Sign contracts with confidence

Developer Notes

Bryan Wats
Sign contracts with confidence (Evidos & Lesterius Partnership)

Since the early days of computer automation, less paper would be used. Lesterius delivers on this promise, by building solutions that empower clients with the right information at the right time. We figure out together, how to get the job done more easily and with less errors. Piles of paper or letters to be scanned (or faxed) are not the answer. It takes too long and taxes the environment. Instead, we are experts in leveraging the Claris FileMaker platform. This way, we transform your business into the digital age.

But what if there are legal contracts to be signed, you might ask? Can the Claris FileMaker platform do that?

Contrary to popular believe, FileMaker is not a system by itself anymore. It will integrate with other computer systems online, which can make your solution so much more meaningful. Today, Lesterius has partnered with Evidos, to allow our customers to further eliminate paper work from their workflow. Evidos allows to digitally sign legally binding contracts with confidence. Lesterius makes this work seamlessly from FileMaker.

Who is Evidos?

The name Evidos is derived from “Evidence in Online Services”. Based in The Netherlands,  they are rolling out their product throughout Europe. This not only means localised software, but a local team is ready to assist and further develop the product based on local opportunities. Evidos has agreements with local authorities like government agencies, banks etc. to enable identification of the signer. Have your contracts signed with confidence of who signs what, where and when.

Why Evidos?

There are other services that enable to sign a document digitally. Adobe PDFSign and DocuSign are such examples. The latter will integrate with FileMaker through both API and Claris Connect. Claris Connect allows for integration with internet services with minimal scripting. Lesterius can do this for you, if you wish. However, both lack signer identification like Evidos has and DocuSign might require a FM Connect subscription. This is mainly economical when using multiple integrations. Moreover, Evidos offers different pricing plans based on your needs. The entry-level pricing is much lower. Depending on your business rules, a Lesterius digital transformation consultant will propose the right service for your needs and make signing work.

How does it generally work?

Evidos provides a great introduction video which you can watch here.

Based on information already present in your FileMaker solution, the administrator can generate one or a set of documents to be signed. These will have special “moustache”-tags, to designate where will be signed by the contractor and/or your representative(s). Lesterius can help create these documents any way they have to look. Files already present outside FileMaker can be made to work, also.

With the document in place, the FileMaker interface allows to set all relevant options. When set, the file is then uploaded to the Evidos server by the click of a button. Evidos sends the file / contract / agreement to be signed. The signer will be guided through the entire process and can see his / her progress. After proof reading, the user is presented with selected verification methods. Signing in the box as one would do normally with a pen is possible, but not required. In this case, a tabled or iPhone would be convenient. After successful completion, you are notified and the signed document is placed in FileMaker. Evidos will retain your documents no longer than required.

Branding is part of the options and is done in the Evidos web interface. Passport verification is a separate product.

Interested?

Interested to take the next step of the digital transformation of your work flow? You will work more environmentally friendly and work will become easier. Lesterius consultants throughout Europe will be happy to help.

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Ulf Bengtsson
Employee Spotlight: meet Ulf Bengtsson

Our “Employee Spotlight” blog series places the spotlight on Lesterius employees who tell us about why they decided to join Lesterius and what they do here. At Lesterius, we want employees to look back at their time here and say they did the work of their life at Lesterius. This week we sat down with Ulf Bengtsson to learn more about his career.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? About Ulf when he’s not working.

Whenever possible I’m out in nature. When not wandering through the open plains or forest of Norway, you can find me doing some project on the house or gardenwork. I also enjoy crafting sculptures in different types of stone. Not aspiring to be the new Rodin, but I profoundly enjoy working with this material.

 

 

How did you become interested in this area and what do you think is unique about your career area?

I first time I came in contact with database development when I was involved in a project to build up an environmental organisation.At that time, I was also involved in several sports organisations and soon learned all these organisations were struggling with Excel files and working in such an inefficient way. I strongly felt the desire and curiosity to change that.

Soon, I got hooked on the problem solving part. I fell in love with the Claris FileMaker platform because of it’s tremendous capabilities to develop solutions quickly and flexibly.

