]> SUNRISE Contacts 2020

SUNRISE Contacts 2020

FAQs


FileMaker Server / Cloud / WebDirect

1. Can I use SUNRISE Contacts on a secure web page of my choosing?

Yes you can, and highly desirable too where security is a must. All you need is a secure web server (using an SSL certificate to create the https connection — ask your IT professional or ISP for some assistance here if you need it), host the server on your own premises, and run FileMaker Server 16/17/18/19 or higher to access SUNRISE Contacts. That is all you need.

The only downside to the above approach is that it will cost you a fair bit to set up. In particular, purchasing FileMaker Server is not cheap for what seems to be a simple task of "publishing" and presenting your data (and layout designs) in a web browser for yourself and anyone else to see. This feature is considered a privilege and users must pay accordingly. A kind of, "Are you trying to make a profit from delivering your data? Oh well, we might as well take a slice of your profits, or else you must pay heavily to properly own the software outright and use it for as long as you like". This is the attitude Apple presents to the community when selling FileMaker Server (1).

Thus, it will cost you $1,000 to purchase FileMaker Server. This may not seem too bad at first until you realise Apple also wants you to pay a monthly or per user subscription fee. If the aim of the server is to be accessed by as any people as you can for a web site (the usual aim for a typical server for internet use), it isn't exactly the most cost-effective solution (2) for consumers. Only businesses may consider this option and only if there is a guaranteed profit from taking on this "bleed me financially dry" approach by Apple.

Too expensive? That is why we think it is better for you to find a trusted third-party FileMaker Server hosting solution for a minimal monthly charge (it should be more than AUD$59.95 to host a handful of databases). The license key for the Server and the version of the software (should be the latest) are already supplied, leaving you the piece of mind of focusing on the data (and/or layout) delivery to your customers or other stakeholders. Of course, this will not be the most securest option for protecting your data.

2. Can I use SUNRISE Contacts with Cloud services?

SUNRISE Contacts and the Cloud (i.e., a place to host your databases on online hardware servers, such as those from Amazon.com) are a match made in heaven. Our recommendations for good FileMaker Server 16 web hosting (4) are:

  1. FMPHost
    Has the latest FileMaker Server software, now version 19. As Carl Horton said: "Our FileMaker 19 Dedicated Database Hosting service starts with a 15 day free trial and can host up to 125 databases.". After the trial period, it costs $59.95 per month. However, starting the trial period is, for some reason, more difficult now. Probably best to send a ticket to this provider to figure out how to do this. .(5)
  2. Foxtail Technology
    Lagging behind slightly with FileMaker Server 18, it does come with a 30-day trial. Costs US$50.00 per month for shared hosting of 5 FileMaker databases, or US$100.00 per month for 10 FileMaker databases.

Web hosting services such as these require no purchase of FileMaker Server and the license certificate from Apple, Inc. Furthermore, the service providers can update FileMaker Server automatically to the latest version as soon as its comes out of Apple on a yearly basis.

But also consider the long-term costs. If you intend to host SUNRISE Contacts within your organisation or at home for a long time, the most cost-effective and secure long-term solution is to buy a perpetual license of FileMaker Server (roughly three times the cost of a yearly subscription) and purchase a cheap second-hand Mac or cheaper PC of reasonable speed to act as the hardware server for running FileMaker Server and host the databases. Then all you need is some IT support to set it all up (or ask us for instructions), which should be a one time labour fee of around US$150 (if the support is good and the IT specialist has experience with setting up FileMaker Server, it should be easily done in a little over one hour). The only thing is, Apple is still slowly progressing with FileMaker Server in improving WebDirect to a level that hopefully soon there will be little need to constantly update. So choosing when is the best time to settle on one version might be a little tricky at the moment. Generally, with FileMaker Server, you need to get the latest for the flexibility, accuracy and performance needed of the web page design to match the database layout designs. Hence FileMaker Server 19 is clearly much better than FileMaker Server 18 and earlier versions. It is only in the FileMaker Pro and Go apps where the improvements are minimal (mainly two or three new scripting commands and/or functions, and adding a Dark Mode to the user interface, but nothing spectacular and major that would get you to go out there and constantly upgrade), unless you happen to be a Linux user, in which case the support for this platform has certainly improved in recent times.

If maximum security is not critical and you prefer to pay-as-you-go (with the advantage of upgrading to a new FileMaker server software version every 12 months, although the cycle of upgrade/updates is merging and occurring on a regular basis, so you will have to decide if it is worth the move) and want to avoid all the IT-related hassles of setting things up and getting the server hardware working all the time by asking an IT specialist either in-house or as a consultant, try FileMaker Cloud. This server software solution is the same as FileMaker Server, except it is dedicated to working with the hardware servers located in the data centers at Amazon.com. If you choose this option, pay for the yearly (or perhaps monthly, but we do not recommend choosing an hourly) subscription when running FileMaker Cloud. Certainly if you intend to be online for a long time and reduce the costs to the lowest, choose the longer subscription periods. And if you want maximum security and know you will be on FileMaker for a long time, then purchase an outright license for FileMaker Server and running it yourself on your own server would be the way to go.

3. What is performance like on the server?

FileMaker, Inc. recommends a maximum of 100 simultaneous users accessing SUNRISE Contacts on FileMaker Cloud (if you are willing to pay for that many users). However, testing has revealed that you can have up to 1,000 users logged into SUNRISE Contacts (or other FileMaker solutions), but performance will drop dramatically when performing lots of sorting on a million records or more. If you stay within the 100 users limit, performance should be excellent for millions of records.

Or if you are certain you won't go into the millions of records but, say, 10,000 or even 100,000 records, then performance for all functions should work very well for more than 100 users.

If there is any performance decrease you are likely to experience, it will be in WebDirect. If you have complex layouts designs that change regularly across different layouts, then do expect extra time for the server to reproduce the designs in the web browser.

3. Any bugs or issues to report on FileMaker Server?

Fortunately there are not too many, and certainly not too serious if you take the right precautions. More a case of Apple dropping in a few bugs in one "not so well tested" version, perhaps fixing one or two of them if enough people complain, and generally wait for the next upgrade to kind of fix some more bugs and then introduce some new ones just to keep people on their toes.

Can you handle this sort of regime from Apple?

The Startup Restoration bug of FileMaker Server 18

This is an important bug you should be aware of. It involves FileMaker Server 18, and there appears to be no fixes for it unless you are willing to fork out the costs of upgrading to FileMaker Server 19. Like the Runtime bug in FileMaker Pro 18 not launching in macOS due to a code signature problem (see below) just to see how many people mention it and then make the decision to remove the Runtime feature, it has taken a similar amount of time for Apple to mention this Server bug and only just prior to the release of FileMaker Pro/Server 19 (which occurred on 20 May 2020) even though people had mentioned it online. To mention it now by Apple at this late stage suggests that Apple/Claris had probably known about the bug for some time but had chosen to keep quiet and not provide an update. If that isn't true, then it must be that Apple does not use FileMaker Server for its own work because it never was meant to be a serious piece of software. Only a tool to rake in money from gullible consumers.

There is, of course, a more sinister reason. When you see the seriousness of the bug and the lack of effort to provide a fix for users on FileMaker Server 18, there is a good chance it is designed to undermine the security and reliability of third-party CRM solutions in favour of Apple's preferred free OS apps. Whether this is the case or to encourage people to upgrade, there is a serious bug in FileMaker Server 18 (not FileMaker Cloud 18) where the "startup restroration" feature is turned on by default by Apple on first install. The most common complaints of the feature were the slow performance of the server, unusual numbers of crashes and unexpected quits of the server, and more seriously some FileMaker databases have been damaged by this feature. The latter puts it into a more serious category and should have been addressed with a separate update rather than waiting for people to upgrade to FileMaker 19. It appears to be a new feature of FileMaker Server 18 with insufficient testing performed by Apple/Claris developers. Now that the developers are finally aware of the issue, we should see an improvement in FileMaker Server 19 (and, indeed, it is fixed more quickly than the GetNthRecord function bug which still remains a long-standing issue lasting more than a decade despite FileMaker developers telling Apple/Claris to fix it, including the latest FileMaker Pro 18 and 19 versions). For those sticking to Server 18, you should turn off this feature immediately (it is defaulted to "On" when installed first time):

  1. Look for /Library/FileMaker Server folder. Get Info on the FileMaker Server folder and make sure the folder and its included files and folders have permissions that allow for "Read and Write".
  2. Open Terminal.app in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder.
  3. Type the following: fmsadmin set serverprefs startuprestorationenabled=false
  4. Press Return key and type in the administrator password to accept the changes.
  5. With the Startup Restoration feature set to "false", it means the feature will not run on the server. One less buggy feature to worry about.

    Alternatively, we will provide FileMaker Server Admin tools in SUNRISE Contacts very soon to handle this aspect.

    Why can't I enable Web Publishing and WebDirect on FileMaker Server 18?

