Blog Articles

Naming New Windows

As developers, we often need to have multiple windows open at the same time but FileMaker simply creates the new window and adds a number to it so you have to remember which is which. This very simple technique allows you to name each new window so you can go the...

Normalizing Your Data

People who are new to the database world and/or those who come from platforms, i.e., spreadsheets, that don't support normalized data, often get themselves confused as to what normalization is and why it is needed. In this short video we answer those questions and...

If we only knew …

No matter how much we know or how expert we are, there are always things that we don't know or have forgotten which might be useful to remember.

Formatting Percentage Fields

Many users don't know that percentages should be entered as a decimal, i.e., for 10%, you would enter .1; for 15%, you enter .15. Instead they enter it as a whole number which then has to be formatted to display the % correctly. This incredibly simple tip will prevent...

If or Case

Both If and Case are calculation functions that have been around for a long time but what is the difference between them and why has IF fallen into disuse.

Displaying All related records

When you want to display all records from a table in a portal, there are two ways to create the relationship; one of them is absolutely the wrong way to do it, The right way is to use a cartesian join and the wrong way, because it's considerably slower, is to use a...

Go to Related Record

Go to related record or GTRR as it is more commonly known is a function that all FileMaker developers use all of the time because it is incredibly fast and efficient but what is FileMaker doing behind the scenes?

Eliminating Flashing Windows

Windows flash (which is really annoying) happens when you are running a script that is constantly opening and closing windows but this simple trick will show you how to eliminate them. All you have to do is open the new window off-screen leaving nothing to flash

Trapping for Related Records

If you're going to a set of related records in order to perform an action on those records, i.e., delete, them, you MUST first trap to see if there are actually related records to go to. If you don't do this, the action that you were going to take will be performed on...

Positively Negative

One of the most used and useful calculations I know is to multiple any number (positive or negative) by -1 (minus 1) which turns a negative into a positive and vice versa.

Tips & Tricks

In the eBook, there is a chapter featuring some advanced tips and tricks (techniques) that are used in NautilusFM. Perhaps advanced is not the correct description as some of them are fairly simple but they’ve taken years and years of working with FileMaker to discover and now any developer, even rank beginners, can take advantage of them without having to go through the long learning curve.

Every technique started with somebody trying to solve a problem and when they did, as is the way of the FileMaker community, they wanted to, and did, share it with everybody they knew and many they didn’t. Some of those people further developed those techniques into something more powerful or more flexible or just adapted it for a different problem and thus the cycle goes on.

All good developers are problem solvers; in fact, it’s an essential skill, but it’s more than that. What it is is an inability to give up; to keep working on a problem until it is solved. Thinking outside the box is also part of that skill and the more outside the box you can think, the better. Another term for thinking outside the box is one that seems to have fallen out of use and that is lateral thinking.

Imagine you are organizing a singles tennis knockout tournament with 500 players. When a player loses a match, he is knocked out until only one person remains. How many matches have to be played for the winner to be declared?

Normal logic would go something like this.

In round 1, there are 250 matches. In round 2, there are 125 matches making a total of 375 matches. In round 3, there are 62 matches but there’s one extra player so he gets a bye which means a total of 63. Add that 63 to 375 and you get 438 and so on.

The lateral thinker says there are 500 players and 1 winner so there are 499 matches.

Where this makes a difference is in the time it took to arrive at the right answer and this is important because time is the most valuable commodity any of us have; the better you use that time, the more you can achieve.

Ultimately though, it’s not about the time it took; it’s about solving the problem which is, for me, the best reward.

Enjoy.