Mac Laptop and iPhone Travel and Photo Accessories – Mini’app’les User Group

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota is fortunate to have a vibrant and active tech community. One such group is the Mini’app’les User Group. It’s a group of of Apple users interested in sharing knowledge and experience with other Apple users and owners. Members vary from beginners, to consultants and developers of any age. The common bond is an interest and a desire to learn more about the Apple experience, regardless of focus. You can get notifications of meetings conveniently held once a month at the LuminFire offices in Minneapolis via Meetup.

Mac Laptop and iPhone Travel and Photo Accessories - Mini'app'les User Group

At our most recent meetings we discussed many accessories that can be added to your travel bag to make it easier to use your iPhone and MacBook when on the road. We also looked at many iPhone apps that can assist. Below you’ll find some gems.

iPhone Travel Apps

  • GoodReader – Super-robust PDF reader app
  • PDF Expert – Fast, robust, and beautiful PDF editor
  • Infuse – A beautiful way to watch almost any video format on your iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.
  • Currency Converter HD – Exchange Rate Calculator
  • Mobile Passport – Speeds you through U.S. Customs and Border Protection at over 20 major U.S. airports.
  • TripIt: Travel Organizer – Instantly organizes all your travel plans in one place.
  • Google Translate – Assistance with language translation
  • Flightradar24 – Show flight information in real time wherever you are
  • SeatGuru – Help with selecting the best airplane seating

Mac Laptop and iPhone Travel and Photo Accessories - Mini'app'les User Group 1 
Hardware for Travel

Photography Travel Accessories

The book 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You was also mentioned at the meeting as an interesting read.

It’s great to actually see these products in use at the meeting and get reviews from actual users on how well they hold up in the field.

Thanks to Tim Drenk (Mini’app’les President) and Peter Bockenhauer (Mini’app’les Secretary & Webmaster) for compiling and sharing this information.

If you have other ideas for useful accessories feel free to add to the comments below.

FileMaker 16 Makes Apps Faster and More Powerful!

Today is the release of FileMaker 16 with many welcome new features. We’ve had a chance to preview the software and we’re very excited about all the new changes and many that we’ve been waiting for with anticipation for a long time.

FileMaker 16 Makes Apps Faster and More Powerful!

First, here is a summary of FileMaker 16 new features as described by FileMaker:

  • Mobility: Animations and transitions, enhanced signature capture, region-monitoring script. custom paper sizes
  • Development: Layout Objects windows, cards, PDF support in FileMaker Server and WebDirect, new UI on Windows OS, copy/paste value lists, variables in FileMaker data source references, enhanced Data Viewer
  • Integration: Enhanced cURL options, JSON functions, FileMaker Data API trial, Tableau Web Data Connector for FileMaker, external script steps
  • Security: OAuth 2.0 support for accounts, clickable security lock icons, field-level text encryption
  • Scalability: FileMaker WebDirect up to 500 users

FileMaker 16 Makes Apps Faster and More Powerful! 1

As we see it at LuminFire, here are some of the biggest wins in FileMaker 16:

  1. For Windows users…FileMaker 16 makes it possible to really use multiple windows!
  2. Native integration ability with JSON and cURL support making it possible to more easily connect FileMaker to other applications
  3. New print/PDF engine that works on WebDirect
  4. Security enhancements to keep FileMaker data well protected
  5. iOS mobile enhancements to give FileMaker Go more capabilities on the iPhone or iPad
  6. Layout objects window so a developer can more easily access and edit any item on a layout
  7. WebDirect scalability up to 500 users
  8. New Plugin architecture allows adding script steps and use on FileMaker Go
  9. FileMaker Data API (trial) – The future of connecting to FileMaker from the outside world

We are going to have a series of blog posts detailing many of the new features of FileMaker 16 in the next few weeks so stay tuned to this channel! If you can’t wait and want to get started right away, we’ve consolidated some of the best resources (articles, white papers, and videos) from around the interwebs regarding FileMaker 16 right here.

Over the next few months we will be upgrading our clients to FileMaker 16, including clients and servers as we test each solution carefully for compatibility. Although there is not a native file format change with FileMaker 16, our recommendations are to test your apps where there are a lot of changes…especially on the Windows platform and with printing, since the entire print engine was rewritten in this version. Once you verify that your app works better than ever with FileMaker 16, or you make any changes necessary to make sure it does, then you can plan your upgrade. Waiting a month or two will also allow time for any quick bug fixes to be released.

We look forward to seeing many of you at DevCon this year in Phoenix. Our team will be there to answer any of your questions about FileMaker 16 at our booth as well as demonstrate exciting new ways to connect FileMaker to other apps at our Brilliant FileMaker Integration Solutions session on Wednesday, July 26 at 9 am in the Grand Canyon 4 room.