    There has been a quiet change in the way the FileMaker Server 18 installer writes and puts all the relevant resources on your computer. It has to do with Java. In previous versions there was no problem. In FileMaker Server 18, Oracle has decided to monetise its Java technology, which means Apple/Claris can no longer distribute Java freely with its FileMaker Server installer file, starting with version 18. You will have to download from the Oracle web site a file called Oracle JRE 8 Update 251 for macOS or Windows (both x64 versions), depending on the computer platform you want to run your server. In so doing, you are effectively being asked to establish an account for Oracle to know who you are before it decides to sell you products at a later date.

    You will have to go for JRE 8 (Java Runtime Environment). Don't try to be a smart alec thinking bugs will be fixed and security will be better by downloading the latest Java version 14 or higher . It won't work. FileMaker Server has no clue how to handle the latest Java (and certainly has not been updated by Apple/Claris despite the numerous updates to Java). Stick to version 8. In FileMaker Server, you will tell it where this Java installer is located. There is also an alternative Java solution considered more Open Source, but it is harder to get working and requires copying and pasting files and folders from the Java package and paste in the right spot in the FileMaker Server folder. And even then, FileMaker Server can still; struggle to recognise the files (probably because it requires a very specific Java version).

    Once installed, you will be amazed by how easy it is start up Web Publishing and WebDirect. Yay!

    Why can't I edit and save data in my fields published on WebDirect/Web Publishing?

    Have you been scratching your head checking the accounts of each database you are hosting have read and write privileges and you have turned on FileMaker WebDirect in the Sharing menu command under File, and still can't figure out why fields are locking you out with a message that says you cannot modify their contents? It is a common problem and not one that Apple/Claris can fix with a single button within its FileMaker Server despite how many years the product has been around. The solution has all to do with file/folder permissions. Yep, that dreaded old permissions thing has cropped up. Nothing in FileMaker Server can tell you the reason for this and what to do.

    Well, what you have to do is close all the databases from being served in FileMaker Server, go to the Database folder that hosts your databases, Get Info on it, and in the Permissions section where it says "fmsadmin", you need to change the privilege to "Read & Write". Apply this permission across all database files and folders within the Database folder. Now on re-opening the database files in the Server and accessing them online, you will discover the joys of editing data in the fields of your databases. Truly astonishing!

    In case you are wondering where this Database folder is located, it is hidden pretty well inside /Library/FileMaker Server/Data/Databases/

    Why is FileMaker Server struggling to connect to a particular IP address when previously it was fine?

    This is an issue to keep people wondering as well for which Apple/Claris seems unable to give much information to the user about what is going on, and it is not an uncommon situation. After a while of use, the Server can suddenly keep showing a "can't connect to IP address a.b.c.d" no matter how long you wait. For Web Publishing and WebDirect, it can potentially take up to 10 minutes to get going despite 90 per cent of the time starting up fairly quickly on previous occasions. However, there are moments when it won't matter how long you wait. The server cannot get the services running even after 24 hours of waiting. You can see it with your eyes that WPE and WebDirect are turned on. You have restarted the computer several times and still it fails to connect to the IP address (the same one that worked before many times).

    The problem is not something Apple/Claris can advise on what to do. Well, here is our advice. Firstly, we strongly recommend applying the latest update to FileMaker Server (make sure you turn off the Server when you do this). This could fix up some teething problems. Secondly, make sure you don't have OSX/Apache Server running at the same time and using ports 80 and 443. In order for FileMaker Server to deliver WebDirect web pages, it needs access to those ports. You have to choose which server to use and stick to it.

    To start the Apache server on macOS:

    sudo apachectl start
    or
    sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist

    Drop the -w if you do not want this to persist after a system restart. To stop the Apache server on OS X:

    sudo apachectl stop
    or
    sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist

    In the worse case scanario, you may have to reinstall FileMaker Server. This is the only definitive way of getting the services to work again.

    Services to open with a Firewall

    To run FileMaker Server behind a Firewall, it is important to open up specific services to incoming and outgoing connections. The following services are important:

    • mscwpc
    • fmsased
    • fmserver_helperd
    • fmsgetpasskey
    • fmsib
    • fmxdbc_listener

    To add these services to your Firewall, you can locate them in /Library/FileMaker Server/Database Server/bin/, except for mscwpc. which is in /Library/FileMaker Server/Web Publishing/publishing-engine/cwpc/bin/.

    Why does FileMaker Server stop working after about 15 minutes when I am trying to access the databases online?

    There is one more thing you have to do prior to turning your computer into a server. As you may have noticed, in macOS Mohave and higher versions, there is a default timer setting put there by Apple as a factory setting that causes the OS to go asleep during a period of inactivity on the computer even thought FileMaker Server could be doing something. Or even if it isn't, it should always be on standby and straightaway serve data to users. However, the sleep timer may turn on. If you wake it up, give it about 30 seconds to restore connections to FileMaker Server.

    To avoid this situation happening again:

    1. Go to the System Preferences.
    2. Open Energy Saver preference pane.
    3. Push the slider for Computer Sleep to the right until it is set to "Never"
    4. To preserve the screen, you can reduce the timer here to say 10 minutes.
    5. Close the preference pane to save the settings.

    FileMaker Server should now work continuously and without interruption.


    FileMaker Go

    1. Can I use SUNRISE Contacts on an iOS device?

    Yes. In fact, as soon as Apple removed the free web publishing (i.e. WebDirect-like) feature known as Instant Web Publishing (IWP) in the standard and advanced versions of FileMaker Pro some years back (and would have been the ideal solution for budding and budget-conscious families and small businesses in delivering data online to a small team), the company introduced the much cheaper option known as FileMaker Go. It is a kind of compensation to customers for the rather significant loss of the IWP feature, but deep down it is a quiet strategy to encourage people to buy iPads and/or iPhones and give Apple more profit in selling FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Server (not because Apple was losing money from selling the product, but because it is a shareholder company in desperate need to maximise profit wherever it can). On the positive side, FileMaker Go is free (for now) and will allow the running of your databases on any number of iOS devices. Thanks Apple! You are too kind.

    For Android users, no such option exists at the moment. Sorry guys. Apple hasn't been kind to you as yet. The only thing you can do is set up the secure FileMaker Server option to access the databases on a web browser of any smartphone or tablet device.

    However, there is yet another unfortunate catch for the weary consumer. Plug-ins developed by FileMaker developers to enhance the features and functions of SUNRISE Contacts will not work on iOS or Android devices because Apple wants to use a different microprocessor for its portable products and likewise for Android manufacturers compared to the desktop and laptop versions.

    Not only that, but Apple can still technically gather data coming out of a FileMaker Pro databases through an iOS device to the Apple servers by pushing data through as a means of syncing data with different devices unless the data is properly encrypted. Oh well, never mind. There is a better solution.

    We recommend that you use our PC version of SUNRISE Contacts and run it on your combo laptop/tablet device using the proper Intel processor, and enjoy the full power, including all the plug-ins we supply as standard (which includes high-level encryption). But keep in mind the fact that any data you wish to transfer from your PC to any Mac user will be noticed by the Apple servers. If you have sensitive data and need users on a Mac or iOS device to access it, make sure you use encryption (3).

    Perhaps not surprisingly, Apple has chosen not to provide a combo tablet/laptop product that utilises the Intel processor (the requirement to run all the features of SUNRISE Contacts). Only Windows machines can do this. Reason: Apple needs to sell the iOS devices using a different processor, forcing consumers to purchase an iPhone and/or iPad, as well as a Mac as the way to maximise profits for the company.

    As you can see, Windows machines are a little more forgiving.


    FileMaker Pro

    1. How do I try out FileMaker Pro?

    You have a couple of ways to go about this. One is to download the trial version from Apple's own Claris web site. This is a fully working version (now that the Runtime feature is gone) but time-limited to 45 days. Alternatively, and knowing the improvements are not significant in the FileMaker Pro arena, you can purchase cheaply a perpetual license version of an older FileMaker Pro app from eBay. Nowadays, you can easily spend less than US$50 on FileMaker Pro 18 (at the time FileMaker Pro 19 came out). The same is true of FileMaker Server 18.

    2. Is it true that Apple wants to remove the Runtime feature of FileMaker Pro?

    Yes. As sad as this sounds, it is true.

    The technical term is "deprecated". From a developer's perspective (in this case Apple), it means that it has a reason for removing a feature or function, either because it is too hard to support (unlikely if people see the value in maintaining the feature or function), hardly anyone else is using it (because technology has evolved to something else that is suppose to be better), or to reduce competition from other developers using the software (because it is too powerful in what it can do). In the latter case, SUNRISE with its CRM is a good example. It is the type of software that utilises the Runtime feature to create a self-contained app. And it can affect Apple's own free contacts.app on macOS and iOS because it gives people an alternative option. It can also potentially affect Apple's profits if the software can challenge the aims of Apple in pushing people in a certain pay-as-you-go model of service delivery as Apple prefers. Apple wants people to use its apps (one of the reasons why Apple provides free apps with the OS), or else force everyone to go online and on the Cloud and pay for nearly all the services where it can identify everyone as they achieve some goal (in most cases, it is to make a profit). And to make sure of it, any means of having an advantage over FileMaker developers would be highly advantageous for the company. Removing the Runtime feature is one way to achieve this anti-competitive aim. Somehow Apple is hoping developers will see the advantage of paying Apple to join its elite Apple/FileMaker Developer's club, and users and businesses to join the Cloud-based club called Claris Connect (for a regular fee, of course). There might be some discounts as a reward, mainly for FileMaker developers. This is to turn developers into sales people to get more FileMaker Pro products out the door and into the hands of the developers' own customer base (and that would cost more than selling the database solutions, as people must include the price of FileMaker Pro app itself). And once the software is out there, FileMaker developers would soon become a dying breed if the software is simplified to allow anyone to do the work.

