1 2 3 4 Previous Next 45 Replies Latest reply on Apr 20, 2017 11:59 AM by mslaurie

    filemaker documentation is too hard


      Please suggest a book or online help (for dummies?) to get me going. I just need steps outlined, preferably visual, 1. 2. 3. , to do things.

      I'm not stupid. I can use After Effects and do advanced work in graphics programs, but this has got me completely puzzled.

      I'm attaching a screenshot of information that makes we want to cry.

      Is that first line a script?

      Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 1.31.51 PM.png

        • 1. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

          Insert From URL is a script STEP. It can be a line in a script. It's not a good step to look at for a "newbie" just getting started as it is one of the more complex steps.

          • 2. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard
            Jason Wood

            Start with FileMaker Training Series: Basic


            It's a free download:


            FileMaker Training Series | FileMaker


            When you get through that you can buy the Advanced version.


            A lot of people on here recommend the Lynda.com training videos - I just haven't looked myself.

            • 3. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

              I won't say "hard", but the help topics are "thin" even for me. I also work in PHP which gives a function and then allows developers to chime in with comments and examples. Sending email PHP function:

              http://php.net/manual/en/function.mail.php <http://php.net/manual/en/function.mail.php>

              (the extras saved my bacon many many times!)


              I suppose most of us have had the benefit of others creating example files and articles on each step or function we needed to learn. And to some extent you get that here, but it's often we don't know what function to even study or research.


              I will agree that this particular script step needs MORE content, links to articles, etc. But you have the name of the function/step, so with google maybe that extra help is already out there!


              The basics will help you understand the difference between functions and scripts, from there: research the term, ask here, play around with "what if" in a dummy database to see what happens.


              and... WELCOME to the FM Community!


              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

                I agree with beverly


                Training materials--books, videos, blog articles....and even FileMaker Help to some degree can provide a "broad" basis of understanding to use in learning how to work with FileMaker in particular and relational databases in general.


                Places such as this forum can then provide "narrow" support by answering specific questions. So find some training resources you like to get started and when your road to better understanding hits a "pot hole", ask a specific question here and we will be glad to help you over the "rough patch" in your process.

                • 5. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

                  In addition to the FM Training Series mentioned by Jason, you may also like FileMaker Pro: The Missing Manual books. I think the most recent release is for FMP 14, but features added in FMP 15 can be learned from other sources until the title is updated. The authors provide a pretty good foundation on which to build understanding of how FMP works.

                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

                    The lynda.com videos are pretty good as are some of the vids on youtube.

                    its also a good idea to get familiar with RDBMS basics like normalization and data modeling.

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

                      It also helps when you have a particular thing you're trying to do.


                      Just looking at the FMP documentation or looking at all the capabilities would make anyone's head spin. There's 30+ years of updates in FMP.


                      I would recommend you try the Lynda.com FileMaker class. It's step by step.


                      FileMaker has its own way of doing things which for me learning it were often counter-intuitive.


                      The forum here will be a valuable tool while you're learning.


                      (And, we never stop learning...)



                      • 8. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

                        Not as a general approach to study FileMaker, but if you are trying to work out a particular script step / feature. I would usually google the topic, ignore a first few matches pointing to FileMaker help articles and look up the next few, which tend to point to this or a few other FileMaker forums.


                        Or just post here, there is nothing wrong with that. There are a few amazing people on this forum, dedicating their time to helping the others.


                        And you are not stupid, everyone has to start. I am sure After Effects manual will be totally incomprehensible to me.

                        • 9. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

                          I have to totally agree with you, but not just FileMaker - all software standard help is bad if you are starting out. There is too much assumption of existing knowledge and from the vendor's point of view there are too many third party technologies they tap into for their own people to understand, let alone their customers.


                          It is part of the industry i"m afraid and, despite 30 years of FileMaker experience there are still things that I have to research prior to understanding the information being provided.


                          Possibly your biggest challenge is first understanding database and networking fundamentals, which using After Effects or graphic packages wouldn't give you a grounding in. I can use Microsoft Word, but am unlikely to ever write a best selling novel.


                          This forum is a brilliant place to get very good answers providing the question is asked succinctly, Google will be your best friend and there are some good books out there. However, do not expect all the information you need to come from a single source.





                          • 10. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

                            Some local libraries have free Lynda.com access so you can do the video without subscribing.

                            2 of 2 people found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

                              mslaurie, by cooincidence this email below into my mail just few minutes ago.  Look for it.  The registrations are personal invitations so I can't copy them there, but you should get one in the mail or be able to get one from the FM employees who are presenting.


                              I'm looking forward to this.  FM documentation is, ahem, in need of a bit of improvement.



                              Hello FileMaker Developers,


                              Join us for an informative webinar where you’ll meet the FileMaker Customer Experience team and hear about the customer research that drives our learning approach. In our 45-minutes session led by Meg Weir and Rosemary Tietge, you’ll learn about new initiatives and changes to current learning resources. Reserve your place for this event today!


