Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Everything Old Is New Again

Over the last 6 months or so - I've been getting a fair number of requests to do FileMaker Pro work.

Yeah, I know! Right?

I worked on some pretty cool projects for a wide variety of customers - and found that getting back into FileMaker is like riding a bike - you just never forget.

Sure, a LOT has changed in the product over the years - and there have been many excellent improvements (can you say Script Triggers, Conditional Formatting and Functions!), and you can now specify a calculated result for just about everything in the world (yay!).

But somehow FileMaker, Inc. has managed to keep most of the "good stuff" that makes FileMaker... well, FileMaker. It's still fairly easy to use (just don't get me started on table occurrences!), the scripting engine is the same (with more and better functions available) - and the Server product is just much better than in the "old days."

After doing so many years of Servoy-only development, I must admit it was a bit of "an adjustment" getting back into developing projects in FileMaker. A lot of the keyboard shortcuts that my mind had (somehow!) managed to remember still worked. Defining fields and setting validations, global fields, auto-enter options and all the rest were just as I had remembered.

In the few times that I got stuck with a function or script (looked logical - just didn't "work") - I was able to easily find the answer in one of the many FileMaker "superstar" sites (BrianDunning.com, AngelCityData.com, FileMakerMagazine.com, FMForums.com, FMPro.org, etc, etc.).

I found that I had to get myself back in the "FileMaker mindset" when creating scripts... where there is usually only one or two routes to get from A to B - and normally only one way from A to C. I also had to remind myself that when finding data you need to actually go to a layout that's based on the table you're data is in... but once I got back into the "mindset" - everything went as smooth as silk.

Along the way I was able to re-connect with some very old and dear friends from years past - and have had the chance to chat with people that I literally haven't talked to in 5 or 6 years (sometimes longer).

Although I was unable to attend this year's FileMaker Developer Conference in San Diego - I'm looking forward to have a beer (or two) with some old friends and looking forward to learning all the new, subtle tricks from today's "young guns."

To celebrate Clickware's re-entry into the FileMaker services/consulting/training arena - I wanted to contribute SOMETHING to the FileMaker community at large. So, I've put together a new series of 4 videos aimed at helping FileMaker developers deal with end users who may be new to FileMaker, and hopefully, reduce the amount of "How do you do a find" support questions.

The videos are FREE, and I have some other ideas for a "Developer" series as well - so if you have ideas about a FileMaker-related video you would like to see - please email me and I'll see if I can get it going.

I guess the pundits are wrong - you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! Rock on, FileMaker 11!
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