    This is the thing. Apple finds it hard to see the profitability of retaining the Runtime feature in FileMaker Pro even though it sells a large number of FileMaker Pro apps with every new release (or else it is wearing rose-tinted glasses with dollar signs etched into them for certain products it has). FileMaker, Inc., as it was once called, and now renamed Claris, has always been more than sustainable. It had made significant profits with each upgrade. Yet, for some reason, the profits were not sufficient. Thinking that perhaps sales of FileMaker Pro will go through the roof at Apple headquarters, the company decided to remove the Runtime feature. Or was there a third=party product to entice Apple to make the decision in dumbing down its FileMaker Pro product?

    After losing the Runtime feature in FileMaker Pro 19 as of 20 May 2020, there has been no real compensation to FileMaker developers. Nothing radical or game-changing in the features provided in the new app . Only a couple of new functions to handle conversion of FileMaker Paths to OS paths and vice versa, and a new script command called "Configure Machine Learning Model" (it is hard to see what else has changed apart from the loss of the Runtime option), and the rest are "add-ons" that involves the ability to extract parts of a FileMaker database that performs certain functions and distribute them to other FileMaker users as "Add-Ons" to incorporate in their own solutions, it is not exactly clear why the Runtime feature had to go. If this new Machine Learning technology is the real issue because it is considered too powerful, just disable it in FileMaker Runtime. But still not possible for Apple to do this. But if we leave aside Machine Leaving and the add-ons, the very few scripting and functions commands are not enough to warrant the loss of the Runtime feature. The rest of FileMaker Pro app is already in FileMaker 18. The path conversion functions have already been solved through custom function by other developers, Not even the Claris Connect APIs are integrated into FileMaker (this is a separate online service) even though a number of the APIs can be integrated directly into the database solutions from these API developers and service providers. The other add-ons of the Claris Marketplace for things like Javascript features can be created and added to web viewers to display the kind of data you want, and web viewers have been in FileMaker Pro since version 12. These Javascripts can be downloaded from other sites and added to older FileMaker solution at any time. There is nothing special about FileMaker Pro 19 to achieve this simple task (other than to make it a little easier to integrate). So what exactly is new in the app that deserves the Runtime feature to disappear? It just does not make sense. Unless, or course, there is an agenda, and it has to do with reducing the competition from FileMaker developers in offering free or very low-cost FileMaker solutions to the public. Apple would rather see FileMaker developers sell more FileMaker Pro apps and and force everyone to buy FileMaker Pro just for the privilege of accessing the database files. Furthermore, Apple wants everyone to be on the Cloud (helped along by Claris Connect as a separate API service). In that way, people will be asked to pay for subscriptions and, at the same time people can be monitored, right down to all the tools being used, develop a profile of people and their businesses, and find innovative ways to encourage people to pay more for extra features that may be useful in the future. Every feature must be used regularly by enough people, and all have to be done online for some reason, and designed to maximise Apple's own profits on a constant basis as if it is struggling to make a profit. Not likely looking at previous releases. At the moment, Apple thinks removing the Runtime feature will not affect sales as it thinks very few people will use it. If that was true, why disable Runtime in the trial versions of previous FileMaker Pro versions? Too powerful to let people try it out? Or was it simply the fact that there were people using the Runtime feature and Apple did not want to give away this ability in a trial version?

    As can be seen, the word "deprecation" does not necessarily mean a function or feature has been, or will be removed. Sure, there is a strong indication that a function or feature is likely to be removed, but it need not necessarily be the case that it will. Various factors will determine how likely a feature or function will disappear from an app. For Apple, the term may be nothing more than a cost-saving decision to dumb down software and reduce the costs and time to support extra features as well as reduce the competition from other software developers using the Apple software. For other developers, it could be a method to determine the reaction of users in hearing about the proposed removal of a feature. Should there be enough complaints from the users, the "deprecation" status of a feature is always dropped. In Apple's case, it was not the lack of users using the Runtime feature. Far from it. Apple constantly disabled the feature in previous trial versions because it knew how useful it was to a lot of people and how many do use it. For Apple, there was a darker reason. Leaving aside the excessive profiteering by the company in forcing everyone to pay for everything, it is that the Runtime option was giving some developers too much of an advantage or helping to compete with Apple's own free apps or paying Cloud-based apps with more privacy-protected solutions or other features. Apple did not want the extra competition, so it felt entitled to remove the feature to get the additional profits and benefits of monitoring and identifying people online.

    And to make sure of it, Apple did everything it could to hide this "advanced" (or "pro") Runtime feature. Right down to hiding a checkbox in the Preferences dialog to make the Runtime feature visible in the menu. Apple really wanted to push FileMaker Pro to no longer have this advanced feature. It was not a case of insufficient users using the Runtime feature. It was a determined decision to remove the feature by any means. Apple was not interested in listening to users on what they wanted to see in the product.

    To force further changes on users, FileMaker Pro 19 no longer supports Windows 7 even though there are plenty of PC users out there who are happy to use Windows XP and 7. It is not a numbers game for Apple of how many users are on a version of an OS. For Microsoft, it is a numbers game. Microsoft has not moved on from Windows 10 despite making sure it can run nearly all legacy software with it. The company had hoped this compatibility aspect would encourage users to upgrade, but it hasn't.,For most users, they are happy with Windows XP and 7. Windows 8 had major problems, and Windows tried to improve on the mistakes. Windows 10 is much better but it is a monstrosity to install with little no added benefits to Windows 7 other than to fill up more disk space. So now, Microsoft is in a quandary on what to do next. Should the company release Windows 11 or not? The decision so far is to stop upgrading the OS. But Apple is different. With a younger market of Mac users who think anything new equates to being better and a must-have feature (so they can brag to their Windows friends about how good the Mac is), they are more likely to adopt almost any kind of changes (if they think it is sufficiently different and better in their minds), even if it seems very minor or cosmetic. And Apple knows this. It is taking advantage of the situation to get people to upgrade and spend money buying new Macs and upgrading third-party software to get things working again. Now that Apple has some experience in how to do this, Apple is trying to help Microsoft to force people to upgrade the OS, as well as itself and to capitalise on these continuous "apparent improvements" for the sake of making high profits in selling the latest Mac to run the latest OS, FileMaker Pro to open and use database files, and any other software.N ow FileMaker Pro 19 will not work on Windows 7. Only Windows 10. How interesting? It is the endless treadmill of forcing users to change and pay if they want something to work. And even then, Apple is dictating how people should do things, and make a profit along the way in doing so if users are silly enough to accept the changes.

    Could this explain why a number of business executives, including the CEO of the former FileMaker, Inc., decided to leave the company? Could this be more a case of Apple wanting to shake up management because of where the FileMaker platform should be headed? Except the decision to dumb down FileMaker Pro by losing a key developer feature as ordered by the Apple management board was not to the liking of the previous FileMaker management team. It was not likely to be the official Apple explanation given that the previous management team was not being innovative enough to try out things like Claris Connect . The removal of the Runtime feature was likely to be one of the reasons for the decision by those in the former company to move on.

    It is amazing. All this effort to remove a key feature of FileMaker and considered unique to database development at its price point (even if one had to pay an extra $300 for the privilege, and far less than Microsoft's own Runtime solution for Microsoft Access) despite the fact that Apple offers the free Xcode for developers to create any software they like. Developers can make a CRM if they want with Xcode and sell it, and the only thing Apple can do to control the extra competition is to apply the regular upgrades of the OS in order to make slightly old software not work again, and so forcing developers to regularly pay their annual developer's subscription to receive the code-signing certificate and update their software with the latest Xcode just to make their software work again, and all the while Apple wants to claim the new OS is an improvement and necessary for all Mac users (cough!). Somehow FileMaker Pro cannot be allowed to do the same. It does not matter if most people describe it as foremost a software development tool with a database feature added on, especially for the Advanced app version. This is not how Apple wants to see it. Rather, the development of FileMaker databases should serve a more dumb-down purpose of simply storing data, allowing the data to be found, and having it used in-house together with a pretty interface should people want to go that far with it. There is no point as far as Apple is concerned in having a self-contained and running app that could be used and sold to "external customers". FileMaker Pro is not Xcode and Apple wants to make sure of it. Furthermore, Apple will not offer an alternative to the Runtime option in FileMaker Pro, such as a tool to migrate and compile FileMaker databases into Xcode to work as self-contained apps. FileMaker developers are required to find alternative third-party solutions for creating a Runtime solution if one exists.

