The Support Group Blog

Pros and Cons of Custom Software

Many of our clients are looking for technology to streamline and automate their business workflows to grow their businesses. Administrative tasks have a way of weighing teams down. When you convert a paper process to a digital workflow, that can go a long way to free up time. In addition, when you automate a digital process, that can save even more time. You can reallocate that time to other revenue-generating activities such as sales tasks, marketing strategies, product development, etc.

We develop technology for organizations to operate at their optimum. For example, we've helped solve business problems related to inventory management, event planning, custom reporting, and much more. Yes, off-the-shelf software addresses these types of workflows, but they don't always offer every function every user needs. So rather than finding a work-around or waiting for a feature release, companies customize their own software to do specifically what they need it to do when they need to do it.

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What to Know about Technical Debt

Technical debt costs companies across America billions of dollars each year. This creeping problem can slow work and create new work for developers, and it only worsens over time. If you don't work on the technical side of things, you may not even know when it happens.

Keeping your technical debt down requires more than just knowing what technical debt is. It takes conscious effort from both the development team and management, and most companies have no system to manage technical debt. Keep reading to learn about technical debt and what you can do to get ahead of it.

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Extend Your Apps with FileMaker and Zapier

FileMaker is a powerful platform for creating apps to solve our business challenges. It can single-handedly tackle virtually any workflow we throw at it. Still, there are instances when we might need to integrate our apps with another software tool to extend their functionality and/or accessibility. For example, we can manage integrations with third-party tools like Zapier and technologies like API. See how easy it is to connect our applications with FileMaker and Zapier. 

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What is the Future of No-Code Platforms?

We expect the adoption of no-code platforms to continue to rise, mainly because the end-users/process experts appreciate easily customizable tools that are less time-consuming for IT to manage. Folks will be reluctant to return to the bureaucratic way of doing things once they experience the power to solve their problems and improve their productivity. With more people now working from home, or at least not from a centralized office, there's a clear motivation to take the bull by the horn and develop a solution on their own as opposed to waiting for someone else to fix a problem. No-code platforms empower the user to create customized solutions that don't involve the continuous back and forth among groups of disinterested parties, who, unlike the end-user, don't burn with the passion for just getting the work done.

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Low-Code Development: Why You Should Digitize Your Workflows

COVID-19 prompted many businesses to shift to online working. The pandemic has increased the need for digitization and automation. Since the pandemic began, the number of executives describing low-code development platforms as a priority investment has almost tripled.

Read on to learn how you can use low-code development to digitize your workflows.

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How To Use JavaScript in FileMaker

We compared and contrasted the use of variables between JavaScript and FileMaker. Now, we want to talk about functions and how to use JavaScript in FileMaker.

Claris's FileMaker platform and most spreadsheets have these useful features called functions. These functions do simple calculation jobs for us. For example, the Trim() function removes white space from the end of a text block, and the Round () function rounds a number to the nearest specified digit. Their uses are practically limitless. More likely than not, we developers rely on functions like these to get our jobs done daily.

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JavaScript and FileMaker: Variables

JavaScript is our web browser's scripting language, and any object that uses the operating system's web browser engine inherits its capabilities, including FileMaker's web viewer. We can use JavaScript just like we use a FileMaker script. JavaScript can execute various functions such as:

  • Run workflows
  • Distribute invoices to select customers
  • Save data to a database or variable
  • Display a notification to a user, like an alert that inventory is low for a particular product

One of the best properties of JavaScript is that we can use it to extend FileMaker far beyond its native capabilities. By leveraging hundreds of free JavaScript libraries available across the Internet, we can do almost anything we need, including customizing calendars. Let's explore how JavaScript and FileMaker scripting are similar and how they differ. 

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FileMaker Solves Medical Research Problems

Over the last 100 years, the advancement of medical science has affected all of our lives in immeasurable ways. It has allowed researchers to eliminate killer viruses like Smallpox and cripplers like Polio. And, thanks to the wonders of modern science, doctors were able to reduce AIDS from a virtual death sentence to a manageable chronic disease. All these medical miracles have been made possible through intense medical research studies. These studies need to do a few things very well, including count and measure. A lot goes into ensuring the accuracy and validity of the scientific tests and the results of those studies. Time is usually of the essence, and any slight deviations could lead the experts down the wrong path, possibly delaying the treatments people need immediately.

See how we helped a group of researchers, investigators, and advocates who evaluate the impact of AIDS on mothers and their children worldwide improve the workflows of their clinical studies. These dedicated professionals represent a few different organizations and institutions, but they share the common goal of treating and preventing the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the infection that causes AIDS. And a lot of their work is based on meticulous clinical trials.

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FileMaker 19.3 Release Highlights

A couple of weeks ago, Claris released a new version of their FileMaker platform, FileMaker 19.3. Claris has been working hard over the last year, since the release of FileMaker 19, to modernize and simplify the FileMaker user experience. The Quick Start experience is a big step toward easing users into the FileMaker platform. In addition, the features in this release help expand user capabilities in terms of deployment, security, and emerging technologies.

There are a few specific changes that we would like to highlight:

  1. Ubuntu server version
  2. Microsoft Edge web viewer
  3. Apple M1 native compatibility
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Choosing a Platform: Low-Code Development vs. No-Code Development

Software development has come a long way in the last few decades. In the early days, computers were programmed using machine code or an assembler, which required dozens of instructions to perform even the most straightforward task, such as displaying text on the screen.

As computers became more human-friendly, those low-level programming languages were replaced with more human-readable ones such as C, and later even higher level, meaning more abstract, languages such as BASIC. These are known as high-level programming languages because more steps are required to translate the code into machine-readable instructions.

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