14 Replies Latest reply on Mar 6, 2013 10:55 PM by Lemmtech

    Feature of the Week

    nickchapin

      FMI says they listen to us. In that vein how 'bout we ALL send in a feature request here.

       

      Each week I'll post a single request and ask that all of you join in on that. These will be equivalent to one bullet point - not lots of "if we have then let's have that too" kinda requests. (Those can be their own request.) Perhaps with all of us requesting the same thing each week we may get at least some of the things we want.

       

      This week's Feature Request is:

      Line numbers in scripts.

       

       

      Now, copy the line above, click this link, and add your voice to the Feature Request of the Week.

       

       

      Thanks!!

        • 1. Re: Feature of the Week
          mbraendle

          Nick,

           

          I'm willing to help. But, as I am living in a country that has a long democratic tradition, I need to get convinced by good arguments before I vote or support a petition. May you shortly explain why this feature is needed, and what the script editor should be able to do if we had line numbers in scripts.

          • 2. Re: Feature of the Week

            Hi Nick,

             

            I'm not at all sure that your suggestion is a good way to get faster progress on desirable features.

             

            If you attended DevCon in Miami, you'd have heard many instances of FMI speakers saying "I'll take that suggestion back to the Wedge." or That's a known bug." What these comments tell me is that the list of feature requests or improvements is already long and, given that FMI has limited resources, it is obviously a challenge to prioritise those requests into a doable list for the next release.

             

            The Company has Project Managers whose job it is to manage the allocation of resources in terms of what can be done properly in any given time frame. I therefore believe it's an unrealistic expectation for any form of developer pressure to effect any improvement in their allocation of those resources.

             

            I'd suggest you will be less frustrated if you have sufficient faith to leave those decisions for FMI to make. I genuinely believe their goal is to deliver the best software that they can possibly create.

             

            Merely my 2c!

             

            John

            • 3. Re: Feature of the Week
              Padster

              Nick,

               

              Thinking about your request... the only reason that I can think that you would wnat this is to make your scripts easier to read and Navigate.

               

              At a recent FileMaker TechNet Meeting, there was a presentation on a Plug-In which allowed a developer to 'Colour Code' script steps. It was presented this as a tool that should be in every developers arsenal.

               

              http://campsoftware.com/2013/02/filemaker-scripting-calcs-now-in-color/

               

              Pad

              • 4. Re: Feature of the Week
                Lemmtech

                The need for this feature is obvious and should have been there since version 1!! I suspect it will be in the next release but happy to click the link! Great idea!

                • 5. Re: Feature of the Week
                  MallieWilliams

                  Will they be making these color features on the Windows verson soon

                  • 6. Re: Feature of the Week
                    nickchapin

                    Hi all: Thanks for the replies.

                     

                    Martin & John: I think I would prefer a democratic dictatorship - with me in charge.    That said, the goal for this thread is to get us actually using the formal methods of feature requests. We all, here and on other forums, wish we had xyz, but only at DevCon (if even then) do we actually do anything. I'm sure there are many instances when we've all wanted some feature (in this case line numbers) and have other related features. (I think it was Jeremy Bantam that wanted a Get ( SciptLineNumber ) function to go along with line numbers.) But the thought here is to request one item. If it manages to get either on or higher up the list then I'm sure the engineers at FMI can figure out the whys and any other additional related features. It is in our best interests to not "have faith" but rather be proactive in our needs. In fact, I've heard many times from FMI that they do pay attention to what's been formally requested IF there are many requests for it. Perhaps they've actually heard that we want something (line numbers) but see that only seven people have formally requested it and consequently don't have it very high on the list. If ALL of us request it then the squeaky wheel may get some grease. (Really, FMI...how long have we been waiting for line numbers???)

                     

                    Padster: Thanks for the link. I knew about many of the 8048 or so MBS functions, but not that one. In reality, I tend to do a lot of my editing (scripts, calcs, CFs, even layout object CSS) in BBEdit and then copy it all back in. Line numbers, colors, code folding - yum.

                     

                    Again, thanks for your time in at least thinking about this, even if you don't "vote" or agree.

                     

                     

                    • 7. Re: Feature of the Week

                      Hi Nick,

                       

                      I still cannot agree with your reasoning, in fact I suspect it might even be counter productive.

                       

                      Suppose Tech Liaison see's what you're trying to achieve, and the thread gets highlighted for Product Managers who might well discount the weighting that you hope to achieve. No one outside of FMI will know whether your idea has had any effect so why bother when we all know that changing development priorities on the spur of the moment is a known way to disrupt sound practices for software improvement.

                       

                      My second 2c!

                       

                      John

                      • 8. Re: Feature of the Week
                        Lemmtech

                        I tend to agree of course that in theory the more people that ask for a needed feature the more likely it is to be added to the product so trying to generate support for it in this forum is not a bad idea. On the other hand FMI seems to have it's own priorities and I don't think seem to listen to developers that much since we tend to want features that typical users wouldn't likely see as much value in. FileMaker is not and probably never will be a developer focused product. On the one hand, means it gets into the hands of everyday users which allows for a larger customer base for us to service, but on the other mean it's VERY slow to adopt a common programming architecture for things even as mundane as line numbering.