    After losing this key feature, what do we have left in FileMaker Pro 19? One or two new scripting commands, a couple of path conversion functions, some support for Linux systems, a new command to handle Javascript integration, and the rest is a fancy Dark Mode user interface presumably to wow the pants off customers. Anything else Apple has done over past 12 months is to acquire the APIs and monetise them through a separate online "Claris Connect: store while permitting database developers and users to bring together a few Javascript "add-ons" and some useful plug-ins already on offer for the past 10 years to keep them busy. And still after losing the Runtime feature we cannot get the GetNthRecord bug fixed (the one with a "?" in the calculation after around 277 records ) nor can FileMaker Server 18 receive the necessary bug fix for its startup restoration feature to work properly. So much focus on alleged innovation (mainly to create a fancy looking dark mode user interface and dumbing down the app with the removal of the Runtime feature), taking pictures of cities where the Claris office is located in the Contacts page (sounds like Apple has more money than sense and too many people not doing much other than to sell ice to the Eskinos), a change in business name to Claris (Apple definitely has too much money to spend if it wants to update the letterheads and other stationery items, and yet this company is nothing like the original Claris Corporation that did quality software development work in the 1980s and 90s and was noted for being the most bug-free solid-as-a-rock products on the planet), and later compile some URLs of third-party APIs, Javascript modules and a few ready-made plug-ins that people can use, and that's about it. Yet not enough on the fundamentals of making a solid bug-free and flexible app.

    So where are we at with FileMaker Pro?

    At the moment FileMaker Pro 16, 17 and 18 can generate Runtime apps. This means SUNRISE Contacts will continue to run for at least the next 5 years on a Mac, and at least twice that on Windows (unless people are forced to upgrade their OS every year). We will continue to offer this feature while there are enough interest by users in having a Runtime solution.

    In the future, you can establish a virtual disk to run an older OS version. SUNRISE Contacts will run happily on this system with FileMaker Pro. In terms of performance, this should not be a problems thanks to the speed of Solid State Drives (SSDs) these days. Of course, if you do happen to have the latest FileMaker Pro, you will have no trouble running SUNRISE Contacts. However, if you want a self-contained and running app that does not require FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Server/Cloud, or be locked into a particular OS to use it, there is a movement online to read/convert FileMaker files and provide a shell of commands that can be compiled to become self-contained running apps. At the moment, the ability to convert FileMaker files is about 90 per cent there as of May 2020. Over the next five years, this will increase to at least 99 percent. Once there is a reverse engineered solution of 100 per cent conversion, we will have a permanent solution and one that is more flexible than Apple's offering. It will be the solution to the Runtime loss and one that can run more flexibly on Linux and Android as well as Mac, Windows and iOS.

    The only good thing to come out of this news is that SUNRISE Contacts with its Runtime app will continue to work with all Windows 7 to 10 OS versions (as well as the fact that there is an alternative solution on the horizon to enable a standalone app to be created and not be influenced by the decisions of Apple in stopping it). And emulation programs with virtual disks will ensure the programs will always run for the next 25 years.

    If you need the final and latest Runtime app to run for as long as possible, download Mac or Windows file and drag-n-drop the FMP12 database files into this new SUNRISE folder. These are the final stable and most compatible apps you can get today. For iOS, use the free FileMaker Go app (which is not yet obsolete). For Android, Linux and other users, wait for a compiled version of SUNRISE Contacts in the near future.

    As a side-note, a number of Not-For-Profit organisations that have relied on FileMaker Runtime solutions to lower licensing costs are being forced to move to another platform as of May 2020 using one of the competitors' alternative "database solution" products, most notably SalesForce. It is considered the lesser of two financial evils when compared to the increasingly higher costs of Apple's FileMaker platform. This is especially true when we are talking about FileMaker Pro and Server in the numbers required to be effective and useful to an organisation and in order to meet the new licensing requirements. Unless CEOs are the Elon Musk's of the world with money to spend, most ordinary organisations will no longer see the FileMaker platform as a cost-effective strategy. We can only re-iterate our earlier question: "Why remove the Runtime feature?" There is certainly nothing particularly innovative about this decision from Apple to do away with the feature. Clearly there were people out there who found the feature very useful. Instead we have a spiteful company that is too heavily motivated by excessive profits (as you can expect from a shareholder company that does not understand sustainable and sensible profits, only excessive profits to keep shareholders happy).

    3. My FileMaker Pro 18 Runtime app crashes on launch. Why?

    Funny that should appear at this time (just before the release of FileMaker Pro 19 that comes without the Runtime feature). As part of the effort by Apple to find out if people will complain about the deprecation of the Runtime feature, the company has conveniently put in a bug of its own (with absolutely no testing performed if it was accidental). It concerns whether the runtime app is allowed to launch on the latest macOS High Sierra or higher versions. Fortunately there is a solution. If the generated runtime app from FileMaker Pro 18 is not launching on your Mac because it shows the message, "EXC_CRASH (Code Signature Invalid)" in the crash report, you need to:

    1. Show Package Contents of the Runtime app itself.
    2. Inside is a folder called "_CodeSignature". Delete it.
    3. Close the folder.

    Launching the Runtime app on a Mac should now work. This is the only difference to be found (apart from the general FileMaker engine updates, which is extremely minor) when compared to older Runtime apps and the reason why those older apps can still run on macOS High Sierra or higher.

    4. Why is FileMaker Pro 16.0.6 is now generating damaged Runtime apps on a Mac?

    Did you update from 16.0.5 to 16.0.6(.666)? The final update to FileMaker Pro 16 (version 16.0.6.600) released in June 2020 and with its infamous 666 incorporated into the version number now creates incomplete / damaged Runtime apps to prevent people from using this feature (or force users to upgrade). It is imperative that you maintain a copy of the 16.0.5 update or FileMaker Pro app with version 16.0.5. Unless you already have the Runtime created and working for you in your solutions, you will have to downgrade.

    We will investigate the changes made to the Runtime app...

    The Runtime apps for the Mac have been analysed. The critical change that stops the Runtime from running is in Info.plist. Use Get Info on the app and choose Show Package Contents to find this file. Here are the differences between 16.0.5 (left) and 16.0.6 (right).

    As you can see, some information has been lost at the end of the text file in 16.0.6 compared to 16.0.5.

    If you have created a Runtime app in version 16.0.6, you can move the latest package contents except Info.plist to your 16.0.5 Runtime app version containing the same database files and having the same date/name identifier. It will work.

    Have you already updated to 16.0.6.600 by mistake and don't have a way to go back with the right updater and/or installer? You can download FileMaker Pro Advanced 16.0.4.403 (use your serial number to install) and apply the FMPA 16.0.5.500 Updater.

    Now testing the PC side....

    Runtime apps generated on Windows by FileMaker Pro 16 appear to be working fine for version 16.0.6.600. This final update should be fine for PC use.

    5. How do I import SVG images into FileMaker Pro?

    A good choice of a graphic file format. SVG images are resolution-independent and infinitely sharp images. You can scale them up to any size on a layout and it will look sharp. However, the only way to import SVG images into FileMaker are as follows:

    1. In Layout Mode, choose Insert-->Button from the menu.
    2. There is a button with a + sign. Click on it.
    3. A dialog box appears to let you select the SVG image.
    4. Adjust size according with the slider.

    But as you will discover, Apple/Claris has not provided a field box to enter a custom image size in pixels to any amount. All SVG images will be kept to a maximum of 128px. If the company is so eager to promote innovation, how about putting in a field box to control image size properly?

    There is one more thing you have to do prior to importing SVG images for them to benefit for FileMaker design features:

    1. Open the SVG file in a text editor.
    2. Do a search for those text lines that start with "style=" and contains within the quotation marks the words "fill" and "stroke". After the ending "greater than" symbol, put a space character and type class="fm_fill". What follows after this should be the data to draw the shape of the image starting with d=". The purpose of adding this class information is to permit button icon color to be applied to the image by FileMaker.
    3. Repeat step 2 for all other lines with this fill and stroke information for each shape making up the image.

    Now you can import the SVG image into FileMaker Pro.

    NOTE: Not all SVG files will show a fill and/or stroke information, so knowing where to put the FileMaker class information can be tricky. You either have to import into Adobe Illustrator and re-export to get that information visible for you to add the FileMaker requirement (and with the added metadata and other crap that comes with Adobe generated files, or wait for Apple/Claris to be more innovative in getting this whole process streamlined and working in one go within FileMaker Pro. It is time to have this fixed.

    6. I have FileMaker Pro. Do you have advice on how to organise my FileMaker solution during development?

    You have probably seen various standards of naming fields, tables, scripts, layouts and so on and other standards, such as this one from RCC. What is in common with all such standards is a means of organising your solutions in a way that not only help you to understand what you did in 6 months time, but anyone else who may be required to look at your solutions (sounds likely? It is only when you work for a team of developers will you understand the importance of keeping your app well-organised.