FileMaker 16 Resources

First, check out the Scoop.it FileMaker News for the latest updated articles on FileMaker.

Summary of RCC’s FileMaker 16 Top 10 New Features:

  1. No need to convert old files as FileMaker 16 still uses .fmp12 file format
  2. Windows version FileMaker 16 in no longer constrained to one Window
  3. The layout object window – Find any object on a layout no matter where it is buried or hidden
  4. PDF generation from FileMaker Server for WebDirect and Go users
  5. Card Style Windows
  6. Data Viewer live interaction as you change your formula
  7. Variables can be targets for insert script steps and as source for external data source
  8. REST API connectivity – Allow your database interact with other services
  9. oAuth authorization from Google, Amazon Web Services, and Azure
  10. Improvements to FileMaker Go: Signature Handling, Layout transitions and animations, iBeacon/Geofence support, AV player support

General FileMaker 16 announcement posts…

A Custom FileMaker App that Performs Magic Tricks

Computers are amazing technology. Very few people understand how they actually work and even when you do…it’s still amazing. Futurist and writer Arthur C Clarke said that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” It’s true even though we often take that magic for granted today as everyone carries a supercomputer around with them in the form of a smartphone in their pocket.

When it comes to magical illusions or tricks…things that are difficult or impossible for our mind to understand…there is a special wonder and feeling for a moment that we had often as a child when we realize that we don’t know how something is accomplished. Magicians today continue to amaze us even in a world filled with movie special effects and wizardry.

The type of magic a computer can perform is very limited. Although it could simulate many card tricks, there would be no skill involved and the computer could always cheat by “looking at your card”. That limits the type of “pick a card” trick to those where you choose the card (or number) in your head and the computer determines the card you chose by “magic…a kind of computer telepathy. ” So mostly the computer can do tricks where it “reads your mind” through clever programming.

The First Apple II Computer Magic Tricks

The idea of a computer performing magic started on the Apple II by Tim Cimbura around 1982. Included here are screen shots showing the original version of the 21 card trick which was the first magic trick to be programmed into a computer. It was included as a demo application for “ApexText” the Apple II Extended Text system. It was written in AppleSoft BASIC with calls to 6502 assembly language to make the graphics work.

ApexText was one of the first applications that allowed upper and lower case letters, graphics, multiple fonts, and characters in italic, bold, colors, large, tall, wide, etc. to be used on a personal computer. The graphics at that time were a bit crude but not that bad. Then it was leading edge technology and now it’s a basic capability of every operating system.
FileMaker-A Custom App that Performs Magic Tricks
Updated for HyperCard
In November 1992, these tricks were re-written in HyperCard and several more were added. They were available as a free download from America Online called “Computer Magician”.

FileMaker-A Custom App that Performs Magic Tricks 1
Enter FileMaker
FileMaker is the #1 rapid application development platform in the world. It’s been around for 30 years and provided the tools required to make the next iteration of this app in 2007 that runs on Windows, macOS or iOS. It took quite a lot of programming trickery to get a database to do magic.

fmMagic requires FileMaker to run. If you don’t have FileMaker Pro already, you can download a free trial for your workstation. On the iPad, download the free FileMaker Go app.

Then download the FREE fmMagic app for your entertainment fun and let it do a few tricks for you.I hope you enjoyed the magic.FileMaker-A Custom App that Performs Magic Tricks 4
CREDITS
The principles involved in these tricks have existed for years in one form or another. However, the computer code, graphics, and several additional principals that make the illusions more unique are original. Credit where it’s due:

  • Trick #1, #5, #7, and #8 are old magic standards.
  • Trick #2, was inspired by a 7 up ad available on the internet.
  • Trick #3, the symbol mind reader, was inspired by Andy Naughton’s creation also available on the internet.
  • Trick #4, the destinations trick was inspired by David Copperfield in his 1992 TV special.
  • Trick #6, with the train cars was inspired by an illusion performed by David Copperfield in his 1991 TV special.

FileMaker-A Custom App that Performs Magic Tricks 2

Why FileMaker?

In our experience with hundreds of organizations, we have found that too often teams end up spending time and effort in unproductive, inefficient activities that make it more difficult to reach their goals. Many organizations operate using paper forms, different types of files and formats, spreadsheets and applications that don’t connect with each other.

According to one survey, employees at small and mid-sized firms spend 50% of their workday engaged in unproductive but necessary activities.

