9 Replies Latest reply on Oct 29, 2014 1:31 PM by NickLightbody

    General Questions From a New Developer

    aric

      I have been using FMP for years now. Mostly just modifying starter solutions to suit the needs of my company. Recently though a firend asked me to create a system to run her linen rental company and I agreed. Being a firend, I did not charge anything, but I told her I wanted her to be my technology sugar mama. Anytime Apple comes out with a new gadget, I want it.

       

      She agreed and I was off to the races.

       

      I have taken the Contacts, Inventory, Estimates, Invoicing, and Events Mangement Starter Solutions and modified them and created relationships between them all. It's working great, and she plans on purchasing her own copy of FMP server.

       

      Now that I have done this, I have really been thinking about offering a development service, but I can't help asking myself if I am going about my designing in the best way?

       

      My current resources:

      I do not have the developer version yet, as I will be purchasing it in a few days time.

      I am running FMP 12 Server Advanced on a Mac Mini Server with a static IP Address

       

      I have the following questions:

       

      1) Being a photographer, I want to build a solution that I can sell over and over again to other photographers. How is this done when I am building relationships between files such as Contacts and Invoices for example? Can these two files be combined into one file which can then be sold? What pitfalls should I avoid in my designing in order to make sure the purchaser can easily use the system when they receive it? Can I sell a product that has multiple files with relationships already built in?

       

      2) Do you have favorite threads here on the FM Dev Community which you think I should read first to give me a good foundation before I dive into the world of professional development?

       

      3) I want to be able to create forms on my wordpress site which will then import into my own solution. I know I can connect to my Mysql database, and I have already accomplished this and have begun bringing in data. Are there other ways to do this, such as having a php script send form submissions to my files?

       

      4) What should I read to learn how to pubish information onto a page onto my existing wordpress site?

       

      5) Where can I go to learn what good and bad development looks like? Can you provide me with links to what you think the best looking interfaces are? I understand that a good looking interface does not equate to a good user experience.

       

      6) If I am able to build a solution for photographers, how do I, or even can I, provide my past clients with an upgrade file? I assume people will write to me asking for new feautres. I am concerned on how to give them these new features.

       

      7) What other questions should I be asking as a new developer? If you know of a question, can you provide me with a link to where I can learn more about the particular subject?

       

      8) If you were to do it all over again, what would be your advice on what to learn, and in what order would you learn it?

       

       

      Thank you for any information you can provide. I know I am about to take a big step forward in my FMP world and I am very motivated and excited.

       

      Thank you.

       

      Aric Hoek

      Photographer

      Solaris Studios

        • 1. Re: General Questions From a New Developer
          coherentkris

          Get certified as a FileMaker Developer. The study for the exam will reveal you what you need to learn

          • 2. Re: General Questions From a New Developer
            aric

            Working on that now.  Purchased the FM Advanced Training Seriese. 

             

            What other resources would you suggest I look into to prepare myself for certification?

            • 3. Re: General Questions From a New Developer
              coherentkris

              www.lynda.com

              and look at other developers solutions

              richard carlton consulting

              seed code

              cleveland consulting

              filemaker hacks

              nightwing

              too many more to list

              • 4. Re: General Questions From a New Developer
                keywords

                A project you might consider taking on as much as a learning experience as anything, is to take the five separate files of the solution you developed for your friend and amalgamate them into a single file.

                • 5. Re: General Questions From a New Developer
                  gdurniak

                  Building a solution is the best training, and even better if others can try it, and provide comments

                   

                  and when you hit a snag,  a Google search will often turn up many answers

                   

                  trying to "study" FileMaker as a beginner may be less meaningful

                   

                  greg

                   

                  > what would be your advice on what to learn, and in what order would you learn it?

                  • 6. Re: General Questions From a New Developer
                    taylorsharpe

                    Being able to develop a solution and being able to market it to the general public are very different skills.  Many developers think that making a great solution is all they need and sales will just come.  That can be a big falacy.  It takes a serious business plan to make a verticle solution work that you can resell.  But it can be done and FileMaker Inc. even gives special licensing tools for reselling verticle solutions.  FileMaker calls this their Solution Bundle Agreement program.  Julie Sigfrinius with FileMaker runs this program and if you're serious about it, you should contact her.  Also, find out who is your FileMaker rep for your area.  And if you want to resell FileMaker software, consider joining the FileMaker Business Alliance program that allows you to be a reseller.  Where are you from?  Someone from FileMaker can probably pipe in and tell you who the rep is for your area. 

