Tutorial 205:

Integration

Tutorial 205: Lesson 3

Insert from URL

Lesson Materials
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Insert from URL Script Step

With a single script step in FileMaker Pro Advanced, you can retrieve information from the web and insert it directly into your custom app. The Insert from URL script step can call out to websites that have made their data accessible with what is called a web service.

The script sends the web service a request for information, then places the result in a field or variable in your app. This technique opens up a wide range of integrations for your app.

  • You could write a script that retrieves the shipping status of a package, then emails the customer an update if the package is delayed.
  • You could fill in missing zip codes on addresses, or simply confirm proper address formatting.
  • Say you run a tour company; you could pull in weather forecasts for a destination, to prepare a client for their trip.

In this lesson, you'll learn how the Insert From URL script step works, and how it interacts with a web service using an API (application program interface). You'll practice calling out to a web service to get a simple response. In the final video, you'll learn how to manipulate data in a text format called JSON, so you can work with a more complex response.

To follow along, please download the lesson material provided.

Why is this important?

  • Users often need to go to outside resources to find information as part of their work. If you can provide that answer from within the app, you'll save them time and effort, and minimize distractions.

Video 1

Introduction to the "Insert From URL" Script Step

Learn about how the script step works, and how to communicate with a web service using the rules set forth in its API.

Watch Time: 6 minutes

In this video, you will:

  • Evaluate if the integration is right for your app: Consider when to use Insert From URL
  • See how it works: get the big picture of how the script step interacts with web services
  • Identify next steps: Learn what you'll need to prepare for implementing this integration technique to your app

Video 2

Getting Started with Insert From URL

Practice writing a request and using the Insert From URL script step to receive a simple response: the distance between two zip codes.

Watch Time: 8 minutes

In this video, you will:

  • Form your question: look at the API to see what the web service expects
  • Set the URL: write the full request
  • Write the script: place the request within a FileMaker script
  • Clean the answer: strip unneeded characters from the response, so it's easier to read

Video 3

Insert From URL: Taking it further

Use a weather API to retrieve a more complex response, then learn how to use FileMaker's JSON functions to keep just the information you need. 

Watch Time: 8 minutes

In this video, you will:

  • Define your question: look at the API to see what the web service expects
  • Complete the script: finish and test the FileMaker script started in the sample file
  • Review the result: examine the answer from the web service to learn how JSON is structured
  • Extract JSON: use FileMaker functions to pull the information you need from the full JSON result

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