Why FileMaker?Operating this way causes productivity drains on teams. Most organizations say they face three challenges:

  1. Scattered information. It’s literally everywhere—in multiple applications, in notebooks, in spreadsheets, on someone’s iPad. Teams spend time and energy trying to find the information they need. According to The Paperless Project, managers spend an average of 4 weeks a year searching for or waiting on papers that are misfiled, mislabeled, or just missing.  That is like taking one month out of the calendar and throwing it away.
  2. Inefficient or ad hoc processes. The workflow is error-prone and time consuming.  In fact, the LinkedIn Records Management Professionals Group reports that 67% of data loss is directly related to user blunders… 30 times more menacing than viruses.
  3. Difficulty finding technology that fits their needs.

The following software options exist:

  1. Off-the-shelf applications and App Store apps – These are quick to find and install, but may not meet all their needs and could be hard to customize.
  2. Traditional programming tools – Many companies hire programmers to create their own applications. They can create exactly what they want, but this process takes significant time and money.  Maintaining the solution can be expensive…up to 4-10 times the cost of a FileMaker solution.
  3. FileMaker makes it easy to create custom solutions that: Cost effectively bring together all needed information, quickly streamline business processes, and can be easily updated and deployed across different devices and platforms. This can be done quickly and efficiently—at a lower cost than other application programming environments.

FileMaker Overview…

  • An Apple subsidiary…backed by the #1 tech company in the world.
  • Platform to easily create custom solutions for iPad, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and the web.
  • 30 years of experience helping companies transform their business.
  • Over 20 million units delivered in 15 languages to organizations of all sizes.
  • Over 1.5 million downloads of FileMaker Go for iPad and iPhone.

The following video presents a strong case for FileMaker’s strengths. Utilizing FileMaker can increase collaboration, help you gain insight and take action on those things that are important to your business.

The following demo shows the creation of a simple FileMaker custom app in only a few minutes. It demonstrates effectively why FileMaker is the #1 rapid application development tool in the world.

LuminFire is a Platinum FileMaker Business Alliance partner…one of only 50 in the Americas. We are experts at making FileMaker work for your organization so it is more effective, productive, and profitable. Contact us for FileMaker licensing or a free consultation to see how FileMaker could work for you.

Overland Gallery Tracks Amazing Art With Custom FileMaker/fmIgnite App and Website

Overland Gallery has been helping its distinguished clients acquire the best in Russian Realist and Impressionist paintings for over 27 years. They are the most recognized and knowledgeable source of Russian Realist and Impressionist paintings in the United States.Overland Gallery Tracks Amazing Art With Custom FileMaker/fmIgnite App and Website

For years, Overland Gallery had been using Microsoft Access for their database, however as their business grew, they recognized that they needed a more robust solution with better support. In addition, they needed a website that would aid in their communication and connection with clients. They asked LuminFire to build a new application solution and website for them.

Overland Gallery 4

To address Overland Gallery’s application needs, LuminFire began with a blueprint process. We analyzed the existing solution, identified its weaknesses and designed a new solution to address the enhancements and features desired by Overland. As part of this work, we designed the technical architecture of the solution and drew an ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram) showing a detailed data model that would allow us to track all the business information used by Overland each day. We were also able to test the process for data migration and ensure that we would be able to move all the existing information into their new solution without any data loss whatsoever. Doing this initial discovery and design work allowed us to come up with a good estimate of what the entire project would cost and provided a decision point to determine positive ROI for the project.

Overland Gallery 10 Overland Gallery 9

 

fmIgnite for Art Galleries

In this particular case, LuminFire utilized a customized version of fmIgnite® expressly designed for Art Galleries. fmIgnite is LuminFire’s business solution software…a framework and jumpstart for building a custom solution. We were able to take advantage of thousands of hours of development and testing already completed and deliver a feature rich solution faster and at a lower cost to Overland than if we had started from scratch building a custom solution. fmIgnite provided Overland a great way to track the artists, employees, clients as well as their existing inventory of paintings. The invoice module worked for selling their art pieces.

Before deciding on fmIgnite, LuminFire and Overland searched for other off-the-shelf software that might fit their needs. There were some available…even one based on FileMaker. But none offered the power, flexibility, or customer service level of fmIgnite for Art Galleries available from LuminFire. Some companies even failed to respond to basic sales calls or had products that were not designed with the latest technologies that would ensure longevity and stability of the solution. With a full-time dedicated team of professionals on staff, LuminFire was responsive from the beginning and continues to be available when new enhancements are required or questions arise.

With their previous Microsoft Access based software, Overland had to connect to the database remotely via screen sharing, making it an extremely cumbersome. fmIgnite/FileMaker offers Overland direct access via a solution hosted in the cloud along with incredible flexibility and new customized functionality. For example, fmIgnite allows Overland to be able to create groups of items (in this case used as art galleries or collections) that make up a custom-tailored selection for a specific customer.  This tool allows Overland to set up art collections tailored to the preferences of a specific customer as a marketing tool.

