FileMaker API Integration: How to Interpret an API: From start to working code
This DevCon presentation is the one I’ve been waiting for: Salvatore Colangelo’s presentation on connecting FileMaker to an API. Colangelo uses the metaphor of a recipe in his presentation, and the same recipe is followed every time you want to connect to an API:
- Understand the Authentication
- Identify the Endpoints and the HTTP Methods
- Construct the Body parameters and the HTTP Headers Submit the request
- Parse the response and the HTTP Headers
Free FileMaker Downloadable File
This video is packed with useful information, and don’t miss the free download file and blog post here with explicit instructions for connecting to Amazon services, something that is hard to figure out.
- FileMaker 16 Insert from URL
- FileMaker 16 JSON Parsing
- A powerful text editor like TextMate
- HTTP clients like Postman or Generator
A discussion of different types of web API documents and some of the “gotcha’s” you’ll encounter.
Learn about HTTP methods, Authentication Types, and Endpoint Styles (all critical to successful connections)
Lots of advice
The most important advice: Test your FileMaker API Integration code. Test, test, and test some more. Then test again. I have found this to be an indispensable part of the process.
Postman (used by Colangelo)
Todd Geist’s free FileMaker Program, Generator (this tool is awesome, by the way).
My Two Cents
In my experience, the hardest part of all of this is figuring out the things the API developers don’t tell you. Many times they assume you know things they know. Other times they share the info, but leave out a tiny piece of info. Or they show you how to connect with PHP, Ruby, Python, etc., which is of little use to FileMaker developers.
So make use of their tech support, even if it is halfway around the world, is not very friendly, and has never heard of FileMaker. You’ll usually find the problem is with a Header (or lack thereof), a minor typing mistake, of something similar. But with the right tools and perseverance, you’ll get there. And that is a great feeling.