We've been developing custom apps for more than 30 years and it's always exciting to see the space evolve. Now we welcome Google to the custom app neighborhood. The newest member of their cloud offering is called App Maker and just as its name implies, it is a platform for creating apps. Of course, we had to see what all of the excitement was about. We've actually been learning/playing with App Maker since it was released via Google's Early Adopter Program.
The Support Group Blog
The introduction of the new FileMaker 17 Platform brings many new and productive improvements to the software. We have the ability to attach multiple files to email messages, copy custom menus, create directories on the fly and more. Those are all very exciting features but I would say one of the life-changing enhancements is the new FileMaker data migration tool. The data migration tool isn’t strictly a version 17 feature. It's really a stand-alone command line app that you can download with a FileMaker Developer Subscription, just like the iOS SDK.
One of the great things about the FileMaker Platform is how fast you can create a custom app that is valuable to you and your coworkers. The ability to whip up something in virtually no time is obviously an attractive feature, but so too is the platform’s unparalleled flexibility to continuously adapt to your needs as they change. They say nothing's perfect and I guess one of the few gripes I had with the program was the minor requirement to ungroup objects in order to make substantive changes to them.
FileMaker Server 17 ushers in a new age of server administration. Since the release of FileMaker Server 13, we've relied on proprietary Java framework, which was a little heavy for the simple task of administering a server. Now, FileMaker Server has moved to a standards-based, web-only administration interface that is as dynamic and responsive as any modern website. This isn’t our first glimpse of this directional change as many of us have been using a slimmed-down version of this interface with much success in FileMaker Cloud for over a year now. It's elegant, fast and intuitive. Having said all that, creating a whole new tool that allows you to perform all the tasks required to administer and deploy a database/application server is quite a Herculean task. In order to accomplish this without disruption to the user base, FileMaker, Inc. has decided to move in a more evolutionary direction rather than a revolutionary one
If you've been kicking around the FileMaker neighborhood for any amount of time, you've probably run into a need to show multiple records in a list format as well as provide a detail view of the current record. Up until now you basically had two options.
The first and probably most popular method is to create one list view layout and another form view layout. The user typically performs a find and if there's more than one record found, you send them to an optimized list view layout. And then with the click of a button, they can see the related details of each record in a form view layout or even in a popover.
If you're like me and you do your work on a laptop in the office and at home, you will welcome the new self-organizing and predictable controls that FileMaker, Inc. has introduced in the new FileMaker 17 Platform. At work, I connect my laptop to an external monitor, which expands my viewable space and allows me to spread my work out. However, at home, I rely on my 13" laptop screen to do my development work. Prior to the release of FileMaker 17, every time I switched between the monitor and my 13" laptop screen, I had to find all my control pallets (Object Viewer, Inspector and Field Picker) and then rearrange them to work within the confines of my screen. This was a pain because I had to shift my focus from improving workflows and adding value to trying to find and grab my pallets. It was like being at the carnival midway playing whack-a-mole. This has all changed with version 17. Now all three of these important tools are always accessible where and when I need them. Like most modern integrated development environments, the new Layout Mode configuration docks these important tools right to your Layout window, so that you don’t have to think about where they are when you transition from desk to couch.
Here's the situation: you're showing your new custom app to a client, boss or colleague and you're proud of the way it can send an email directly from the app. This allows users to leverage all the data stored within it - pretty powerful! But then they ask if they can email more than one attachment because the weekly sales progress report includes three PDF files. Deflated, you hang your head and explain that FileMaker Pro only supports one attachment per email. That used to take the wind right out of your sails until the new FileMaker 17 Platform came along and offered the option to attach multiple files to an email message...
Data is powerful! It's generally the backbone of most strategic business decisions to improve products and operations. But the data that businesses collect can be mutually beneficial to consumers as well. Our trackable behaviors and habits make innovation and efficiency possible by allowing computers to process and interpret data in such a way that it can actually help to fulfill a task or goal . This is known as artificial intelligence (AI) and we'll continue to hear a lot about it going into 2018 in terms of research, development and controversy, so we'll save a serious discussion about that and custom applications for another time. For now, we just want to have a little fun with AI.
We rely on indicators to let us know that a process is running. We can hear our engines running or see the timer ticking down on the microwave – all positive indications that something is working. Have you ever been on hold with no hold music or regular automated updates? It can be frustrating because you don't know if you're still in the queue or wasting your time. So it's good, virtually expected, to include a progress bar or an alert within a process in order to maintain engagement.
Every year FileMaker developers converge on a specified city to learn how to make the most of the FileMaker Pro product. And although the format of the conference doesn't change too much year after year in terms of training, presentations, breakout sessions, etc., the content does change because of the various new features available with the latest software release. And FileMaker 16 does have a lot of new features to boast about, including its impact on FileMaker Server. I attended a session that focused on some of the under-the-hood components of FileMaker Server.