Many customers do not have the in-house capabilities to develop the solution they need. That’s when we come in. It is not uncommon that the problem the customer first is focused on is not the main issue in the organisations way of working.. Together, through a co-creation approach, we uncover that the root cause is something more profound.

We aim to uncover these real pain points in the way an organisation works through a (or several) workshop(s) in which the customer is heavily involved. We are then able to present the opportunities a tailored solution can offer and how this solution could enhance the organisations way of working.

For me,  the most exciting projects is to work on companies in their start-up phase. They’re growing and developing. The Claris platforms strength is its flexibility and speed during development and the ability to make rapid changes in an operating environment. I love being involved in developing new functions as needed, adapt the system to the rapid change that a growing company needs. This often means that you are involved in the development of the company’s routines, information and dataflows. Organically we are often consulted also for broader business decisions due to our profound understanding of the organisations workflows and DNA.

What jobs and experiences have led you to your current position?

  • I have a background as an engineer in development of new materials.
  • I was active in sports, also as a coach and coach in areas such as mental training, technical skills, at national team level
  • Archery: personal and as a trainer. Focus on upper body. Creating instruments to measure nerve focus on muscle memory
  • I have worked with Claris FileMaker for almost 30 years in various forms, as a subcontractor -consultant,  started up and ran several companies among which Atatiki SA which was acquired by the Lesterius Group and which I’m now proudly part of.
  • Worked in all roles from developer to project manager for teams.
  • Developed and held training courses for developers in FileMaker, participated in and started up yearly Developer Conferences for the Nordic market (Devcon Scandinavia).
  • Hired as a “crisis” consultant for projects where conflicts between consultant and customer have arisen.

How do you and your team prepare for the start of a new project?

If we can, we start by looking at the customer and their wishes and requirements. At first, we refrain from looking at things with a too technical eye. We want to understand how the people within this organisation work and collaborate. We ask questions like

What is the industry this company is active in? How do they currently work? What’s the corporate culture? Who will be the stakeholders in this project? Where is their focus?

We aim to create a ‘big picture’ for ourselves by gathering the views of as many different stakeholder within the company as possible. Based on that, we can plan for how we will work specifically with this customer and its projects

If the “older” you can advise the “younger” you, how would you encourage yourself and your work ethic for this industry?

I find it difficult to see myself even older, but for those who are younger, I encourage you to spend time learning to understand the users of a system and not just look at the technology to be able to create better systems. Take advantage of the experiences from projects in different industries and use this in new projects, help customers look at problems from new perspectives that others have found solutions in

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The vision of co-creation goes to Germany

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Lesterius
The vision of co-creation goes to Germany

“I like to listen to our clients, find out the way they work, discover the motivation behind their requests, and then work hand in hand towards a solution that makes their operations more efficient, faster, and enjoyable.”

Adrian Nier is the new partner in Lesterius, and brings the vision of Lesterius to Germany: Co-creating the digital transformation with FileMaker, for and with our clients.

“In my experience, when you can reduce the number of clicks that a person performs to complete their task from 20 to 1 or 2, you improve their wellbeing, and in turn the prosperity of the company they work for.”

For Adrian, the FileMaker-platform with its rapid development environment is key to human centricity. It’s more cost-efficient and easier to adapt to the client. The process of going from a requirement to a solution is faster, allowing more interaction with all stakeholders.

Germany is the ninth country where Lesterius is based, after Portugal, Spain, France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway. Out of Nuremberg, Adrian will work with nearly two hundred existing clients (developers and end-users), in cooperation with the existing Lesterius consultants, spread around the other offices.

Where does he want to be in five years?
“I want to build a strong team of developers and consultants, working in the spirit of progress for our clients. Both ambitious in their technical goals and socially minded at the same time, so that we can contribute to a better world and a better society.”

Lesterius will have the same offer in Germany as elsewhere, including also hosting, training, coaching, sharing know-how internally and with partners.

Adrian Nier has two decades of experience as a developer, working side by side with his clients, in search of efficient and beautiful solutions. From an early age he discovered his love of Apple products and FileMaker as a tool that keeps improving with new features that make life easier for developers. He’s proud to join Lesterius, one of the many driving forces in the Claris-community that helped bring those features to FileMaker.

