PDF Forms with MBS Plugin

As you may know, you can create PDF form fields with our MBS Plugin using the DynaPDF functions. The plugin can do a lot there and not just read/write form field values, but also create new fields. In the following article, we want to show you how we do this. Our goal is to dynamically create a template PDF based on a form file created in a word processor. We add fields with data, send it to a client and when we get the modified file back, we can import the new values.




We start with a sample database. This database has a table for people and the following fields. All just plain text fields and the ID field is set to be come an UUID. That is important as a random UUID makes it difficult to guess a valid ID, which would be easy if you just count up record IDs. We store the ID in the PDF and don't want someone to make up a valid ID. Here is the field list:


Firstname Text

Lastname Text

Address Text

City Text

Country Text

Email Text

ID Text Indexed, Auto-enter Calculation replaces existing value, Can't Modify Auto



Transparent Screensaver for macOS

Our transparent screensaver is still the choice of screensaver for computers running in an office. You can see the statistics of your running applications, the console log or activity monitor to check quickly what's going on. Only when you move mouse or touch a key, you need to enter your password or use Touch ID. But otherwise the view is free to see stats.

Try it today and let me know how you like it.
On all commenters here on this blog article, we raffle on free license on Sunday.

Below the announcement from the last update: (more)

MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 8.2pr3

New in this prerelease of version 8.1 of the MBS FileMaker Plugin: Download at monkeybreadsoftware.de/filemaker/files/Prerelease/ or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

Vote for FileMaker Plugin SDK Ideas

As you may know FileMaker comes with a plugin SDK, which C++ developers like me use to develop plugins. Now the Plugin SDK offers a way to register functions and script steps and provide additional features to the FileMaker developer.

The plugin developer can get a list of parameters with the function call and inspect them, e.g. do different things for containers, texts or numbers passed in. And the plugin can return a value as result and the SDK offers functions to return texts, numbers and assemble containers. Over the years we got a few SQL functions to do queries and modify data in the database on behalf of the FileMaker developer. With the evaluate function in the SDK, we can call Get(Functions) or do calculations.

From a plugin we can trigger a script. That means the script call is put on a queue and executed later after the current script finished. But for some reason, we can't trigger a script on FileMaker Server. The plugin SDK doesn't provide the functionality to do this.

In the plugin we can work with styled text stored in FileMaker fields. We use that to format JSON and XML text now. But we can't access alignments in a styled text.

So as a plugin developer I submitted a few ideas over time:
Please vote for them if you like. FileMaker Inc. may look right now what to deliver in 2019 and we would appreciate if something would be picked based on popular vote.

Those ideas could help to make a better plugin SDK, which may lead a dozen plugin developers to make better plugins, which hundreds of FileMaker developers could use in thousands of solutions.

Presenting at CURL up 2018

Yesterday I did make a presentation about how to use mimetic library with curl to parse email:

We use mimetic library for our MBS Xojo and FileMaker plugins.
The location is excellent for such a conference with all the technic decoration and there is much to learn. I met a few interesting people ranging from students, small companies to big players like Apache organization or Google Inc.

Combine PDFs 5.2.8 with 64-bit

Monkeybread Software today is proud to announce Combine PDFs 5.2.8, an update to their popular PDF merge and split tool for Mac OS X. With a focus on ease-of-use, Combine PDFs is a lightweight utility which allows anyone to merge PDF files and images into a single PDF file. The user need only drag & drop files onto the program icon. The main window appears, allowing the user to set the order in which the files are joined.

Version 5.2.8 is a port to 64-bit, which we provide now for testing. Let us know if you see an issue. If it works fine for everyone, we can push it to the users next week via auto update.

Combine PDFs Website

Requires MacOS 10.9 or newer for 64-bit. Older 32-bit version stays available and still works well.

CURL up 2018

Greetings from the CURL conference in Stockholm

We'll going to learn more about CURL and how to use it. See agenda.

IP in menubar 4.6

NICHENICH, Germany (April 13rd, 2018) -- Monkeybread Software Releases IP in menubar v4.6, an application to show the current IP address in the menubar.

This small application runs in the background and shows the current IP address of your Mac in the menu bar. There are options available to customize the appearance of the menu entry. The IP address is updated regularly. Switch on the Router option if you are behind a router or gateway. You can still see your local IP address in the menu.

You can quit this application using the menu or by using the Activity Monitor (see /Applications/Utilities folder).

