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Stumbling into FileMaker: Finding Your Footing

Hi. I’m Jeremy and I am a FileMaker developer.

If you’re like me, and many of you are, you stumbled into the platform at some point in your life. It could have been one day ago, or a few years ago. You stumbled into it as a result of your current job or a friend having it and showing you a bit around it.

After working with FileMaker for a short period of time, you found that you could easily pick the platform up and create a solution with it to solve a particular problem for you, your friend, or your company. To continue your education, you read books, watched videos, and scoured the internet looking for how to work with FileMaker. I bet you even just discovered things by working inside FileMaker. It is an easy platform to pick up and begin using.

Let’s Start at the Beginning

This is my story. I stumbled into database development having no prior experience to databases or any other programming. It was new to me. But I was able to solve some business problems for my company (a school in this case). I was able to revise an existing database to make it easier for fellow teachers to use and to make their jobs more efficient. I read every book out there and watched every video I could find about FileMaker, and I learned. On my own.

Many, many FileMaker developers stumble into the platform. It seems to be purposely designed for people to begin using it very quickly. However, the factors which make it easy to use also can lead one down a path of shortcuts and bad habits. I know it happened to me. As I matured in my FileMaker development, I learned techniques and habits of mind that increased my skill and increased the efficiency of development and performance of the system.

The series of blog posts, titled “Stumbling into FileMaker: Finding Your Footing” is an attempt to disseminate those best practices into something for the ‘newbie’ developer to pick up. This series is meant to save you months of bad-habit forming in development and skip you right up to the next level. During these posts we’ll discuss what the expert-level developers already know and have tucked away in their heads and use without even thinking.

Ongoing Discussion

Ideally this is a dialog; as posts are released, a discussion can follow regarding what was said. I have no claim to know the absolute best out there. But I know what I’ve learned and know what will help developers who came from where I did.

  • We’ll talk about such things as field definitions, data schema, the relationship graph, calculations, and scripting.
  • We’ll take a look at techniques that are cool, but more importantly we’ll take a look at when to use those techniques.
  • We’ll take a close look at the high-level white papers out there and try to extract the core concepts and thoughts.
  • We’ll look at those thoughts you can have when developing to make you a more efficient coder and a more confident one.

I hope you can join me for this discussion. We can have a good time, us stumblers, and discuss how to find our footing.

Part 1: What to do with the Web Viewer