The Support Group Blog

Jud Wolfskill

Recent Posts

Talking About Risks

Every project of any kind faces risks: future events and possibilities that threaten to undermine it by preventing it from coming to completion or by reducing the benefits it offers. For example, in custom database development, misunderstandings about what the client needs for a report or feature, political conflict in an organization, differences in personal styles, and a hundred other things can slow the project’s momentum or create obstacles such as conflicts or technical hurdles.

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Searching Across Relationships for “Empty” Fields

Have you ever wanted to find records where a certain field is empty? Suppose you are updating your contact database and trying to capture email addresses for as many people as possible.  You need to find every person for whom you do not have an email address. When searching in FileMaker, the equal sign operator (=) is used to find an exact match; when used by itself in a field, with nothing else following it, it tells FileMaker to find records where the field is empty. So… easy enough, right?  Just go to the contact detail view, enter Find mode, type an equals sign into the email field (or select the symbol from the Operators popup in the toolbar), and click the Perform Find button.

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Portals Without Scrollbars

A reader asks:

Is it possible to create a portal paging system with filtered portals in FileMaker 11?  I am interested in showing a portal without the scroll bar.  Buttons will take the user to the first, previous, next, and last set of records in the portal.  I know this is possible when the filtering occurs on the Relationship Graph but I can’t figure out how to do it when the filtering occurs on the presentation layer in FileMaker 11.
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Use Conditional Formatting for New Database Functionality

When you release new functions or reports to an existing client, you must show them where the new features can be found and how best to go about testing.  Changes to a database people use every day—a database they use to get important work done—can trigger a variety of reactions, including alarm and anxiety; effective conversation can help them realize that the scope of the change is manageable.  They will be able to do what they always have, but now benefit from new reports or functions.  Conditional formatting provides an easy way to spotlight changes in your database. Conditional formatting offers the ability to highlight text or to make text bold or an unusual color.  To point out new items, simply use a formula like the following:

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Jud Wolfskill: How I Became a FileMaker Developer

This is the first in our series of entries, “How I Got Started with FileMaker.”  Jud Wolfskill is Senior Developer of our FileMaker team.  He has developed numerous FileMaker systems over the years, for customers such as Dartmouth College, WGBH, MIT, Duke University Press, and Chevron.  He is also a regular instructor at Harvard University, teaching FileMaker development for their Center for Workplace Development.

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