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Looking back on 20 years at Lesterius

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Looking back on 20 years at Lesterius

I don’t know what technology or computer language will be used in twenty years’ time, but I do know that it will still be about interaction with the customer, about looking for solutions together. Glenn Vercnocke and Koen Van Hulle have been working for Lesterius for twenty years. On the occasion of this anniversary they look back, and also ahead, to the future of workplace innovation.

Both are experts within the Claris FileMaker platform. Glenn Vercnocke is Digital Transformation Consultant, and was, in his own words, an ‘attic programmer’ 20 years ago when he started at SHpartners (the Belgian predecessor of Lesterius). Koen van Hulle is Business Unit Manager (responsible for hosting) and worked twenty years ago at a company that was taken over by SHpartners after a bankruptcy. That takeover caused the company to double from five to ten employees.
At that time, SHPartners did not even have its own offices. There was no need for that, we worked at the customers’ premises. We would meet at a car park along the motorway and drive to the client together, to work in the meeting room or so. Sometimes we had to ask the customers to move a bit, so we could sit down too,’ says Koen. Glenn adds: ‘I had a whole bag of cables for all kinds of peripheral equipment, wifi didn’t exist back then. Internet was hardly available. We could only read our mails at home’.
The projects back then were different from the projects today. It was very limited, the customer asked us to make sure he could make invoices or quotes, simple applications. It was very technical. We were the gurus, like ‘Mr Doctor’ used to be. Now it is much more of an interaction. Looking for a solution together with the customer. Technology is now more of a secondary concern.
We were pioneers. Twenty years ago, a lot of things were still done on paper. The fact that you could automate repetitive processes was not self-evident then.

Growing with customers
Customers had technological needs, such as the transition from Belgian francs to euros. That is why they came to us. And when we were at the customer’s site, soaking up the atmosphere, we were able to identify and solve their problems. We also grew as a company with our customers.
We never made hard sales. Once there is trust, the questions come naturally. A mistake that is often made in the software world is to think that a solution must be ‘finished’. That is not the case. Software must adapt over the years. Writing software is an ongoing quest. And it works well when the customer is sitting next to you, then you notice where he gets stuck.
Within Lesterius there are of course people with different profiles, one more technically oriented, the other more project oriented. For Koen and Glenn the switch from ‘technician’ to ‘consultant’ went smoothly. Glenn: ‘You just roll into it. You solve a problem, and then they ask you to solve another one. I’m right at home with my customers. I know my customers better than my colleagues, my customers are my closest colleagues. Koen: ‘I have more teams outside than inside Lesterius. It is an exciting variety. Besides, the solution to a problem is not always additional software.
This way of working of course requires from a customer a different attitude than towards ‘plug and play’ software. It is a very good exercise to have to explain your workflow to an outsider. It helps you get to know and understand it better yourself. By taking a step back, the customer sees the need for change. As an outsider, we then have an advantage. Moreover, we come into contact with everyone in a company. As a result, we sometimes even have the most knowledge of all.
The system of searching for solutions together, of ‘co-creation’, requires efforts from the customer. The rule of thumb is that the customer has to put twice as much time in the project as Lesterius puts in. To question everyone, to test, … Therefore, the customer must be given sufficient space to interpret his part.

Claris Community
Especially in the ICT world, 20 years of loyalty to the same company is rather exceptional. Glenn and Koen give two explanations: variety and impact. Variety because, as a consultant, you work for the most diverse customers, and you can take the experiences of one customer to another. Impact because you see the concrete consequences of your work, the projects lead to visible results.
Koen and Glenn have changed and grown together with Lesterius. Technology keeps changing, more becomes possible, and it also becomes more complex. Therefore it is important to be able to fall back on a broad base and competent colleagues.
The main difference between a software company and Lesterius is that they make software, where we look for a solution. I have seen enough ‘applications’ that are technologically great, but offer no real solution.

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End of an Era

Developer Notes

Koen Van Hulle
The end of an era...

