I often see helpful information in this online forum that I would like to remember. However, there is no easy way to keep and organize my notes.
This gave me a couple of ideas.
1. FileMaker Inc. could put the Help File into a FileMaker database. Imagine two DB files: the interface plus FileMaker Help File is in one DB, and a separate DB file for a user’s individual annotations. The interface design would allow a user to see the Help File on the left side of screen and add annotations to the Help File on the right side of the screen. A user could then add notes, links to demonstration videos, links to articles, or whatever a particular user needed to assist them to climb the learning curve.
Example: I recently learned that the most common use of the function PatternCount is not to count the number of records that have a text string. Instead, the most common use seems to be to test for the existence of a string in an If/Then statement. This isn't mentioned in the Help File. A user could put a note on PatternCount page, and also put a link on the If/Then page.
Of course, the FMP Help File changes over time, and when FM releases the edits then the FileMaker-written Help File would get replaced with a new DB file and FM would flag the edited entries. The user’s annotation file would remain. Then when a user goes back to a particular help section the user would see the updated Help File edits with a flag to alert them of the changes so the user could update the notes and links if necessary.
2. Discussion for Help Files. There should be a link from every Help File entry to a specific discussion forum for that Help File entry, and the main discussion forum we all use should link to this.
3. FileMaker Wiki. Also, there have been several suggestions for a FileMaker Help Wiki. This would be of great value since the Help File is not as robust as it could be. I suggest adding to that idea by letting a user link from the Help File notes and annotations to the Wiki. The Wiki could have space for personal notes as well.
FMP has a steep learning curve. Currently Users have to create and organize their personal notes and links, and there is no easy way to collect these and relate them to the official documentation. Users have limited time and need to be efficient, whether a citizen developer or a pro developer. Anything that FM can do to ease the process is going to benefit not only the user base, but reward FM with more users.