What is NautilusFM?

Great question and the answer is, it is several things all at the same time.

But before we get into it in detail, let’s agree on one thing and that is that virtually every solution by every developer looks and works differently. Now while this is unimportant in small businesses, it is, in my opinion, a monumental stumbling block in big organizations where everybody is always on a different page and it’s very difficult to go from one solution to another and know what you are doing.

Every solution developed with the NautilusFM framework will look and work identically. Sure, there’ll be minor differences and variations but, fundamentally, they will all be the same and that consistency should be a huge benefit to larger organizations.

It will be easy to use the framework for all new solutions and not difficult to implement it on older, existing solutions.

And now we are back to answering the original question ‘What is NautilusFM?’

Firstly it’s a development framework that can be used by any developer for any project. To get the FREE example file, all you have to do is fill in a very simple form and I’ll send you a complete and unlocked copy that is being released under an Open Source license called BSD. By the way, NautilusFM is not the starter solution but the methodology/framework; the Starter solution is a fairly simple but universal example of the methodology that demonstrates and incorporates all of its features, and which can be extended into a far more complex solution without having to create the framework from scratch – in other words, it will let you hit the ground running.

NautilusFM includes a relationship graph structure, tables, fields, layouts, scripts and custom functions. There’s nothing in it that won’t be somewhat familiar to people who know FileMaker; in other words it’s not revolutionary but rather evolutionary.

Downloading the free ebook will give you a step-by-step guide to all things NautilusFM so that you understand what it is doing and why it works the way it works. Everything described in the ebook has been implemented in the starter solution so you can learn both by reading the book and by looking at the solution itself.

Secondly, and this is a little harder to grasp, the NautilusFM relationship graph not only determines how data flows and moves but it also determines the user experience because the two are intertwined and one affects the other.

The graph itself is an evolution of anchor-buoy that is very easy to follow and make changes to.

Once you understand the principles, you will be able to use and take advantage of them. It will require a paradigm shift in your thinking and some of the ‘rules’ that you currently follow will be, forever, broken.

For example, most FileMaker developers are used to working in List or Form view and using Find to isolate a record or records, at which point they view those records, generally in a Form view. In NautilusFM, we have all but eliminated finds by using a relationship to display all of the records (from the module) in a portal and allows you to quickly find the record you want by simply typing a letter or two of what you are looking for. There’s no need to go into Find mode, type the criteria, hit Enter and then determine how you want to view the data.

When you see the record you want, simply click on it and all relevant information is displayed immediately. As an example, click on a Company and instantly see the Company Details, the people who work at that Company, Invoices (with the option to select a specific year and have the list filtered down to just the invoices for that year). Clicking on an invoice displays all of the items on that invoice. Clicking on a button loads a report showing all of that Company’s purchases and clicking on another button displays the invoice itself; with both of those reports being opened as card windows on either the left or the right side of the screen. When you are finished with a report you press the Close button and it disappears. All of which has happened on a single screen in a solution which does not use the Data Separation model.

NautilusFM uses as much native FileMaker as it is possible which means you won’t find any APIs or JSON or the like but you can easily add that in if you want to. It also takes advantage of best practices throughout, so is as lean and efficient as it can be. It’s 100% built out of existing features in FileMaker 18.

Why just one screen?

If you never leave home, you can’t ever get lost! It also means that users never lose context. 

The NautilusFM Example File

The example file, that is completely open and unlocked, is not NautilusFM but simply illustrates the methodology of the NautilusFM framework so that anybody can quickly and easily see how it all works without having to struggle building something from scratch.

To best illustrate the framework and its methodology, I chose to build a universally used solution, and what is more universal than the fundamentals of all businesses, i.e., Companies, People (those who work for those Companies), Products (those items that are marketed or sold), Invoices & Invoice Items.  As part of that functionality, managing inventory is also a frequent requirement. All of these elements have been defined and refined, not to any great degree, but enough that any interested parties can delve into the Example file and see what is happening behind the scenes and under the hood.

In truth, anybody can take the example file, rename the tables, change the fields within those tables and change the example file into anything that it needs to be; the use is not what is relevant; that would be the methodology.

To repeat, NautilusFM is the methodology or the framework and the example file is there to show you how to put it all together.

Developing with NautilusFM

In the free ebook, I’m revealing all of the design principles and philosophies of NautilusFM, so that developers and users alike understand why and how it works. Along with this document, I’m also releasing a free example built with it that anybody can adapt and use for their solutions.

NautilusFM is not a gimmick nor is it a fully developed solution (often referred to as a template). What it is, is a very well thought-out framework for FileMaker development that has taken over a year to refine and develop. I believe you will fall in love with it and that you will, eventually (perhaps sooner rather than later) use for all of your solutions. Yes, you will customize it, add new things to it and all of that to put your particular spin on it but you are absolutely welcome, and encouraged, to do that.

All I ask is that when you come up with a new twist, you share it with me so that it can be adopted within our own, free solution, as per the requirements of the Open Source License that it is being released under. The FileMaker community has always been unique in the willingness of its members to help others by sharing their time and expertise and we hope that, by releasing NautilusFM, this will continue.

How does Michael Rocharde make money from this?

Simply put, I don’t. Neither was it the objective which was to share NautilusFM, get it out to the community and have other developers start using it.

Now, if you find the book, and the example file, of great value to you and want to contribute, you can make a donation via PayPal, but there’s no requirement to do so, as well as no expectations that anybody will. Donations will, however, be very gratefully accepted and will offset the, not inconsiderable, cost of putting this together.

If you’re looking for a solution for your business and like what you see, you can hire me to develop a NautilusFM solution for you, either using the example file or a considerably more powerful fully developed solution. I won’t know which until we talk, but in either case, you only pay me for the time that it takes to customize it for your needs, and not for the dozens or even hundreds of hours already spent developing. In short, the development costs will be lower than building something from scratch and you’ll be using it sooner.

If you already have a solution developed and would like to add a NautilusFM front end to it, then I can do that for you also or consult with you as you do it.

Michael Rocharde
(303) 856-5778 (PST)

P.S. If you use NautilusFM for any of your solutions, I’d love to hear about it and would greatly appreciate seeing some screen shots. I’d also love to hear any thoughts and comments you might have and, if you’d like to chat about it or any other aspect of FileMaker development, please don’t hesitate to call or email.