It was way back in 2007 when I saw the first glimpse of an early version of Clip Manager. Until today it is a tradition at Lesterius to have regular full day meetings with the whole team to share the latest news, techniques and trends.

It was during one of these meetings that a simple tool was demonstrated which could save the clipboard of tables, fields, scripts, script steps and layout objects. It could even store custom functions, that were scrapped from the FileMaker interface. At the time, you could not copy and paste custom functions into FileMaker. A few months later we shared it with the community.

The goal from the beginning was a search for the holy grail: reusable code and modules in FileMaker.

I joined the Clip Manager development team in 2008 to help rebuild the solution in Xojo, a cross-platform development environment. With the new design, based on iTunes, we wanted to make it easier to add reusable code to our FileMaker solutions. Over the years, we introduced new features such as search and replace, a clip analysis tool, occurrence selector, quick access to snippets, … Our baby grew into an adult with over 55000 lines of code, 450 classes and 4550 methods.

In our challenges to ease the way of building solutions in FileMaker, we experimented with new features that never made it to production:

  • Live sharing clips over the LAN via Bonjour with your colleagues
  • A pallet that analyses a layout, script or function live in FileMaker Pro
  • A visual theme builder/manager
  • Templates with placeholders: e.g. adding a new table into your solution with pre-filled fields
  • Code blocks: a way to automatically add a combination of tables, fields, custom functions and layouts to add new modules to your solution
  • And much more

The best part of building Clip Manager, is dreaming about all the possibilities that suddenly become possible.  The feedback and dreams of our users were also a great motivator to keep improving and extending the tool.

However I couldn’t help thinking “it would be nice if all this could be done within FileMaker.”

Over the years the FileMaker platform has changed and some of our dreams have come true. It started with a customizable template for new tables, all new clipboard formats in an open format, the field picker, the objects panel, the data migration tool …

During the pre-release versions of FileMaker and the new open communication of the Claris product management team, we could see a glimpse of the future: taking away the difficulties of a FileMaker developer, whether he is a no-code, low-code or pro-code developer. And we liked what we saw.

 

As the icing on the cake, Claris introduced add-ons to the FileMaker platform last year. With add-ons you can add small reusable code or complete modules to your solution with just a few clicks. And the best of all, you can easily create these add-ons yourself.

This feature ticks most of the boxes of what we and many of our customers dreamed of.

This left me with a big dilemma: continue to build on Clip Manager and make the full switch to the new ARM chip set, or put my energy into all the new possibilities that Claris offers us today.

My heart and passion lie first and foremost with the Claris platform. So the choice was quickly made.

So in that sense, the choice was an easy one.

I personally would like to thank all ClipManager users for the great feedback, inspiration and criticism we received. This was the great motivator for me to continue all these years.

The end of an era. The start of a new journey.

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Employee Spotlight: meet Adrian Pellus

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Adrian Pellus
Employee Spotlight: meet Adrian Pellus

Our “Employee Spotlight” blog series places the spotlight on Lesterius employees who tell us about why they decided to join Lesterius and what they do here. At Lesterius, we want employees to look back at their time here and say they did the work of their life at Lesterius. This week we sat down with Adrian Pellus to learn more about his career.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? About Adrian Pellus Quesada when he is not working.
I like to spend time with my family. If I need some headspace, we take short family trips together. We like to go hiking or visit museums and feed our curiosity. Being a curious person, that’s vital to me.

How did you become interested in this field and what do you find unique in your professional field?
At first I only saw a job opportunity because FileMaker is a technology to develop applications like any other (or at least that’s what I thought) but as I got deeper into the development of solutions with FileMaker I could see the versatility and scalability that it offered me allowing me to do very fast work in an intuitive way. And have fun along the way! The flexibility that the Claris platform brings is something I have never seen in any other technology. It allows me and my team to create simple solutions to complex problems in the most creative way!

What jobs and experiences have led you to your current position?
I have created and supported so many solutions and businesses, hard to keep track. From small applications for a freelancer who was selling bread in his van and could manage his sales and customers to large enterprise-level applications such as a franchise of museums around the world that could control their sales, online shopping, logistics, etc. All the projects I have worked on have made me acquire both broad and specific experiences and these have always helped me to solve problems in the following projects. This yearlong experience together with my strong desire to make an impact have led me to join Lesterius.

