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Attention FileMaker friends and DevCon attendees: MightyData will host a contest at this year’s conference called FileMaker Feud.

Two teams, each consisting of one FileMaker coach from MightyData and four DevCon attendees, will test their FileMaker knowledge at 2 p.m., August 3. The team that picks the most popular answer to questions on common FileMaker topics including layouts, calculations, and scripts will earn the title of FileMaker Feud Champion as well as have the opportunity to win cool prizes, such as coaching from MightyData, an iPad 2, an iPod touch, and iTunes gift cards.

This is the chance to have some fun with the MightyData team. To register, visit the MightyData site and fill out the audition form.

Since The Feud is all about surveying the audience, MightyData also needs your help in coming up with the most popular answers to 25 FileMaker development questions. Simply visit http://www.mightydata.com/fmfeud/survey.php , fill out the form, and answer the questions. Once completed, you’ll be entered to win a free admission to MightySummit, a three-day full filemaker immersion experience in Las Vegas taking place March 21-23, 2012. Follow MightyData on Twitter (@MightyData) for future announcements.

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One of the core productivity aspects of FileMaker Pro is custom functions.

This post is for:

  • FileMaker: Absolute beginners.
  • Covering: Downloading, installing & using custom functions
  • Resources: Brian Dunning, FM Custom Functions
  • FM Version: FM Pro Advanced

We’ve talked about certain aspects of FileMaker development previously, using one of two approaches:

  1. Things to do from day one
  2. Things to explore and do later

Custom functions are a day one thing. But, sensibly you should just try to use them in their simplest form from day one, for creating shorthand calculations (as in the above screencast), and similar, this way you will become accustomed to the method of how they work before trying to write your first “Large Hadron Collider” function :)

Custom functions can be as simple or complex as you like, they make you significantly more productive and organised. In this article we’ll be looking at how to acquire a custom function (via free downloads) and how to install and begin using it.
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When you first start out with FileMaker Pro you will normally hard code everything into your navigation.
This is quite normal, not least because it is natural and easy to do. But, there are several techniques that you can use for navigation.

Some are semi-dynamic, by which I mean they can be context relative, if that sounds a bit technical don’t worry, I’ll go into that a little more in a while.

This is a two part series in which we will look at the navigation technique itself to start with, then in the second part we will look at techniques for making the process more intuitive for users.
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Documentation As A Basic User Need

FileMaker documentation for dummies

Apply the Tesco rule; Every little helps!

In the last twelve months one of the improvement points I decided to make in my own development was the documentation aspect. I’m not talking about user manuals or instruction books, I’m talking about documentation at the point of use.

In fields, scripts, custom functions, comment boxes, commenting within fields – essentially just about anywhere that a client would look when they are either dabbling (read: creating future work) or when a client is extending their solution themselves. What! let clients mess about with the solution – I hear some of you say… :)

Sometimes a client expressly asks us to develop a solution, or extend their current solution on this premise, that they will do some of the work themselves. I think it’s important to be able to know exactly what elements are for, or what they do – and even more so with critical functionality. It’s also a good thing for me as the developer, because often when you haven’t touched a solution for a few months – you sometimes forget what some of the stuff you wrote yourself does.

Documentation As A Developer Tool

Another aspect of documentation is when I pick up an existing file from a client, and I need to dissect it to find out what’s doing what and where, so leaving a documentation trail always helps there too. Things like commenting in field by using comment blocks or a double forward slash (//write a comment..). Using the comment field associated with a field in the database management window, and just about everywhere else. I’ve often had good feedback about this particular aspect, and even more so recently since I upped the ante with my point of use documentation.
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We’re in busy period at Datasplash and therefore I thought it would be both courteous and good for communication if I posted a brief outline of what is in the blog pipeline and some general news about the site.

Extending Our Service Line-up – Web Services (WordPress)

Datasplash will soon be extending our line-up of services to include web development, specifically using WordPress and predominantly using the Thesis Theme, although we are happy to work with any premium theme our clients would like. We use the Thesis Theme on this website, we love its flexibility and extendibility, pretty much the same reasons that we love FileMaker Pro.
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Here is a selection of tutorials from Datasplash and also a good selection of articles from the rest of the FileMaker world.

There are some real gems in here. As always I’m sure that the FileMaker DevCon causes a splurge of information around this time of the year.

Roundup of Datasplash Articles

This has been a busy month for Datasplash outside of the blog, so our activity has been less than we would have liked, but with that said I think we have done ok, we certainly noticed a good increase in engagement in the site. We’re still learning, we hope you are too.
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Auto Colour Swatches using FileMaker Pro & Scriptmaster Plugin

by Darren FileMaker Tutorials

The recent release of version 4 of the ScriptMaster plugin from 360 Works prompted me to share a technique that I have used several times in solutions. Whilst there are a number of ways to achieve the result I’m about to show you, I think that a key part of this post is the use […]

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FileMaker Pro On PC Went, After FileMaker GO Came

by Darren FileMaker Go

I’ve been an ardent fan and user of Windows/PC for many many years. I think any developer that has been following a path of development for a long time really has a huge struggle to change direction when everything in their business, and their life to a certain extent, is focussed in one direction. The […]

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Keep Your FileMaker Pro Custom Functions Organised

by Darren Custom Functions

Working in any kind of development environment is challenging enough, but when you allow yourself to become untidy or disorganised it becomes hell on wheels. As developers we often fall into the trap of not practising what we preach, we spend 101% of our lives organising other people’s data and often forget to organise our […]

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FileMaker Developer in Birmingham UK

FileMaker Pro Naming Convention Basics, For Beginners

by Darren FileMaker Tutorials

Naming conventions are a method for describing your information, fields, objects, tables, table occurrences, scripts and any other aspects of your FileMaker Pro solutions. In this short (..ish) screencast I delve into the very basics of what naming conventions are, and more specifically, how you – as a beginner – should not worry about adopting […]

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