Many Custom Features

The application tracks Russian artists. They have long names…and middle names. Attention: Russian culture lesson follows. (START LESSON) Middle names are very important in Russian culture. People get their middle name from their father even if you are male or female. Therefore we know that Mariya Vladimirovna Savchenkova’s father was named Vladimir. Her brothers would have the middle name of Vladimirovich. If your father’s name is Mikhail, your middle name would be Mikhailovich and your sisters middle name would be Mikhailova. They also use the middle names when addressing a superior like a teacher. So you would address you teacher as Mariya Vladimirovna, not Mrs Savchenkova. It would be considered very rude to address a superior or elder person with just a first name. (END LESSON) Although this might seem like a system designed to torture 1st graders trying to learn how to write their names, it’s quite important. So the application needed long fields to track the names of artists. Other art gallery software might not even accommodate that simple feature…and it wouldn’t be something you could change. In addition, LuminFire was able create a custom field for artists’ names that allowed them to by written in Cyrillic–the Russian alphabet.

The ability to create private web galleries for clients is a team effort between FileMaker and the WordPress website that required LuminFire’s deep technical knowledge and innovation at every step.  LuminFire used BrilliantSync™ to facilitate the connection between FileMaker/fmIgnite and the new website. Galleries are assembled from extremely high resolution images of paintings hosted on a local computer.  In order to put an image on their website previously, the image had to be uploaded from their computer to their server, and then sent from their server to s3 (Amazon’s Simple Storage Service that archives data and allows websites to access it).  These huge files were being sent over the server twice, which was costly in both resources and in network traffic capacity.  LuminFire was able to set up a FileMaker client directly on the computer hosting the images, and with the click of a button, those images are uploaded directly to s3, bypassing the second upload that was happening with the old system.  The new FileMaker system is only required to store a list of filenames and s3 ID numbers, freeing up both company resources and room for mission-critical network traffic.

Overland Gallery 7 Overland Gallery 8

LuminFire took a close look at many of Overland Gallery’s processes, and identified areas where improvements could be made to increase effectiveness. Frequently, Overland Gallery will have customers that are interested in art of a specific size. LuminFire created a brilliant customized search functionality that took into account whether the measurement was in inches or centimeters, etc., converted all measurements to the same type, and made them searchable. Details such as these put the finishing touch on a robust, efficient system, making it totally customized to meet the client’s needs.

Another important part of Overland’s business is the restoration and preservation of paintings. fmIgnite job templates and activities provides tracking for these projects each step of the way and ensures that the status of each painting is known at all times. Future plans include making it easier to do complete inventories of the galleries paintings through the use of RF ID tags.

LuminFire takes care of their clients and leverages their deep technical skill set to create a customized solution that really does help make businesses more effective, profitable and productive!

Overland Gallery

Overland Gallery 1 Overland Gallery 2 Overland Gallery 3
Overland Gallery 5 Overland Gallery 6

fmIgnite® and BrilliantSync™ are trademarks of LuminFire®.

AeroFab Increases Productivity with fmIgnite for Manufacturing Custom FileMaker Solution

AeroFab Implements Improved FileMaker Solution Using fmIgnite for ManufacturingAeroFab is a sheet metal fabrication company with seasoned experts in laser cutting, welding, design and all aspects of the fabrication process for specialized component parts used in food processing, architectural work, and more. AeroFab had been using an existing FileMaker solution and though it served them well for many years, they recognized that their needs had outgrown its capabilities.  They approached LuminFire first to assist with maintenance and minor enhancements of their existing FileMaker solution. As we worked together and analyzed their growing needs we determined that a rebuild of the system based on fmIgnite® would take their solution to the next level with the highest ROI.

AeroFab Implements Improved FileMaker Solution Using fmIgnite for Manufacturing 1

A FileMaker system is only as good as the developer that created it. Also, newer versions of FileMaker have introduced entirely new capabilities that we could take advantage of fully by completely replacing the existing system. Using our extensive experience with FileMaker we were able to implement the solution with zero data loss and minimal disruption to daily work. We developed the new solution in parallel with the old one and testing/training of key personnel was completed along the way. We worked directly with the subject matter experts (SMEs) onsite to build a system that exactly met their needs and adapted to their processes.

After development and testing was complete, we set an implementation date over a weekend. That weekend we completed the data migration moving each table and field from the old database application into a place in the new fmIgnite solution. We provided onsite assistance to ensure that the transition was smooth. Due to the amazing rapid application development capabilities of FileMaker and our expert developers, we were able to address any minor issues nearly immediately following implementation.