What the best part of working with Lesterius?
I am obsessed with tweaking and optimising applications. Out of necessity, I had to make applications where optimisation was key to the success of the program because it handled large amounts of data. Implementing unconventional optimisations to increase the overall performance is what I love.

How do you and your team prepare for a new project?
Every new project is a challenge not only at the development level but also at the organisational level. Before tackling a new project, our team meets to explain the objectives of the project, then we carefully analyse each point of the project and assign the most suitable person to solve each point. These meetings and workshops also help us to detect any lack of information or any inconsistency in the project in order to anticipate any problem, which sometimes even helps us to propose improvements to the client based on our experiences and thus be able to provide a better service with the highest quality and speed.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be?
Life will throw you some challenges and obstacles. Persist, learn and listen. Doing this will help you grow as a person.

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Developer Notes: Bad practices that slow down your solution

Summary fields: Summary fields in list views are one of the main reasons for poor performance in many FileMaker applications. Often we enter a list view layout in which we want to show several hundred or thousands of records and we get a tiresome message saying “Calculating [x quantity] records …” and we simply have to wait for these calculations to be executed.

Solution: Evaluate if field is needed on this particular layout. Apply hide conditions so this summary field only show in specifics scenarios and certain foundcounts.

Calculation fields: This type of field is also more often used in the list views. The typical presentation that shows a list of invoices with valued sums (tax base, VAT amount, total invoice …), as was the case with the previous example, this type of field can be a cause for despair, especially if you display this field on layouts which are heavily used?.

Solution: try storing this kind of data in index/stored fields. This might imply some scripting routines which perform heavy calculations server side on certain intervals.

SQL executions: SQL functions in FileMaker can help to obtain information without having to resort to complex table relationships or obtaining data through a more elaborate script, but sometimes the execution of SQL itself on calculated fields can reach cause slowness. Wim Decorte from Soliant Consulting wrote a clear summary of the pro’s and con’s which you can read here.

Solution: Use SQL sparingly. Or perform server side with routines/server side scripts.

Multiple windows in script execution: Sometimes we need to execute a script that opens several windows with different data tables and also all of this put in a loop that repeatedly opens or closes these windows or jumps from one to another. Every time that process is carried out within the loop, upon reaching the active window, the content in records and the type of fields it shows can be a determining factor that causes a slowness in the execution of any request that we make to our application.

Solution: Try to perform this script on the server instead of the client.

There are solutions to all of these problems that take your FileMaker application from being a huge, tired, dragging elephant to an agile, powerful, effective and user-friendly tool.

Still struggling with optimising your solutions performance?

Fill in the below form and and one of our experienced consultants will contact you to discuss together what the best approach to optimising these issues are. Without any commitments.

 

Fill in the below form and and one of our experienced consultants will contact you to discuss together what the best approach to optimising these issues are. Without any commitments.

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Hoe ben je geïnteresseerd geraakt in dit vakgebied?

Ik heb altijd een grote affiniteit gehad met ICT. Via mijn oudere broer kwam ik al van kinds af aan in aanraking met de eerste spel- en homecomputers. Onze eerste volwaardige PC was een XT en snel hierna kwam de opmars van AT, waarbij de chipset meestal kortweg 286, 386 of 486 werd genoemd. Deze hebben geleid tot de beginstappen in het programmeren in talen zoals Basic, Pascal, Turbo Pascal en later VB.Net; welke destijds een grote hindernis vormden in mijn nachtrust.
Door de release van Windows 3.1 en Windows for Workgroups 3.11 had ik een nieuwe passie gevonden en zou later de grondlegger zijn voor mijn professionele carrière als IT-er.

Welke professionele ervaringen hebben je naar jouw huidige functie geleid?

