1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Apr 13, 2012 7:04 AM by ahagen1016

    took too big a bite


      I am very new to FMPro12, but used FileMaker at a job 10 years ago, so I thought I would know more than I seem to know. Please point me to the correct site where I can post questions when I run into trouble. Most of my problems are in calculations, and I seem totally inept at scripts. I have two data collection tasks at my school, so I thought I would use FMPro to build the database (after unsuccessfully trying to learn Microsoft Access). For each, I have created fields and layouts, but now can't get reports to run properly. For one I have separate tables as it made sense to me, but not figuring out how to make the relationships happen.

      I purchased Filemaker Pro for Dummies and Filemaker--the Missing Files. There is only so much I can learn from these books and their samples that aren't quite the same as what I am trying to do. I have put in a call to a local consutant, but wanted to learn as much as possible before meeting so I maximize my time. I appreciate anyone willing to direct me to the right forum or site. Thank you.

        • 1. Re: took too big a bite



          In general ( my opinion ) FileMaker is a lot more capable and easier to use the MS Access,  so I think you are went in the right direction. 


          You can take a look at the how to section of this site,  https://fmdev.filemaker.com/community/technical_resources/how_to

          You may find some helpful examples.



          FileMaker 12 is brand new.  So at this point I haven't seen any books specificly for 12.  In general books for 10 and 11 will give you a good start when it comes to basic scripting, relationships and fields.  They won't cover the new 12 stuff,  but at this point you can directly convert an 11 file to 12 and everything should work without changes.  So anything you try from a 10 or 11 book will work.  As you go thorugh and learn more about 12 you will find ways ot take afvantage of the new features.


          The books you have are a good start.  I like Ray Cologon's FileMaker Pro 10 Bible.  There are a lot of good examples there and he has a lot on his web site as well.

          http://www.nightwing.com.au/FileMaker/demos.html  The book goes a bit deeper then the ones you have.


          Try looking at the FileMaker 11 Training Series.  Not sure if this is still the case,  but if you a FileMaker Developer Subscription you get a free download of the Training series.  Again lots of helpful examples.


          There are lots of qualified people here that can help you out.  Just post a specific question. 


          If you are still looking for a developer,  FileMaker has a place to search for consultants.  http://developer.filemaker.com/search/


          You can also check out FMPug they have a list of FileMaker developers and consultants,






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          • 2. Re: took too big a bite

            Thanks so much for this information.  It is daunting to know where to begin, so I am very appreciative. I will continue to search the "how-to" section of this site and will also purchase the FileMakerPro 10 Bible.  there are so many training products and books out there--it is good to have something recommended.


            Thanks again.

            • 3. Re: took too big a bite

              There are a lot of forums and resources out there, but you got a good book to start with. I'd like to recommend the FileMaker Bible from an esteemed colleague, Ray Cologon, as well.


              agnes b. riley . filemaker and web development


              T 201-299-6223 (NJ) . 212-842-8830 (NY) . 917-660-7221 (C)

              FileMaker Certified in 10 and 11

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • 4. Re: took too big a bite

                Thank you.  I just finished ordering the bible!  I appreciate your confidence and suggestions.  I will become better versed in the forums and resources over these next weeks.

                • 5. Re: took too big a bite

                  Am there, doing that! It sounds like your experience with FMP was pre-v7? If not, I apologize, but if so go back and get the migration papers from then to help understand the "new" relation model. I did a lot in v3 to v6, but not much in v7-v10, and find the biggest leap to make is context, followed by context and then context. In define calcs dialog watch the very top where it says "evaluate from context....". Having the wrong context will give strange results. Scripts really aren't that much different, until you get on the wrong layout, which changes the context. Relationships are cool...but don't get hung up on the "parent-child / left/right" concept to much. The relation graph is drawn left to right, top to bottom, so the position of a table occurrence on the graph versus its mate determines if the occurrence is on the left or right in the edit relationship dialog. Most people here probably don't even think of this stuff anymore, but for someone who's been away for awhile these things, IMMHO, can really bite you, especially in the areas you mentioned having issues.