    The way RCC does it is mainly to get a lot of the beginners and intermediate FileMaker developers on the same page with each other, and with the assumption that FileMaker solutions may get dissected and improved by other developers. It is about helping everyone to understand what has been done in a solution. However, despite the good intentions of the people at RCC and anyone else who has developed this organizing convention, there are drawbacks. For example, the idea of putting numbers against layouts such as L10, L11, L12, etc might help if you are talking to another developer a million miles away about a particular layout (because they might be required to work on the layout), but it makes no sense in the scripting environment using a simplified and powerful script to handle multiple layouts in the simplest way. As an example, some auto update scripts may require running for a selected range of layouts (e.g., card layouts versus standard layouts). Otherwise you will end up writing in your script a complicated IF Get(LayoutName)="L10..." OR IF Get(LayoutName)="L11..." OR and so on THEN DO THIS SCRIPT. Really? This is a PITA.

    Some organising is acceptable, and probably necessary if you intend to go back to your solution at a later date.

    For example, use folders as a means of organising layouts based on their function and how they are related by the relationships established in the tables underlying the layouts. Also think about the scripts and what they need to do with those layouts. If you like, add at the beginning of the layout name a word like "Layout" or "L" for standard layouts, "Card" or "C" for card layouts, and so on. Don't worry about numbering every single layouts, scripts, and fields to the nth degree, or else you will find your scripts and custom functions will get overly complicated. And if you have to rearrange the layouts in order of priority or importance or realise another layout needs to be associated with a different group of layouts in another folder, it is going to be extra work in renumbering the layout names.

    We agree that variables (both global and local) as well as fields should have meaningful names (e.g., Last Name is better than LN). And there should be just the right amount of comments in scripts or in folder names to provide an understand of what each important section of the script or layouts do. But don't write copious amounts of comments every second or third line. This is something that we have seen RCC do, perhaps for the sake of explaining things to FileMaker beginners in a sample file, when the coding and comments could so easily be dramatically simplified. A classic example has to be the application of REST APIs, and the shocking number of $variables used presumably to break things up and explain things (together with lots of comments) when a simple LET statement can prepare the data compactly prior to sending the data off through the SEND AS URL statement and yet still be able to explain the guts of it easily enough).

    At the end of the day, you use whatever organising system that works for you. But as your solution grows and with the possibility that other developers might get involved, you should come up with a system that anyone can understand and helps to fully document what you did. And what that system should be will depend on the type of solution, how sophisticated it is, and how you you design your scripts to be simplified to handle many aspects of your solution.

    If you need rules to follow, there are really only four basic rules to organising a FileMaker app:

    1. Keep It Simple S*** (KISS) as the old adage goes still applies to FileMaker apps. If you can think of a simpler and more elegant way of achieving the same task, whether it is on the user interface (through fewer clickable buttons etc.), within the scripts, or even the tables and relationships you form within your database solution, then do it. The simpler something is and makes sense (i.e.becomes intuitive) to you (and for other people), the easier it will be to use the solution and with ruthless efficiency and effectiveness, or to debug later. In fact, in the latter case, it will help you to see the big picture of how the various important parts of the app works with respect to everything else. And it can have another unintended benefit in keeping things simple: it can speed up your solutions (especially while Apple is not able to provide a compiler to convert FileMaker solutions into proper 'machine code' apps, and yes the company has stupidly removed the Runtime feature from FileMaker Pro version 19). It kind of lends into the idea that RCC and Nick Hunter keeps banging on about with users in regards to "Lean Design". Or alternatively, just give FileMaker developerss a compiler to get the speed users are looking for (not likely since Apple has a reason to keep FileMaker Pro where it is).
    2. Name all your layouts, fields, tables, scripts, custom functions, LET variables and so on in a way that makes sense not just to you but also the average Joe Blow on the street. The test to see how well you have done this is to come back to the solution in 6 months time. Ask yourself, can you pick up from where you left off or look at any other aspect of the app and know exactly what is going on in less than 5 seconds? If you can, brilliant. You have the right organising system in place. If you can't, you have not named everything clear enough and easy enough for you to do your developing work on it.
    3. Provide the right amount of comments for important sections of your scripts or guts of your custom functions, and essential layout groups, to help you understand what those key sections are doing. Try to use the fewest words to describe it. To test if you have done this right, can you be asked by another developer to find several lines of a scripting code quickly not just by the way you have named the scripts, but also the comments that help you to hone in on that important piece of coding sub-script?
    4. Finally, use your solution day-in and day-out. Ask yourself every time you perform a task, "Could I have done this easier?" Not only will the bugs emerge to help you wipe them out faster than than a frog with a 7 inch tongue at a fly convention, but you will simplify the solution and number of clicks to achieve your tasks and with an interface that is totally intuitive to a level that will be ridiculously easy for anyone to use (and no need for a Dummy series of instruction books to explain what is going on).


    Common problems encountered with SUNRISE Contacts

    1. Why do I see a Mac message on first launching SUNRISE Contacts suggesting that the software could be unsafe?

    Let us guess: Are you seeing the following message on your Mac computer?

    No surprise. Welcome to the strange "Alice in Wonderland" world of the macOS ecosystem created by Apple.

    Don't worry. This is seen by Apple as an allegedly normal notification introduced since OS X Mountain Lion. It is there to let you — or more notably the Mac novices — know that Apple has not checked SUNRISE Contacts for malware and is unaware that we are a trusted software developer. This is not a problem. Our software has been checked against the world's best antivirus tools. These include VirusTotal.com and Kaspersky Anti-Virus. If these tools cannot find viruses or other malware in our software, neither will Apple. Furthermore, if your own anti-virus software on your Mac can't pick up a malware in our software, you can be assured SUNRISE Contacts is safe. If you don't believe us, we offer a free license key to anyone who can find a virus or other malware in our software. And you can benefit from a cleaner software once we address the malware.

    For the safest copy of our software, you should only download it from our web site. See instructions on how to install from this page.

    Want to know how to be sure the software is genuine and clean? The key to determining if a downloaded file from our web site is safe is to check the file size. We have officially provided details on the file size that it should be. Use Get Info in the Finder's File menu for Mac users to confirm the size of the download file. For PC users, right-click on the downloaded file and choose Properties. In fact, this is the basis of code-signing certificates (together with identifying details of the developer) created for apps. The certificates that comes with come apps are mainly there as a confirmation that the app has not been tampered with.

    As a further safety measure, when you open the DMG file containing our Mac version of SUNRISE Contacts, it will be verified on your system. Any unexpected changes to the DMG file will stop the DMG from being opened and will be described as corrupted or unrecognised. Only the original version of our DMG file will be fully verified and open safely.

    Has your software been tested for malware?

    Most certainly. Our product has been fully tested for malware using VirusTotal.com and Kaspersky Anti-Virus (we recommend users purchase this software for your computer) and has a clean bill of health.

    If you are worried about viruses and other forms of malware, don't expect the Mac App Store (MAS) to be any better than what we can do. Apple cannot guaranteed software downloaded on its MAS will be perfect and not affected by malware. Apple can only do so much to check with an anti-virus tool and beyond that the user must effectively take a risk with any software obtained from the MAS or anywhere else on the internet. Should you be concerned about this possibility, you are better off purchasing an effective anti-virus software solution of your own and do the checks yourself. And even then, you are no better than Apple. Your best protection is to listen to people, read their blogs, and get reviews of sites that offer software outside the MAS. If there is no evidence of any malware, you are no better off downloading the software from the MAS. Apple will never find any malware. At the end of the day, and with experience, you will decide where to find the best software on the planet.

    As a special offer, if you should find any viruses or other malware in our product with your anti-virus software and we can reproduce the results, you will receive a free license key (and a cleaned up version of our software).

    Should you become an identified developer?

    Given the hassles in finding loss of key features in commercial apps that we use for creating software, as well as the monetary costs involved to prove who we are on a yearly basis, there is no need. We are happy to be an "unidentified developer". This is our choice.

    For example, we don't think it is necessary to pay US$99 a year to Apple just to let them know we exist, we can be trusted, and to stop a simple but annoying GateKeeper message from nagging users. The whole idea is to ensure the apps are safe and in their original installer form (in whatever form they are distributed). Good developers will give details of what to look for to help users to see if the software is safe to use. Also the length of time for a developer will reveal much about the quality of the software.

    At the end of the day, Mac users are intelligent people and should be treated accordingly and with respect. They will know where to find good quality and safe software. Still, Apple remains unconvinced even to this day and are willing to remove features that can by-pass this nonsense. Apple feels that every person is unable to make reasonable decisions (or more likely it is to control software piracy by forcing all users to purchase software from the company's dedicated Mac App Store, or MAS for short, to help maximise its own profits and make people think it is safer to download from there — in reality, it does not make any difference when developers are genuine about what they are offering to consumers and are doing the right thing to help people outside the MAS). As a result of this lack of confidence in Mac users in making their own decisions (especially for the most experienced users), Apple has decided it is in the best interest for all Mac users not to consider running a wider range of high quality software outside the Mac App Store (MAS). And to make sure of it, in the most recent macOS versions (namely Sierra and High Sierra), there is apparently no option to select "Anywhere" in the Security preference pane to stop the nagging message.

