The Support Group Blog

FileMaker Developer Roles and Responsibilities

FileMaker developers are in high demand. As businesses realized the importance of technology during the pandemic, digitizing workflows immediately became a priority. As a result, developers were needed to build custom software that would allow both internal and external users to function as usual regardless of the COVID requirements. Despite the craziness, the pandemic presented an opportunity for us all to examine and improve our workflows. 

Every FileMaker developer's path is unique. We all have different strengths, skills, and interests. However, there are certain steps to take to make the professional development road more smooth and more direct. So, let's review some of the roles and responsibilities of a FileMaker developer.

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Case Study: Custom FileMaker Project Management Application

Executive Summary

FileMaker is a low code development platform that can be manipulated to streamline and/or digitize virtually any workflow, from asset management to revenue tracking via a FileMaker and QuickBooks integration. It can even be as robust to function as a comprehensive project management system.

Running a business is no easy task. And, efficiently running that business is doubly tricky. Imagine you need to track customer contacts, project tasks, and employee information and time all in a secure, centralized, yet accessible, easy-to-use platform. The FileMaker platform not only makes it possible but ensures accuracy and reliability.

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FileMaker Location and Location Values Functions

It really is all about location, location, location. FileMaker Go makes it possible for us to collect and share longitude and latitude coordinates with the Location and Location Values functions. They’ve been around for a while but are worth a second look these days as we find more and more uses for FileMaker Go and GPS data in the workplace.

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The Benefits of a Custom Business App

Are you a small business seeking ways to grow? Or maybe you have an established business looking to improve operations and take things to the next level. Either way, a custom business app is definitely something to consider. So stop relying on spreadsheets and read on to learn how a custom app:

  • Improves business operations
  • Provides ease of use
  • Secures your data
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COVID-19 FileMaker Custom Reporting App

The fight against the rapid spread of COVID-19 required accessible and reliable testing. During the initial surge of the highly contagious virus in 2020, many organizations and laboratories pivoted to do what was necessary to help minimize the spread. A renowned research institution was no exception and made a bold decision to convert its labs to a full-time COVID testing and research center. 

The facility and its team of researchers were already familiar with clinical research studies related to chronic infectious diseases. However, the labs were completely remodeled to accommodate rigorous and efficient COVID testing. Then all they needed was technology to streamline how to analyze and report the test results.

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FileMaker Sub-Summary Report

We all know FileMaker is a great platform to store, organize, and find data, be it grandma's recipes or the inventory of a multinational corporation. Most avid FileMaker users can figure out how to enter, delete, search, and even create lists of stuff with little to no help. The one thing that we often struggle with is reporting on all this data. We know that FileMaker is super powerful in this regard, having seen examples of its reporting prowess everywhere, from the Internet to personal experiences using solutions designed by others. But how to do it exactly often eludes us.

More often than not, we initially store our data in a spreadsheet. We then transfer the data from the spreadsheet to FileMaker in the hopes of expanding functionality. A spreadsheet, at its core, is a different beast. A spreadsheet is a static grid with a very intuitive but sometimes limiting method of summarizing data. For example, we can easily total the data to the left, right, top, or bottom of our “Sum” cell in a spreadsheet. This rigid grid makes it easy to count our data because of its inflexibility. This rigidity is also why most of us ultimately move most, if not all, of our data-driven workflows into FileMaker. FileMaker allows us to structure the interface and data the way we want instead of being forced to use some arbitrary grid. But, we soon find out that FileMaker's ability to organize the data the way we want comes at a price; this price is the complexity of reporting.

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The Power of Low-Code Development Platforms

Low-code development platforms allow users to automate or streamline workflows. For example, an intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to turn a manual process or static spreadsheet into a dynamic application. That is the power of low-code development platforms.

One of the most attractive features of a low-code platform is that users don't have to be trained software developers. Instead, any necessary coding is usually done behind the scenes so that the user can focus on function rather than syntax. Yet, the platform can be flexible enough to accommodate code if the user prefers.

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FileMaker Container Storage

Since very early in its life FileMaker (perhaps even before it was FileMaker Pro) could store binary data (zeros and ones). We have all kept things like pictures, movies, and eventually portable document formats (PDFs), Word documents, and even object linking and embedding (OLE) files on Windows. If you can store it in a file, you can put it in a container field. As FileMaker evolved over the years and embraced new technology trends, such as QuickTime and Adobe's PDF format, the container field capabilities have expanded to integrate the latest file trends with our data-driven workflows. Let's explore some of the fundamental parts of setting up and using container fields.

Container fields act very much like the other types of data storing fields, including text, number, date, time, timestamp, etc., except we can't search, sort, or use them as a key in a relationship. However, we can set them up to be stored globally, targeted in scripts, and utilized in calculations and the results of calculations. The one thing that container fields feature that other "data" fields don't is the option to store themselves externally.

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Best Practices for End User Adoption of Custom Software

The primary advantage of building custom software is that it addresses a unique challenge. It's not often that a pre-made build fulfills our every need.

However, building that software requires a lot of communication and follow-up with end users. Organizations spend a lot of money making custom software, but it doesn't mean much if it goes unused. Therefore, end user adoption is vital for any product to succeed in the long run.

Here are some of the best practices for building an end user adoption strategy.

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FileMaker Auto-Enter Calculation Tool

One of the main reasons we use FileMaker is because it saves us time and makes entering data accurately and consistently a breeze. The key to making FileMaker our data entry go-to tool of choice is mastery of the Auto-Enter tab in the Options for Field dialog box.

When we create a new field or edit an existing one in the Manage Database window, we have the opportunity to modify the field's setting via the Options for Field dialog box. There are four tabs in the Options for Field dialog, and we're going to focus on the first one, Auto-Enter. This tab lays out all the options we have for allowing FileMaker to enter or even modify our data along with us as we enter it. However, the option we're interested in for this post is the calculated value. The calculated value option is very flexible and allows us to do many things that the other options allow and more.

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