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.
The Support Group Blog
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.
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.
- 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
Sometimes the most challenging part of any task is getting started. Claris recognizes this, and as a result, offers FileMaker users and citizen developers the ability to build custom apps in an agile manner. They released the FileMaker Quick Start Experience in preview mode several months ago. The tool is intended to be intuitive, but it's also very much a work-in-progress. So, we'll review some FileMaker Quick Start basics to help us all make the most of it.
Before we get started, we have to mention that the FileMaker Quick Start experience is only available to Mac OS users running the latest version of the program. The preview has a dual purpose. Firstly, the tool is designed for users to learn FileMaker quickly and deploy an app in a matter of days as opposed to months. And secondly, Claris wants to gather feedback about the experience so that they can enhance and improve usability. We assume they want to make it as functional as possible before broadening the user base.
The future of low-code development is coming clearly into view, and it's going to be browser-based. Most of today's best examples of productivity-enhancing platforms don't require installing desktop programs or uploading apps to local servers but instead just opening a browser window and pointing to an address. Building, testing, and deploying applications all happen in the cloud without us having to install anything on our computers, phones, or tablets. Claris FileMaker is taking baby steps into the next generation of its low-code development platform with its new Quick Start Experience. The Quick Start Experience, which is available for users running the most recent version of the software on macOS, opens the door, just a little, to a fresh way of using a product we've been using for years. The tool allows new users and citizen developers to learn how to use FileMaker quickly.
Every year, usually during the summer, FileMaker hosts a massive global conference for their developers. Like most customer/user conferences, the goal is to experience the product in different ways and explore new product features, in a supportive and fun environment. But leave it to technology to create a common developer dilemma – to go or not to go to DevCon. FileMaker, Inc. will eventually share most, if not all, of the session materials – including videos – within the FileMaker Community. So why not save the registration and travel expenses and wait until the materials become public?
Well, The Support Group has participated in DevCon in different capacities since the very first event in 1996. Yes, it's been that long and we can certainly tell you that it's worth it every year! We even share some of our own DevCon experiences during and after the conference; check out our FileMaker Developer Conference 2018 in review artcle. I cannot adequately capture the essence of why we go to DevCon, but I will try to capture a few of the main benefits.
Since this time of year is associated with giving, we thought that we would share a FileMaker iOS gift. We created a retirement app using the FileMaker SDK. Some of us may find this app useful sooner than others, but we hope you benefit either way. The free app is available on iPad only on the Apple App Store.
As promised in our blog post, FileMaker Developer Conference 2018 in Review, we want to unpack some of our learnings and experiences from the actual sessions we attended during FileMaker's Developer conference. FileMaker, Inc. has begun to share the 2018 session materials online. Yup, there's a lot to take in. But, don't feel overwhelmed by all of the materials. We're here to guide you with some recommendations on the sessions you might find particularly helpful.
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.