This application is freeware and provided as is.

IP in menubar is an example of what you can do in Xojo using the MBS Plugins and their NSStatusItemMBS class.

New in version 4.6 is 64-bit support.

With Xojo moving this app to 64-bit was just a switch in the settings and rebuilding the application. As far as we see everything works fine and we hope you enjoy this application.

The application is freeware, but contributions are accepted through PayPal.

Download at the IP in menubar website.

MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 8.2pr2

New in this prerelease of version 8.1 of the MBS FileMaker Plugin: Download at monkeybreadsoftware.de/filemaker/files/Prerelease/ or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

Colorize XML in FileMaker

Do you display XML text somewhere for debugging? How about some color?

As you see, we just added a new XML.Colorize function for our MBS FileMaker Plugin which may be useful to add color. Coming in the next plugin version...

Hotel room inspection protocol

Whenever I come to a hotel room, I first need to check if everything is right. Do I have light, power and warm water? Does the toilet work, is the bed tidied and doesn't the room smell strange? Do we have good Wifi reception?

Next I check if it's silent and can be made dark at night. I really hate noise when sleeping so I routinely unplug power supply for fridges or TVs with LEDs blinking all night. Usually I need to turn off a thermostat to find sleep. Sometimes it can even happen that the room next door contains the heating or air conditioning engine which may make sound day and night.

If anything is really bad, I need to request a different room before I made myself comfortable there. What do you check?

One think I always do at the first day, is to walk down the stairs, so I know the way in case of an emergency. Depending on the hotel layout, it can even be more convenient to take the steps next to my room than walking a long way to the lifts.

When choosing a hotel, I usually check if they have a lift, a restaurant, a 24h reception for checking in & out at any time, Wifi and free parking if possible.

What criteria do you have?

Colorize JSON in FileMaker

Do you display JSON text somewhere for debugging? How about some color?

As you see, we just added a new JSON.Colorize function for our MBS FileMaker Plugin which may be useful to add color. Coming in the next plugin version...

Creating PDF/A in FileMaker with ZUGFeRD standard

Did you know EU directive 2014/55/EU? Starting 27th November 2020, the invoices to government over 1000 Euro must be sent electronically with structured format. So no longer printed invoices or simple PDFs, but you can send PDF in ZUGFeRD format!

Several FileMaker developers now use MBS FileMaker Plugin to create their invoices in ZUGFeRD standard. That's a data exchange format defined here in Germany, but other countries have similar formats. Basically we have a PDF in PDF/A 3b format and an embedded XML file. The PDF provides the visual and printable view of the invoice while the XML contains the same data readable for computers. 

With MBS Plugin and DynaPDF we can create such a ZUGFeRD PDF. We can either create a new file or import pages from existing PDFs. So even if you generate your invoices in FileMaker from layouts, you can convert them later. Here you see an example script for doing exactly this:

#Initialize DynaPDF if needed

If [MBS("DynaPDF.IsInitialized")  ≠  1]

Perform Script [“InitDynaPDF”]

End If

#Make new PDF environments

Set Variable [$pdf; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.New")]

#Set import flags with Prepare For PDF/A enabled

Set Variable [$r; Value:MBS( "DynaPDF.SetImportFlags"; $pdf; "ImportAll¶ImportAsPage¶PrepareForPDFA" )]

#Load PDF from container

Set Variable [$r; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.OpenPDFFromContainer"; $pdf; ZUGFeRD Invoice::Invoice Template)]

#Import all pages

Set Variable [$r; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.ImportPDFFile"; $pdf)]

#PDF/A requires a language set

Set Variable [$r; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.SetLanguage"; $pdf; "en-US")]

#PDF/A requires a structure tree

Set Variable [$r; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.CreateStructureTree"; $pdf)]

#add xml with invoice data

Set Variable [$FileHandle; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.AttachFileText"; $pdf; ZUGFeRD Invoice::Invoice XML; "UTF-8"; "ZUGFeRD-invoice.xml"; "Invoice as XML")]

Set Variable [$r; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.AssociateEmbFile"; $pdf; "Catalog"; -1; "Alternative"; $FileHandle)]

#Check if this PDF conforms to PDF/A-3b

Set Variable [$c; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.CheckConformance"; $pdf; "ZUGFeRD Basic")]

If [$c = 1]

# A RGB ICC profile must be added to the document

Set Variable [$r; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.AddOutputIntentEx"; $pdf; ZUGFeRD Invoice::RGB ICC Profile)]

