Have you ever been deep into a complex FileMaker script and realized you need to know something about the structure of the app? Maybe you need to know where a custom function is used, or what scripts call the script you are working on. What do you do? You can’t stop to go poking around or running some kind of analysis. That will crush your productivity. You need to keep going, but you just need to know where that darn global variable is declared. What … do … you … do? If this has ever happened to you, you need a tool that provides Realtime Developer Intelligence (RDI).
Do you have the information you need to confidently move through your FileMaker Development tasks? If not, you need a Realtime Developer Intelligence Tool
RDI is Not an Analysis
First off, Realtime Developer Intelligence tools are different from analysis tools. Analysis tools can be very useful. They can provide very detailed, maybe even customized views of your system, but they take a long time to run. To put it another way, an analysis is not something you do while you are developing. It is something you do before or after you are developing. Another problem with analysis tools is that they can get stale. They are only good if they have been run relatively recently. If they are too old, or if the system has been radically altered since the last run, then they aren’t accurate any more.
Tools that provide RDI have to give you accurate information about the current state of your system. Not the state that it was last week, but right now. We think they need to have four important characteristics. We like to say they need to be “A2C2”. RDI tools should be:
Let’s look at each of these in detail.
This is sort of obvious, but worth pointing out. Any intelligence tool that doesn’t give you accurate intelligence isn’t very useful. You need good data to make good decisions. If the intel you are getting is just wrong it could land you in some serious trouble. If your data says a custom function isn’t used anywhere when it is actually used by dozens of scripts, that is a problem.
An intelligence tool should aspire to give you information you can use to make decisions and take action. If the information it provides leaves you without any idea what to do, why bother with it all? If it doesn’t help, it’s just noise. If you just want to know where a global variable is declared, you don’t want or need to wade through lots of irrelevant information to get it.
If you are only getting part of the story, you are sort of stuck. While it is often true that some information is better than no information, it isn’t always. Having a gap in your intel could cause quite a problem. It is best if you get information that covers the entire field of play. If we are speaking of FileMaker, and we are, then you want intel that covers more than just scripts, or tables, or just one file. You need intel that covers all the details in all the files in your entire custom application.
Many FileMaker projects move very quickly. Changes are happening all the time. If the data you are using is a week, or a day, or even an hour old, it could be misleading. Maybe it was fresh once, but now it’s stale… You require information that is current, up-to-date, or as we sometimes say, “realtime”.
Realtime Developer Intelligence
If you have a tool that gives you Realtime Developer Intelligence, then you know you have A2C2. You know you have data that is accurate, actionable, comprehensive and current. You have the confidence to move rapidly through your development tasks. You know what you need to know, when you need to know it. No more guessing. Just knowing.
While there are many analysis tools on the market for FileMaker, there is only one RDI tool, and that is FMPerception. Nothing else has A2C2 covered as well as FMPerception. It will get you the intel you need, when you need it. It will not take you out of your flow. You’ll just keep going, confident that you have the right information to make decisions. It is a huge productivity boost.
Please give it a try if you haven’t already. There is a free, fully functional 14-day trial available for download at FMPerception.com
Also published on Medium.