Category Archives: Chart

Blurring the Distinction between Schema and Data, part 2

Welcome back for part 2 of my recap of the session I presented last week at the 2014 Portland PauseOnError un-conference.

Recreating ScriptMaker

A recurring theme, as we saw in part 1 and will see again today here in part 2, is that you can store “runtime code” as data. The most extreme example I’ve encountered is a proof of concept created and presented by Dr. Ray Cologon at DevCon 2006, the Text Script Interpreter, a.k.a. TSI.

11-1-2014 3-44-59 PM

The idea is that the entirety of FileMaker scripting can (not should, but can) be represented and interpreted textually, either as records in a table…

11-1-2014 4-12-02 PM Continue reading

FM 13: Virtual List Charts, part 2

Picking up where we left off in part 1, today we’re going to take a look at examples 2 through 6 in the Virtual List Charts demo file (the demo has been updated since part 1, so I recommend downloading a fresh copy).

5-16-2014 4-08-08 PM

We covered example 1 and most of the general concepts last time, so today we’re mainly going to touch on specific points of interest, but to briefly recap… Continue reading

FM 13: Virtual List Charts, part 1

4-20-2014 11-18-24 AMToday we’re going to look at applying the virtual list technique to FileMaker charting with the goal of producing a reusable chart “object”, or rather, a series of chart objects. We’ll need more than one because while certain attributes (e.g., chart title) can be set programmatically, others, including type (e.g., column or line), must be hard-coded into the chart object.

We’ve already explored Bruce Robertson’s virtual list on this site a number of times, but briefly, you create a utility table in your solution to facilitate non-standard viewing, reporting, etc., and pre-populate it with “more records than you’ll ever need”. The records in this table will derive their data “virtually”, by parsing it from an array — typically one or more $$variables.

Well it turns out the technique can be applied to charting as well, and today we have a demo file, Virtual List Charts, that contains six examples: three for Web Visits…

4-20-2014 2-03-32 PM

Continue reading

FM 13: Column Chart on Found Set, revisited

Today I’m going to address a shortcoming in the “FM 13 Column Chart on Found Set” demo in my previous article. Specifically, I took a lazy path of least resistance re: calculating the chart title.

3-27-2014 11-47-00 AM

The challenge was to count the number of states in the found set, and since there weren’t many records in the original demo I decided to use a recursive custom function to build a list of unique states, and then the ValueCount function to count the number of entries in that list.

And that was fine. When the found set was small. Continue reading

FM 13: Simple Column Charts

Two things I appreciate about FileMaker charting are its user-friendliness and its flexibility. I do a fair amount of charting with xmChart, but when it’s time to “go native”, my typical approach is to load up some variables with return-delimited lists of data, and use those as my data source.

[Note: click here to see all FileMaker Hacks articles with charts.]

An advantage of basing charts on variables is that it allows charts to be context-independent, reusable objects. But a disadvantage can be a loss of simplicity, and missing out on some of the ease-of-implementation that FileMaker charts offer “out of the box”. So today we’re going to take a look at some simple FM 13 column charts that do not rely on variables…

2-26-2014 8-31-27 AM

…with help from these four demos: Continue reading

Weekly Sales Comparison Charts

If you are responsible for helping business decision makers analyze data, you are probably familiar with questions like:

  • Are we on track to meet or exceed last year’s sales totals?
  • How is our sales team doing now, compared to this time a year or two ago?

Today’s demo file, weekly sales comparison charts, v3, can help answer these questions. It consists of an Employee table with 20 records, a Sales table with approximately 40,000 records, seven chart types, and an option to chart weekly amounts either individually or cumulatively.

6-23-2013 11-46-18 PM

When we look at the weeks individually, it’s clear that Zola Buchanan’s sales figures are mixed so far this year, compared to 2011 and 2012. But what may not be immediately apparent is whether overall she’s doing better, the same, or worse.

Continue reading

Array Charting, part 3

[This article assumes that the reader is familiar with part 1 and part 2 of this series.]

The other day, I ended part 2 of this series by looking at the y-axes of a variable-array-based chart, and commenting, “Note that all 52 variables for each of the 12 data series are individually enumerated. I’m thinking that there is a smarter way to go about this, but that is code for another day.”

Well, now I’m thinking that “another day” has arrived.

Continue reading

Array Charting, part 2

Last week we looked at building a FileMaker 11 native chart based on data that has been parsed into a field-based array.


I happen to like field-based arrays, for reasons I’ll get to in a minute, but is a field-based array really necessary to generate the above chart? Continue reading