    This kind of condescending behaviour from the company on all Mac users is certainly unnecessary and not a good look for the company. It is like having a virtual Nanny watching over you all the time because it thinks you are forever a child with the inability to think on your own and make reasonable decisions (especially if you have nothing to hide). This might be fine for novices of the Mac platform with absolutely no knowledge of computers and the internet. However, for more experienced users, Apple is doing far too much to restrict people from making their own decisions.

    Then you have the issue of costs. The effort to force developers to pay Apple for the privilege of using the MAS and stop Gatekeeper messages on downloading the software is remarkably similar to how iPhone users are being forced to purchase iOS apps from the MAS. The only slight difference is that the U.S. Supreme Court has recently (June 2018) ruled against Apple's claim that it is doing nothing illegal in creating its own closed system of Mac software apps and only the developers control and decide on the price. The reality is, developers have no choice but to be on the MAS because iPhone users are forced to go on the MAS to find all their apps and Apple provides no easy way for users to put apps on iPhones for those developers wishing to set up their own storefront and sell apps outside the MAS. The MAS is no longer a storefront where iPhone users can check the apps and prices and later shop around elsewhere for the best price. The company is effectively telling developers how to sell and acting as a monopoly by getting all Mac software to be sold on the MAS and no where else. And with this move, Apple takes a sizeable share of the profits from developers for the privilege of being on the MAS.

    But it isn't just money and monopolising the Mac software market that Apple is seeking.

    As certain developers have discovered, even if they pay their annual subscription fees to Apple to receive a code signing certificate to put into our software, Apple can easily delay or choose to deny certain software from being sold on its online store. We see this with our software through the interesting anti-competitive practices the company has applied to reduce the success of competitor's products and in gaining any traction on the Mac platform (as there is a reason Apple prefers users to use its own "free" contact solution and other Apple apps), undermining our price for instance, using its marketing power and brand awareness to get its own cheaper competitive product (i.e., Bento, before it was removed by Apple) out to users, adding bugs to FileMaker Pro with no aim to fix them even when notified over the years of those bugs and so make it harder for developers to offer alternative and well-designed and workable products, and to force FileMaker developers to move onto the latest macOS by controlling where FileMaker Pro can be run because it wants to gather details of all developers through its servers. Given the considerable effort by Apple to reduce competition in the Mac versions of certain CRMs by third-party developers (because Apple wants to discriminate certain developers by getting Mac users to use the company's preferred contacts.app supplied with macOS and iOS), it would not be too surprising if Apple finds a way to affect the success of some developers in selling their products even if they pay the subscription costs to go on the MAS.

    In a sense, it would be seen as a waste of money.

    Consequently, there is a divide in the Mac developers' sphere. On one side we have those developers who have to choose MAS and follow Apple's rules based on the way the iOS and macOS are designed to force ordinary Mac users (mainly those who are not sure where to buy software and are described as "novices" in using the Mac) to use only the MAS for all their software needs. And on the other side are those who sell independently high quality tools/advice to Mac users on how to run a wider range of Mac software on their computers, just to give them the choice. But for the latter group of people, there will always be at a distinct disadvantage in selling their software on macOS computers when they are not on the MAS. That is the way Apple has chosen to set up the system.

    At the end of the day, it really should be up to you to decide which software to use and where to get it (including the original developers' web sites), and to apply common sense techniques to the situation of deciding what is the safest high quality software to run on your computer.

    2. How do I stop the annoying GateKeeper message on macOS?

    As a Mac user, you certainly can (and encouraged to do so as there is nothing illegal about stopping the GateKeeper from harassing you about a lot things related to the internet, such as the files you download). Actually, it is highly advisable to follow the installation process shown on this page. Later you can decide whether it is worth turning back on the GateKeeper protection mechanism.

    Interestingly, no such problem exists for PC users (or not in your face all the time from Microsoft). Just unzip and use — the way software should be.

    3. Why is my database showing only some records on launching even though I had already applied Find All in the last launch session?

    It is likely you are running SUNRISE Contacts on different user accounts on the same computer.

    What has probably happened is that after finding your selected records and quitting in one account, you went ahead to re-launch it again on another account. You tried to apply the Find All records and so far everything looks okay. However, after quitting and re-launching once more, the database was unable to remember the change you had applied. The cause for this is the file permissions are not set correctly for the database. On a Mac, quit SUNRISE Contacts. Select the entire SUNRISE Contacts folder containing all databases. Press Command I to see the Get Info dialog box. At the bottom click the lock icon to unlock the file permission settings, and type your Administrator password. Now press the + button and add the accounts you want Read & Write privileges to be established and set it to this. Alternatively make sure "Everyone" has Read & Write privileges if the databases will only be accessed by you on your computer. In the Gear icon popdown menu, select "Apply to enclosed items...". This should solve the problem.

    4. How come I can see this black container field for holding my PDF documents inside?

    Adobe Reader or your Adobe Creative Suite/Creative Cloud package will naturally install two plug-ins for viewing PDFs in a web browser or any other app with PDF display capabilities. However, OS X/macOS already has PDF viewing capabilities built right into the system since version OS X Leopard. As such, the OS and Adobe PDF viewing technologies are interfering with each other and causing the container field in SUNRISE Contacts to display a black background. Rest assured your PDF document is still in the container field. You can export the document as usual with no ill-effects, but it is not pretty to look at and will not help you to see the contents of the PDF's first page. To solve this problem, log into your computer as Administrator, and find the following plug-ins:

    AdobePDFViewer.plugin
    AdobePDFViewerNPAPI.plugin

    These plug-ins can be found in one or both of the following locations:

    Users/[yourusername]/Library/Internet Plug-Ins
    /Library/Internet Plug-Ins

    Move the plug-ins into the Trash.

    Finally, quit and re-launch SUNRISE Contacts and go to the container field again. You will find the field will now correctly display the first page of the PDF. Proceed as usual in deleting the plug-ins as they are of no further use.

    5. There is this continually annoying message claiming AdobePDFViewer cannot find a compatible app to view my PDFs in SUNRISE Contacts despite having selected the Adobe PDF viewing app. Why?

    Sounds like you are seeing the following message appearing again and again each time SUNRISE Contacts has been re-launched and you go to a container field containing a PDF:

    "AdobePDFViewer cannot find a compatible Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader to view this PDF. Please select one."

    Rest assured, the solution is the same as before for black container fields. Get rid of those silly Adobe plug-ins and you should be right to use SUNRISE Contacts without any further problems.

    6. I get this message in FileMaker 18 and 19 when running SUNRISE Contacts about your plug-ins not being code-signed. What should I do?

    You are probably seeing the annoying message:

    Don't worry. The plug-ins will work fine in FileMaker Pro 18 and 19. To solve this minor irritation from Apple's over-zealous GateKeeper system, transfer the plug-ins (contains ".fmplugin") from the old Extensions folder:

    to the new folder (now located in the Applications Support folder of the Library folder for FileMaker Pro 19).

    To save time finding this Extensions folder, choose Preferences in FileMaker Pro and in the Plug-Ins tab, click the button that says, "Reveal the Plug-in Folder".

    You will not see the plug-ins until you quit FileMaker Pro and relaunch. When you do, you will be greeted with the following message for each new plug-in (Zzzz,,,,):

    To minimise this annoyance, make sure you put a tick in the check box that says "Always load this plug-in".

    There will be six plug-ins in total to load up for SUNRISE Contacts (on a Mac, they will be named clipboard.fmplugin, Encryption.fmplugin, FileManipulation.fmplugin, FileZip.fmplugin, System.fmplugin, and Web.fmplugin; for the Windows side, the difference is fmplugin will be substituted with fmx64). For your peace of mind, the plug-ins are perfectly safe to use and you will never have to be bothered again with this silly message for these plug-ins ever again once you load them in permanently.

    Should the plug-ins be code-signed?

    Probably. But apart from being an annual financial drain to the developer to renew the certificate (worse for those developers who only provide open source or freeware apps) and forcing users to download again and again the software to make them work (eventually even users will get annoyed by this code signing and re-signing nonsense from developers, and if there is any unexpected disabling of apps because of an outdated signed certificate, you can be sure users will resent Apple and other companies and decide to go outside MAS and other places to get their software working forever), having code-signed plug-ins are only there to give greater assurance to people that what they are receiving is original and untampered with. In truth, it is not critical to have code-signed software just to run them. About the worse people should experience from receiving unsigned software is to get an annoying message about something not being "signed". Whoopy doo! As if everything in the world must be signed off before we can ever release and do anything in the world. It is like asking your boss for permission to take a leak in the lavatory every time you have an urge. You should not need that level of constant checking. We would be lucky to get anything done if we followed this approach all the time. The reality is, it is impractical in most cases. The same is true of software. So, if you do see this alert pop up out of the blue, just tell whatever is complaining about it that it is okay. Seriously, you are smart enough to know if the software is okay, right? You are intelligent. You know what software is safe. You know where to find a broader range or higher quality software outside of the MAS. Why should Apple dictate where you should get your software? You decide for yourself.