Na mijn studies ben ik destijds gestart als ICT Engineer waarbij ik verantwoordelijk was voor de installatie van IT Infrastructuur, dit voornamelijk in B2C, B2B en kleine KMO’s. Al snel lag hier de oorsprong voor mijn gedrevenheid om klant- en oplossingsgericht te denken.
Na 17 jaar te fungeren als Network & System Engineer heb ik in 2015 de stap gezet naar een fulltime management functie en klom ik hogerop als Service Desk Manager waar ik mijn eerste team leidde. Omwille van mijn leergierigheid heb ik ook nog andere rollen zoals Project Manager en Service Delivery Manager vervult, die mijn expertise in het vak en affiniteit met klanten des temeer vergrootte.

Als Business Unit Manager, wat is je management stijl?

Ik geloof in het delegeren van verantwoordelijkheden en in het bouwen van een hecht team. Elk lid van het team moet duidelijkheid hebben over zijn rol, het verwachtingspatroon en de visie van het bedrijf, weten waar ze in passen en het gevoel hebben dat ze kunnen vertrouwen op mij.
Ik wil iedereen de kans geven om te groeien, hun sterktes te zien en hun te motiveren op een manier die resulteert in de beste versie van zichzelf te kunnen zijn wat de algemene groei van het bedrijf ten goede komt.

Het menselijk aspect is heel belangrijk. Ik geloof in real-time feedback. Mochten er zaken zijn die niet naar verwachting verlopen, moet daar meteen actie op ondernomen worden. Loopt alles naar behoren dan hoort daar de nodige appreciatie bij.

Hoe bereiden jullie zich voor op de start van een nieuw project?

Out-of-the-box denken en onze aanpak via co-creatie, is de basis van ons succes.
Co-creatie is een vorm van samenwerking tussen de klant en onze consultants, waarbij alle partijen inspraak en invloed hebben op het project en het resultaat hiervan.

De fundering van elk project is een projectplan, wat samen met de klant besproken wordt zodat deze weet wanneer welke module kan worden getest of opgeleverd wordt.

De sleutel bij dit soort projecten is het toepassen van de AGILE-methode waarbij het ontwikkelen in korte en overzichtelijke periodes gebeurt.
Bij het opleveren van een nieuwe module, gaat de klant dit testen en geeft ons de nodige feedback, waardoor wij de module terug onder de loep nemen en de eventuele oneffenheden platstrijken.

Wat zou je nu zeggen tegen je jongere zelf?

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning.
Enjoy and just be yourself!

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Developer Notes: NFC and Claris FileMaker

Hi fellow Developer!

I’ve dived into the possibilities of working with NFC Tags and Claris FileMaker recently.  Leveraging the power of NFC technologie is possible thanks to a new set of functions and script steps shipped in FileMaker 19.

In this blog I’ll share some bite-sized bits of information and notes that can serve as a reference and quick overview of technical specs for fellow developers to get a jumpstart.

Have fun!

 

But wait, what is NFC again?

NFC (near field communication) is a set of communication protocols by which two electronic devices communicate when they are within close proximity of one another.

Some uses of NFC devices include contactless payment systems, similar to those used in credit cards and electronic ticket smart cards, and allow mobile payment to replace or supplement these systems, social networking and for sharing contacts, photos, videos, and other files. NFC devices can also act as electronic identity documents and keycards.

FileMaker Go 19 now has the ability to scan or stop scanning for NFC tags using the new script step: Configure NFC Reading

The options include an action (Read or Cancel scanning for NFC tags), a script to be run when a tag is read, an optional script parameter, an optional timeout to cancel the read operation after <n> seconds, and an optional Continuous Reading until the user cancels or the timeout parameter is met.

FileMaker Go supports NFC tags using the following formats:

  • “Well Known” format of type text
  • “Well Known” format of type URI
  • “Well Known” format of type “smart poster” (which is a combination of URI and text)
  • “Media” format of type “text/x-vCard”

FileMaker Go can read NFC tags of types 1 through 5 that contain data in the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF).

Claris & NFC in 19.0

NFC technology supported since version. 19.0. FileMaker GO only for now.

Since version 19.1.2 the format results as JSON .

The script step:

Script step: Configure NFC Reading (Read/Cancel) .

Purpose: Start or stop scanning for NFC tags.

