Andy Hibbs

The Real Power of FileMaker

Discussion created by Andy Hibbs on Jan 14, 2019
Latest reply on Jan 18, 2019 by HortGroup

This has been prompted by a couple of recent jobs involving the reconciliation of 70,000 records that had been linked incorrectly due to an error caused by an import system that depends on an Excel template, which had been setup incorrectly and also a project to put a current UI file on top of some data files that were much older than the UI file.


The UI work was eased by the use of (the fantastic) FMPerception that resulted in some FileMaker files containing data exported from FMPerception that were eventually consolidated then analysed by scripts to generate a subset of tables and fields (and their FMP IDs) that allowed us to create a work plan to add to, and change tables and fields within the old data files to meet the new features of the UI file.


We tend to focus so much on the app building features of FileMaker, the TO graph, scripts, calculations, layouts, connectivity, server, etc. But it is when I have to manually manage data that FileMaker still takes my breath way and, well, inspires me to write a post here.


The amazing search features, multiple windows to retain and view different found sets, replace field contents to mark records in a subset, exporting any number of combinations of data, saving files to retain results or backup as needed, table views; dragging to reposition columns as needed, and show and hide data as required, omit records, show omitted records, importing with matched fields to update existing data, delete record, delete all records and I’m sure I’ve missed some.


I still cannot imagine anything else out there would allow the ease of analysis and restructuring of data the way FileMaker does. It is all controlled exactly as needed, no reports to be written, no software trying to intervene, allowing a balance of a human eye over the data with automation to help.


Most of the data tools mentioned above have been an intrinsic part of FileMaker for many, many years. After 30 years of development since the Claris days, these fundamental features of FileMaker sometimes still leave me in awe of the product.