                         

                        The truth is what ever features are going to be in the next release (and I think line numbering and color coding will probably be amoung them) are in there already there so any features we would request now if they aren't already on their radar screen already wouldn't be seen in a release product for at least two years. 12 is a "transitional" release trying to make a break from the .fp7 versions and lay the foundation for the future. I know they are VERY busy working on the next release cycle which I trust (hope) will add much needed features to the product line and address some of the shortcomings in 12 that are preventing it from gaining greater traction. (none of my clients are using it)

                         

                        FileMaker will always be a mixed bag, very strong in some areas and very weak in others, but that doesn't mean we can't voice our desires to try and make it a stronger program for everyone. The next feaure I would like to see you post is user enterable variables! That would be huge! Let me place variables on layout the user can type into rather then global fields and let me use them in relationships! Wishful thinking perhaps but I can keep dreaming!

                         

                        -Mark

                        • 9. Re: Feature of the Week
                          Benjamin Fehr

                          I'ld like to vote for some 'features of the Year' for FM12:

                          - reliability

                          - bugfree

                          - performance

                          - performance

                           

                          I'm getting a bad feeling for future FM experiences when FMI is listening to feature-requests, - even asking developers about the need for new functions like barcode-scanner

                          (just to ad some more bug's) before cleaning up that current mess!

                           

                          There's so many grafic issues and leak of performance turning FM12 into a nightmare!

                          • 10. Re: Feature of the Week
                            jormond

                            The interesting this is, the FileMaker engine really is very robust and capable.  However, FileMaker has ALWAYS been an end-user product.  We have, as business people and developers, adopted it to suite the needs of a different sub-set of users...that is our customers.  We have pushed the envelope and shown the potential FM has.

                             

                            But in the end, it's the end users...without programming skills...that keeps FMI doors open.  I totally think a few changes in business strategy would benefit the company as a whole, but I'm not the one making hte decisions.  While FM can handle much of the requests that are being made, the Developers/Engineers at FMI have to find ways to keep it simple to use. Otherwise users will move on to something else that is, in effect, easier to use and not as powerful. The engineers are basically generating dynamic code that responds to an infinte number of coding calls that we create.  Accounting for different styles, approaches, scenarios...they have done well.  It really is variable coding for varied coding.

                             

                            As for the complaints about the product, I have heard it all before.

                            • Everyone complained about 9 and how 8 was so much faster and better. And how they worry about the future of FM.
                            • Everyone complained about 10 and how 9 was so much faster and better. And how they worry about the future of FM.
                            • Everyone complained about 11 and how 10 was so much faster and better. And how they worry about the future of FM.
                            • Everyone complains about 12 and how 11 was so much faster and better. And how they worry about the future of FM.
                            • Everyone will complain about 13 and how 12 was so much faster and better. And how they will worry about the future of FM.

                             

                            And after all that complaining, we have a very rich feature set with more to come.  I am very confident that FMI will take the CSS type layout approach to the next level, making "Themes" much more robust. I am confident that FMI does listen to it's user and developer base. They don't just wing it when releasing a feature set. It's tested ( although it does feel at times that it could have been tested better ), researched for user feedback, and then released into the product.

                             

                            I give Kudos to all the people at FMI that are working to improve the product.  They have to make hard choices at times to keep the product moving. Hopefully they will one day add to their focus the fixing of long standing bugs. But other than that, I think they are doing a great job giving us a fairly full toolset.

                             

                            As for priming the Feature Requests. I think it will have limited sucess.  Or the potential to sidetrack more important features because the community "wish-list" skews the overal demand/need.

                            • 11. Re: Feature of the Week
                              Lemmtech

                              Joshua is right on that it's the non programmers that keep FileMaker's doors open. After having spend a lot time last year looking into 4D which is a developer ONLY focused product and one that has features we could only dream about I was forced to conclude that FileMaker * by far * has the winning strategy to develop and market the product directly to end users. If this continues to mean we get a "watered down" feature set compared to other products but it keeps bringing new users into the platform then that is a trade off I am willing to except. I do think the future of FM is very bright even if the road using 12 is very bumpy right now.

                              • 12. Re: Feature of the Week
                                nickchapin

                                Thanks again, all, for the debate. It's always gratifying when we are so impassioned about our chosen profession.

                                 

                                I agree with Joshua et al that we wish FMI would squash a few bugs and would prefer that over new features. But less face it, the marketing guys have a tough sell when promoting a new rev without new features. I'm aware, too, that 13 is pretty much already set in stone feature-wise and anything we say or do will be unlikely to affect a change there, but we always look to the future and I'm confident after all these years that FMI will keep growing the product and keep challenging us with new ways to overcome some of the limitations. (Talk about a run-on sentence!)

                                 

                                That said, it'll take about three minutes of your time to go to FMI's link and post a feature request. Any request. Go for it.

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                • 13. Re: Feature of the Week
                                  PeterWindle

                                  Searching for text within a script would be nice.

                                  • 14. Re: Feature of the Week
                                    Lemmtech

                                    If FMI would just take about half a dozen ideas from 4D which has many features that FileMaker could really use they would be set. I sure hope that the next version if more then just a cosmetic overall like 12 was. Time will tell I suppose.