Developer Assistant
Developer Assistant Made for FileMaker developers.

Developer Assistant is a plug-in for the FileMaker® Pro database that helps FileMaker developers save time and be more productive. Developer Assistant Standard Edition lets you search in scripts, the Tables, Fields, and Relationships tabs of Manage Database, and in any multi-line text box or multi-line list in any FileMaker dialog. You can also highlight and instantly evaluate calculations in running scripts, and more.

Developer Assistant Advanced Edition is an optional upgrade that adds the ability to replace text in scripts and multi-line text boxes, get a list of all matches, and replace chosen matches in that list.

Find every function call.

Say you need to add a parameter to every ImportantFunction() call in all your scripts. How can you be sure you find every single call? Developer Assistant's Toolbox will find every call to your ImportantFunction() and it even opens the script and highlights the script step containing the match:

Developer Assistant finds ImportantFunction() in a script

Find in text boxes.

So you found a script step with your ImportantFunction(), but now you're staring at a ten-page calculation that uses ImportantFunction() in there somewhere. Luckily the new Developer Assistant v3.0 lets you search for text in any multi-line editable text box in any FileMaker dialog:

Developer Assistant finds ImportantFunction() in a text box

New stuff in v3.0.

  • Ability to search in multi-line text boxes in almost any FileMaker dialog (as described above)
  • Supports FileMaker 14's new Script Workspace.
  • Largely rewritten internally for faster searches and future expandability.
  • You can now find a previous match instead of just a next match.
  • Option to match "Contains", "Starts With", "Ends With", or "Whole Words".
  • Option to toggle if the search window remains always on top of other windows.
  • Find disabled script steps and more by optionally searching in the underlying XML that represents each script step.
  • Default script search is now performed on a translation of the XML representing each of FM's 167 unique script steps into a string that matches exactly what you see in the script editor. The search also includes metadata from the XML that's not visible in the script editor. The previous Developer Assistant only performed minimal translation of XML before searching which made it difficult to search for anything too long or complicated.
  • Default script search now includes the name of the script along with the script steps.
  • Option to display the exact text that was searched, making it easy to come up with additional searches for more specific XML or hidden metadata that you don't see in the script editor.

Find tables in a maze of relationships.

When you have a lot of tables in the graphic view of table relationships, it can be hard to find the one you're looking for. Developer Assistant lets you find individual tables by name and highlights them in the relationships graph:

Table relationships graph

Search almost anywhere.

There are so many other places you can search:

Use RegEx

  • FileMaker uses multi-line lists to show names of functions, names of layouts, watched expressions, script steps, fields being imported/exported, and many other things. A list search includes all visible text in all columns of multi-line lists.
  • In FileMaker Pro Advanced, when you search in the Tables or Fields tab of the Manage Database window, a special search mode will also find text associated with the tables or fields, such as field auto-enter and validation calculations. The "Multi-line Text Box" text in the lower right of the image above is one such auto-enter calculation that would be found by your search in the Fields tab.

Wildcard matches.

A Use RegEx search option lets you search with Perl-compatible regular expressions. These expressions can be used like wildcards, so searching for the regular expression "Make.*" would find "MakeWidget()", "MakeGadget()", and so on.

Replace in Scripts. Yes, we said Replace in Scripts.

Developer Assistant Advanced

Developer Assistant Advanced Edition is an optional upgrade to Developer Assistant Standard Edition that lets you, for the first time in FileMaker history, replace text in scripts:

Replace text in script

Okay, so you can only replace text in the XML representation of script steps (the text in the blue box above), and that makes things more tricky, but if you're up for the challenge, the manual will walk you through the process.

And c'mon, replace in scripts!

Replacements let you quickly refactor your database by renaming $variables, SQL references, text-based parameters, product names, and anything else FileMaker can't rename for you. Paste script steps or calculations from another DB, then rename all the broken references so they work in the current DB. You can even add or remove a parameter in all calls to a function or swap day and month in all dates. Use your imagination! Replacements are powerful and will save the advanced developer a lot of time.

Replace in text boxes.

