1 2 3 Previous Next 40 Replies Latest reply on Mar 24, 2017 6:16 PM by philmodjunk

    [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner

    sunnychu

      Hi guys,

       

      Recently been playing with video editing software, thought I will take this chance to make some simple 5-10 minutes FileMaker beginner tutorial video to help other beginners out (Since I have been benefiting from the help here in the past 2 years and never contributed much)

       

      I am trying to brainstorm topic/features that are:

       

      • Versatile in use
      • Common on many project
      • Doesn't require super deep technical knowledge
      • Something that developer find too "common sense" to discuss about but beginner struggle very hard.
      • Low effort in implement, but high value on user experience
      • Something visually appealing so it is more fun to video edit

       

      Here is some ideas I have:

       

      • Portal (I literally spent 4 days trying to get my portal to work properly when I first started FM)
      • Conditional formatting
      • Sub-summary
      • Calculation field
      • Script that loops through all record
      • Setting data entry method (the calendar, value list, checkbox stuff)
      • Getting your fmp12 file into an iPad into FMGO

       

      So what are the top things you wish you knew when first started FM as a beginner?

        • 1. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
          PeterDoern

          My biggest conceptual obstacle when I first picked up FileMaker was that layouts were views into records. That is, it took me awhile to understand that I was viewing the same record even if I switched to another layout (based on the same table). Super obvious now but not at all obvious to me back then.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
            coherentkris

            the biggest bang for the buck foundation level knowledge is the text parsing and manipulation functions.. left, right, position, substitute etc.

            Must include a discussion about word seperators.

            • 3. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
              smith7180

              The two most important tools I picked up early on were learning the "magic key" method for creating related records (especially across many table occurences (like join tables), and learning how to pass multiple parameters to scripts.

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
                planteg

                I think that TOC needs a good explanation. And it's way too easy to misunderstand the role of the Relationships tab of Manage Databases. I went to FileMaker with a good knowledge and experience with MySQL and Access, but TOC and Relations à la FileMaker took much time to make sense.

                 

                Oh, one suggestion, use images and diagrams. Personally, I hate long text that's use to explain a concept where a diagram/image talks so much. Unfortunately, very few people use them.

                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
                  erolst

                  Context, context, context:

                   

                  - Files --< Tables --< TOs --< Layouts

                  - what this means for defining and utilizing relationships

                   

                  Not sure how much you can "pimp it up" for visual presentation, but I think that without internalizing these fundamental concepts of data organization and association, all the other skills mentioned will be useless, or be applied on a hit-and-miss basis.

                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
                    planteg

                    YES YES YES !

                     

                    Table occurrences and Relationship are part of the context. And the context is THE concept that needs to be understood first.

                     

                    sunnychu,

                     

                    if I can help you with your project, I will be more than happy.

                    • 7. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
                      BMyers

                      I've been thinking the same thing, sunnychu (the OP).  There are so many things that aren't in the manual, or in the manual but in a manner so obscure that no beginner would ever find them.

                       

                      My best example is the Apple contacts app.  Imagine a new FMP user thinking that it would be a good exercise to duplicate that app.  After all, it's only a single table.  How hard can it be?  Well...let's review:

                       

                      • The Apple contacts app uses Master-Detail.  Not in FM's documentation anywhere.

                       

                      • The Apple contacts app has a search box that presents a diminishing list.  Not in FM's documentation anywhere.

                       

                      • The Apple contacts app for iOS has a vertical row of buttons.  This can be easily implemented with a button bar and a parameter, but you would need to be a better beginner than me to think of combining a button bar, a parameter function, and a variable in a script.

                       

                      • The Apple contacts app uses an OSX-style checkbox to denote whether the contact is a company.  The best implementation of a 0/1 Boolean checkbox is not in the FM manual anywhere.  As for styling, I've never met anyone who can duplicate the styling of an OSX checkbox in FM without a lot of hacking.

                       

                      My suggestion would be to start with the simple stuff.  Beginners get frustrated when they hit a brick wall on something as simple as a checkbox or searchbox. 

                       

                      I wish FM would create a website with little videos as you are thinking.  Just 5-10 minutes on how to do each of the things that should be simple.  Actually, I wish FM would bring their documentation into the 21st century.  It's really shameful that recent research like master-detail, selector-connector, and virtual list are nowhere to be found.

                      3 of 3 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
                        nealer@coralwave.com

                        What a great idea. I'm still on my way to intermediate, but everything I've learned has come from Lynda.com

                        Lynda costs money, but is worth it as I use it for a lot of different software. For people starting on FM they shouldn't have to pay for easy-to-follow tutorials just to get the basics. Good luck.

                        • 9. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
                          DavidZakary

                          A big one for me, many years ago, was join tables. Life became much better once that one sunk in.

                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                          • 10. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
                            sunnychu

                            Thanks for the great feedback guys!

                             

                            I agree too the context thing is one of my biggest headache too, took me a long while to fully understand how they inter-relate. surprise so many others were bothered about tables & relationship as well, the TO thing does seems very complicated. Trying to think of a good metaphor to explain how TO works (in non-technical terms).

                             

                            planteg

                             

                            that would be awesome!

                            • 11. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
                              user28222

                              I am in the same category as planteg - coming from SQL Server and Access background(as intermediate user not developer) - made me start with notions that were different from FM's starting basis point of views and nomenclature. 

                              Not saying it's good or bad, but time could be saved if someone start me off with a tailored intro for people like myself - I think an episode devoted these people would be a great way to win converts.

                              • 12. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
                                user18730

                                TOC, Join Tables, and conditional lists, were the second value list changes, based on the first value list. Why you need to use multiple TO's of the same table, and how they are used. These seem to be the most basic concepts to understand, but the most difficult to wrap ones head around. Understand these things, and you understand FileMaker.

                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                • 13. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
                                  Peterwhitley

                                  As an "advanced beginner," I would have benefited from the following:

                                   

                                  • Average Joe explanations on how two tables relate to each other using keys, and how to relate existing tables that lack keys. How is an appropriate relationship identified from a conceptual standpoint (first), and how do you create those relationship from a technical standpoint (second).

                                   

                                  • Having tables share information, or when it's best to import (copy) field contents versus drawing that field information directly from a related table into a layout. What's the difference, and when might one option be better than the other?

                                   

                                  • Tutorials for creating common scripts, like change-logs, that offer both step-by-step solutions combined with plain explanations that help rationalize each step. (E.g., here's what to do and why you do it.)

                                   

                                  • Taking poorly designed databases and fixing them. This is probably how a lot of people get introduced to FMP; they inherit it with a new job position.

                                   

                                  I'm a project-learner and will pick up concepts quickly when I have a clear objective and can immediately see the result of my changes. Finding a tutorial that is relevant to my tasks is difficult when I don't have the jargon... I don't know how to phrase my question accurately. One might find several tutorials on the same subject, but the one with the most relevant use-case will, for users like me, be most helpful. (Make sense?)

                                  • 14. Re: [Opinion needed] Top 10 things to learn for FileMaker Beginner
                                    user18730

                                    One other thought, don't just show how to do something, explain why you are doing it this way.

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