The First Step to Great Solutions

How do you begin designing a new database or application? If you start with an Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD), you’re doing it wrong.

It’s natural for a technical person to begin categorizing things into entities – a company has contacts, which have addresses, etc. But this process immediately narrows your perspective to a small subset of the issues at hand, blinding you to many more important challenges and opportunities.

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Sending HTML Email from FileMaker

It comes up time and again: “How can I send a formatted email from FileMaker?” You see, FileMaker natively supports only plain text emails; you’re on your own if you want rich text or HTML. But it is possible! Here’s a list of options for (nearly) painlessly sending HTML emails from FileMaker.

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Freebie: Grab CSS From FileMaker 12 Layout Objects

There’s been plenty of discussion on FileMaker’s developer forums about the implications of using CSS to style layouts in FileMaker 12. In case you weren’t aware, FileMaker 12 introduced a new layout design surface whose styling is based on CSS. It’s a powerful new feature that hints at an exciting roadmap for the FileMaker product line. I’m not going to indulge in any details on this topic, however, because FileMaker has yet to officially expose the CSS styling to developers.

But say you were curious, for educational purposes, about what that styling looks like…

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FileMaker 12: Exciting New Possibilities

FileMaker, Inc. introduced the next generation of their database platform today with the release of FileMaker 12. This is a major upgrade to every part of the FileMaker product line. There are new versions of FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Pro Advanced, FileMaker Server, FileMaker Server Advanced, and FileMaker Go – which is now free for iPhone and iPad.

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99 bottles of beer

Here’s a fun little challenge for your Friday afternoon. You can do it at home, in a bar, or hopefully even at work. Best of all, it’s technical and creative. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to produce the lyrics to 99 Bottles of Beer in your favorite programming language. I chose to do the solution below in FileMaker. See 99-bottles-of-beer.net for the official challenge details. Continue reading “99 bottles of beer”

The FileMaker Ninja’s Toolbelt: TextMate Bundle

Welcome to the first installment of The FileMaker Ninja’s Toolbelt, an occasional series on various tools and techniques for taking your development in FileMaker to the next level.

Beyond the Calculation Dialog

The calculation dialog in FileMaker Pro is great for many things. It provides easy access to all of your fields, operators and functions. The Data Viewer in FileMaker Pro Advanced even shows you the calculation results.

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11 Tips for #FileMakerDevCon ’11

As you may know FileMaker DevCon 2011 is just around the corner. In honor of 2011…and FileMaker Pro 11, here’s our list of Top 11 Tips for DevCon ’11:

1. Bring a sweater

Those hotels are known for cranking up the A/C. Take a comfortable layer that you can slip on and off easily to ward off the shivers as you’re sitting all morning.

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Managing Files with AppleScript

If you’re like most power FileMaker users, you’ve discovered that it’s a great tool for managing collections of things or for gathering disparate data sources for reporting. So you’ve probably wanted at some point to do one or more of these actions:

  • Get a list of files on your computer
  • Import a batch of files
  • Move files on your computer
  • Read the text of a file that doesn’t import correctly (e.g., HTML)

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Does your FileMaker Go offline? (Previewing the new GoZync framework)

Some of us on the Beezwax team had the pleasure of watching John Sindelar and Todd Geist present their new GoZync framework at June’s DIGFM developer meetup. If you know anything about either of these fellows, you know that they are both very sharp and visionary developers. Now they’ve thrown their collective brain power at the problem of “How do mobile users work with their databases offline?”

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