to FileMaker Pro & its integrated products, she is a Full Stack Web developer & SQL database administrator. The only recipient of the FileMaker Excellence Award for Outstanding Contribution to the FileMaker Web Publishing Community (DevCon 2003), she’s been advocating Claris FileMaker and web since they could work together.

Welcome back to part two of our Claris Studio & Claris Pro exploration. This article will cover Claris Pro and how it integrates with Claris Studio. Since we started with Claris Studio, Tell Me More!, there was a major update to the features in Claris Studio. You were advised to be alert! Check What’s New for the latest Claris Studio updates. This article is about conversion of Claris FileMaker Pro database files to Claris Pro files and how Claris Pro works with Claris Studio tables (two way interaction!)

What is Claris Pro?

Claris Pro is an application toolbox full of features that allow you to create user interfaces for data collection, display, and reporting. It can be used to create everything from a collection of Grandma’s recipes to full mission-critical business applications. It’s a cool and R.A.D. (pun intended!) toolbox for use by those starting out to full-stack relational database developers. Claris Pro uses a graphical interface for most creation, but easily works with external data exchanges. Once created with Claris Pro, these apps can be used on iPhones, iPads, or viewed in web browsers, as well as on the desktop/laptop by one user or thousands of users. You can use Claris Pro with Windows and macOS.

Wait! What was that? Is this still our beloved FileMaker Pro? Claris Pro is FileMaker Pro, rebranded & having a few feature changes. You can do in Claris Pro what you do in FileMaker Pro with the following notable differences. Read the entire article and check again if these are revised later:

  • Differences between the Claris and FileMaker platforms
  • Claris Pro Accounts use Claris ID only at this time. So, no more certs or license keys, and there are some scripting changes. There is also a Default account (formerly [Guest]).
  • Claris Pro has an extension change (to .claris)
  • Versions of Claris Pro start with 40.0, but updates to FileMaker Pro will be also updated in Claris Pro. The MIA features in Claris Pro may be in a future release, not announced at this time.
  • Claris Pro can link directly to Claris Studio data sources without the need of external source drivers like for the xDBC/SQL sources.
  • You will find additional same vs different tips within the main help topics: Claris Pro and FileMaker Pro Help

Tip: use this link to show the list of Help Topics that are specific to both platforms > (“Pro only”)

Conversion of FileMaker Pro files to Claris Pro files

Before you begin a conversion:

  • you should back up your existing files
  • make sure you have a [Full Access] account on the FileMaker Pro file (.fmp12) & know the password
  • have the internet running (so Claris Pro can log in)
  • check for Plug-in compatibility, if using any, before conversion
  • and verify that the file you are converting is not using any of the missing features in the differences chart (link above)

This is a one way conversion, but the existing .fmp12 files are not changed in any way. You may continue to use them with FileMaker Server, FileMaker Go, and any use case you have now. You will not have any connection between the two files (.fmp12 & .claris) after conversion.

Any changes you make to schema or UI or data, after conversion, in either the original file or the converted file will only be available in the file where the changes are made. There is no syncing available between the two versions, and each platform’s Servers cannot host the other version’s Pro database files.

Open the FileMaker Pro file with Claris Pro. You will get a conversion dialog warning. You do not need to rename the older file. If you check “Rename…”, you’ll know why the backup was a good idea!

If you Cancel at this point, conversion will not be started and no changes are made. Click OK & choose the new file to a location. The new database file will be named the same, but get the new extension (.claris). If you Cancel in the browse-for-location window, no conversion will be started.

After you click Save, you will be asked for the full access login used in the original FileMaker Pro file. If you click Cancel at this point, the conversion stops, but you will get a conversion.log file (along with the Timestamp):

If you don’t Cancel, you will see a progress bar dialog (time varies with the size & complexity of the file), and the new file will automatically open in Claris Pro. You will get the created conversion.log:

This is a simple database file and you may have other errors and/or messages. Check this file carefully before proceeding. Most notably are: the file reference extensions, &  the authentication changes in accounts.

The background image (shown below) is before conversion with several local “FileMaker File” type accounts, this shows the advance settings. The change in the accounts in the converted file (overlay image) shows only the Claris ID used to convert the file (in the basic settings). Otherwise Privilege Sets, Extended Privileges, & File Access remains the same in the converted file. You also get a “[Default]” account created as [Read-Only Access] that is not automatically enabled. Using the Advanced settings, check this account to see what Privileges are there.

Mange Security for FileMaker Pro and for converted Claris Pro file

I recommend checking on the newly converted file(s) to see that: tables, fields, relationships (if multiple files are converted at once), data, layouts, value lists, scripts, and all the other features, that you expect are there. The File menu “File Options” dialog will have many changes related to security. Also note the minimum version on both files:

Other features I test specifically:

  • The Tools menu and testing the DDR, or Save A Copy As XML, Developer Utilities. << these seem to work as before, although there may be XML version changes.
  • Check other parts of the file that may concern you. Remember the differences and at this time do not expect missing Claris Pro features to “just work”.

Creating new Claris Pro file(s)

You may start with the converted file or create a new Claris Pro database file. You may notice that the familiar Starter and Sample files (as in versions past) are not in this dialog. These may or may not be included in future updates. If you have these older files, you may try to convert them for examples to test.

Create New Claris Pro database file – NOTE: there are no Sample or Starter files here

Default Fields (see the knowledge base article for information): If you have previous version of FileMaker Pro and created a custom set of Default Fields, these may be used when creating a new Claris Pro database file. Otherwise, as the article states, these fields are created: PrimaryKey, CreationTimeStamp, CreatedBy, ModificationTimestamp, & ModifiedBy.