    This brings us to the situation of whether it is necessary to code-sign everything. Perhaps, if you are in the business of making money issuing certificates to every Tom, Dick and Harry who wants to be a developer. An easy way to make a profit. Indeed, one smart entrepreneur named Carl Schwarz is doing just that. If you have a burning ambition to have another developer code sign your application and installer and "save your time plus the fee of an Apple developer certificate", visit https://schwarzsoftware.com.au. Hw would be more than happy to help out other developers But if all you ever want to do is create freeware or very low cost software to give to customers, probably not. So maybe the real question you should ask yourself is, do you apply common sense techniques to ensure the software you are getting is secure and from trusted sources (e.g., the original developer's web site)?

    If you have downloaded SUNRISE Contacts from our web site, there is virtually no way a third-party entity can interfere with the digital download and insert some carefully-crafted malicious code into our software. No hacker can be superman to uncompress our software during download, insert malicious code (and not affect the download file length), and re-compress the file all at the same time you are downloading the file (and somehow put it back on our web site, not unless the ISP we have is corrupt). It does not happen. However, if our software is downloaded from a third-party web site not affiliated with SUNRISE, then there is a small chance that our software could get tampered with. In this situation, always verify by looking at the file length of the downloaded file.

    Of course, one could argue about the possibility that some developers could be hackers. Well, let us put it this way: the reputation of developers are on the line every day whenever they release software to users online. Any funny business detected in the software will be quickly determined. And before you know it, not only will developers lose their code-signed certificates and memberships to Developer sites, but those without a code-signed certificate will be forced to disappear as people turn away to search for better software. The Darwinian approach to software evolution will apply. Where the software is not code-signed, check the length of time the developer's web site and software have been around. If it is more than 10 years and still no signs of anything to suggest the apps and/or plug-ins might be suspicious, this is a very good sign that the developer and the software produced can be trusted.

    As SUNRISE has been online since 1999, you would think by now that someone would have found something terrible and devious with our software. No one has, so that in itself should speak volumes about our integrity to provide a quality software for your own use.

    With paranoia now running rife in 2020 for businesses and some consumers concerned about the security of certain software apps (and now plug-ins), and Apple and others are happy to cash-in on this paranoia, it is understandable that more and more software is receiving the code-signing certificate treatment. Unfortunately, it comes at a continuous cost to the developer (as the certificates have to be renewed and paid in the hundreds of dollars each time). We think it is not necessary to have software code-signed to the nth degree right down to the plug-ins themselves if simple security precautions are implemented by the user, the biggest of which is to always download the software from the original source (in the case of SUNRISE Contacts from our web site only). Anywhere else and you would need to check at the very least the file length to see if its is the same (we provide the number of bytes on our product page). But really? What's wrong with 100 per cent security by downloading directly from the developer's web site? It is the only way to be sure, and safe.

    7. I see a red square pop-up from time-to-time. What does this mean?

    The red square means the record is being used and/or edited and, therefore, probably contains unsaved data. It can be due to an external user accessing the record, or you are the one accessing it. The command itself to show this red box is suppose to focus on external users, but it would appear from closer testing that it also includes you working on the record even if the database is not being shared with anyone else.

    You can see this indicator disappear as soon as you move to the next or previous record. As reliability of the data being saved is important and people in multiuser situations on a network accessing the same database may require access to locked records, this will give an indication of what is happening, and perhaps in the near future Apple can add details of who exactly has locked up the record.

    As of 18 May 2020, the solution to making the red square disappear is to create a script to save the data after a period of inactivity. even when the script could be run at a set time, the Commit record command will not solve it. There is still a risk of losing data if it has not been saved. Furthermore, any solution we create will not be implemented for web users (e.g., WebDirect on FileMaker Server). The only solution here is to ensure the idle time feature is enabled but that is the only time the record will be saved and unlocked.

    The importance of making the red square disappear cannot be emphasised enough because even after exiting from a field, the contents not properly saved can be lost in the event the database is suddenly quit at the user's end. Making sure the red quare disappears is your only safety feature of knowing whether the data has been properly saved.

    8. I can see a white background in some graphics that is stopping the real background showing through. How do I solve this problem?

    A common problem that Apple/Claris has either not seen before because they don't use the product very much, or it is a bug that they would rather leave in place to keep developers on their toes and fully challenged (while the company focuses more on what it considers "innovative features" as a way to rake in the profits). If you are creating a database with FileMaker Pro of any version (even version 19) and import a picture with transparency in certain regions, it may appear initially to work in Browse mode. However, after a period of use, this will no longer be the case until you quit and restart FileMaker Pro (and so clear the memory). It does not matter if you use PNG, TIFF or even EPS, which is, for some reason, less forgiving.

    Transparent regions should not be perfectly transparent. Instead of opacity control for those regions set to 0% (or transparency 100%), consider turning those regions into a subtle color that is virtually invisible to the naked eye, but will fool FileMaker Pro into thinking it has a color that must be rendered and displayed permanently on the layout. Our recommendation in achieving this is to set the color in CMYK to 1 for each color, or 1 for each RGB color, or 1 for a greyscale color. It will be a very faint grey color that will be shown. However, the trick now is to adjust the alpha channel, or transparency. Set transparency to 99% (not 100%). Or set the Opacity control to 1%. Save the image (PNG is fine, but not EPS as it still can't be rendered properly by FileMaker Pro — and yes, we still cannot import SVG of any size (other than as a button icon of a maximum 128px) — into a layout. ZZzzzzzz.).

    Once saved and the graphic is imported into your layout, the color set for the transparent region will be so subtle that it would be impossible to tell from something that has a totally transparent region. It is so good that you might as well call it transparent. And the best thing of all, the "transparent" color is permanent. FileMaker Pro faithfully renders the color without going into a digital fit of rendering it opaque white. At last, another problem solved.

    9. Why is the web viewer showing a white or blank background even though the URL is clearly provided?

    It is quite likely your computer may have shutdown unexpectedly due to a loss of power. On restarting, the date and time of the OS was reset to a time that affects the security of web browsers in accessing web sites. Therefore, FileMaker's web viewer prevents this by showing a blank page.

    To solve this, go to the Date and Time preference pane and make sure the time and date is current. Web access in FileMaker Pro will be restored.


    Miscellaneous

    1. Encrypted data — the double-edged sword

    Apart from not connecting to the internet or a phone network with your portable device as the number one solution to perfect privacy and security while having more direct person-to-person communications, encryption technologies is the next most effective way of protecting your privacy and ensuring communication is directly with the intended recipient.

    SUNRISE Contacts will encrypt email messages, notes and any text to a high level. Then you can send any encrypted information to anyone with the text key to unencrypt it.

    Encrypting data is a powerful technology. When used to its fullest effect and with high strength encryption technology, governments, law enforcement agencies, intelligence organisations, and the military will shake at the knees as they realise how powerless they are to find out what you do. It is the ultimately PITA technology of the modern era for those who who feel entitled to snoop around and be part of the communication process. In fact, the technology is so powerful, it has been classified as a weapon by those who feel entitled to look at everything you do, and that includes all your personal and business confidential data.

    As of June 2018, Australian, French and some American (e.g., the FBI) law enforcement agencies have worked hard to get Apple and other major commercial software companies to provide some kind of a secret backdoor to their own form of encryption technologies and/or the software they produce and have it quietly send out data (before the encryption is applied) as an easier means of accessing your data. This means that once the data in certain lower quality FileMaker Pro databases or other software tools goes through the Apple servers, encrypted or not, there is a high probability some people you don't know, including the software companies offering the encryption technology or the software you use, can still read your data from the servers.

    As of 3 June 2018, the Chinese government has noticed how powerful encryption can be. So it has requested Chinese software companies to provide similar backdoor solutions so it can monitor the activities of its citizens. All done under the umbrella of Anti-terrorism laws, it is one of the reasons why the Australian government has banned Wuawei, the smart phone Chinese manufacturer, from operating its services on the Australian 5G network. It does not matter if you have sensitive business confidential or personal information and you are definitely not involved in any illegal activity, or just happen to be one of those unfortunate people who the Chinese government feel must be targeted and sent to the world's biggest open prison. The burden is going to be on you (with the help of software developers and vendors) to prove you are supporting the Chinese government, or supporting the economic system of Western nations, or supporting anything else the government wants to see, as well as have nothing illegal to hide.

    About our encryption technology

    Our encryption is not based on Apple or other big software companies (and certainly not from a Chinese company). We are independent, and have no intentions of providing a special "backdoor solutions" to our encryption. Any attempts to do so would only compromise your security and privacy and can render our product ineffective at protecting your privacy as well as make the internet on the whole useless for economic purposes, such as consumers purchasing online with their credit cards. This is particularly true should any "backdoor solutions" get accidentally leaked onto the internet for hackers and organised crime syndicates to exploit.

