The Support Group Blog

The Great Debate: Mac or PC with FileMaker Pro?

We are an office divided, Mac or PC. Some of us prefer to do our FileMaker development on Macs and others prefer PCs. We are given the option to choose our systems when we join The Support Group and many other organizations probably pose the same question to new hires. FileMaker, Inc. is an Apple subsidiary and FileMaker Pro works just as well on PCs as it does on Macs. Some menus might look a little different, but the functionality is all the same. FileMaker 16 actually goes a long way to achieve parity between the two systems. The new interface in FileMaker 16 allows Windows users to interact with the program as if in a typical Windows environment. Windows users are able to remove menus in order to maximize screen real estate and use multiple monitors when developing custom applications in the latest version of FileMaker Pro.

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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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Siri Rocks!!!

Like a lot of people, I am the proud owner of a shiny new iPhone 4S.  Now, that may not sound unusual (I mean, Apple has sold MILLIONS), but the guys and gals I work with are saying “OMG!!!”

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"Why should a human do this when a computer can do it?”

Early in my FileMaker career, perhaps back in the first version of FileMaker, we were hired by a company selling and leasing commercial real estate.  The company’s database contained information on properties for sale and lease, completed transactions, and a variety of reports summarizing data by office, district, region, sales person, month and quarter.

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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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How I Got Started with FileMaker

The Support Group has been working with FileMaker for decades, since our founder Rich Coulombre started teaching a FileMaker Pro class at MIT, then at other schools, and then wrote a book on FileMaker Pro 2.

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Aha!

I’m an old school guy.  I started with an Apple II Plus in 1980 with a text-based operating system, audio cassette player for storage and a whopping 4K of memory.  I thought I’d died and gone to heaven after purchasing a 5 1/4” floppy disk drive with an incredible 113K storage capacity.

I was the guy you read about staying up all night working away on some software or other.  I loved to program, and lived for that “Aha!” moment when the solution to a problem suddenly appeared.  Researchers have shown that the “Aha!” moment is associated with the release of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and an array of endorphins.  That feeling is real and something I lived for.

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Will There Be an iPad App for FileMaker?

Frank asks:

Is there, or will there be, an iPad app for FileMaker and Server?

My guess?  Absolutely.  I mean, there has to be, right?  Mobile apps are all the rage, and I can’t imagine that FileMaker is not seriously investigating this market (they’ve already done a great job with their Bento app).  But there are existing solutions available today as well.

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Table View is Awesome

I’ll admit it: prior to FileMaker Pro 10, I didn’t give much thought to providing users with the ability to view a layout as a table as opposed to a list.  List view seemed to have so much more to offer.  Formatting was easier to control, you didn’t have to take extra steps to ensure the header and footer would appear, and if, like me, you tend to give your fields arcane “database-y” names like ct_nameFull_lfm instead of Full Name, you didn’t have to worry about those names appearing in the column headers.  About the only thing table view had going for it was resizable columns.

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