Developer Assistant Advanced also lets you replace text in multi-line text boxes in any FileMaker dialog:

Replace text in multi-line text box

Yes, we know all too well that you can cut your text out of FileMaker and run replacements in an external text editor, but it's time to stop wasting time with that and time to stop risking the loss of your work when you copy the wrong piece of the calculation back or edit the wrong buffer.

Find all matches.

Developer Assistant Advanced Edition also adds the ability to find all matches in any type of search:

Find all matches in script

Double click any match to bring it up. Matches can be brought up even if you move the thing they refer to.

Replace chosen matches.

Developer Assistant Advanced also lets you replace chosen matches in Find All results:

Replace chosen matches in Find All results

Yes, Developer Assistant Advanced turns FileMaker into a refactoring paradise.

Evaluate selected text in place.

Getting back to the features found in Developer Assistant Standard, say you can't remember what the value of Get(SystemPlatform) is on your system. Instead of searching through the help file, drag over the expression to highlight it, then click Developer Assistant's Evaluate button, and find its value instantly:

Developer Assistant evaluates selected text

Or, say a script isn't working. You might turn on FileMaker's Script Debugger and run the script line by line, but how do you tell when a calculation on a line isn't evaluating correctly? If you're stuck with only FileMaker's Data Viewer, it's a real pain to copy a part of the calculation, close the Specify Calculation dialog, possibly close the parent of the Specify Calculation dialog to unlock the Data Viewer, then add a new expression to the Watch tab of Data Viewer, paste what you copied, then finally click Evaluate Now.

Then you have to open your original calculation again and find where you were, possibly copying another piece of the calculation and doing the whole thing again. Madness!

Instead, just highlight the part of the calculation you want to evaluate and click Developer Assistant's Evaluate button. That's it. It saves a ton of time. We know - we used it constantly back before we got all plug-in focused.

Move multiple lines.

FileMaker uses lists of fields, script steps, and so on where each line is prefixed by a double arrow List line arrows (at least in some dialogs and in older FileMaker versions) indicating the line can be dragged up and down. Macintosh FileMaker allows you to select more than one line and drag them up or down together. Newer Windows versions of FileMaker allow the same thing, but only in some places.

Developer Assistant Standard lets you move lines as a group in any Windows FileMaker dialog. Simply highlight a group of lines, then use the Mark Selected List Lines menu item:

Marks Lines to Move

Click another list line, such as "Countries", then click Move Marked Lines After Selection:

Click Move After

The marked group is moved below the "Countries" line you selected:

Move complete

Moving groups of lines can save a lot of time in larger databases when you want to organize many fields or change the order they are exported in.

Windows or Mac-like keys.

It can be exceptionally frustrating for those used to Windows keys to reflexively hit the Home key on a Macintosh and have the text view scroll all the way to the top instead of moving the text-entry cursor to the start of the current line. The same goes for those used to Mac keys who sometimes use Windows.

Developer Assistant Standard fixes these problems by allowing you to remap the Home, End, Shift-Home, and Shift-End keyboard combinations on Macintosh to work like they do on Windows, or to remap the same keys on Windows to work like they do on Macintosh.

Used by FileMaker, Inc.

Even FileMaker, Inc. has purchased multiple licenses of this tool. Now you can try Developer Assistant and Developer Assistant Advanced free for 30 days. Simply click the Macintosh or Windows download link below to get a trial of both plug-ins in one download.

System Requirements
  • FileMaker Pro 11 through 15
  • Windows 2000 through Windows 10
  • Macintosh OS X 10.5 (Leopard) through 10.11 (El Capitan), Intel processor
30-Day Free Trial
Developer Assistant for FileMaker 15

Developer Assistant v3.1 RC2 is recommended for use with FileMaker 11 through 15.

Windows users, please follow the installation instructions carefully in the PDF manual as some steps have changed, and note that DA v2.92 available via the Download Previous Release button below is not compatible with FM 14 or 15.

DA Standard and Advanced editions are both contained in the same plug-in available via the links below:

Download 3.1 RC2
Download Previous Release for Macintosh
Download 3.1 RC2
Download Previous Release for Windows

Latest version is 3.1 RC2 on Macintosh, 3.1 RC2 on Windows.
Changes in each version  |  Download previous versions

Install and Uninstall instructions  |  License agreement

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