                              Note: this presentation will be in English only.


                              Date:  Thursday, April 27, 2017

                              Times:  8:00AM PDT, 11:00AM EDT, 3:00PM GMT

                              Times:  4:00PM PDT, 7:00PM EDT, (April 28) 8:00AM JST, 10:00AM AEDT


                              • 12. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

                                Hi, The way I began was to take the simple templates that come with Filemaker Pro client software and use them.


                                click on a button see the script that runs and follow it.


                                If possible use FileMaker pro advanced because you can go through each script step by step and see it setting fields etc.


                                if you do not have Advanced then insert pauses into each script.


                                If you need help to get started I can show you visually in a remote meeting.


                                Of all the really comprehensive database softwares available, in my opinion, FileMaker is the easiest to learn because it is all-in-one. No extra programs to learn to be able to use it out of the box.


                                Another option, a good one is the program called fm_starting_point. (www.fmstartingpoint.com/downloadform2.php)https://www.bing.com/search?q=fm+starting+point&FORM=EDGENA&PC=DCTE

                                This is an absolutely free database program which is well documented by the developers. It also has 100 videos that you can view on every aspect from the beginning.

                                Another option for fast learning is to subscribe to VTC.com.

                                They have video courses on all the versions of FileMaker.($30 a month).


                                those are the 3 best options that I know of.



                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                • 13. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

                                  You are right.


                                  When looking at the specific documentation you are talking about, it's hard to follow, because going back and forth from Format to Options you don't find the same things.


                                  I look at format and the first parameter is "Verify SSL certificates", so I go down in Options and find it, everything is ok.


                                  Then I continue, the next parameter is "Select". Under Options I find something else, i.e. "Select entire contents", and I start to get confused.


                                  Fast forward to the next parameters, what I see in Format does not match what I see in Options, grey bolded.


                                  Somebody did a lousy job documenting, I agree. Somebody else did a even lousier job writing the code, because if the script step - as written in Purpose - is to insert something into a field, then I would expect a different parameter order, like Insert From URL (destinationField, .....) and not having the destination field as 4th parameter. Even Insert (what, where, how) would make sense, having the where as second parameter.

                                  • 14. Re: filemaker documentation is too hard

                                    The forum currently says that your question is "Not Answered". But I'm not sure what the question is.


                                    Anyway, I respectfully disagree with your assertion. The FileMaker documentation is NOT hard — not if you judge it by any reasonable comparative standard. (If you want to say that most software documentation stinks, I wouldn't disagree.)


                                    The problem is that FileMaker itself is hard. Not what the marketing folks have been saying for decades, I know, but it's simply true. FileMaker is not easy now and has never been easy. Or to use an analogy that I've used before: FileMaker is easy the way the guitar is easy. Almost anybody can pick up a guitar and learn in a few minutes how to strum three or four chords (enough, say, to sing every song Neil Young ever wrote). But if you want to play like David Russell or Jimmy Page, the guitar is NOT an easy instrument, indeed, as every guitar student knows, pieces Bach composed for beginning keyboardists are in some cases virtuoso pieces on the guitar.



                                    Now, like learning those first four chords on the guitar, learning the first handful of things you can do in FileMaker isn't hard. Yes, it is easy to open FileMaker, create a file, define a handful of fields for a single table, and start putting data into 'em. And these are the inevitable first steps of working with FileMaker. Until you've got at least one table with at last one field in it, there's not much point to scripts or calculations or user privilege groups or any of the other challenges, mastery of which allows folks like me to make the Big Money.


                                    And after you've defined a table and a few fields, you're suddenly facing a daunting panoply of options. And since they all depend on one another, there's pretty much no straightforward linear way to learn them. It ain't Euclid's Elements. Knowing how to write calculations depends on knowing how to use the relationship graph. Knowing how to define table occurrences and relationships in the relationship graph depends not just on an understanding of relational theory, but in FileMaker at least, also depends heavily on an understanding of the importance of "context" as well as the semi-mystical topic of user interface design. Writing scripts requires a knowledge of procedural logic as well as a mastery of the vocabulary of FileMaker's script editor. Writing scripts that work well depends on experience with FileMaker Server and the way local FileMaker interacts with Server (for example, so you can judge whether a simple looping script on the local machine is more — or less — efficient than performing the same script on the server). And on and on and on.


                                    So you start with the basics, then begin to branch out, letting necessity be the mother of invention (in the original Latin sense of the word: "discovery" or "finding" or literally "coming upon"). One newbie goes from defining tables directly to learning about graphs. Another newbie skips graphs and learns more about using scripts to print reports. Another newbie jumps into scripting as a way of processing data. A fourth newbie (with knowledge of SQL) immediately wants to link the FileMaker to an external data source. All of them take a different path to start with and encounter different problems. I don't think there's another way.


                                    And when you find yourself scratching your ahead over something you run across, you come here and ask for help!


                                    Good luck,



                                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                    1 2 3 4 Previous Next