Welcome back to the third and final part of our FileMaker project management blog series. We reviewed the various types of project management solutions and established a basic set of requirements and the beginnings of an ERD for the system in part one. Then we brainstormed the workflow for our system and used a few whiteboards to make preliminary sketches of how the solution will work. Finally, we will build the application and flesh out a FileMaker project management template.
The Support Group Blog
As a reminder, we're working on project tracking software that we can build using the FileMaker platform. Our FileMaker Project Management Solution blog post discussed some fundamental functionality many off-the-shelf project management applications offer and their shortcomings for users with unique workflows.
Over the years, we've worked on various project management solutions of different shapes and sizes. Yet, building a project management application seems strange, considering how many off-the-shelf project management applications are currently available – Basecamp, Jira, Trello, and monday.com, to name a few. Of course, each of these programs has its strengths, but the issue that many of our clients have is that the model those solutions address doesn't quite fit how they specifically do business.
As a low-code development tool, FileMaker is as effective a solution for unconventional business workflows as it is for standard processes, like a project management system or a QuickBooks integration. We can even leverage FileMaker machine learning capabilities to automate talent recruitment.
Reading and categorizing job descriptions is challenging work. It's very monotonous, and it takes a long time for a person to become an expert. But this is an ideal use case for custom software. See how we can simulate algorithms and teach FileMaker to tag content automatically.
The ChatGPT wave of innovation continues to roll along. OpenAI has released a new version of ChatGPT, version 4.0. The latest version features a host of back-end improvements and several key front-line upgrades, including real-time multi-lingual support, improved intuitive contextual understanding, and an adjustable personality slider that allows users to adjust the tone and communication style of the artificial intelligence (AI).
It is also multi-modal, which is a fancy way of saying that we can submit images to it as part of a chat or request. So, for example, we can draw a picture of a website diagram and ask it to make the website. It will then give us instructions and sample code for creating that website – all based on a drawing.
Premier Financial Services (PFS) is one of the nation's leading finance firms for vintage and exotic cars. They've been offering finance options for auto enthusiasts for over 25 years. 1st Financial Bank, an FDIC-backed institution, acquired Premier in 2021.
Premier has relied on the FileMaker Platform to help them manage their operations for almost as long as they have serviced customers. We usually find FileMaker in educational institutions and non-profit organizations. So, that a financial service provider like Premier trusts this low-code platform speaks volumes about its efficacy, reliability, and usability.
Issuing lease agreements is a rather involved process. First, applicants must complete the necessary paperwork that delves into their personal and sensitive areas. Then, the lessor has to evaluate all the information provided to determine eligibility and how much money to offer. The work includes a lot of number crunching and critical thinking, basically technical and human tasks. That is an ideal combination for custom software.
One remarkable thing about working in a supportive and dynamic collective like the FileMaker developer community is that we can share our experiences and techniques. With Claris FileMaker, there are often many solutions to any given problem, and over time our community has come up with some innovative and creative ways to use FileMaker. Unfortunately, these things are usually not found in the standard documentation, but developers share them among themselves. Here are three compelling tips and techniques that we discovered recently.
As we discussed in our previous blog post, FileMaker has released a new feature set involving transactions. The new scripts allow us to send the changes we make to a record to the server in aggregate. So, we can batch all our changes together in one transaction and send that to the server.
If you read our blog regularly, you might remember we created a test file to demonstrate a technique on how to create multiple records at one time. We can also use the new transaction scripts to accomplish this task. For example, instead of creating 10,000 records in a loop one at a time, thereby producing 10,000 individual transactions, we should be able to submit those 10,000 new records as a single transaction.
ChatGPT has dominated the news cycle recently, with articles appearing in just about every media outlet. For those who haven’t heard about it, ChatGPT is a chatbot driven by artificial intelligence (AI) software. OpenAI developed the service and released a beta version of it at the end of 2022. It can generate a chat – an online conversation – in a natural, almost conversational way. It has been “trained” on a large dataset of information – basically, much of the Internet as it existed in 2021. As such, it can respond to questions on a wide variety of subjects in a knowledgeable way. It is surprisingly robust and has already shown the ability to write articles, research papers, and software code, among other things, quite accurately.
Claris released a new version of FileMaker, and it’s pretty exciting. Of course, the usual list of bug fixes and minor enhancements to the platform accompanied the update. Nonetheless, there's at least one outstanding new feature: Transactions.
In the database world, a transaction is any operation on an entity. In FileMaker world, it represents any change made to a record. Previously, we made most of our changes to our records, one record and one field at a time. And, when we clicked out of the field in FileMaker, it committed the record, thereby completing an operation for that entity - in other words, performing a transaction. This function helps keep all our data in sync with other users who concurrently access the database. But it can impede the performance of our system, especially in a wide area network (WAN) environment with poor network speed or high latency.