4 Replies Latest reply on Mar 26, 2009 9:25 AM by comment_1

    Evaluating File Maker

    LaughingSam

      Title

      Evaluating File Maker

      Post

      Hi,

       

      Thinking of migrating to File Maker and playing with the evaluation version(on Win platform at the office; 50-60 potential  users, Apple Mac - not yet fired up - at home) so have 22 days left to decide

       

      Hope you can help with some initial questions...

       

      Windows...

      1. I've played about with designing a portal with alternating rows but these change to battleship grey when editing. Is there a workaround, as visually this is a bit offputting?
      2. Radio buttons and check boxes are also a bit old school (lacking in 3d and I like a tick rather than a cross - just like the one you see below this edit box saying "E-mail me when someone replies"). Is there a fix or a workaround? (i've seen tick boxes on some of the demos). Ideally I would like up to a 3- state check box with a tick for yes, an x for no and blank for indeterminate. If not available can I design and implement these myself without too much pain?
      3. I used Access many moons ago, but gave up on it as on anything over 5-10 users got very slow. Will FileMaker (using the server version) and with 50-60 users suffer from the same limitations - or will it be blindingly fast! Our current system has 300 tables some of which already have 200,000 to 300,000 records. I've read about a 40-50 open file limitation in Windows (120 on Macs) is this a real world limitation?
      4. Can File Maker create temporary tables in memory if speed is an issue? Example:- in our current database (freight Company) we might get a request for a quote and have 200 - 300,000 locations around the world. In practice we find that once we ask the Client what country he is shipping to/from then we create a temporary file to populate a list box showing the user only a subset of destinations in that country
      5. Can we implement drag and drop. i.e. a picture/icon of a truck and a corresponding box representing our warehouse witth the contents shown for the area the tuck is heading for and move individual loads using 'drag and drop' paradigm between the warehouse and the lorry to achieve the best mix of packages/weights/volume/revenue?

      Mac...

      1. If I develop on the Mac at home is this work 100% compatible when I bring it in to the Office (win) system (and vice versa)

      Sorry for the long list, would dearly love to hear the feedback on some of these

       

      Thanks

        • 1. Re: Evaluating File Maker
          TSGal

          Laughing Sam:

           

          Thank you for your post.

           

          1. Pull down the View menu and select "Layout Mode".  Double-click on the portal and a "Portal Setup" dialog box appears.  At the bottom, select the option "Alternate background fill", and the first icon is the color for the alternating rows.  You can select the lighter gray, or click on "Other Color..." at the bottom to have a color wheel appear where you can select a specific color.

           

          2. The radio buttons and check boxes cannot be changed.  However, this can be programmed so that when a graphic of a checkbox is clicked, a graphic of a check mark can appear.  In this case, you would have to create these images (or copy them from somewhere).

           

          3. Depending on what actions you take on the database, the system can be very fast or very slow.  If you are entering or editing records, this will be quick.  If several people are running reports across the entire database that updates and replaces information, the system will slow down.

           

          3b. Yes, the 40-80 "FILES" open on Windows is an operating system limitation.  However, each database file contains unlimited amount of tables.  Therefore, if your current system has 300 tables, this can all be in one database file.

           

          4. FileMaker can create temporary files.  However, if you perform a Find, it searches the index and displays the information quickly.  If someone asks for a Country for shipping, if the database is set up correctly, there is no need to have a temporary file.  The information will be available immediately.

           

          5. Drag and drop is not available at this time.  One of the field types is a Container field, which holds graphic images, sounds, movies, etc.  With your cursor in the field, you would select "Insert -> Picture" or Quicktime, Sound or File.  Also, you can copy and paste a graphic onto a Layout so that it is available for every record.

           

          FileMaker Pro does run on both platforms, and you can share files across the network with a mix of Macs and Windows machines.  If you develop on a Mac, the information will look similar (if not exactly the same) on Windows.  A lot depends on fonts used.  Try to use true type fonts.  Sometimes, the fonts are fine, but the font sizes can appear different on Mac than it does on Windows.  You would have to experiment and see which works well for you.  It is not a black-white issue.

           

          If you have additional questions, or need clarification for any of the above answers, please let me know.

           

          TSGal

          FileMaker, Inc. 

          • 2. Re: Evaluating File Maker
            philmodjunk
              

            Sam,

             

            I'm a long time developer of database solutions in both Access and FMP. I also routinely develop FMP Mac solutions and then transport them to Windows machines. I'll take your questions on one at a time...