Full script step documentation by Claris: https://help.claris.com/en/pro-help/content/configure-nfc.html

 

While testing I noticed:

  1. This script step needs to be the last script step in your script. When other steps follow, they will be executed even before you scanned a tag. You will need to build your logic inside the script which runs after scanning (see options below)
  2. When continuously scanning and saving the values to variable, make sure you use a global variable. The main script reruns the sub script when a tag was scanned.

 

Options

Script (req.)

Run a script when NFC tag is read.

! Important: In this script you must call the script step Get(ScriptParameter) to get the NFC data from the read tag.

Parameter (opt.)

Specify parameter for required script.

Timeout (opt.)

Cancels ‘read’ after specified number of seconds.

Continuous Reading (opt.)

Scanning multiple NFC tags? No problem, set a non-zero value for this option to read multiple tags.

 

Format Result as JSON since 19.1.2 (opt. but highly recommended)

Set value to non-zero to format the results as JSON. Easier to handle the NFC results with the built-in Filemaker JSON functions.

Useful variables while scripting

Set Variable [ $nfcdata ; Value: Get(ScriptParameter) ]

(Required in subscripts, see script option)

 

Set Variable [ $action ; Value: JSONGetElement ( $nfcdata ; “action” ) ]

Returns “TagRead” when a tag was read successfully.

Returns “CanceledByUser” when the user presses cancel or done.

 

 

Set Variable [ $serial ; Value: JSONGetElement ( $nfcdata ; “payloads[0].primary” ) ]

Returns the data written on the NFC tag.

Multiple payloads are possible, depends on how the tag was programmed.

 

 

Differences in device behaviour:

iPhone Xs, Xr, 11, 11 Pro, 12 and 12 Pro

Read

Requires iOS 11 or later.

Background scanning (No app needed to read): iPhone Xs, Xr, 11, 11 Pro, 12 and 12 Pro

Data on the tag is required. Empty tags do nothing. (Android phones tell you the tag is empty)

Write

Requires iOS13 or later.

NFC app required to write data to a tag.  (NFC tools for example)

 

iPhone 7, 8 and X

Read

Pre-iOS14 an app was needed. Now you can find it in the control center.

Data on the tag is required. Empty tags do nothing. (Android phones tell you the tag is empty)

Write

Requires iOS13 or later.

NFC app required to write data to a tag.  (NFC tools for example)

iPhone 7 & 8 can only read with an NFC app found on the app store. (or with FM go of course)

 

NFC tags

Be mindful of different kinds of NFC standards. If you buy tags, make sure your phone supports them.

Only data in NDEF format can be read.

 

Advantages of use shortcuts in combination with NFC

Attention: NFC automation in Shortcuts app is only available on iPhone XS or newer

If you want to launch a shortcut on an older device, you will need an NFC reader/writer app (free) + you will need to write the URL shortcut on the NFC tag

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/shortcuts/apd624386f42/ios

shortcuts://run-shortcut?name=[NameOfShortcut]

 

Security Considerations:

Write

Possible to password protect. To write, you first need to unlock the tag with the password.

Read

An NFC tag can be read by any compatible device. It’s better to not store sensitive information on an NFC tag. What you program on the tag, is your responsibility.

For our use case, we programmed some NFC tags with their own serial number.

This number is linked to assets in a secured database.

So, someone who has no business with the tag would only see the NFC tag serial number when scanned.

!Attention: to stick NFC tags to metal object, you’ll need special NFC tags

 

Some use cases that came to mind:

Inventory Management:

Tracking and identifying assets, inventory, …

Scanning lend items out and in, …

NFC can be valuable alternative to barcodes:

  • Data instead of text
  • Make items ‘smart’
  • Waterproof
  • Easily reprogrammable if there’s a mistake
  • No need to pair devices
  • Very fast when multiple scanning. No need to focus camera for example

 

Sources:

https://help.claris.com/en/pro-help/content/configure-nfc.html

https://seritag.com/news/ios14-iphone-nfc-reader

https://seritag.com/learn/nfc-enabled-phones/

https://help.gototags.com/article/writing-nfc-tags-iphone/

https://skeletonkey.com/nfc-near-field-communication-in-claris-filemaker-go-19/

https://seritag.com/learn/using-nfc/nfc-logos

 

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