What is HTML5 and Why Should FIleMaker Developers Care?


 (Spoiler alert…they should)

Recently, you may have heard a lot of discussion about “HTML5.” I believe HTML5 is a game changer. It can revolutionize the way we design our FileMaker databases.

I have spent many years in the FileMaker market.  I believe this combination of technologies is going to lead to some of the most dynamic FileMaker Layouts that we’ve possibly ever seen.  This is the inception of some very exciting and compelling things moving forward in the FileMaker world.

HTML5_Logo_256HTML5 has been deeply etched into the fabric of the industry as “the technology that makes rich web applications.” For my money, I am fine with it. As long as we all understand that what we hear referred to as HTML5, is really a combination of modern HTML, CSS and JavaScript combined together to make impressive applications that can be displayed in a browser.

So what does this mean to us FileMaker folks?

It means a great deal actually. It combines FileMaker Web Viewer Layout Object, data URLs, FMP URLs, a little bit of JavaScript, some CSS and some HTML5. Put all that stuff together and you get some really compelling and imaginative things that you can do right inside the layouts in your FileMaker databases.

“Embedding HTML5 technologies into your web viewers requires nearly NO WEB EXPERIENCE and instead leverages your existing scripting and calculation skill sets along with some copying and pasting from free web resources.”

Granted, the HTML5 technology combination is intended for those who create pages that can be read by web browsers, but in the FileMaker development environment we have the ability to GENERATE HTML5 from within our calculation engine.

Then, we also have the ability to display the generated HTML5 within our layouts and even make them a fully integrated application that can allow us to do nearly endless things within our FileMaker layouts.

WebViewer The key to understanding how this works is the WEB VIEWER. I like to refer to the Web Viewer as:

“A Calculation that results in a Web Page.”

After all, the Web Viewer requires an input of a calculation string that outputs either a properly formatted URL or a page of text that can be read by a browser.

So, like other calculations that output Text, Numbers, Dates or even Containers, Web Viewers allow us to output a web experience that our users can interact with while in the context of our FileMaker layouts. AND, with a “localization” technique, you can generateHTML5 on FileMaker Go output that DOES NOT REQUIRE web connection and CAN BE VIEWED on iPAds and iPhones! This means that even if FileMaker native layout tools and functionality do not allow you to create the user experiences that your solutions require, then embedding a web viewer and using other technologies (like HTML5) within them solves that problem.

This is not just for spinning logos and wacky graphics, but for seamlessly integrating features into your FileMaker solutions that will meet requirements you previously felt were impossible. It also means adding “wow” factor and interfaces that your users LOVE while never leaving the FileMaker layout experience.

I know what you are thinking. “This sounds great, but I do not know anything about HTML5 or JavaScript.” Not a problem. Embedding HTML5 technologies into your web viewers requires nearly NO WEB EXPERIENCE and instead leverages your existing scripting and calculation skill sets along with some copying and pasting from free web resources.

If you are interested in learning more about integrating “HTML5” and FileMaker, please make sure to attend my session at this year’s FILEMAKER DEVELOPER CONFERENCE where I present “Intro to FileMaker and HTML5.” (Click here to add it to your calendar).

In the meantime, for a primer, check out the links below as well as this excerpt from my recent lynda.com video where I introduce HTML5 in the web viewer.

I will continue to post updates on this topic to http://www.FileMakerHTML5.com . If you would like to to be notified of updates, please follow us on twitter .

Using HTML5 in the Web Viewer
From: FileMaker Pro 12 in Depth | by Cris Ippolite

View this entire FileMaker Pro 12 in Depth course and more in the lynda.com library.
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