             

            I've played about with designing a portal with alternating rows but these change to battleship grey when editing. Is there a workaround, as visually this is a bit offputting?

             

            I opened one of my test files and played around with a portal. I set the alternate row color to a pastel pink, returned to browse mode, tried some edits. I don't see any "battleship grey". Check your fill color settings for your fields, the portal and your layout background. All of these settings will affect the appearance of your portal.

             

            Radio buttons and check boxes are also a bit old school (lacking in 3d and I like a tick rather than a cross - just like the one you see below this edit box saying "E-mail me when someone replies" ). Is there a fix or a workaround? (I've seen tick boxes on some of the demos). Ideally I would like up to a 3- state check box with a tick for yes, an x for no and blank for indeterminate. If not available can I design and implement these myself without too much pain?

             

            You won't find this as a built in feature, but there are ways to do what you want that are fairly painless.

             

            I used Access many moons ago, but gave up on it as on anything over 5-10 users got very slow. Will FileMaker (using the server version) and with 50-60 users suffer from the same limitations - or will it be blindingly fast! Our current system has 300 tables some of which already have 200,000 to 300,000 records. 

             

            Blinding fast? No Much better than Access? Generally yes. The real beauty of Filemaker's network sharing capabilities is in how smoothly you can "scale up" from just a few users to hundreds without having to redesign or convert your files. With FilemakerPro you can host a small number of users just by launching the file on a workstation and turning on sharing. Then, when you need to handle more users, you install Filemaker Server on a server machine and simply upload the files you already have to the server and open them. By comparison, in Access the same scale up requires switching to an entirely different database system such as SQL Server.

             

            I've read about a 40-50 open file limitation in Windows (120 on Macs) is this a real world limitation?

             

            This limitation exists, but with current versions of filemaker it should not be a major concern for new solutions. Here's why:  If you go back a few versions, you had to create a separate file for every table. Thus moderately complex database solutions often required 10-20 files to implement relationships between 10-20 tables. If you opened several of these systems at once, you hit the file limit wall and had to close some files. With the latest releases of FMP, you would put all these tables into a single file (Just like you would in MS Access) so having more than 10 files open at the same time is unlikely. (This number of files applies to the count of files you have open by a single client machine not the total of all computers across the network.)

             

            Can File Maker create temporary tables in memory if speed is an issue? Example:- in our current database (freight Company) we might get a request for a quote and have 200 - 300,000 locations around the world. In practice we find that once we ask the Client what country he is shipping to/from then we create a temporary file to populate a list box showing the user only a subset of destinations in that country

             

            In Access, you can use SQL to make and destroy tables. There's no such capability in Filemaker. However, I doubt that you would need to do that just to populate a list box. I could implement that by loading a global field with data pulled from a foundset of your 300,000+ records without too much trouble or delay. That's purely a guess on my part. There's way to many variables in the above situation to know without more information.

             

            Can we implement drag and drop. I.e.. a picture/icon of a truck and a corresponding box representing our warehouse with the contents shown for the area the tuck is heading for and move individual loads using 'drag and drop' paradigm between the warehouse and the lorry to achieve the best mix of packages/weights/volume/revenue?

             

            Drag and drop is a standard feature of Fmp. You can drag and drop graphics from container field to container field. You can also drag and drop other types of data. However, creating a solution that identifies what graphic object just got dropped into a container field--I don't think you could do that.

             

            If I develop on the Mac at home is this work 100% compatible when I bring it in to the Office (win) system (and vice versa)

             

            I've done that for years. There are generally very few issues to deal with here. The most obvious is that windows machines require a little more space to display text than mac machines. Thus, creating a very "tight" layout on a mac may require some minor adjustments after first opening the file on a Windows machine.

             

            That should do it.

             

             
            • 3. Re: Evaluating File Maker
              philmodjunk
                

              TSGal said

               

              "Drag and drop is not available at this time."

               

              Prior to posting my response (we must have been racing each other :smileywink: ), I performed the following simple test:

               

              1. I defined two container fields.
              2. I created a colored square in layout mode and copied it to the clip board
              3. I pasted the image into a container field.
              4. I then used my mouse to drag the image from the first container field to the second.
              5. It worked.

               

              We must be discussing two different forms of "drag and drop".

              • 4. Re: Evaluating File Maker
                comment_1
                  

                IIUC, the question is about drag/dropping symbolic representations of data - which would then cause real data to be actually moved/copied. This is "sort of" possible (with a lot of work) - see these two demos:

                 

                Excelysis Drag&Drop (for version 10)

                Rivet