2 Replies Latest reply on May 17, 2012 12:28 PM by disabled_JohnWolff

    Looking for fresh ideas


      A long term client wants access to their FileMaker database system using iPads. The connections will be via VPN.


      The discussion for adding this feature began last December and the plan was to design iPad layouts for the needed screens. Approval for the new work arrived in early April. The next day FileMaker 12 was released.


      Now the dilemma is whether to move to 12 or not. The client leans toward the move thinking that a design of the screens in 11 will not be able to use the features of 12 and would need to be redesigned when they do eventually migrate to 12. They are likely correct in this thinking.


      It is not as simple as convert and build the new Go layouts. When the files are converted to 12 with their carefully designed layouts, the converted layouts look like *crxp* in 12.


      Beautiful in 11, absolutely awful in 12!


      Unfortunately there were too many elements [shadings, gradations, curves, etc.] that were added to buttons and other elements, etc. to furnish an appearance that is now possible in 12 with a theme.


      Instead of 10 form and 10 list screens for FM Go; the whole database now needs a makeover. A simple conversion does not do it; applying a a theme or even choosing Classic and hoping for the best results in a mess.


      So we are talking about revising 10 forms, 26 lists, and 24 form/selection screens plus adding another 20 layouts for FM Go. This will definitely require a LOT of time, much more than the client was anticipating, *methinks*.


      In an effort to determine the potential time, I revised 1 of each type of layout and tracked the time, knowing that subsequent layouts would be faster as they could build on the decisions made in the first. The results: well over 100 hours to have decent layouts in 12 and that does not count the anticipated 50 hours for the Go screens.


      One brilliant idea I had was perhaps time could be saved by not having separate FM Go layouts, but alas that does not work well either.


      I've tracked all comments about 12 since its release and worked in it almost exclusively since the April release building new projects. I like 12. There are issues, but on the whole, I am positive about it.


      But this is a dilemma I've just not figured out how to best address.


      And so, I am looking for some fresh ideas on how to approach what will be essentially a costly cosmetic face lift and there is no way for the client to straddle a *fence* between 11 and 12.


      Your ideas are appreciated.



        • 1. Re: Looking for fresh ideas

          Doing any kind of redesign and doing it based on old software versions is not a good idea. It is inefficient and merely defers the big cost to somewhere down the road.


          If they are updating to iPad based work with full functionality, then may as well take the leap and go 12 as well.


          Of course, whether you are an employee or IC, 100 hours may be more work than they want to pay for.  Here is a suggestion:


          1. Develop a design theme and sublet the work to less experinced and less costly developers that you hire. If, for example, you charge $100 per hour, and you merely need "12" based layouts designed which are similar in appearance to the old designs, you might be able to find less experienced or work-starved developers to do the work for $20 or $30 per hour.  Then, build in a small charge for your time reviewing and implementing their work, and you can actually quote a 50 hour project and make a profit doing so.  Obviously, keep the sub-developer's identity away from your client and vice versa.   The downside here is making sure that your sub-developer can do, competently, what you need them to do, and in a time-efficient manner.


          2.  Consider a compromise on fee/time in doing the work yourself.


          3.  Explain the "11 or 12" dilemma to the client with the 25 hours of iPad only work using 11, or the 100 hours of work for iPad+12, and offer to do the 12+iPad at a discount, because it is a good chunk of work.  Stress that with the new file system and Themes, it is unlikely that with 12 and beyond, they are ever going to have a major appearance based software development cost again, which is a very good reason to upgrade to 12.


          There is no easy solution.  Good luck!



          • 2. Re: Looking for fresh ideas

            Hi Michele,


            A fourth option to Scott's list is to have someone in your Client's Company trained up do the time consuming work under your supervision.


            It has the upside of leaving you free to make the major design and functionality decisions which I'm sure is where your developer skills are of most value to the client. A potential downside is that further down the track, you may find that your services are no longer required.


            Not an easy step to take for both you and your client but perhaps a useful way to open up the necessary discussion.


            With best regards,