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HomeUncategorizedClaris FileMaker: A Year in Review – 19.2 Through 19.4.2

Claris FileMaker: A Year in Review – 19.2 Through 19.4.2

About a year ago, we summarized all the changes that Claris has packed into FileMaker 19 since the original 19.0 version. You can find that overview here; it covers FileMaker 19.0 through 19.2.2 (March 2021).

A year later, a lot has happened in these last 12 months. Time for another recap highlighting the most relevant changes.

For a full overview of all the changes, check the release notes per version on the Claris knowledge base.

FileMaker Pro

June 2021 – 19.3.1

This was a big release for the Windows client since it switched the webviewer engine from IE to Edge (Chromium).

This also had the benefit that PDF files are displayed using that Edge engine, and you no longer need to install a web browser plug-in to display PDF files.

On macOS, 19.3.1 introduced support for the M1 processor and introduced a new Machine Learning function in GetModelAttributes().

And there were some updates to the Quick Start Experience as well.

To accommodate Ubuntu Linux, Get(SystemPlatform) now returns the new value 8 for Ubuntu; the existing value 5 is returned for CentOS Linux.

Across all OSes, some functions were updated:

  • JSON functions – The keyOrIndexOrPath parameter in JSON functions can accept periods in key names when paths are expressed in bracket notation.
  • Get(InstalledFMPluginsAsJSON) – Additionally returns information about the system. Scripts can use this information to install the plug-in that’s appropriate for the operating system and hardware architecture.
  • GetAddonInfo() – Additionally returns whether an add-on adds objects to a layout and whether it creates a relationship.

And under the hood, both the OpenSSL version was updated to 1.1.1k, cURL to version 7.76.0, and JsonCpp to version 1.9.4.

July 2021 – 19.3.2

This was a quick-release patch to fix some issues with the new Edge web viewer engine on Windows. It has a fix for interactive PDFs on Windows, and it also introduced a change in behavior that makes interactive containers download completely and not stream from the server.

November 2021 – 19.4.1

On macOS, support for Mojave (10.14) is removed, making Catalina (10.15) the oldest macOS you can run FileMaker Pro on. And support for Monterey (12.0) was added.

One of the features in Monterey is the ShortCuts app, similar to what already existed on iOS, and those Shortcuts can now also run FileMaker scripts.

The Execute FileMaker Data API script step now supports the offset.portal-name and limit.portal-name keys to limit which related records are returned.

A brand new feature comes in two shapes: the ability to set (Set Session Identifier script step) and read (Get(SessionIdentifier) function) a Session Identifier. You can use that for a variety of reasons, such as being able to better identify server-side sessions created through Perform Script on Server, schedules, Data API, and WebDirect sessions.

Accompanying the new FileMaker Server feature to set a custom OAuth identity provider, the Get(AccountType) function now returns Custom OAuth when the current user’s account is authenticated via such a customizable OAuth identity provider.

One feature that is not widely known is FileMaker’s hidden metatables, tables with schema definitions that you can query with the ExecuteSQL() function. 19.4.1 adds a new metatable called FileMaker_BaseTableFields. Whereas the existing FileMaker_Fields metatable lists all the files for all TOs on the relationship graph, this new metatable only reports fields per actual base table, not per TO.

And there were some important bug fixes that you can read up on in the release notes, but we do want to call out one particularly annoying one that led to applications inadvertently closing when using the OnWindowClose event trigger.

December 2021 – 19.4.2

This one, too, was a quick-release patch, released just a month after the initial 19.4.1 release.

No new features but an important fix for slow layout loading that was introduced with 19.4.1. Also, important bug fixes around ECC SSL certificates and an issue with the new Session Identifier functionality that prevented FileMaker Server from disconnecting stale sessions.

FileMaker Server

June 2021 – 19.3.1

This marked the first FileMaker Server for Ubuntu Linux, using Ubuntu 18.04LTS. 19.3.1 is not available in the CentOS version.

The admin console was updated to bring back the logs viewer and the ability to create the Certificate Signing Request for SSL certificates.

The Admin API is beefed up to be closer in supported functionality to the Admin CLI

The Web Publishing Engine has been improved to use thread-safe concurrent collections, and in the Java Web Publishing Core, the performance of the cache manager has been improved

The Data API received a performance boost, and its script engine can now use plugins, with its own folder to keep those plugins.

  • Windows: [drive]:\Program Files\FileMaker\FileMaker Server\Web Publishing\publishing-engine\wip\Plugins\
  • macOS: /Library/FileMaker Server/Web Publishing/publishing-engine/wip/Plugins/
  • Linux: /opt/FileMaker/FileMaker Server/Web Publishing/publishing-engine/wip/Plugins/

Working with a streaming Url for container data as provided by the Data API now requires a valid token.

The OData API (only available on the Linux version of FileMaker Server) now also supports streaming Urls for container data. Before this change, you could only get container data in its full binary form. To validate the certificate authority (CA) for an SSL certificate: FileMaker Server on macOS and Windows now relies on the operating system rather than using internal FileMaker processes.

July 2021 – 19.3.2

The new stricter requirements for working with Data API streaming Urls for container data broke some existing solutions, so Claris added the option to configure FileMaker Server to choose between the old or the new behavior. The option needs to be set through either the Admin CLI or the Admin API; there is no setting for it in the Admin Console.

November 2021 – 19.4.1

Much like FileMaker Pro, the macOS version of FileMaker Server drops Mojave (10.14) and adds Monterey (12.0). The oldest macOS that can now support FileMaker Server is Catalina (10.15).

