8 Replies Latest reply on Jul 19, 2014 3:41 PM by erolst

    New to filemaker trying to setup report

    vlynn

      I am working on setting up DB to keep info for 35 + of our real estate property listings. (currently using spreadsheets to track activity/showings, price changes, advertising, sales/commissions etc.)

      Am I crazy thinking this would be good solution for FM DB? I have The Missing Manual and done online tutorials and have basic understanding now.

      SETUP - I have a Property Table and Property Layout with Listing ID (serial #) and relevant fields of contact, sales info, etc.

      Also have Advertising Table and Layout which includes 3 different fields for adcopy (bullets, short, long) because different publications have different max charact allowed.

      Trying to create 2 reports:

      REPORT to email weekly to publications - Weekly I email publications with the 6 or 7 properties to run, showing the MLS #, price, photo and respective Adcopy. (Note: adcopy is same length for all properties each week per publication

      REPORT for Client - Would like one reflecting their ad dates and publications.

      Thought eventually would maybe work as portal on main Property Layout.

      Thank you.

        • 1. Re: New to filemaker trying to setup report
          erolst

          Your posting should properly be titled “trying to setup database” – any report is “just” the (end) product of a lot of data stored in the right places, then brought together in a particular combination – but the foundation must be laid this to work.

           

          That being said …

          vlynn wrote:

          Am I crazy thinking this would be good solution for FM DB?  I have The Missing Manual and done online tutorials and have basic understanding now.

           

          … if your only/real question is “can FileMaker do this?", then the answer if “yes, of course”.

           

          One way to go about setting up your db is starting at the end: create mockups of your intended output, then start to think where within the database the associated data would be stored, and which relationships they have to each other.

           

          e.g. in a basic form as

           

          Clients --< Properties --< Ads >-- Publications

           

          where all non-processed ads would end up in the next report to your client (and then be flagged as processed). This also tells you that your reports would (most likely) be based on the Ads table, since this is where you have as many records as Ads, and all the other data can be displayed via relationships. 

           

          Probably more tables will be needed – e.g. Prices as a child table to Properties, so you have a history of price development per property, which a simple price field in Properties wouldn't be able to give you – but this basic structure should be quite extensible (and FileMaker makes it relatively easy to alter your structure later in the game).

           

          The other point to start at is the beginning: take pen & paper – or an eDesign tool – and come up with lists of “Entities” (things to manage) and their attributes, their relationships, and the processes that define your solution, as well as the intended output. This work upfront will (or should, at least) help you to get a clearer picture.

           

          Eventually, these entities, attributes, processes and relationships will be the tables, fields and relationships in your database.

           

          Oh, and Welcome to The Wonderful World of FileMaker – have fun!

          • 2. Re: New to filemaker trying to setup report
            mikebeargie

            So your first report isn;t just a report, it also needs to record when a property was advertised, so it can be used in a client report.

             

            First, I would add a "published" table, related to the Listing ID of the property table. This should have fields like run date, name of publication, etc..

             

            Then, script your report to send to publications, if you need to attach separate images for each property this might be an issue. If you're just sending a PDF to them it might work better. All you would need to do is perform a find for any properties that have a related "published" record for your target date/publication, then you put together a layout, and save it as a PDF.

             

            Then for scripting your client report, you just perform a find in the publications table for whatever properties that client has, and set up a report layout for them. You can automate the go to layout, perform find, and save as PDF steps in a script to automate this report.

             

            This is a perfectly suited solution in Filemaker and should be fairly easy to make. Your post was less of a question and more of a statement though. Please let us know specifically what you need help with if you are developing this yourself.

             

            Also, a lot of consultants offer mentoring training, you might budget some time to get mentoring from a filemaker developer that can help you learn and develop your solution at the same time.

             

            Good luck!

            • 3. Re: New to filemaker trying to setup report
              erolst

              Hi Mike –

              Mike Beargie wrote:

              […]

              I'd say between the two of us, we've built a nice advertising solution in no time flat!

               

              Have fun at DevCon!

