I started developing FileMaker™ solutions back in 1987 when the program was in its infancy and the design/development tools were crude but I immediately saw its potential and fell in love with it.
Since those early beginnings, I’ve built FileMaker solutions for a vast range of businesses but my focus has always been on improving the user experience, best represented by the interface which is what the user sees and what they interact with. Think of the interface as the tip of an iceberg; it’s what you see but 70% of the iceberg is under the water level. You know it’s there and that it has a purpose but you don’t see it.
Several years ago, I had an idea for a solution that would run entirely on a single screen where you could get to anything from anywhere and see everything from everywhere. I spent a lot of time thinking about it and experimenting but there was something missing and so I put it on the back burner and, more or less, forgot about it.
Then FileMaker introduced card windows, an incredible concept where you could have a window open up that had no context/relationship to where you were working at the time. I realized that it was the missing piece, went back to the drawing board and NautilusFM was born.
Why call it NautilusFM?
The Nautilus shell is, in my opinion, the most perfect example of design in nature and I believe that the solution I’ve spent over a year developing is the best example of what can be done with design in FileMaker but, like the iceberg; there is a mass of things going on underneath.
Is NautilusFM easy to adapt/customize?
The answer is a resounding Yes. Because of the way it is designed, any developer will, very quickly, be able to look at the relationship graph, see what is going on and where to go to add new features or change existing ones.
It doesn’t use web viewers or JSON or API calls (although these can be added if you want to and are comfortable doing so. Plugins can also be added where needed.
Native FileMaker functionality
I’m a big proponent of using native FileMaker functionality wherever possible. I define native FileMaker as not needing to learn another language to use it.
FileMaker is incredibly deep and powerful but so many people just use technologies they know, instead of really studying FileMaker and finding out what it can do natively.
What type of projects is it suitable for?
All of them. Now that might sound impossible since the one-size-fits-all theory has been debunked but I’ve already developed multiple solutions using it for very different industries.
Post Production Media Company
Comic Book Store (front end to MobyPOS)
Fuel Depot Management
Call Center Management
Real Estate Appraisals
Custom Mens Clothing Company
Conveyor Manufacturing Company
Race Team Management
Concierge Medical Practice
It works across the board effortlessly and intuitively and, most importantly, users love it.
To understand why NautilusFM is suitable for all types of business, you must first understand a fundamental law of business, which is:
All business are fundamentally the same!
But how can that be possible? The answer is that every business has a product or service that they market or sell. They have customers; they have a list of their products/services and they create invoices with invoice items (their products/services); they track payments to those invoices and they keep track, generally, of inventory so they know what they have to sell and when they need to re-order items or make more. Sometimes there is an interim step of preparing quotes before an order can be realized.
Now, while all businesses are fundamentally the same, they are all different in the minutia of how they operate and, to develop a solution, requires learning how that business operates. That learning process can be short or it can be steep but FileMaker is so flexible and powerful that it can handle almost every situation thrown at it.
In my experience, 97% of the projects that I’m asked to develop can (and should) be done with FileMaker. The other 3% require something more powerful but those are rare indeed. Unfortunately, for them that is, many businesses end up using the wrong tool which can be a very costly and big mistake that some never recover from. Why businesses do that is a complex question that is outside of the scope of this White Paper
What every business needs is a database.
Every business needs a database system to keep track of all the things that are going on. Many businesses use spreadsheets thinking that it is the best solution but it is not and never will be, no matter who tries to convince you otherwise. Business schools that teach, and recommend, using spreadsheets are wrong and they should be ashamed of themselves because they are doing the business world a massive disservice.
Spreadsheets are not a database although they do have some database functionality but they also require a lot of repetitive typing, with every spreadsheet a separate document that has to be filed and then retrieved, and extracting information from many, many spreadsheets is a time consuming, frustrating operation.
In a database, there is, generally, one file that everything goes into and where everything is connected to everything else, reporting is simple (and instant) and everybody is always on the same page because multiple people are working on that database simultaneously with information being available to everybody, the moment that it is committed (finalized).
Many businesses run their business using an accounting solution but accounting solutions are not designed to handle the day-to-day details of running a business. They are great for the big picture items, such as Profit and Loss Statements, managing the general ledger, payroll and writing checks but keeping track of all the other stuff is outside of what they were designed to do.
And now we’re back to FileMaker
FileMaker has been around since the mid 1980’s. It is a subsidiary of Apple and is currently on Version 18 with a new version being released every year. It is, by far, the fastest RADE (Rapid Application Development Environment) which means that solutions can be developed in a fraction of the time. For the companies that use FileMaker; their solutions are developed faster and for much less money but, and perhaps most importantly; they can be deployed quicker.
Many Fortune 500 companies run their businesses on Oracle (or something similar) but many of those same businesses use FileMaker to solve situational problems where a solution is needed quickly for a specific department or operation. Often those solutions can be built in a few hours or days whereas trying to do that with a tool like Oracle would take months.
In the category of Workplace Innovation Platform, FileMaker is #1 and for good reason.