                  ...for what its worth

                  • 6. Re: took too big a bite

                    One of the best things you can do for yourself is to have a look at other people's work.

                    Take it apart and see how they did it... so you can get a feel for alternate scenarios. There are always lots of ways to do the same thing and some are simpler or sleeker than others. Look at the provided examples in your install and try out the templates. Visit Ray Cologon's site (as Bruce Herbach and ariley recommend) or Kevin Frank's or Digital Fusions's "Weetbix" blog.. There are some excellent resources out there and with a simple search of the consultants list you can find the sites for many developers who might just have a solution to your need for structure or reporting in a sample downloadable file.


                    bdb00001 is right when he says "context context context". Relationships give us those contexts and careful design of this is the key to a stable expansive system. Just like families, you can have many relationships between each other, relating to the same person in several different ways according to context. We can even have multiple relationships with ourselves... one for work and one for mum and one for the child in you that gets a new dress when things get hard... (LOL)

                    There are some excellent resources (white papers etc) under the Technical Resource Center Tab that you really should read... especially with respect to Relationships.


                    - Lyndsay

                    • 7. Re: took too big a bite

                      I think this might be the missing link-thanks. Where do i find migration papers?  I was totally skiipping over the "context" question and did not know about left to right, top to bottom on the graph.  Thanks again.

                      • 8. Re: took too big a bite

                        Thank you.  Good exqamples of how and why to get better acquainted with the context and relationships knowledge.  I will check the Technical Resource Center now that I know what I am looking for! 

                        • 9. Re: took too big a bite

                          One more thought--When you suggest looking at how others have done it, how do i phrase my search?  For instance, We did a questionnaire with our students and I need to get results to teachers about student learning styles.  I have several tables with different data: student demographics, questionnaire questions, possible responses (1 to 4 scale), question categories (9) and category groups (3). Would I search for questionnaires? surveys?... The templates with the programs aren't the same, but if the concepts are the same, and someone could help me with translating my specific .... The Contact Manager template seemed closest. It allowed me to know kinds of fields I would need for different tables, but it never generates the kind of report I would need.


                          If anyone knows of a sample like this that I could tear into, I would be most appreciative.  Thank you all for being so kind and helpful.

                          • 10. Re: took too big a bite

                            You said "problems in calculations" and "totally inept at scripts".. sounds like a basic programming logic course or a basic database design course at your local college would also help.. learning how to operate filemaker and knowing how to design databases and software efficiently/effectivly can be two different things.

                            • 11. Re: took too big a bite

                              Also, you might want to read Ray Cologon's white paper on building relationships (graphs). Pick a model you like and stick to it. Make sure you don't connect everything with everything but make duplicates of your tables and table occurrences and use those. Also, pick up a naming convention and stick to it.try to not make your won because there are enough out there. Whether it's for tables, fields, layouts and table occurrences.


                              I just have seen too many spider webs lately. They sometimes take longer to decipher, than to build a new database.


                              Stick to conventions, you'll appreciate it later.


                              I learned a lot on my own. I then had to relearn everything from people when I started working with them. I just would like to save you the time learning thing the wrong way. The bad thing about FileMaker is the same as the good: it's easy to get started, a child can build a database. It might even function...for awhile.




                              agnes b. riley . filemaker and web development


                              T 201-299-6223 (NJ) . 212-842-8830 (NY) . 917-660-7221 (C)

                              FileMaker Certified in 10 and 11

                              • 12. Re: took too big a bite

                                I highly recommend John Mark Osborne's Visual tutorials. He has a beginning, intermediate, and advanced course, and you can watch them at www.vtc.com. I have used these courses as a basis, and supplemented them with the FM Bible book mentioned above, and Filemaker 11, the missing manu, and of course the Official Filemaker training

                                • 13. Re: took too big a bite

                                  Thank you for this.  I was leaning toward that before I asked this question and, while I will follow up on the suggestions made this weekend, i will probably end up hiring a consultant for the task at hand ( since it has a time limit) and then learning more about database design in general, as you suggest.

                                  • 14. Re: took too big a bite

                                    Thanks for another good resource.  I will have a full weekend!

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