Using FileMaker Server, sharing the application is no problem.
You might want to watch some YouTube videos, or, better yet, check out the Lynda.com FileMaker 14 course.
That information should let you know if FM is a fit for your needs.
filemaker can do this.
are you willing to invest the time and energy it will take to develop a comprehensive solution?
this is not a starter level project to get it right.
.. but you have to start somewhere
Yes, FM can do all this. Look at the various Starter Solutions that come with FileMaker, and you should find most of these functions included, but it can take some effort to get them all working as an integrated system.
As for the paid software, FM GO can run the files as a free App on iOS devices, or there's runtimes one can create with Pro Advanced, or users could purchase their own copy of FM Pro.
The "syncing" with email and calendar may require "outside the box", but the rest is very do-able. Make a "map" of what you want and where and how they might be inter-connected. Plan your design, get some feedback before jumping totally in!
There are several resources on this forum that may help you:
Welcome to the FileMaker Community!
Thanks to each of you for your reply. I'm no programmer, and I only figure out apps by experimenting with them. So, I imagine that there's a considerable learning curve. Given that I'm a newbie, am I looking at weeks of time to create this? As a teacher, spending 350 just to create an app / solution for myself and my colleagues is a daunting proposition. I'd want to use the trial period as far as I could to figure out if I'll be able to make this work. What steps would you take before using the trial? One of you mentioned the Lynda app, and another talked about making a map. Is there anything else I can do?
Ok, instead of "map" try "lesson plan".
Look at the Starter Solutions and assess if any of them might help.
The FileMaker training series might a good read before jumping in the project.
The basic training series are free and you can get them here : Database Skills, FileMaker Pro Training | FileMaker
Good afternoon MattSpence,
I hope your day is going well. In my opinion, FileMaker Pro is perfectly suited to the creation of the solution you have described. However, if you have no experience with the platform, I think a timeline of a few weeks to complete your project is unrealistic for someone with a full-time job...at least it would have been for me. As you've already discovered, this forum is an excellent resource for developers, and the training materials the others have already mentioned (e.g., Lynda.com, FileMaker Training Series, etc...) are very good too. I imagine that many of the more experienced developers on this forum began their FileMaker Pro journey the same way you are about to; a desire to create something and the willingness to learn a how to use a tool. You can definitely accomplish you're goal with FileMaker Pro, it's a fantastic development environment! Good luck!
I would seek out some FMP developers local to you. there are user groups all around the world and maybe someone there can help guide you in the right direction and let you know what you have gotten yourself into.
FileMaker can do what you describe. As noted, this sounds like it has a fair amount of complexity. One approach is to pick one thing and do that. Don't worry that your solution doesn't do everything you need. Just figure out how to do that one thing. Once that works (notice that I didn't say "once that's finished" - databases are never finished!), then do another thing. Just one thing at a time.
If you're looking to do this project on your own, I would say pick the thing that's most separated from the rest and DESIGN it.
Forget FileMaker (for the moment).
- Design the database -- use a good tool or even on paper. (Not FileMaker's Relationship graph).
- Design the UI
- Design the interactions
- Make sure the database gives you the outputs you need.
Do as much as possible before you go to that box with the keys (aka, the computer). The implementation is supposed to be the easy part, but if you are designing as you implement (or the other way around), your design will probably not work well except for the tiniest of systems..
There are current postings on this site where many, many recommendations are being made to help a developer fix a design problem with a clever script. In my view, this approach is totally backwards. Fix the design! Those clever coding solutions rarely, if ever, work correctly in all cases anyway and just complicate the project and then also make further changes even MORE difficult.. If you start with a clean design, things go simpler and much faster.
Think first.....code later.
(If you don't believe this, you might want to read Code Complete2 by MS Press first.)
FileMaker encourages you to jump right in when it's rarely the right thing to do (exceptions would be for quick prototyping, or possibly some bottom-up development when you have no requirements, and the like). Yes, you can do things quickly in FileMaker, but you can also end up, quickly, with an unwieldy design that never works like you want it to. (think hashing, staring over, ....).
Code Complete uses the construction metaphor: Would you let someone build your house without extensive analysis and blueprints?
Creating a good software system uses this same metaphor with little loss of generality.
I am also new to Filemaker and I fully agree with the comment made earlier regarding Lynda.com.
Go to the website, sign up and watch the Filemaker courses. I found this to be extremely helpful. I also own several books, but I found the video instruction on Lynda.com to be the best way to learn the program. I didn't discover the website till several months after I started my project. It would have cut down my learning curve considerably...
+ what morkus said. I usually start with paper and pencil.
Thanks very much to each of you for your responses. Unfortunately, it sounds like using Filemaker to create a solution could be beyond my skill level. Even if it's not, I don't want to spend a lot of money just to find out for sure.
Again, I really appreciate your help.