Since fmIgnite is a solid platform built using the latest version of FileMaker, we were able to take advantage of thousands of well-tested and modern pre-built features that were implemented much faster than if we had been required to build the solution from scratch.

fmIgnite® for Manufacturing

AeroFab uses a specialized version of LuminFire’s business management application fmIgnite called fmIgnite for Manufacturing. It is built specifically for the needs of the manufacturing industry and yet can be a fully customized solution that provides a unique competitive advantage for AeroFab.

There are off-the-shelf software systems that perform these types of functions. Clients like AeroFab have found them to be more expensive and often more complex to operate. They are not elegant right-fit solutions like fmIgnite. AeroFab chose to continue to use a FileMaker based solution because they see it as a wise investment. It can be rapidly modified and enhanced to meet changes in the industry or their processes. It allows them to take advantage of not only their desktop computers but also iPads in their production areas. Another big advantage to the system is that AeroFab owns all their data. It’s not held hostage in a system with limited export capabilities. It is completely available for producing helpful reports and insights about their business.

AeroFab Implements Improved FileMaker Solution Using fmIgnite

QuickBooks Integration

AeroFab chose to utilize QuickBooks for the majority of their accounting reporting functions. fmIgnite integrates with QuickBooks so that we can take advantage of that standardized accounting platform. In this way we don’t have to reinvent the wheel by rebuilding all the common accounting functions but we also have full capabilities to customize the components that are less flexible in QuickBooks in fmIgnite. We get the best of both worlds by integrating FileMaker with QuickBooks.

AeroFab Increases Productivity with fmIgnite for Manufacturing Custom FileMaker Solution

Streamlining Operations for Return on Investment (ROI)

Each product that is completed at AeroFab goes through a series of routing operations.  These routing operations can include CAD design, laser cutting, de-burring, forming, and many others.

AeroFab Implements Improved FileMaker Solution Using fmIgnite for Manufacturing 2

AeroFab found that they were spending large amounts of time setting up these routing operations for each job. fmIgnite allows them to create job activity templates and set custom templates as favorites so a user can only see their own templates.  These changes may sound simple, but implementing them streamlined the routing operation process significantly for AeroFab by drastically reducing load times and by making the template selection process extremely quick.

In addition to streamlining the routing operations process, fmIgnite also gave AeroFab many other helpful capabilities.  AeroFab can now attach multiple people to a company record, allowing them the ability to track individual clients’ contact information, including email addresses, phone numbers and job titles that had previously been all lumped together in a single field, making them difficult to access and use. fmIgnite manages their inventory stock of raw materials and saves time doing so.  Previously, the information that had been entered for their raw materials was often mistakenly duplicated and had no standard. LuminFire created custom-designed fields for each material, streamlined the data entry process, prevented duplicate entries, and helps to speed up future data entry and reduce any future errors.

Even small details contribute to being more effective. New printed labels take the place of previously hand-written labels that were difficult to read and sometimes inaccurate.

AeroFab Increases Productivity with fmIgnite for Manufacturing Custom FileMaker Solution 1

Conclusion

The combination of fmIgnite and FileMaker is powerful. FileMaker provides the rapid application development platform and fmIgnite provides a solid structure so that development of the custom application is as fast as possible.

“It’s great to see results so quickly. Development is so responsive. The LuminFire team understands our business and how to make fmIgnite do what we need to make us more efficient.” – Paul, VP of Operations at AeroFab

“Invoicing is a lot faster so we’re saving a lot of time now. In general it’s a lot more user friendly than our old system. We’re just amazed at the possibilities of everything that fmIgnite can do. As the company grows we know the app will continue to work for us and we’ll be able to make the changes required to meet our business needs exactly.” – Samantha, Office Manager at AeroFab

ROI calculations show that AeroFab should make back their investment in this custom application within one year. All of these improvements really add up saving hundreds of hours of manual work previously completed in Excel and on paper. With the improved productivity, AeroFab is now able to process more work, more effectively, leading to increased profits.

 

AeroFab Implements Improved FileMaker Solution Using fmIgnite 2 AeroFab Implements Improved FileMaker Solution Using fmIgnite 3 AeroFab Implements Improved FileMaker Solution Using fmIgnite 1

AeroFab Implements Improved FileMaker Solution Using fmIgnite for Manufacturing 3

fmIgnite® is a registered trademark of LuminFire®.

The Wedding Guys Get a New Website with FileMaker Integration

The Wedding Guys. Ever heard of them?The Wedding Guys Dynamic Get a New Website with FileMaker Integration

They are THE go-to source for everything a bride and groom need to simplify the wedding process. Think Twin Cities Bridal Show, the UNVEILED Wedding Event and endless wedding ideas in their Wedding Trend Look Book.

