We’ve got a bible – a big one – for FileMaker 7. And it’s for the Intermediate-Advanced crowd this time! The full book title is Special Edition Using FileMaker 7 by Steve Lane, Bob Bowers, Scott Love and Chris Moyer. I got it at the Developer’s Conference for $35 ($44.99 list). If you buy from Amazon without thinking, you might pay the full list price. But, if you click the used & new link, you can get a brand new copy for about $30.
This thing has 1082 pages and is at least 2 inches thick. On the accompanying CD, you get 40 sample database files and the entire book as a searchable pdf!!!! What a great idea for a big, heavy reference book. Now I’ll have this amazing reference and learning tool with me wherever I take my Powerbook.
As many of you know, Chris Moyer has peerless credentials as a FileMaker book author and consultant. Bob Bowers collaborated with Chris recently on the excellent Advanced FileMaker Pro 5.5 Techniques for Developers and also wrote Advanced FileMaker 6 Web Development with Steve Lane.
This is not a sexy book, but it’s solid, well-illustrated and well-written. It’s written by people whose reputations are on the line. People who had to take the time to learn 7 well enough to address FileMaker 7 in all its glory. A big undertaking.
I’ll just give you a sampling from their tips, notes and cautions:
When you first start sketching your ERD, you might just be scribbling on the back of an envelope. But sooner or later, especially for large projects, you’ll want to turn your ERD into an electronic document of some kind. We recommend you find a suitable tool for doing this. If you want to go with a dedicated diagramming tool, Visio is popular for the PC platform, and on the Mac, OmniGraffle is an excellent tool. But if you don’t want to spring for (or worse, spend time learning) a new tool, well, FileMaker’s Layout Mode also makes a great ERD tool! It’s easy to whip up a small library of ERD adornments and cut and paste them where needed. That way, each of your Filemaker Solutions can contain its own ERD, squirreled away in a a hidden layout somewhere. p. 149
You might be wondering how to create a multiple-match relationship that works if any of the criteria are true, as opposed to those that work only if all the criteria are true. This isn’t possible, unfortunately. p. 186
Be aware that the only fields you can use from an unrelated table are those with global storage. There’s no way FileMaker could determine which record(s) to reference for non-globally stored fields…. p. 218
If you have a large group of employees all starting on the same date, the account status feature allows the database administrator to set up all the accounts in advance without activating them. After the employees start, all that needs to be done is to set the account status to Active. p. 325
At least for now, this is the FileMaker 7 bible. Now, all we need is a companion book that focuses primarily on the tips, hints, tricks and gotchas. Because there is so much to do to just cover this product set, there’s not as much room as I would like for commentary. Still, an incredible bargain and tool for you today!