Blog Articles

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.


This is a cautionary tale about my very first professional FileMaker contract back in 1987; it was almost my last! Confidence is necessary to succeed in almost every field but over-confidence is incredibly dangerous as I found out by accepting a job with a 3 week...

What I do

I am frequently asked, as I'm sure most people are, what I do for a living. Although I am, and have been for 33 years, a FileMaker developer, I don't answer that way as, too often, the discussion moves straight into 'What's FileMaker?' and that is a conversation I...

Portal Row Calculator

Portal Row Calculator

When I'm creating a portal with more rows than I can display on the screen without scrolling, I break the portal down into separate ones, starting each new portal with the next row #.  Even after all these years, I still find myself struggling with which record # each...

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.