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Filemaker integration with a flowchart application in Mac OS – anyone ?

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  • Posted In: FileMaker Pro 10

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    Hello there,
    After quite some time in the Windows world, I have at last migrated to Mac OS X.
    The problem is this app that I use quite often. It is developed in MS Access. I also use a MS Visio template to create business process flows (like flowcharts) dynamically linked to this MS Access database.
    So basically I run MS Visio, connect to the MS Access database and, based on a table and its fields contents, I add new boxes to the drawing and, because each box has the linked fields on it, it gets colored and formatted based on the fields contents.
    If I edit the table inside MS Access, all I have to do is run MS Visio again and refresh the ODBC link.
    By doing that, my flowchart is redrawn and adequately colored and formatted in an automatic way.

    I have done an extensive (or so I think) search, but haven’t so far been able to find a flowchart application that can access a Filemaker database and so replicate my MS Windows application.

    Can any of you guys give me a hint on how I could accomplish the same thing using Filemaker in Mac OS X ? Maybe produce flowcharts from inside Filemaker itself ??

    Thanks a lot


    I doubt you’ll find one – There is no such thing as an ER diagram in a FileMaker solution, sure you can design one for a solution and base your FileMaker solution on it, but you will need to understand that FileMaker’s relationship graph is not an ER diagram, and thus you can’t really “build” an ER diagram from a FileMaker soultion automatically..

    Now, that’s not to say you can’t use table occurrences on the graph and build your own ER diagram on the relationship graph, but you’ll need to maintain it yourself. I don’t know how microsoft access works so I can’t comment on it sorry.

    With FileMaker you can run what’s known as a DDR report (Database Design Report). This report basically details every minor aspect of your entire FileMaker solution, from the tables, fields, definitions, scripts, layouts etc, you name it. It’s all there, but not in ER diagram format sorry. If you change the database you can re-run the DDR.

    The DDR is accessible from the Tools menu. I cannot recall if this is a FileMaker Pro Advanced only feature, but it may be.


    I was looking for something similar to draw a Project Management chart showing how the tasks were related. No luck.

    Able to do a Gantt Chart as a report.



    Surely things like ER diagrams, and other planning documentation for a solution should be carried out before the database is actually built?


    Hi there Weetbicks,
    I appreciate your comments, but I’m not talking about ER diagrams or DDR functionality.

    What I need is to produce a flowchart based on a Filemaker database. For example, if I have a field on a table that says that a specific flowchart box should have a red background color, then the flowchart application should be able to recognize that and paint that box’s background red. Basically a direct link of such an application to a Filemaker’s database.
    I got in touch with the support guys from Concept Draw and OmniGraffle. Concept Draw told me they used to do this, but no longer (since release 7) do. OmniGraffle told me they do have requests for that and it is on a wishing list for some time in the future.

    I need to draw several business processes. To make things easier for me, I have developed a MS Access application to store these processes, their interdependencies and characteristics. Whenever I want a visual representation of them, I simply run MS Visio and refresh the link to the database, thus updating any modifications made in the database.

    I was so used to have this MS Visio versus MS Access integration that I thought it would be easy to find a MAC OS equivalent solution… Gee.

    Thanks !


    You might look into Omnigraffle. I have never used it, nor do I know how one might import data into it, but it is a diagramming app for mac similar to Visio.

    Oops – missed your mention of Omnigraffle. Scratch that.


    IIUC you can only use Omnigraffle at this time if it has an applescript library that has commands for creating new objects, setting color and so on. This would require scripting and would look not a lot like an ODBC link.


    Too bad Google Charts does not have a flowchart. This SO looks like a job for Google Charts + a web viewer.

    Hmm, can you create, locate, or bribe a fluent javacoder to BUILD you one in HTML + Javascript, and then use a Data URL in a web viewer?


    @ahunter3 103059 wrote:

    Data URL in a web viewer?

    … or Reactor, would be much easier 🙂


    Hello all,

    Thanks for the comments.

    I think I wouldn’t be able to dynamically create the flowchart because each business process is quite unique in its processes interrelationships. For example, there can be processes that depend on 3 other predecessors. Or from a process that is in the middle of the flowchart I may have to link it to the very last process in the flowchart. So creating a flowchart and in such a dynamic way would mean a killer app, beyond my skills.

    It looks like I’m stuck here…

    I swear I didn’t want to use MS Windows no more…

    Thanks !

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