How do developers do what we do? We all have the same objectives; we ensure data integrity, script complicated workflows. All of this work goes into making our clients lives easier, but what about us? (And I’m not talking about various plugin producers who add substantial options and control (thanks guys!) or FileMaker whose last release offered even more from an already fantastic platform). I’m talking about simpler things—quality of life things. Things that assist your process, but don’t prop it up—a complement rather than a dependency.
Let’s explore the ways our tools assist us in our development.
Application analysis tool
The first tool that sticks out to me created a definitive before-and-after moment once I used it for the first time: FMPerception.
Information that was once only found through rigorous scouring of an app’s backend is now readily available after you provide FMPerception with an XML formatted DDR. It’s so stark and contrast that I can only liken it to before and after the spread of the internet. This tool has saved tremendous amounts of work for our DataWorks team, and I hope you try it too.
Companion software tool
Have you ever had to redefine a relationship and then go and meticulously change over each reference (fields, hide calcs, portal TOs…) on a layout to another TO? Or duplicate a layout but simply change the TO? These tasks are tedious, but they need to be done. What else can you do? ClipManager5 is what. This tool copies FileMaker objects as their XML representations which allows you to modify the text directly, then copy back to your clipboard as the modified version to be pasted into FileMaker.
In the scenario above, I’d search for “OldTable::” and replace each instance with “NewTable::”. Seeing 50-100 layout objects change TOs then be pasted back into FileMaker makes you feel like you’re getting away with something.
Something that really makes for a smooth workflow is adding voice commands to support the frictionless utilization of your tools. This deserves an article of its own, but essentially what you’d use is the Script Editor, not FileMaker’s script workspace (this is installed on macOS already to create an AppleScript which you can export as a “.app” file). If you name it something like “For Business,” you can say to Siri, “Open For Business,” and you can launch every app you use to work, open FileMaker apps, and much, much more.
And this is without mentioning FileMaker apps made by and for the community. If you’re looking to refine your own workflow we can help with that!