What Can WordPress Teach FileMaker?

WordPress is the dominant web platform on the planet.  It’s ecosystem is orders of magnitude larger than FileMaker’s. Clearly they are doing something right.  Is there anything that FileMaker and FileMaker Developers can learn from WordPress’s success? Read more

Modular FileMaker Application Development

ModularFileMaker.org has done really well in 2013.  There are lots of modules available now, and the list keeps growing. One question that we are trying to answer is how do we organize our “Modules” into an “Application?  This is a topic that will likely remain beyond the scope of the Modular FileMaker spec, as it is almost antithetical to the whole approach.  Modular FileMaker specifically stays out of the Application Framework conversation. But in my own projects an organizational pattern is starting to emerge. I thought I would share it. Read more

MasterDetail and Record ID

Daniel Wood suggested a rather interesting idea on how to make HyperList and MasterDetail even faster.  In short he suggested using FileMaker’s built in record ID instead of the primary key.  Its really rather brilliant and turns out to work quite well.  You can read his full explanation over at Modular FileMaker. Its in the comments for HyperList.

I thought I would give the idea a try with a very large record set to see if it speed things up.  Well it did.  Here is the video to prove it. Enjoy

Master Detail mFM Module

Master Detail is mFM module that provides a master detail view for any table in your solution.  It uses the virtual list technique to reproduce the found set in a portal.  This lets you create any kind of layout that combines a list and the detail together on the same page.  Its very flexible and very powerful.

  • Works on any found set
  • Uses normal FileMaker sorting order.
  • Handle 10s of thousands of records.
  • It works on FileMaker Go and FileMaker Pro

You can read more about it and download the module at ModularFileMaker.org. Here is a video that goes through some of the features.

 

Introducing modularfilemaker.org

It has long been difficult to share code in the FileMaker world.  Traditional FileMaker coding styles made it difficult, and I think many of us old school FileMaker Devs still have pieces of “6 think” burned into our brains.  As a result we never really developed the techniques or the culture that encouraged the sharing of code.  However, recent versions of FileMaker have given us some new tools which can help us write code that is easier to share. Now we need to build on these new tools to further refine and develop the techniques, and built a culture and community centered on the sharing of FileMaker code.  A new project and website, ModularFileMaker.org, is dedicated to that purpose.

Code re-use is not a new problem. But attempts to solve it in the past have often lead to large monolithic frameworks.  These one size fits all, everything in there including the kitchen sink frameworks, have not been widely adopted outside of development shops that created them.  I think the reason is simple.  In order to use any of these frameworks, a developer has to adopt the entire FileMaker mindset of the developer who created the framework.  Thats a lot to ask.

ModularFileMaker.org avoids the “too big to adopt” problem by being very small, and very focused.  It provides a documented guideline for building and sharing small re-usable chunks of FileMaker code.  It focuses on solving only the problems that inhibit sharing. Everything else is left to the developer.  It has no solution wide naming conventions, graph organizational models, file architectures, or any other opinions on issues that don’t impact sharing.

We call these chunks of code, “modules”  or “mFM Modules” ( ModularFileMaker Modules ).  mFM Modules provide features like Navigation Bars, Transaction Frameworks, search utilities , SQL helpers, etc.  These are all below the level of application or solution.  Essentially any re-usable feature can become a mFM Module if it is organized according to the guidelines.

The website is now live. There are already several freely available modules just waiting for you use and improve. Hopefully, if the community gets inspired, someday maybe there will be hundreds of modules to choose from.  Check it out!