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Sunday
Sep142008

Interesting Article On “How to Survive as a Freelancer”

From Dwayne Wright - Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright

Found this article in my news reader this morning and thought I would pass it along. It is slanted more towards the graphic design freelancer but many of the tips would also apply to the FileMaker freelancer.

The article can be found on monkeybites and here is a link ...
http://www.webmonkey.com/blog/How_to_Survive_as_a_Freelancer
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More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.

Thursday
Sep112008

Software Publishing: Distributing The User Documentation Of Your Solution

From Dwayne Wright - Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright

This is part of my ongoing series of articles about setting up your own software publishing business (cause FileMaker is very good option for doing that). This was originally published by me in a guide called FileMaker Software Publishing back in 2002. .

DISTRIBUTING THE USER DOCUMENTATION OF YOUR SOLUTION
There are a number of ways to distribute help information and I’ve experimented with most of them. For the most part it comes down to interactive help, a manual / tutorial or a combination thereof.

The interactive help is done by providing a button on each layout, a script from the Script menu or both. This takes you to a layout or a separate FileMaker file with help content. A single layout allows you to print all the documentation in one shot. The single FileMaker file can have a help topic saved as an individual record in the database. This allows you to be able to use the FIND command for help topics. The single file also allows you to have your FileMaker production screen open at the same time as the help screen because they are individual files. The individual help file does make the printing of a manual a little more complicated but by all means possible.

The printable manual and/or tutorial is another powerful method. As a community, we are programmed from childhood to read documentation from thinly sliced sections of dead trees ( paper ). Some individuals ( including myself ) have troubles reading documentation in tiny little help screens. We like to have our documentation in front of us, write notes on it, use a highlighter and perhaps even take it with us and read from a remote location ( coffee shop, treadmill, etc… ). Another advantage of printed documentation is that you can only distribute it to registered users. This is another way of encouraging shareware users to purchase the product.

The most widely accepted way of distributing printed documentation these days is via the pdf document that can be also be read directly from a web site.

One method I’m beginning to employ more and more is the blog. This is a quick and low cost (often free) method of distributing information about a product. The blog doesn’t have default organization capabilities by chapter but you can try to build those in as blog pages themselves. Check out my FileMaker Book Via A Blog site and see how the experiment is working for me.

The best method ( which is of course involves the most work ) is the combination plate of interactive and printable help. Although, it doesn’t have to be too time consuming. You can take the content of one and put it into the other. For example, you can create an interactive help system and then combine them into a printable manual.

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More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.

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Wednesday
Sep102008

A READER ASKS: Default Tab Switching

From Dwayne Wright - Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright

A READER ASKS
We've noticed a strange behaviour in FM and we were hoping you might have some input...

We've deployed a FM9 solution in a multi-user, cross-platform environment. On several of the interfaces, there are tab controls where different people might be looking at different tabs. The odd thing is, when you're sitting there looking at info on the tab, it could just change to the default tab with no action from the user. I've been able to reproduce it by going to a different machine and looking at that same layout and putting it in Layout mode, then making a change to the layout and going back to Browse mode. On the first machine, their view will switch to the default tab. (not a great result)

thoughts on this bug? Seen it before?

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DWAYNE RESPONDS
Well, I wonder if this is part of the fix in FileMaker 9 but it wasn’t really a bug. In pre-FileMaker 9, if a developer edited a tab panel, it automatically became the default tab panel. I don’t remember this switching users in mid browse mode but I haven’t used anything but FileMaker 9 since it came out.

Here is a link to the FileMaker KnowledgeBase article about default tabs ...
http://tinyurl.com/6kx8uy

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More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.
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Wednesday
Sep102008

A READER ASKS: Adding Years Based Upon Content

From Dwayne Wright - Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright

A READER ASKS
I am wondering if you could spare me 2 seconds to answer this very puzzling question.
I have to create a calculation field that will add 5, 2 or 1 year to an examination date depending on both a) the persons age (50 or less is 5 years, between 50-60 is 2 years and over 60 is yearly ) and b) their category

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DWAYNE RESPONDS
Well, you are going to need to use the following date related functions...

The Date Function
The Day Function
The Month Function
The Year Function

To make it easier, you might want to create a calculation field that returns a 5, 2 or 1 based upon your data input for the persons age and category. Say this field is called DateAddOn. Making sure this is working first, will allow you to then move on to the date calculation.

So you will want to add to the year, the DateAddOn value, so it looks something like ...

Date (
month(Get ( CurrentDate )) ;
day(Get ( CurrentDate )) ;
year(Get ( CurrentDate )) + DateAddOn )

NOTE: You could put the working calculation from the DateAddOn field right into the calculation and have just one field. Thing is, I would make sure it is all working first.
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More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.

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Wednesday
Sep102008

A READER ASKS: 1400 Emails And Send Mail Script Step

From Dwayne Wright - Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright

A READER ASKS
I am modifying the Business Productivity Kit that Filemaker provides to work with our specific business processes. In the BPK, the email campaign manager is somewhat limited. I want to send all contacts apart of a particular group, an email. When I click ‘send’ it basically opens 1400 different emails from Outlook that I have to click ‘send’ one-by-one. What a pain!

I’ve created a script in Outlook to send all drafts all at once and it works great. The trouble is getting all of the emails to 1) not automatically open, 2) create those emails within my drafts folder so that I can perform my ‘send all drafts’ script.

This will allow me send these emails all at once, under the RADAR. Let me know I you have any advice.

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DWAYNE RESPONDS
Although I think the Send Mail script step is great, it sounds like you might have outgrown it. You can batch a number of records in one email but not 1,400. There are ways around this but none of them are going to work for you in the long run.

I’d suggest checking out an email plug-in because it will not require interactions with Outlook. Here are a few ...

From 360Works
http://www.360works.com/email-plugin/?gclid=CITv4vfw0ZUCFSQWiQodFAJWiw

From Dacons
http://www.dacons.net/fmplugins/mailit/

From CNS
http://www.cnsplug-ins.com/products.htm?product=SMTPit%20Pro
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More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.

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