You may add Account users to the new file following the instructions in this help topic:

Migrating Claris Pro tables to Claris Studio tables

Can you use any created table in Claris Pro as a table for Claris Studio? The answer to “any” is no. But most can be Migrated to Claris Studio for use with creating Form views, Spreadsheet views, Kanban views, List-Detail forms, & with the Spreadsheet create Dashboard views. Migrated tables include the data. Once migrated, it becomes a Claris Studio table (“shadow” table) as seen on the Relationship Graph. In addition the Spreadsheet view is automatically created in Claris Studio using the table. Read more about Migrating data to Claris Studio (Claris Pro only) – help topic.

Create a new table before migration – this has basic fields – NOTE: the number is not strict numeric

Duplicate this table 3 times and add: calculation, summary, & container fields (one to each copy). Your tables may look like this:

Sample tables to test Migrate

Before you can Migrate any table from Claris Pro to Claris Studio, you must add any external studio source (ESS+) to your relationship graph. This step is only done once with new Claris Pro database files that have been converted. When you click the “Add a Table” in the Relationship Graph, you may choose from the drop-down:

Specify Table dialog in Claris Pro

TIP: If you have not created any Claris Studio Views and Tables, several examples are ready to select. Also remember to give the Claris Studio tables a better name, to make them easier to select in this dialog!

The new external table is added to the Relationship Graph (with the italicized name) and the sources is added to the Manage External Data Sources dialog. This help topic may be handy:

Now the table(s) are ready to be migrated. Make that some of the tables are ready to be migrated from Claris Pro to Claris Studio. Look at the Fields tab of each of the tables in your database. Those with: Calculation, Summary, or Container field(s), will not show the Migrate button.

Migrate button and dialog when you click it

If you Cancel at this point, the table will not be migrated. If you Continue, the conversion will begin and you will see a Keep button where the Migrate button was before. If you click the Keep, the migration is stopped and the tables remains a local/native Claris Pro table:

If you do not click Keep, the migration begins and you may see a progress dialog, then a success dialog. In the Tables tab of the Relationship Graph (RG), you will see this is now a “shadow” table (external source) and no longer able to be revised locally/natively:

You may add Calculations fields and Summary fields to this newly migrated “shadow table”:

Claris Studio table migrated from Claris Pro table had the Number field become Text

TIP: When creating Number fields, set its Options, before migration. Use: Validation & set to Strict data type: Numeric Only. Migrated number fields with this validation are shown as Number type in Claris Studio and on the shadow table in Claris Pro.

Also notice the Timestamp & ID field are auto-enter before migration. If you add data to the records while in Claris Pro (before migration), these fields will populate (auto-enter!)

In addition to migrating from the Claris Pro perspective, a new View (Spreadsheet) is created in Claris Studio with the same table name. It is now available to be altered there (rename, add/edit fields, add/edit data, create other View types, etc.)

Check the table in Claris Studio (same table name). These “auto-enter” fields do not populate when the data is entered in Claris Studio and your shadow fields (calculation & summary) do not show:

Claris Studio table from Migrated Claris Pro table

You may need to Sync the table back in Claris Pro to see the new data created in Claris Studio:

Showing Claris Studio tables in Claris Pro

Just as we did above to show an external Claris Studio table before migration, you may:

  • add other tables from Claris Studio to your RG
  • create relationships
  • add shadow calculation & summary fields
  • create layouts
  • more as you would any external data source
  • If you have option lists in Claris Studio, these are shown as Custom Value Lists, when that shadow table is shown in Claris Pro. You cannot edit these, but you may use them in layout design.

TIP: when working with *any* externally sourced data in Claris Pro, don’t go to layouts show in List or Table View is the data set is very large. Try to start from a Form View in Browse (or Find) Mode to narrow your records. Then switch to List or Table View.

Bonus: a new column/field type in Claris Studio is the Signature field. Shown as graphical in Claris Studio, this field seen in Claris Pro is TEXT, but “signature field data is available as a JSON object with metadata and a Base64-encoded image of the signature.”

The Views in Claris Studio are not used when the tables are shown in Claris Pro. And Layouts created in Claris Pro are not used in Claris Studio. However, if you add a Claris Studio table to the Claris Pro RG, it will also bring in any assigned Value Lists (view & use only), you cannot edit, except in Claris Studio. Also note that fields/columns created in Claris Studio will have the Label while in Studio. But the name of the field when shown in Claris Pro will have the field type “Short Text, Long Text, etc.” If there is more than one field of the same type, “2”, “3”, + will be appended to the field type. These are the field names when shown in Claris Pro.

What’s next?

The next article planned is about the Claris Studio Spreadsheet View. Since Claris Pro works with data collected by any View, but uses the table associated with that View, this is a convenient time to get more specific on the features of this View type. Included will be Dashboards, since they can be created from Spreadsheet Views. After that, we’ll look at the 3 other Views in Claris Studio:

  • Forms (anonymous data collection)
  • List Detail (data collection with the ability to add & edit records, even when Shared)
  • Kanban View

TIP: Create your data (or use existing tables in Claris Pro), before you create Views in Claris Studio. This gives you the fields and types all ready to add to your Views. These are migrated tables, so keep in mind that you cannot continue to edit the schema in Claris Pro once used in Claris Studio. However data may be changed between one and be reflected in the other.

Also remember to read the documentation frequently, because you know it will change!

8 thoughts on “Claris Studio (part 2) – Integration with Claris Pro”

    1. Yes, and no! Read the differences article to see how they are not quite the same. Otherwise, the familiarity is there because they have the same base. Those differences, however, are very important to those considering the conversion from FileMaker platform to Claris platform.

      1. Seems like they’re sowing lots of confusion with this. It’s two platforms, which are the same platform, but different, but one is just a new renamed version of the other, except for the differences, and they’ll exist side-by-side… ?

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