Announcing FREE FileMaker to JSON Converter

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5-22-2007 by Geoff Coffey

If you do any so-called AJAX development, you may be familiar with JSON. This terse “object notation” lets you turn just about any set of data into a compact plain-text string that can easlily be shuttled across the network or from one program to another. Most AJAX libraries have built in support for JSON. We’ve just posted the FileMaker to JSON Converter, an XSLT template that adds direct-to-JSON support to FileMaker Server Advanced. With this little beauty installed, dynamic web applications, ruby scripts, dashboard widgets, and gadgets can talk direclty to FileMaker with ease.

The Inspiration

A few weeks ago I had need to write a Dashboard Widget that communicated with FileMaker. Of course FileMaker has a very powerful XML interface (by way of the Web Publishing Engine in FileMaker Server Advanced) and Javascript is perfectly capable of parsing XML. But I’ve never been a fan of this sort of approach for a couple of reasons:

  1. XML is a pretty heavy-weight format for simple data exchange. If it is being compressed, the problem is largely mitigated, but most web servers aren’t configured to compress HTTP data in-transit. And FileMaker’s XML is particularly large since it includes so much ancillary information (and all the tags that go along with it). I wanted a more svelte means of retrieving data.

  2. Parsing XML in Javascript is a nuisance. It isn’t hard per se, but it is tedious. I like to avoid it at all costs.

JSON overcomes both these concerns: it is very light weight, and it is simple to handle in Javascript. So I built an XSLT stylesheet to let FileMaker serve up JSON directly.

Without further ado, we’re pleased to make the FileMaker to JSON Converter available free of charge. This XSLT stylesheet adds direct-to-json support to you FileMaker Web Publishing setup. It is really cool.

The download, and complete documentation can be found here.

Let us know what you think :)

1 Comment

  1. Paul Messias

    It appears that the generated JSON code won’t validate – it is using single quotes to enclose strings where JSON requires double quotes.

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