Tag: address book

Exporting to vCard from FileMaker

FileMaker Pro

FileMaker doesn’t offer the same level of system integration with OS X as it’s little brother Bento, although it offers more power. It is possible, however, with a little work to extract the data you want to use, in the format you need.

The advantage of being able to export a contact to a vCard is obvious. Once you have the vCard you can then import that vCard into Apple Address Book and from there into your iPhone or your Blackberry, pick your poison.

Oh and you can of course export either one contact record or all of the records.

So how do we do it?

A little googling led me to this post by Simon Page which provides an excellent guide on how to achieve this solution via a custom function, without any plugins.

Like Simon I stored the results in an un-stored calculation field and used the linked XSL stylesheet to facilitate the export. You can find a link to the standard stylesheet here.

My adjustments

I have adjusted his custom function, which I’ve named (following my conventions) export.vcard to add the following available fields in the vCard:


This is simple enough to achieve:

Add the parameter:


Add this to the variables:

_Nickname = AKA;

Add this to the formatting for the vCard:

vnickname = _Nickname;

Add this to the final formatting:

“NICKNAME:” & vnickname & “¶” &


I’ve tried this with a series of combinations of the above, with images held in the file as well as stored with a reference to no effect. So I decided to take a look at a vCard from Apple Address Book with TextMate only to discover it’s encoded in base64. So for the moment I’m stuck, but I’ve a few leads, and I’ll update once I’ve found a solution.


This is a little more complicated to achieve. You must export the date field in the right format. Here in the UK we format our dates as DD/MM/YYYY but for it to work with the vCard format it needs to be formatted as YYYY/MM/DD, so I created the following custom un-stored calculation field: c_Formatted_Date_of_Birth.

Rather than perform the calculation in the field I heading over to Brian Dunning’s site again and picked out a suitable custom function to allow me to reformat the date I had in my Date_of_Birth field. I chose this one penned by Tim Anderson. And I was able to provide the date in the format I needed. Then I just needed to:

Add the parameter:


Add this to the variables:


Add this to the formatting for the vCard:

vbday = _BDAY;

Add this to the final formatting:

“BDAY:” & vbday & “¶” &


I’ve not yet completed my final vCard export routine so I’ll update this blog post with more information as I build out the new database. So check back for more.

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Data Detectors for Safari on the iPad Please

Safari Logo

Now. I love data detectors. It is one of the most unsung and brilliant of Apple’s innovations with OS X. It just works, although I mourn the fact that it’s not spread much beyond a bare implementation in Mail (a very useful one at that though).

Now with the introduction of the iPad data detectors have taken on a whole new form in their beautiful implimentation of the the Mail on the iPad.

Just click and hold on the address details you are given three options:

Data Detectors in iPad Mail

1. Open in Maps, which finds an address for you in a matter of seconds:

Go to Map in iPad Mail

2. Create a New Contact from the information it’s discovered, which leads you to this:

Add New Contact from iPad Mail

3. Add to an existing contact which brings up a list of your contacts and away you go:

Add to Existing Contact in iPad Mail

I have over a 1000 contacts in my address book, but even then there are gaps, missing addresses, phone numbers, etc, which I can now easily add from a contact.

Now just the other day I was looking up a business on the internet and needed the telephone number and I was thinking how great it’d be if this were implemented in Safari on the iPad (or on my desktop too!) then I could just add all this information to an existing contact or a new contact pretty much instantaneously…

Filed under: GeneralTagged with: , , , , ,

It’s the little details

It’s the little details about Apple’s products that make them so great. I’ve been using Address Book for years. I store all my contacts in it, some 987 people and companies at last count. But Apple’s not perfect and for years I had to cobble together solutions from one place or another to ensure that my contacts were synced with my mobile, especially as because of the American focus of Apple they were particularly slow to realise the scope and penetration of mobiles in the European market and add native support in iSync for new models as they were released. Fortunately the developer and open-source community has always made up for this gap and I’ve been able, with a little hacking and manipulation, to keep my phone’s contacts synced for the last five years or so.

Syncing calendars has always been much harder and before I traded my Nokia N73 (never have I used a more robust phone, although I have to confess in it’s second life with one of my friends was short lived (it died under the heel of a stiletto – RIP)) in for an iPhone I generally ignored my calendar applications and relied instead on iCal for my daily schedule, after all my laptop generally comes with me as frequently as my phone, so not the end of the world. However, since the syncing of the iPhone was so good, I have moved on to relying on my phone…

This has however not been without consequences. I rely upon my calendar alarms to remind me of most of my appointments, if it is not alarmed, with a busy schedule I often don’t see some appointments that come without reminders, even when I’m staring straight at them. Over the last year one area that this has effected is my remembering of birthdays, when I relied on iCal I was required to be more observant, now I’m less so, and as Address Book’s automatic generation of the birthday calendar creates effectively a read-only event from the perspective of the calendar I’ve not been able to add reminders for myself. This is clearly a little detail too far for Apple… :-(

Fortunately tonight I stumbled across the following solution, courtesy of the forums over at MacRumours and in particular the skill of Andrew Bussman who wrote the following AppleScript:

tell application "iCal"
	tell calendar "Birthdays"
		set all_events to every event
		repeat with this_event in all_events
			tell this_event
				delete every sound alarm
				make new sound alarm at end with properties {trigger interval:-21600, sound name:"Basso"}
			end tell
		end repeat
	end tell
end tell

Which when you compile and run in AppleScript Editor adds an alarm to all your birthdays! It’s great and simple solution to the problem of adding alarms to your birthday’s calendar. Once run in a few seconds it adds a reminder to all your birthdays. I imagine the only problem will be that you’d have to run it again once you add any additional birthdays. I think Andrew has proved it should be a relatively easy process why can’t Apple solve this?

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