ExecuteSQL, Level: Intermediate, Version: FM 12 or later

Outer Joins in FileMaker 12, part 2

Last week in part 1 we looked at four “outer join” reporting approaches. Two of them involved ExecuteSQL, and I ended that section with the plea: Of course it’s possible that you, dear reader, know some FileMaker SQL voodoo to speed things up, and would be willing to share? Well Dr. Osamu Noda of Japan was kind enough to not only respond, but has provided a pair of demos (Outer Join Demo 5 and Outer Join Demo 6) which are significantly faster and which I am sharing with his permission.

Both of the demos are based on my original files from last week, and as you may recall, the aim was to show a week’s worth of sales for all employees whether they had any sales or not.

Continue reading “Outer Joins in FileMaker 12, part 2”

ExecuteSQL, Level: Intermediate, SQL, Version: FM 12 or later

Outer Joins in FileMaker 12, part 1

Recently I had an on-screen reporting challenge, and decided to try several different approaches to see which would be fastest. The challenge: Starting with two tables, one containing 20 Employees, and one containing 2,000 Sales records for the current year…

…display daily sales totals per employee in a seven-day grid, like so:

Continue reading “Outer Joins in FileMaker 12, part 1”

Beverly Voth, ExecuteSQL, Level: Intermediate, Version: FM 12 or later

Aggregates (Summary Fields) in Filtered Portals

The question on one or more of the FileMaker forums was asked and answered. Q: How do you get the Count() of the related records in a filtered portal? A: (paraphrased) duplicate the filtered portal and make it one row in height. Place the related summary field, “Count of…”, in the single row filtered portal. Voila! your count is now filter-specific. (The instructions for creating the filter for a portal and summary field are below.)

This recent topic led me to consider what other aggregate fields could be used with the filtered portal. And what about that Go To Related Record script step? Does it only show the related FILTERED records or all related records? The demo (bvoth_aggregates_in_portals.fmp12) and article have been created to answer these questions.

I started using filtered portals in cross-tab reports shortly after they were introduced. These are generally ways to show something very specific in each portal with sorts and filters and usually one row only. I had not explored the use of aggregates in these cross-tab reports until now.

Kudos to those before me that may have discovered these answers and tricks, too.

Continue reading “Aggregates (Summary Fields) in Filtered Portals”

ExecuteSQL, Level: Intermediate, SQL, Version: FM 10 or later

Dwindling Value Lists, part 1

A few months ago I mentioned “dwindling value lists” in passing, and said I would do a proper article on them at some point in the future. Well, then FM 12 was released and I went on an ExecuteSQL binge, so I’m just now getting around to honoring my promise.

Dwindling Value Lists (DVLs) are value lists that shrink up, by removing individual list items as they are selected. They can come in very handy when you need to schedule resources and want to prevent double booking. This example comes from one of today’s demo files, Dwindling Value Lists, and shows how a DVL might be used to schedule employees for a work shift.

Essentially, a DVL is a filtered value list that updates in real time (or something very close to real time), and this is done by building a multiline key of selected values, and then filtering the VL to only show remaining eligible values. Continue reading “Dwindling Value Lists, part 1”

ExecuteSQL, Level: Intermediate, SQL, Version: FM 12 or later

FM 12 ExecuteSQL: Robust Coding, part 2

In part 1, I listed six scenarios that could potentially cause ExecuteSQL code to break:

…and managed to get through the first five before running out of steam. This time, we’re going to examine #6 on the list, and then look at a few miscellaneous odds ’n’ ends, and today’s demo file is ExecuteSQL Sandbox, v2, if you’d like to follow along.

Changing a Field Type

Why would changing a field’s type cause a problem? Well, first off, as I mentioned last month, if you are using that particular field as a predicate in a JOIN, the query will break, and your reward will be the the dreaded “?”.

I don’t have a fix for this, just some advice: Don’t change a field’s type if you’ve used it as a JOIN predicate in a working SQL statement. (The only reason I’ve needed to change a field type recently was to fix a broken JOIN where the field types were mismatched.)

