1 2 Previous Next 22 Replies Latest reply on Nov 30, 2015 12:53 AM by bigtom

    Ideas area - the good and the bad


      First of all, I am happy that we now have the ideas area. Posted the wish for such an area in this community in late August.
      And it comes close to my wishes :-)


      Now that we have the area since a month I think it´s time for a first summary. Mine is as follows:


      The Good

      We got more than 400 product ideas in days. Most of them are well thought out. Many got positive feedback by votes and comments, so people can see where the community is heading. And people can join in by simple voting, if they might not have the language skills (non English language natives), the will or the time to promote their own ideas. For FMI this area is a huge reservoir for excellent ideas absolutely free of cost.


      All that is great. I would by the way suggest two/three further features or input fields/sliders besides the tags.

      • First, one should be able to define, whether the idea is a real BIG one, a game changer or only a small detail solution wish - call it "importance".
      • Second, one should be able to estimate, whether the realization might take great efforts or just little work - call it "effort". So then people can judge better if it's worth voting for an idea that would be great effort for little result.
      • Furthermore I would suggest, that you can only downvote an idea with a corresponding comment, why you downvote.


      The Bad

      And here comes the bad.


      First and greatest for me is the fact, that there were more than 400 ideas created in one month. How can it happen, that a product, that is more than 20 years on the market, is obviously that little optimized, has such huge lacks of features and functionality? I could hardly imagine having 400 ideas for Word, Excel or PowerPoint, that are not nonsense. OK, some of the ideas consider new technologies like JSON and of course FM engineers couldn´t have thought about this 10 years ago. But many or most ideas could have been realized years, if not decades ago. I just can´t imagine, that FMI didn´t have these ideas coming in, when the feature request page was a black box. So what did they do these years ?

      And secondly, now that they have 400+ ideas. How long will it take, untill we see these realized. OK, we won´t ever see a 100 percent realization, but let´s think of 50%. Regarding the speed of FMI in former years, we get 50 new features max with a new version and every version takes one and half years. So we´ll have FM 19 and 2021, when 50% of all wishes are realized, that we - the community - created in one month. And I fear, that this assumption is more than optimistic.

      Even worse, we will have more ideas from week to week, month to month. So it´s just mathematics, that 50% realization of the feature wishes of today will only be perhaps 25% in six years. OK, the speed of wishes will go down in the future, but with new technologies, new devices etc. there will always be further wishes coming in.

      So I can only hope, that FMI is prepared to hurry up in the future.

        • 1. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad
          I could hardly imagine having 400 ideas for Word, Excel or PowerPoint, that are not nonsense.

          You haven't hung around with .NET developers a lot have you?

          • 2. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad

            I dare to do a different comparison although I know about apples and pears


            Shopware is a php-based shopsystem and for their community they have an issue and feature wish tracker since mid 2012. I would say, that a shop system is a much younger type of software with more recent changes on the go than a database - just think of HTML 5, Responsiveness, new payment techniques and steadily new browser versions. So I would expect, that there were far more features wishes open for Shopware than for FM.


            They have 2614 feature wishes in their database. Still/currently open are 356. So in round about 3 years they solved more than 2250. Or the other way round. After 3 years of user input they have less feature wishes left than FMI. And at FMI we only collected wishes for a month.


            So I ask again - how far will we come, if FMI won´t get faster? Currently far more wishes and bug reports come in than solutions go out ... this makes me think.

            • 3. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad

              Shopware is a solution built on PHP. So the requests are for the solution itself, and NOT the platform it's built on. That's not an apples to apples comparison, and I know factually that PHP handles (and turns down) thousands of feature requests and bug reports on an annual basis (I've been a PHP dev longer than I've been on FileMaker). Also PHP system bug tracking is so much different. A "bug" can be fixed in one line of code, and a single dev can fix (and incidentally create) hundreds of them a week. FileMaker is a compiled cross-platform application, where bugs can be caused just by differences in a user's hardware. It's just not the same to "fix" bugs or "add" features.


              I get what you're saying, and it's easy to have a "I want it all, and I want it now" attitude, but it's not realistic on any platform, and I guarantee you'd have the same results elsewhere.


              Obviously they've been listening to plenty of people to implement the areas we've seen, improve the timeliness and notifications of product releases and shift focus towards modern technologies and security.


              If you play towards filemaker's strengths rather than focus and lament on what it can't do, it's a very viable and responsive platform, for both present and future use. FWIW, the more you talk to filemaker the better, and also the ideas area probably has a lot of things that could be bundled into like requests for the same feature.

              • 4. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad

                Hi Martin


                What I read from this is that people who is posting ideas are "developer users", not "citizen users".


                For years FileMaker acted like they only had citizen developers and a bunch of "advanced citizen developers", i.e.: us.


                Now the fact that FMI already gave us a name means that they recognize that we developers are a bigger group than they thought and that our ideas enrich their (our?) product.


                Most of the ideas posted here are useful for developers. I can't imagine any of our users, a secretary for example (which in the end is also a FileMaker user), using JSON parsing or XPATH.

                • 5. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad

                  Hi Martin

                  You name it: the new "idea" section is a good move. We all wanted it and FMI responded positively.

                  As Ibrahim said, ideas mainly come from developers, and developers are never short of new ideas - who knows better what is required than the old battle horses? Information technology evolves fast, so its all natural that the number of ideas is high.


                  Now comes the important part of the job: selecting and prioritise proposals for implementation in FM.

                  This will most probably not be a public process but I'd love to see that FMI gives us due feedback. No feedback would lead to a black hole effect and the flow of new proposals would dry out. One taketh and one giveth.