Also, on macOS, PHP does not get installed anymore (on Windows, this was already so since 19.2). If you are still using PHP for your custom web publishing, you will need to add it to your server manually.

A breaking change in how to access your server’s admin console. You now need to use port 443 instead of the venerable 16000 when you are accessing it remotely. You can still use port 16001 when you are on the machine itself. Because port 443 is also used by WebDirect and the Data API and possibly your custom web publishing, the risk that someone stumbles into your admin console increases. This Claris knowledge base article describes how you can harden your FileMaker Server setup to govern access to the admin console.

Steven Blackwell and I have written extensively on how to use external OAuth/OIDC identity providers to authenticate users into your solutions. In 19.4.1, you can now add a custom OAuth provider through the admin console instead of having to manipulate the underlying config file.

Add a custom OAuth provider through the Admin Console

Another breaking change is how you need to use homeUrls for WebDirect sessions. A homeUrl is the URL that you want the user to be taken to when they log out of your WebDirect application. You now must explicitly enable the feature by modifying the jwpc_prefs.xml configuration file and also whitelist all the domain names you want to use as allowed homeUrls. The change is described in this knowledge base article.

Under the hood, OpenSSL is updated to version 1.1.1l. Also, on the security front, the default Claris SSL certificate is now dynamically generated so that is not the same on all FileMaker Servers.

December 2021 – 19.4.2 and 19.3.3

This December release was mainly to fix a security issue around potential code execution through XML DTD external references; there is a knowledge base article dedicated to that. An issue that was deemed important enough to back-fix 19.3 at the same time as 19.4.

Under the hood, node.js was updated to 14.18.1, and the wording around picking the correct Java Runtime Environment on the Admin Console was updated to reflect the shift from OpenJDK to Adoptium.

Other bug fixes include handing ECC SSL certificates and tackling the scenario under which the Get(UUIDnumber) function would generate duplicates. When calling the Perform Script on the Server script step, the script session could not be disconnected in Admin Console if the running script changed the session identifier with the Set Session Identifier script step.

February 2022 – Docker

While not strictly an update to FileMaker Server, this knowledge base article on how to run FileMaker Server in Docker is a nice glimpse into the future, something I had already hinted at in my 2021 Engage session on FileMaker Server for Linux.

FileMaker Cloud

FileMaker Cloud is updated more silently than the other products in the platform, largely because, as a managed hosting offering, Claris takes care of all the backend operations. Most releases are there to support the features elsewhere in the platform and to fix Cloud-specific issues. Here’s a quick overview of its releases in the last year.

June 2021 –

This one was a significant release since it now supports creating script schedules through the Admin Console. Before this release, you could already create script schedules but needed to do so from the Admin API.

Also new is the ability to view and download more log files, as well as adding features to files created directly from the FM Cloud Customer Console (not the Admin Console).

August 2021 –

The Admin API was updated with the new configuration option to control the behavior of streaming Urls for container content, in lockstep to the similar security enhancement in the regular FileMaker Server.

November 2021 –

Added support for setting the new Session Identifier we described in the FileMaker Pro section. The fixes were an improvement in graphic quality for thumbnails and signatures inserted from iOS devices.

January 2022 – and March 2022 –

No new features and only minor issues fixed.

In January, official support ended for the pre-FM Cloud “FileMaker Server for AWS” offering.

FileMaker WebDirect

While WebDirect is very much a part of FileMaker Server, I want to call out some specific changes so that they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

June 2021 – 19.3.1

The following security enhancements were made:

  • adding trusted domains to an allow list is enabled when using cross-origin resource sharing (CORS)
  • directory listing on the web server has been turned off

On Windows:

Card windows display more efficiently after the first time they’re displayed because they now use cached cascading style sheets (CSS).

Linux and macOS:

FileMaker WebDirect now supports Tomcat compression of CSS, text, JSON, and JavaScript data. Previously, compression was supported only in Windows.

November 2021 – 19.4.1

Various performance tweaks allow for more concurrent web connections on main and worker machines.

Custom home page redirects (homeUrls) are disabled by default. The redirect settings are configured in the jwpc_prefs.xml file with two new parameters: homeurlenabled and customhomeurl. The jwpc_prefs.xml file is located in [installation_folder]/Web Publishing/conf/.

FileMaker Go

The feature set of FileMaker is very much in lockstep with that of FileMaker Pro, so all of what you read above applies.

One extra thing needs calling out: the iOS App SDK for FileMaker Go 19.4.1+ requires Xcode 13.

Data Migration Tool

No new features were introduced from 19.2 through 19.4, but various updates were released to keep the Data Migration Tool in synch with the feature set of the main FileMaker product.

The current version of the Data Migration Tool is 19.4.2 for Ubuntu and 19.4.1 for macOS and Windows.

Claris Connect

All new connectors and updates to existing ones are kept in this nice overview, and a new reference/help was introduced at the end of March 2022.

In addition to bug fixes and added actions to the existing connectors, new connectors were added in the last year, including:

  • OneRoster
  • Mosyle Manager
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Jamf Pro

And in September 2021, Claris achieved the SOC 2® Type 2 accreditation for security, availability, and confidentiality.

The full list of all available connectors is available here.

Navigating Changes with a Claris Consulting Partner

If you have any questions about how to leverage this functionality in your FileMaker business application, contact our consulting team.

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