               

              Oliver

              • 4. Re: New to filemaker trying to setup report
                mikebeargie

                Another suggestion might be to check out some of the starter solutions (File > New From Start Solution) and see if you can adapt those to your needs. I think "content management" or "product catalog" might be good places to start.

                 

                I've made similar simple solutions for this, and actually have done a lot of work on the other side of that job (the publication management database instead of the realtor's side).

                 

                Oliver is making a good point to plan what you want on paper before you try and build it. It will help with questions a lot more as well if you provide screenshots and examples of what you are trying to build.

                 

                Wish you were here Oliver!

                • 5. Re: New to filemaker trying to setup report
                  erolst

                  Mike Beargie wrote:

                   

                  Wish you were here Oliver!

                   

                  Why, how nice of you!

                   

                  Next time around. Until then … drink one or three for me!

                  • 6. Re: New to filemaker trying to setup report
                    mikebeargie

                    I'll do my German heritage proud. In the meantime, I'll save up money to try and make it over to Pause[x]Berlin next year.

                    • 7. Re: New to filemaker trying to setup report
                      vlynn

                      Sounds like I'm in the wrong place missing the fun (What is DevCon).  However, I AM having fun learning FM.

                      Thank you Mike and erolst for your time and input.  I did spend a lot of time figuring out workflow on paper, doing starters and webinars. FM is just so powerful with so many features to learn and grasp how they all connect.  Challenge to then apply to my application.

                      I do have price table because I realized I had to have Current Price field that would update, but also need history. 

                       

                      Still not clear how to prepare a report to email that includes ONLY the one ad size field I need for this week; i.e. Ad 150char.  Unfortunately, most times I do have to attach jpg of each property along with print ad info.

                       

                      How do I attach pdf to this post? Maybe I will attach my list of tables.  Seems most developers and other resources I looked into are geared to corp models or minimum training hrs. which isn't in our budget.  Also live in rural area in Md. Any suggestions welcome re developer to contact for small projects.

                      Thanks.  Vicki

                      • 8. Re: New to filemaker trying to setup report
                        erolst

                        Hi Vicki –

                        vlynn wrote:

                        What is DevCon).

                         

                        that's the FileMaker Developer's Conference, an annual event that this year will kick off on 29th July.

                         

                        vlynn wrote:

                        How do I attach pdf to this post? Maybe I will attach my list of tables.  Seems most developers and other resources I looked into are geared to corp models or minimum training hrs. which isn't in our budget.  Also live in rural area in Md. Any suggestions welcome re developer to contact for small projects.

                         

                        Use the buttons in the tool bar of the reply editor, or click “Use advanced editor“ to get more upload choices (e.g. upload a compressed database file).

                         

                        If you're interested in consulting or a few hours of training via Skype, feel free to contact me via e-mail (look into my profile).

                        vlynn wrote:

                        Still not clear how to prepare a report to email that includes ONLY the one ad size field I need for this week; i.e. Ad 150char.  Unfortunately, most times I do have to attach jpg of each property along with print ad info.

                         

                        Don't know your setup, but preparing a report normally means:

                         

                        • creating a layout that includes the fields which hold the individual data to display per record

                         

                        • finding (manually, or usually via script) the records that comprise the report (and optionally sorting them, if you need to summarize your data).

                         

                        So if each of your ads had fields to hold the data for differently sized sizes, you'd create a “150char report” layout that (among others) includes that field, then go to that layout, find the records for the week in question, print the report or save it as PDF etc.

                         

                        Of course, this specific example is just a semi-educated guess, but that's the general approach. Normally, though, you'd think about all the sizes you'd want to export as a report, and try to fit the specific cases into a broader framework (which, to my understanding, applies to all kinds of programming activity …)

                        vlynn wrote:

                        Unfortunately, most times I do have to attach jpg of each property along with print ad info.

                        Including multiple files with one e-mail (if that's what you're after) is currently beyond the native capabilitites of FileMaker. That's not to say it's impossible – you'd have to either use a Plug-in, or OS level scripting (shell, AppleScript, VB).