Running the tool

Updated Oct 27, 2020

For your first run through, we recommend you try out the Fast Start option. This has a number of default options set, and does not require you to install any SDKs to deploy your app. You can deploy to Android or Mac using Fast Start, if you want to deploy to iOS you can add this later or go through a Regular Start. You will also not be setting up syncing on this run through, this can be added later.

Click on the "New Project" button in the top right corner to get started:

If this is the very first time you have run LCFM Native, you should automatically open on the screen below:

If this is your first run through, we recommend you start with "Fast Start". It will get you up and running quickly and you can add syncing and other advanced options later. When using Fast Start mode you can test your app on Mac and Android without installing any development tools.

Click on Go under the Fast Start heading.

Add your solution

On the next screen either drag/drop your solution into the window or locate it on your computer using the "Browse" button (1). You can add more solution files to the project here. If you want to remove a solution, click on its filename in the field to select it, and then click on the trash icon.

Enter the username (2) and password (3) for the solution. Note this must be a full administrative account. If this is not already set, you can set this in FileMaker. LCFM Native will not work if your file does not have a password.  Name the project (4) and click "Continue" (5).

Extracting

LCFM Native will now take control of your computer to extract your file. For this to work, you must first have added it to your Accessibility settings, and ensure that your keyboard is either US or UK qwerty. You must also have turned on Advanced Tools in FileMaker.

You will see a little grey box in the top right corner that says "LCFM Native at work". Don't touch anything on your computer until this has disappeared. The only exception is if your OS asks you to authorize access eg to your downloads folder. Don't fill in passwords, don't click on dialogs, just let LCFM do its thing.

The Implementation Report

LCFM Native currently supports around 84% of the entire Filemaker feature set. During compile, it analyses your solution and reports back to you on what features, if any, might not yet be fully implemented or could impact the working of your compiled app. It is often possible to work around any missing or partially implemented features, so this report can be extremely useful.

Click on Save Report, and then Continue. If you forget to save this report at this stage, you will still be able to save it later.

Choose your platform

LCFM will complete building your app and you will land on this page:

If you want a really quick test of your app, you can choose to build for Mac. This will simply build and you'll be able to see it running on your Mac without any further selections.

We're going to build for Android, so click on the Android icon if it is not already blue, and click Next.

Choose whether you have a phone or a tablet. Blue indicates your selection, black is unselected.

Choose any features that your app will need to run. So if you have a barcode scanning app for example you will need camera and barcode. If you are using maps you'll probably want location. These selections set the permissions required on the device. If your app needs to use the camera, but you don't have this permission set, instead of seeing a request to use the camera, your end user may experience a crash or freeze. Additional options can be set in the detailed profile for your app, as described in this lesson. I've selected Camera and Location. Click next.

My selections above will make my app open initially in portrait mode, and it will support displaying in landscape whichever way you hold the phone. It will not flip to display in upside down mode. Click next.

On this screen, you can choose to test or build for distribution. As we have not yet set up the tools for distribution, we will just test. Click "Test on your Android Device". Note, you need to have already set up your phone to receive unknown apps as described in the previous section. Before you click Test, plug your Android device into your computer using a USB lead. If this is the first time you have done this you should get a dialog box on your phone asking if you trust this computer. Click ok.

You should now get the above dialog asking you to select your device. You should see it appear in the drop down list. Select it and you will land on the supported devices list:

If your device is in the list, great. Tick the checkbox and press Continue. If it isn't, this doesn't necessarily mean your app won't run on your device. Provided you are running Android 7 or above, it will probably run, but it may be slow. If your Android OS is 6 or less, then you will not be able to deploy. I have an unsupported device, but I know its running Android 9, and it should work reasonably well. I'm selecting "Continue with unsupported device".

You should see a screen like the above, followed by the screen below:

If you now go and check on your phone, you should see your app is open and running:

If you close the app, you can find it again by looking for the LCFM Native icon on your phone screen. Because this app is running as a test only, it runs via the LCFM Native player, it does not show its own icon.

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