Continue reading “FM 12 ExecuteSQL: Robust Coding, part 2”

ExecuteSQL, Level: Intermediate, SQL, Version: FM 12 or later

FM 12 ExecuteSQL: Robust Coding, part 1

[Note: Some of the material in this article, and in today’s demo file ExecuteSQL Sandbox, previously appeared in my March 2011 article, Custom Functions for Internal SQL.]

The other day a colleague remarked, “You know, it’s going to be interesting to see if you SQL guys are still so excited about ExecuteSQL when something gets renamed and your code breaks.” He had a good point: code is “brittle” if it works initially, but then subsequently breaks as a result of a seemingly innocuous action.

Here are some things that can cause ExecuteSQL code to break:

  1. Renaming a table occurrence (TO)
  2. Renaming a field
  3. Using a “reserved word” as a field or TO name
  4. Having a problematic character in a field or TO name
  5. Executing the code in a foreign country (!)
  6. Changing a field’s type (e.g., from text to number or vice versa)

…and today we’re going to look at some defensive measures we can employ to prevent problems when these things occur.

Using the “orders” table in the demo file

Continue reading “FM 12 ExecuteSQL: Robust Coding, part 1”

ExecuteSQL, Level: Intermediate, SQL, Version: FM 12 or later

FM 12 ExecuteSQL: Dynamic Parameters, pt 2

This is a quick follow-up to part 1, with a couple more observations about dynamic parameters.

Embedded Apostrophes

Here’s one I can’t believe I forgot to mention the other day:  A major ExecuteSQL headache that dynamic parameters can alleviate is the dreaded “embedded apostrophe” problem. In case you aren’t familiar with it, if your text string contains an embedded apostrophe, in standard SQL you must escape it by prepending another apostrophe, for example compare these two “standard” (non-dynamic) queries:

As you might expect, you don’t have to worry about this if you instead use a dynamic parameter… just quote the search term the way you would any FileMaker text string (i.e., in double quotes) and go about your business.

Continue reading “FM 12 ExecuteSQL: Dynamic Parameters, pt 2”

ExecuteSQL, Level: Intermediate, SQL, Version: FM 12 or later

FM 12 ExecuteSQL: Dynamic Parameters, pt 1

I have a confession: when I first read about dynamic parameters in the Help entry for ExecuteSQL, my initial reaction was, “Why do they have to make it so darn complicated?”

I have another confession: I am now singing a very different tune. I’ll get to the reason for this in a minute, but first let’s compare two ExecuteSQL statements, which were discussed last month in FM 12 ExecuteSQL, part 1.

Continue reading “FM 12 ExecuteSQL: Dynamic Parameters, pt 1”

ExecuteSQL, Level: Intermediate, SQL, Version: FM 12 or later

FM 12 ExecuteSQL: A Cool Tool

It’s been a fun week experimenting with the ExecuteSQL function, and also seeing what others are doing with it. In some cases the experience has been eye opening, and I strongly recommend that anyone interested in ExecuteSQL grab the SQL Builder file from Eden Morris, available on FMForums (registration required) at http://fmforums.com/forum/files/file/25-sql-builder/

This attractive and powerful tool provides a point and click interface to build complex SQL queries, which are then rendered in FileMaker 12 ExecuteSQL syntax, e.g.,

The current version is 0.4, implying that updates may be forthcoming, so you might want to not only download the demo, but bookmark the above link as well. Very nicely done, Mr. Morris!

ExecuteSQL, Level: Intermediate, SQL, Version: FM 12 or later

FM 12 ExecuteSQL, part 2

One of the fun things about a new FileMaker release is figuring out how new features work, including subtle behavioral nuances. Today’s demo file, FM12 ExecuteSQL Help Example from CW, is based on Corn Walker’s re-working of one of the demos from part 1, and helps demonstrate how ExecuteSQL fits in with the FileMaker security model.

Continue reading “FM 12 ExecuteSQL, part 2”