FileMaker Pro Tip-n-Trick — Hierarchical JSON Viewer / Editor

By Andy Persons & Doug West

Jan 19, 2018 · 2 min read

One of the standout new features of FileMaker Pro 16 is native support for the JSON data-interchange format. In addition to providing easy integration with a host of online services, it also provides developers with the tools to create robust hierarchical structures for use entirely within FileMaker. This hierarchical JSON viewer / editor file provides some tools for visualizing, manipulating, and leveraging JSON text.


  • Automatically creates a representation of any JSON text as a hierarchical portal of records, where individual elements can be expanded and collapsed
  • Dynamically replicates changes to the hierarchical records in the JSON text, including add, edit, and delete actions
  • Highlights the corresponding JSON element when a record is selected


  • Easily visualize large JSON text, collapsing nodes to focus on just the relevant sections.
  • Manipulate JSON without needing to worry about the correct syntax
  • Convert JSON returned from a web service directly into usable Filemaker records, customizing it to your needs
  • Create and store hierarchical structures entirely in text (such as global variables), and display it as hierarchical records on the fly

How it Works

  • When JSON text is initially entered, the “JSON — Create Children” script retrieves the root keys using JSONListKeys(), loops through the result, and creates the root records.
  • When an element is eXpanded, the same script creates its child records if they don’t eXist and eXpands the hierarchy.
  • When eXpand All is clicked, a similar script “JSON — Create All Descendants” loops through every element recursively and creates all descendants.
  • Values for each record are retrieved and set using JSONGetElement().
  • To keep things streamlined, JSON key paths are used for the parent-child keys.
  • Records are marked as arrays based on the presence of a left bracket (“[“) and formatted accordingly.
  • Since JSONFormatElements() imposes a standard format, elements have a predictable number of leading and trailing lines. These are recorded in lines_leading and lines_trailing, respectively. They are then used in the Highlight Element script to calculate which part of the JSON text should be highlighted when an element record is clicked.


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We moved to @Claris (formerly FileMaker Inc.,

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