                     

                    You might try to get involved with your local FileMaker Pro Users group (www.fmpug.com).  But what is most helpful is to get a mentor that is a successful FileMaker developer. 

                     

                    And it is great to see you here in FileMaker Technet.  It is a great resource for finding out answers or just getting good ideas. 

                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • 7. Re: General Questions From a New Developer
                      fitch

                      1)  Being a photographer, I want to build a solution that I can sell over and over again to other photographers.  How is this done when I am building relationships between files such as Contacts and Invoices for example?  Can these two files be combined into one file which can then be sold?

                       

                      There is nothing special that needs to be done. Your external file references will work just fine no matter where you put the files, as long as the relative path doesn't change. I.e.: keep all the files together in the same folder, or folder/sub-folder structure.

                       

                      That said, you're generally better off consolidating your tables into fewer  files. Or a single file. There's no practical limit on the number of tables you can have in one file. Tables are cheap, make as many as you need.

                       

                      What pitfalls should I avoid in my designing in order to make sure the purchaser can easily use the system when they receive it? 

                       

                      That's a very broad question. Design a good interface. Thousands of books and blogs are dedicated to this subject. Test everything.

                       

                      Can I sell a product that has multiple files with relationships already built in?

                       

                      Of course.

                       

                      2)  Do you have favorite threads here on the FM Dev Community which you think I should read first to give me a good foundation before I dive into the world of professional development?

                       

                      http://fmforums.com/forum/forum/114-intellectual-property/

                       

                      3) and 4) ... might want to start a separate thread about stuff like that... 

                       

                      5)  Where can I go to learn what good and bad development looks like?  Can you provide me with links to what you think the best looking interfaces are?  

                       

                      Thousands of books and blogs... Matt Petrowsky's stuff is really nice: filemakermagazine.com

                       

                      Try to attend DevCon:

                      http://www.filemaker.com/developers/devcon/

                       

                      6)  ... how do I, or even can I, provide my past clients with an upgrade file?

                       

                      Look into the "separation model" -- essentially, you build two files, one for data, one for user interface (UI). The data file contains all your data tables and fields, and is rarely upgraded. The UI file contains only utility tables to drive the interface; no actual data. This means that all you have to do is send your customers a new UI file, they replace their old file, and you're done. No data importing.

                       

                      See: http://fmforums.com/forum/forum/16-the-separation-model/

                       

                      You might also want to consider using UUIDs for your serial numbers. That way, when you do need to import customer data, there's no worry about out-of-sync serial numbers.

                      http://fmhelp.filemaker.com/fmphelp_13/en/html/func_ref2.32.98.html#1064250

                       

                      7)  What other questions should I be asking as a new developer?

                       

                      What about FileMaker Go? How much time will I spend supporting my solution? Who is my competition?

                       

                      8)  If you were to do it all over again, what would be your advice on what to learn, and in what order would you learn it?

                       

                      Probably python and javascript. ... FileMaker-wise, get familiar with ExecuteSQL, and since your solution will presumably have some functionality around managing photos, learn about container fields.

                      http://fmhelp.filemaker.com/fmphelp_13/en/html/create_db.8.19.html#1028970

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • 8. Re: General Questions From a New Developer
                        taylorsharpe

                        Fitch's email reminded me of something.  There is a FileMaker plugin called Monkey Bread Software.  It has a wonderful set of tools for manipulating graphics from gettting EXIF data to resizing, rotating photos, changing format (e.g., between png, gif, jpg, tiff, etc.).  This plugin does many other things, but graphic manipulation is one of the nice feature sets in it.  But it is an added cost to FileMaker licensing.  And for mobile devices, you'll need to do Perform on Server and have the plugin on the server because FileMaker Go doesn't support plugins. 

                        • 9. Re: General Questions From a New Developer
                          NickLightbody

                          The most common issue with less experienced developers is building stuff that is intrinsically slow - through poor / inexperienced design.

                           

                          If you focus on building stuff that performs well at the outset your life will be much more fun down the road.

                           

                          FileMaker Inc have recently released their guide to Design: Performance here:

                           

                             https://fmdev.filemaker.com/docs/DOC-4168

                           

                          and the Performance Tuning sub-forum has some useful new recent articles on it here:

                           

                             https://fmdev.filemaker.com/community/discuss/performance

                           

                          Cheers, Nick