The Wedding Guys Dynamic Get a New Website with FileMaker Integration 4Who are The Wedding Guys®?

The Wedding Guys Dynamic Get a New Website with FileMaker Integration 5
Matthew Trettel is regarded as a premier designer and producer in the wedding industry; as an accomplished professional in publishing, graphic design, fashion and trade show production. With more than 15 years experience in the event industry, Mr. Trettel is a recipient of numerous accolades in the wedding industry and is world-renowned as one of The Wedding Guys®.

Bruce Vassar is highly respected internationally for his insight to marketing, media and public relations. Mr. Vassar’s resume includes twenty years in the special events industry including visual merchandising and promotion in the bridal fashion industry along with an extensive background in catering; event design, tradeshow and fashion show production. His truly authentic passion for everything bridal has awarded him numerous accolades and the world-renowned title as one of The Wedding Guys®.

It’s no wonder these guys have had success: Known for producing the world’s best bridal events, they spend their time developing each bridal show and scouring the globe for new ideas that brides and grooms can use to create an unforgettable experience for their guests.

Enter LuminFire. As you can tell, The Wedding Guys have a knack for producing beautiful things and for making great things happen. However, their existing website was based on a failing technology, support and reliability was spotty, and it didn’t talk to a FileMaker application that they used internally to track information…so it required a lot of double entry of data.

Originally, we worked with an industry-specific web site app and we were very limited. It didn’t give us the robust customized features that we really needed. We have a lot of great content that we weren’t able to feature on our website. In addition, we were doing double entry of our content in order to get it onto on our website. LuminFire offered us a fully customized solution that integrated FileMaker with a new WordPress website and eliminated most wasted time entering data twice. We still enter financials manually into QuickBooks, but we are looking forward to working with LuminFire to automate that step as well in the future. – Matthew Trettel, President, The Wedding Guys

The Wedding Guys had a vision for a beautiful new website that included Photoshop mockups…but they needed them to be incorporated into their website in a way that really grabbed the viewer’s attention. The developers at LuminFire took these mockups and brought them to life. The Wedding Guys Dynamic Get a New Website with FileMaker Integration 1

One of the key elements to the success of their business and events is the vendor directory. They have a large number of vendors – from catering to florists to photography, and we designed a way for them to manage their vendors in FileMaker, but display them on their website, as well on the Exhibitors on the show pages.

One key component to their business is selling:

  1. Vendors buy exhibitor positions (booths) and can choose amenities like tables, carpet, etc.
  2. Event attendees purchase tickets to the show with various limits on people, special coupons, etc.
  3. Conference attendees buy registrations to The Wedding Guys Ignite Conference. Custom logic to allows for quantity pricing for groups/companies.

The website and FileMaker solution supports all these options.

So how has using our technology improved their business?

They get to use their FileMaker database in the office with their internal employees. They’re comfortable with it. It’s easy to create custom reports and easily search for any information they have available. They use WordPress to present their public facing website. They get the advantage of WordPress themes, plugins, security, and ability to scale and serve information to tens of thousands of people easily. In general, the tools are used where they fit best to make an integrated technology solution.

BrilliantSync technology is used in this solution to push Shows, Venues, Registrations, and Vendors/Prospects from FileMaker to the WordPress website. This automated process saves a lot of time.

LuminFire’s custom WordPress web and FileMaker solution saved us so much work that we have been able to shift a full-time position to do other important work, saving us around $30,000. We really needed a custom solution and LuminFire made it happen. Another big advantage of working with LuminFire is that they are very responsive to our needs. Their team is plugged into what we are doing and they understand our project. As we need to make additional changes or enhancements to the system they have been quick to execute. Often we can reach out and within a day (and many times even in the same day) we can have our system up and running. – Matthew Trettel, President, The Wedding Guys

The Wedding Guys Dynamic Get a New Website with FileMaker Integration 6

 

The Wedding Guys Dynamic Get a New Website with FileMaker Integration 2 The Wedding Guys Dynamic Get a New Website with FileMaker Integration 3

 

 

SEO Q&A: Subdomain vs. subfolder?

I often get asked if Google* prefers a subdomain or a subfolder. The issue often arises when someone is hosting their main site on a hosted solution like Shopify (or similar) versus WordPress.

They love the ease of use of the hosted service, but it’s hard to beat WordPress at blogging. They want the best of both worlds: which means WordPress running on domain.com/blog/, but this is one of your “can’t have your cake and eat it too” moments. Since domain.com is pointed at the 3rd party service… all subfolders on that domain have to be hosted by that service (it’s a DNS thing).