                  The roadmap session at the yearly developer conference is the perfect occasion for qualified feedback to the community.


                  My personal wish: New features yes, but no acute featurite. Stability comes first.




                  • 6. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad

                    Hi Torsten


                    This is a feedback form from leantesting.com a bug tracking software I use to keep track of our current bugs:


                    BasicTutorial 2015-11-27 at 11.43.49 AM.png


                    They are not as nearly as big as FileMaker and they have 372 "most rated" suggestions, so they have more. May be this is the example Martin was looking for.


                    Now, see that beside the number of up rates there is a status (started, planned, etc.).


                    It would be great if we could have something similar in the ideas section.

                    • 7. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad


                      I have more suggestions for PPT fixes and proper updates than FMP - it STILL is not as good a  bit of software as Astound by Gold Disk (long demised - and more than 15 years ago) and Aldus Persuasion (also demised 10+ years ago)


                      And it's FEWER feature wished, not less.

                      • 8. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad

                        Hello Martin, Mike, Ibrahim, John & Torsten,


                        What I now wish I'd said to Rick Kalman, Dominique and anyone else at FMI who'd listen during the most recent DevCon, is an approach that Adobe followed several years ago.  It was called "JDI"  for Just Do It!


                        Adobe tasked each of their PhotoShop engineers and/or programmers to take one thorny issue that had been the topic of repeated requests for bug fixes or improvements that had been overlooked thru several recent releases. Their goal in that next release was to pay the necessary attention to those "issues' and get them implemented.


                        From my recollection of the way the effort was reported upon at the next PhotoShop World some years ago when I last attended, it was a great success and, perhaps even more importantly, a PR hit with their most dedicated users.


                        I know that FMI has only a fraction of the resources that Adobe has, but if we could convey a similar request to the powers that be within FMI for some devotion of their limited resources to a JDI project, then I'm sure we'd have some happier posters on this forum. Of course it's a competition for the priority of scarce resources between the development of new features with a fix of legacy issues. That's never going to be an easy choice.


                        Just my 2c, which is not even legal tender here!!


                        John Wolff

                        Hamilton, NZ

                        • 9. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad
                          Markus Schneider

                          it's a mix. I don't think that average users will even find this forum and that list - they just use FileMaker as a tool, often 'enveloped' by a custom solution


                          but there are entries for better printing, for better text capabilities - but it is not easy to navigate in that forum, I'm afraid that some good ideas will be lost


                          as we were about to migrate a big solution from 11 to 13, we interviewed users to get an idea what they are looking for.. No one asked for the 'gimmiks' of FM13 - they asked for better printing (different printers, formats, etc), for better text capabilities - and for more speed (the last one was because some FMS will not find in unindexed fields, restarting the server machin helps - for a while, but thats an old issue, can be found on several places on the net, won't be often - but exists, even under V14)

                          • 10. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad

                            For this reason I suggested a slider "effort" - there are a bunch of small things that could be done in days with little effort I think. For example it can´t be that hard to implement the possibility to write the dialogue input fields to variables.


                            Custom Dialog input to variables


                            And if a programmer is just there, he could do this with the left hand too:


                            Auto-resize Custom Dialogs


                            There only has to be the wish to do that. And you can´t really discuss these feature wishes - they don´t harm anybody, they don´t change the product completely in an unwanted direction.


                            And then publish this together with a service update to speed up and get rid at least of these small wishes in time.

                            • 11. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad

                              Hi Ibrahim,


                              this is the issue and feature wish tracker of shopware. You can easily filter threads, sort them all way and get info about votes, comments and whether the shopware team is working on the issues and ideas or not. That is close to ideal I would say.



                              • 12. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad

                                ibrahim_bittar schrieb:


                                Hi Martin


                                What I read from this is that people who is posting ideas are "developer users", not "citizen users".


                                For years FileMaker acted like they only had citizen developers and a bunch of "advanced citizen developers", i.e.: us.


                                Now the fact that FMI already gave us a name means that they recognize that we developers are a bigger group than they thought and that our ideas enrich their (our?) product.


                                In twenty years of working with FileMaker I never saw


                                - a secretary defining tables and fields

                                - a secretary writing a script

                                - a secretary building a print layout

                                - a secretary being in layout mode - only by accident, which then was the cause for a support call to me


                                Even without a "Developer" it always needed ONE person with more technical skills than the average user to build the database, layouts and a solution. The others in a team are mostly plain users, who are sold a development system although they don´t need it and don´t want it ...

                                • 13. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad

                                  I very much agree with


                                  - stability comes first

                                  - no featureritis


                                  But when I look at many of the current TOP TWENTY wishes, I don´t see featuritis - many of them are plain musthaves, partially since years.


                                  And many can´t be too hard to implement without causing a bunch of errors, just some examples:


                                  Field Labels

                                  Native Multiple Parameter Passing

                                  Horizontal portals

                                  Programmatically Turn Off Script Triggers

                                  Custom Dialog input to variables


                                  Just doing a bit of promotion for ideas and the ideas area, for those, who haven´t found it so far.

                                  • 14. Re: Ideas area - the good and the bad
                                    Markus Schneider

                                    mostly agreed - but some of the wishes can easily be implemented:

                                    - multiple parameters.. using 'list' techniques with existing functions, easy, almost 'native'

                                    - turn off triggers.. setting a helper variable and check for that


                                    others (to not have) is a real pain:

                                    - custom dialogs to variables

                                    - horizontal portals

                                    - much more (in my environment: Printing, Text functionality, placement of text to pages (ie page break), etc)


                                    hopefully, somebody at FileMaker will book those wishes and priorize them - and give the 'go' for implementing

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