    Should some authorities still feel worried about not knowing what is happening in the community because people are using these encryption technologies, the only effective long-term solution to the problems arising from those few selected individuals and/or groups who may cause trouble for authorities is simply this:

    1. Establish a minimum wage for all.
    2. Can't afford it? Then it is time to start a new world order consisting of the establishment of a new non-economic system for people to live and work. This system should complement the current economic system with principal focus on protecting the environment and growing enough natural foods. By doing so, it will have the unexpected side benefit of helping to protect all citizens of the economic system during a depression period or severe recession where people need to find alternative ways to survive until new jobs are created. All rewards in the alternative system, should not be monetary but based on supplying free food and the supply of free housing and a plot of land to work on for the contributions people provide on the land to grow the food, the recyclable building materials, and to restore the natural environment to pristine conditions as required to solve climate change and maintain financial economies. As they say, without a healthy environment, there is no economy.
    3. Provide a safe place to live and grow.
    4. Provide free education for all.
    5. Give extra rewards to people who provide brilliant new ideas that work in reality and will solve the problems of the day.

    Or, to sum it up, show true love for one another. That is the only way to achieve true security and a bright future. If the current economic system fails to provide it, then it is time to change it. If we cannot afford it for the number of people alive today, the time has come to start a new world order.

    It is as simple as that.

    2. Should I subscribe to Claris Connect?

    It depends. If you don't care for the solutions you use for getting the job done and make your profit and are willing to pay for any kind of service to make it happen, then perhaps Claris Connect is for you. Even if you pay a FileMaker developer to create APIs to perform the exact same functions as Claris Connect, you may still need to pay for the online services offering those APIs. Apple has simply made the charging process a single transaction, to be paid annually (with a monthly charge shown on the Claris Connect pricing web page to make it look like it is reasonable). Then Apple takes a slice of the money and the rest is paid to the service providers in providing the APIs and having them integrated into the Apple service. Users merely pay the subscription, set up the "workflows" (or scripts) online, together with "if...then" conditions and the events to perform (or script commands/APIs), and that's it. It is just like FileMaker scripts, but in a more simplified way for people who are not proper programmers.

    It should be noted that a number of the APIs on offer through Claris Connect can be incorporated directly into FileMaker solutions. It is just that Claris Connect is a separate online service of utilising these APIs. There is no option to download the APIs and include them in your solutions as "add-ons" (or even plug-ins, which would have been better as all a person has to do is grab or send the right data without the hassles of establishing JSON and URL structures in a precise manner as required by the API service providers).

    If you choose Claris Connect, the web site makes it clear that there will be monitoring going on by "expert Claris Connect people". Making sure the service runs smoothly is often the advertised reason for this. Beyond that, you must feel comfortable to share people's personal details, your business activities, profit and profile, and who you are that is running the business, to Apple and the service providers you use. For some services, there is no choice when it comes to sensitive financial transactions. For other services, it may be hard to justify the need to share sensitive information to just about anyone. Unfortunately this is the price you must pay for going on Claris Connect.

    The other thing to remember about Claris Connect is that its presence in the marketplace is a sure sign from Apple of its insistence to deprecate more features in FileMaker Pro if it can help to minimise competition from other developers. In particular, plug-ins that can perform essentially the same functions as Claris Connect will almost certainly be "deprecated" and removed later this decade. This will make FileMaker Pro even less of a development tool, and more a storage and data finding tool with a fancy looking interface (if you want to go that far). You might as well go back to SQL and build a fancy web page as the front end. There will be very little left of the original Claris FileMaker Pro 2.x to 6.x that people have come to love and made very popular among Mac developers. Soon it won't be long before the word "Pro" will have to be dropped from "FileMaker Pro". There will be very little "pro" features in it to make it worthwhile. And soon there will be a joke going around about Apple along the lines of:

    Q. How do you start Apple as a small software business?
    A. Give it big software that is perfectly made from the original Claris Corporation and let it take it from there.

    The more people use Claris Connect, the less functions and features there will be in FileMaker Pro over time (and will be replaced by fancy ways to make the data look good through sophisticated graphs using javascripts and APIs and creating eye-catching layouts). Then that would be the time when you really need the effort and enthusiasm of a handful of FileMaker trainers, such as Richard Carlton Consulting in San Francisco, to show how great the remaining product is. Good luck to those people. It is something you must consider when deciding whether or not to use the things that Apple chooses and believes people should use while it makes a profit.

    Should you support Claris Connect / Apple? Or do you let FileMaker developers and yourself decide how you want to use your software? The choice is yours to make.

    3. What about the other "add ons" available for FileMaker Pro 19?

    Nothing wrong with having ready-made modules to plug-and-play into your database solutions The Claris Marketplace provides some examples of these add-ons. It is only when you choose the wrong add-ons and decide you need to work offline or you have to go onto another platform to deliver some or all of your content when things can become a pain and perhaps potentially impossible to get out of the FileMaker platform and/or the add-ons you employ. Furthermore, if you stay on the FileMaker platform long enough to see the range of new add-ons on offer, you will experience a time when more and more of these add-ons will have a price tag. Hopefully not much, but if you implement them, it will make it harder for you to move onto a different platform. You will be stuck with FileMaker and forced to use this platform for delivering information and doing all your business and other work with it should you use lots of these add-ons. For the moment a number of these add-ons look free. But they have their limitations, with many javascript add-ons requiring constant access to the internet to make the graphs, calendars and other functions work. In SUNRISE Contacts, we avoid this by ensuring the javascript functions we employ work offline (e.g., Gantt Charts). It also has the benefit of increasing the security of your information, rather than sharing every single piece of information with strangers.

    Also, by ensuring our export script is flexible, you have a better chance of moving your content to different non-FIleMaker platforms.

    The idea of add-ons is not new or unique to Apple. The online world is quickly moving to a model that involves getting you to centralise your web-like layout pages of a FileMaker database or actual web pages of a web site to a particular platform, and from there you are permitted to drag and drop add-ons or features to help enhance and perhaps achieve your business goals. CMS Hub from HubSpot is one example. Here, you can manage the layouts of web pages in your web site and connect things like calendars, a database tool to store contact details, buy now payment API modules linked to payment processing third-parties, and so on. It has the advantage of allowing most of the work to be done by you without needing to pay a developer to help with the task. However, the main disadvantage is that once you make the move, you will be stuck with that platform. Give it enough time and soon you will be forced to pay a subscription just to be on the platform, let alone use add-ons. And if anything happens to the platform or there is a break down of the internet services, you will be stuffed. For now, and as the technology is evolving, the add-ons and some new platforms that try to do it all like FileMaker Pro 19 will be free or with an initial trial period. Later, once people are sucked into the platform thinking the costs are not too bad and are able to use enough add-ons, they will soon be charged by some means and increase over time. There is very little option to escape the platform and take the information you have created with you (or not without spending many weeks of hard work copy and pasting the original code across to another platform.

    Welcome to the Vivarium of the online digital world.

    If you must choose a platform to deliver your content, FileMaker Pro 19 is a slightly better option. If you must centralise your content on one platform, FileMaker Pro will allow you to keep the content and layout designs on a file and take it with you. Only when you need to deliver online (or on an iOS or Windows/Mac system) the content and run your business, the file should work out-of-the-box, but only by using Apple's specific tools of FileMaker Server/Cloud/Go/Pro. That is the only additional cost to you (fortunately you can pay a little more for a perpetual license until Apple decides to upgrade the OS), or else lease the server as another subscription payment.

    If you are going to be stuck on a platform to deliver your content and conduct your business, try FileMaker Pro 19. But if not, we recommend that you choose wisely your preferred platform for delivering your content and running your business and stick to it. Whatever you choose, hopefully it will be something that will last and be around for more than 10 years, or else get rich as quickly as possible and then it won't matter what happens to the platform. As people say, it is just another tool to get you to a destination.

    4. Can I open older fp7 FileMaker database files?

    In SUNRISE Contacts, opening an older fp7 database through the lookups layout will be ignored by the FileMaker Runtime engine. To be recognised and converted to the fmp12 format, rename the file extension from fp7 to fmp12. You will also need a copy of FileMaker Pro to do the conversion when the file is opened. When converting, always make a copy of the file first and try the conversion to see the results look like. Do this before committing to the converted solution to become your master copy. Once converted, you can open the file in SUNRISE Contacts using FileMaker Pro 16 or higher. Note that the Runtime app supplied with SUNRISE Contacts will only open database files that are part of the SUNRISE Contacts solution. Use FileMaker Pro for all other databases.

    As of version 2.9.6, SUNRISE Contacts will open any non-FileMaker file from the lookups layout so long as there is an application to read the file. So you can store Word, Excel, PDF and other files in the layout and tell SUNRISE Contacts to open them. This will work in both Runtime and the full FileMaker Pro app.