Tuesday, September 07, 1999


Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

Whoa - I can't believe how fast time flies! It's been five months since my last column... For those of you who read this column (bless you all!), I sincerely apologize for the long delay in getting "back into the swing" of things.

A lot has happened in the past few months:

  • ClickWare merged with Stratisoft

  • I've been shuttling back and forth between the Stratisoft headquarters in London

  • I've been busy honing my skills with Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server 7.0, ASP (Active Server Pages), IIS (Microsoft Internet Information Server), ColdFusion, Lasso 3.5... well, you get the picture.

Besides all of the great technology stuff I've been working with - I've had the pleasure of meeting tons of new FileMaker developers all around the world. It's extremely exciting to meet people from Holland, Australia, England, France, Sweden, South Africa, etc. and talk about the ins-and-outs of FileMaker. It's amazing that everyone I've spoken to has the same problems/workarounds and basically the same feature requests: faster, better, and SOON! More on that subject in a moment...

Also, I had the opportunity to speak at this year's FileMaker Developer's Conference in San Diego. I believe the official attendance was around 1,500 people (almost DOUBLE last year's attendance)! It was a truly amazing sight. Wall-to-wall FileMaker enthusiasts from every walk of life. I personally spoke to policemen, firemen, school teachers, state government officials, in-house corporate developers, well-known FMP developers, new FSA members all gathered in one place - AWESOME.

I spoke on several subjects - Beginning Web, Intermediate Web, and "16 FileMaker Pro Secrets You've Just Gotta' Have" (co-lead with famous and fabulous Marc Norman of Prefix). We had near standing room only crowds for all the sessions - and I HOPE everyone who attended any of the sessions learned something new and/or cool.

In addition to the conference sessions, I also co-taught a Stratisoft post-conference training session on ODBC with the Jan Aleman (better known as Taff) of PDM the makers of the ODBC Plug-In for FileMaker. After resolving some initial technical snafus - the class went well. I even learned something from Jan about the ODBC plug-in that I didn't know before! In the class we learned all about the plug-in technology; ODBC and how it works; and we even built a fully-functional, cross-platform user interface in FileMaker that searched, added, updated and deleted data in a SQL Server 7.0 database running on a NT machine. Cool stuff!

Enough about me. The absolute highlight of the show for me was when FMI demonstrated the new 5.0 version. Unlike other NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) sessions that were held in the past, FMI really delivered the goods in regards to 5.0. They showed the new Web Companion and all the groovy technology that it supported, as well as the new features of the 5.0 application, they even showed (via video) the new FileMaker Pro 5.0 Server. Now, since that entire session was under non-disclosure, I can't really go into heavy details about what was said - but if you read the rumors floating about on Mac The Knife or you were lucky enough to catch the stuff posted on the Apple Insider before it got pulled... all I can say that there was that and more.

On a different note, for those "propeller heads" (techno-geeks) out there - I find the new technologies supported by IE 5.0 (especially on the Windows platform and coming "in fall" to Mac OS) especially interesting. The new buzz is XML and if I were interested in using some cutting edge technologies - I'd run out an get a book on XML. Although only IE 5.0 on Windows (at the time of this writing) supports a XML parser on the client, there are ways to use XML with IIS and ASP to deliver HTML out to any browser. Since FileMaker 5.0 will support being a ODBC datasource (see the public beta of the new FMP ODBC drivers at: http://www.filemaker.com/products/odbc/preview.html) I predict that we'll all be seeing many more uses for XML in the days and months to come... so you might want to start learning about it SOON.

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