The obvious solution is to use blog.domain.com as subdomains can be pointed at a different server than the primary domain.

This is where the “old SEO tale” comes into play… as there’s a stigma associated with subdomains: people believe they won’t rank as well (or help the main site rank as well) as a subfolder.

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence out there advocating both viewpoints, but the official word is:

You should choose whatever is easiest for you to organize and manage. From an indexing and ranking perspective, Google doesn’t have a preference. (Source)

Of course what Google says and does doesn’t always match up… so you get lively debates like The Great Subdomain vs. Subfolder Debate, what is the best answer?. I doubt we’ll ever settle that one.

In the end, subfolders are probably better, but most people should be fine using a subdomain. Practical often trumps perfect, right?

But wait, can you have the best of both worlds? It depends.

WordPress is very powerful and flexible — and plugins allow it to do all kinds of different things, so you can flip things around: point domain.com at your WordPress site, and pull in the 3rd party content using the power of plugins!

The right answer probably has a lot more to do with your business goals and preferences than Google’s algorithms.

Good luck!

* No one ever seems to ask about other search engines…

Liberate Your FileMaker Data and Connect with the Web Using BrilliantSync!

FileMaker is the # 1 rapid application development tool and with it you can create amazing apps that track all the information you need to run your business. But often, an internal FileMaker database may have information locked up inside of it that you want to share with the world via the web. There are also cases where a website may collect and display lots of information that you have been double-entering into FileMaker. Until now, integrating FileMaker with web technology has been a challenge.

LuminFire created BrilliantSync, a code framework that does the work of converting web data types in common web content management systems like WordPress and Drupal to information that FileMaker can understand and interact with easily. This effectively liberates your data and removes the need for resource-draining double entry.BrilliantSync - A framework for keeping WordPress and FileMaker in Sync 2

Here are a few recent projects that have utilized BrilliantSync to create and implement impressive solutions:

  • Hideaway Day Camp is a popular and expertly run day camp in Pennsylvania, but along with that popularity came massive numbers of registrants filling out online forms. Hideaway used to have to re-enter all of their registrants’ information into FileMaker by hand! LuminFire was able to use BrilliantSync to solve that problem, enabling the form results to go directly to filemaker, completely automating the process! Problem solved!
  • Overland Art Gallery has been helping its distinguished clients acquire the best in Russian Realist and Impressionist paintings. BrilliantSync allows them to create custom galleries for individual clients on their WordPress website from information in their FileMaker application.
  • The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) had trouble with their large members’ directory—every time they needed to update information, they had to do it separately for the web and for FileMaker. They approached LuminFire with their problem, and using BrilliantSync we were able to remove the double entry task by automating the process and also provide them with an added Buyer’s Guide with deals for members.
  • LKT Laboratories sells biochemicals for life science research in areas such as cancer prevention and neuroscience. LKT contacted LuminFire because they needed a new eCommerce website and wanted it to automatically connect to the FileMaker app already used to track all their chemical information internally. We designed how data could be synced between the WordPress and FileMaker platforms and were able to build a fully responsive site so that clients can easily order and search the site from ANY device, with an eCommerce shopping cart based on the open-source WooCommerce WordPress plugin. It was just what they were looking for!
  • The Wedding Guys are a premier wedding planning service who recognized that their huge catalog of vendors and widely attended events (and accompanying registration forms) were getting too difficult to handle with their old system. Double entering information into FileMaker was becoming a huge hassle, and they needed a solution that would free up their resources. LuminFire was able to leverage BrilliantSync solution to automate the process of sending registration information to FileMaker and billing for vendor booths at trade shows online.
  • Second Use is a company on a mission to process salvaged building materials to help reduce landfills. They maintain their inventory list in FileMaker and used to have to sync files every night with a CSV file in order to handle their inventory. They also wanted to open a second store, and their existing inventory system couldn’t handle a second location.  They approached LuminFire with this challenge and we were able to replace their time-consuming CSV upload process with a BrilliantSync solution to automate the process of pushing their inventory data to WordPress.
  • The Centre for Suicide Prevention (Canada) are passionate about their work, and they know that in order free up resources to save more lives, their website needed to work smarter and more efficiently.  They needed info pushed out about upcoming events and workshops, but they were also receiving information from huge numbers of registrants.  LuminFire was able to help them by setting up a two-way sync with FileMaker and WordPress using BrilliantSync, automating the registration information process directly to FileMaker and eliminating the need to double-enter information about their upcoming events.
  • The Jerome Foundation contributes to culture by supporting supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists in Minnesota and New York City. They had an existing Drupal based website and FileMaker database that couldn’t talk to each other. LuminFire created a connection with BrilliantSync between Drupal and FileMaker so that all information entered on the web site could be automatically imported into FileMaker for use in their office where they could take advantage of FileMaker’s rapid application development and reporting capabilities without retyping the information saving hundreds of hours of admin time every year.