Else If [$c = 2]

# A CMYK ICC profile must be added to the document

Set Variable [$r; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.AddOutputIntentEx"; $pdf; ZUGFeRD Invoice::CMYK ICC Profile)]

Else If [$c = 3]

# A Gray, RGB, or CMYK ICC profile must be added to the document 

Set Variable [$r; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.AddOutputIntentEx"; $pdf; ZUGFeRD Invoice::RGB ICC Profile)]

End If

#save to container

Set Variable [$PDFData; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.Save"; $pdf; "invoice.pdf")]

Set Field [ZUGFeRD Invoice::Output PDF; $PDFData]

Commit Records/Requests []

#cleanup memory

Set Variable [$r; Value:MBS("DynaPDF.Release"; $pdf)]

As you see we first initialize DynaPDF if it's not already done. In a new PDF environment, we import from a container the whole PDF. Of course you can import from files or just import pages from different PDFs as needed to build in memory your final PDF. Than we define language and structure tree as required for PDF/A. We attach the XML from a field in this example. The XML is just a block of text which you can generate before, e.g. by filling values into a template.

Next we check conformance with ZUGFeRD standard. If you have DynaPDF Lite license, we only check and report okay or error. If you have a DynaPDF Pro + PDF/A license, we can fix errors and convert any PDF to PDF/A here (DynaPDF Editions). Next we add the required output intent ICC color profiles. Finally we save the PDF to a container.

Please do not hestiate to contact us with your questions. We also have the same examples for Xojo.

MBS FileMaker Plugin, version 8.2pr1

New in this prerelease of version 8.1 of the MBS FileMaker Plugin: Download at monkeybreadsoftware.de/filemaker/files/Prerelease/ or ask for being added to the dropbox shared folder.

MBS FileMaker Plugin Schulung in 2018

Wir bieten in Zusammenarbeit mit der Denkform, Brainworks und dem Verein FM Konferenz einige MBS Workshops an.

3. Mai 2018Hofheim (Taunus)denkform.net
14. Juni 2018Münchenbrainworks-training.de
19. Juli 2018Hamburgbrainworks-training.de
27. Juli 2018Zürichbrainworks-training.de
17. Oktober 2018Malbun, LiechtensteinAnkündigung, Anmeldung
6. Dezember 2018Hofheim (Taunus)denkform.net
7. März 2019Hofheim (Taunus)denkform.net

Nehmen Sie sich einen Tag Zeit sich über das MBS FileMaker Plugin und all die Funktionen zu informieren.


  • Einführung in das MBS Plugin
  • Rundgang durch ausgewählte Beispiele
  • Gemeinsames Implementieren von Plugin Funktionen in eine Datenbank:
    • Einbau von Auditing in eine Datenbank
    • Upload einer Datei mit CURL auf einen FTP Server
    • Download einer Datei
    • Ausfüllen eines Formular auf einer Webseite
    • Bilder bearbeiten
    • Eine Excel Datei laden und ausfüllen
  • Fragen und Antworten

Wenn Sie bei der Veranstaltung oder kurz danach eine Pluginlizenz bestellen möchten, erhalten Sie 50 Euro Rabatt.

FileMaker Developer Meeting for Stockholm

Due to the CURL conference, we will come to Stockholm in April.
So let's organize a FileMaker developer meeting! Anyone interested?

Currently we'd like to know if there is interest for a dinner meeting or more?

Please fill the survey.
We meet 15th April 2018 in Stockholm in the evening.

For a dinner, we would just meet in a restaurant and chat.

If you are interested in some private consulting or training, let me know and we can arrange an appointment.

Company's 18th Birthday

1st April 2000 I found my company. Well, I registered as a business by getting my Gewerbeanmeldung (business registration) here in Germany.

That was 2 months before I finished school (Gymnasium). While alternative civilian service (Zivildienst) and my time at the university, the company run well and I didn't have to depend on my parents or student loans. Actually the company got me so busy over the years, that I spend less time at university and since 2007 this is my full time job.

I had a few clients in that time interested in development in REALbasic, a very young development environment which started two years earlier. At that time I had a website with a few freeware utilities, so people could see that I can do development. Two years later the demand for plugins got so high, that end of 2001 I started publishing my own plugins.

Thanks everyone for supporting me over the years!

PS: If you need a license (update) this weekend, use coupon code Birthday for an 18% discount.


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