Cimbura.com rebrands as LuminFire

The Cimbura.com name was first officially used in 2003, but we’ve been building innovative software solutions for 30+ years under the guidance of our CEO and founder, Tim Cimbura. Since that time, we’ve significantly grown and expanded our capabilities which now include an amazing team of talented experts in WordPress, FileMaker, mobile, GIS, and Apple technology.

Cimbura.com has built a reputation as a trusted technology provider in the industry. We felt that we outgrew our original name and so began the search for something that would better reflect who we are today.

We are excited to announce our new brand “LuminFire”.

LuminFire Rebrand

The LuminFire brand represents how brilliant ideas together with a passion for innovation can transform how business is done. “Lumin” represents light and together with “Fire” refers to how we forge brilliant technology solutions that ignite business success. This new name better represents the skill set and talent of our experienced team of technology experts”.

We’re keeping our familiar stars icon and the “Brilliant Solutions” tagline so the brand will carry on the goodwill that we have already established. We work hard to make businesses more effective, productive, and profitable.

“It has never been a more exciting time than now to be a client or employee of LuminFire, and this new brand reflects our enthusiasm and focus on connecting our customers’ information and automating their business processes,” said Nick Ciske, LuminFire’s chief technology officer. “Our brand transformation better represents where the company is today and our vision for the future.”

From this day forward Cimbura.com will be known as LuminFire. We hope you enjoy the refresh as much as we have in creating it. All new communications will come from our new name LuminFire.

If you have any questions about the change or want to connect with us to start a new project visit our LuminFire web site or contact our Director of Business Development Angel Moin. We’d love to have you visit our amazing new office space as well. Give us a call to set up an appointment to come in.

The Brilliant Team at LuminFire

About LuminFire

Based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota (Minneapolis, St. Paul, and suburbs), LuminFire is the primary FileMaker Platinum partner in the upper Midwest region with hundreds of successful development projects and installations.

While our name may have changed to better represent what the company is today, LuminFire’s value proposition and mission remains the same: We exist to make businesses more effective, productive, and profitable by creating brilliant technology solutions. We are experts in FileMaker, WordPress, mobile, GIS, HIPAA security, and Apple technologies. We specialize in web integrations with WooCommerce, Salesforce, QuickBooks, Stripe, MailChimp, and other applications.

Companies invest in LuminFire technology solutions because of our strong technical skills and ability to create innovative and cost effective custom solutions to their business challenges. We deliver technical solutions that provide businesses with the strongest competitive advantage, lowest cost of ownership, and best long term stability.

FAQs

Do we need to sign a new agreement with LuminFire to continue working together?

No. LuminFire is a dba (doing businss as) name of Cimbura.com, Inc. so there is no need to redo any existing contracts or agreements. The EIN tax ID remains the same as well.

Who do we make payments to?

Write checks to “LuminFire”. As Cimbura.com, Inc. still exists, we can accept checks written to either name.

What is your new contact information?

Our offices are located at:
LuminFire
5155 East River Rd Suite 405
Minneapolis, MN 55421
612-564-1626
http://luminfire.com

PRESS RELEASE

Cimbura.com, Inc. launches new LuminFire Brand Name 
March 8, 2017
Minneapolis, MN

Cimbura.com, Inc., a leading technology provider of FileMaker, WordPress, and GIS solutions, today introduced the company’s new brand name LuminFire.

About LuminFire
LuminFire creates brilliant technology solutions to business challenges that makes work more effective, productive, and profitable.

LuminFire engineers are experts in FileMaker, WordPress, mobile, GIS, HIPAA security, and Apple technologies. Out of over 1,200 FileMaker Business Alliance partners in the world, LuminFire is one of 50 Platinum FBA partners in the Americas and the only Platinum partner in Minnesota. LuminFire is also a member of the Apple Consultant Network.

fmIgnite is our flagship business management software that can be fully customized to meet the needs of any business and easily connects to other web-based business solutions.

BrilliantSync is our proprietary sync software that connects FileMaker solutions to WordPress, WooCommerce, and the web.

BrilliantPlugins is the home of several LuminFire plugins that extend the functionality of WordPress to help create successful web projects.

LuminFire, fmIgnite, BrilliantPlugins, BrilliantSync, and the “Brilliant Solutions” tagline and logos are trademarks of Cimbura.com, Inc., registered in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

For further information: 

See the web site http://luminfire.com
Contact Angel Moin, Director of Business Development 612-564-1626