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Monday
Aug252008

Found This Blog Article “6 Screenshot Utilities You Should Know About”

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

I thought I’d pass it along, although it doesn’t mention SnapZ (a long time favorite) or ScreenFlow (which I love for movie making but still trying to unlock all its undocumented power).

Here is the link to the above blog article ...

http://konigi.com/notebook/6-screenshot-utilities-you-should-know-about
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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.

Friday
Aug222008

A READER ASKS: Freeze Window Script Step Not Working

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

A READER ASKS
I am creating a textbook tracking program.

In the CHECK-IN Script, I use the freeze window step and then go to multiple layouts, but the freeze window does not seem to be working at all.

Would you be able to figure out why?

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DWAYNE RESPONDS
Well, that is no good. Well, covering the basics, you will want the Freeze Window script step at the top of the script step order. Any of the other windowing commands could cause the problem, such as having the Adjust Window script step that is in the script somewhere.

This is something that is difficult to troubleshoot with the Script Debugger because it will refresh the window as part of the process of showing you what is going on.

IN THE WILD GUESS DEPARTMENT
I did see a posting in researching this where users had this problem with FileMaker 7 but it went away when they upgraded to FileMaker 8. I also say some comments that video hardware acceleration on some Windows machines seemed to ignore the Freeze window script step. In a case such as this, editing the setting for hardware acceleration in the Windows control panel can help.

I guess if there is a web viewer on the layout, that might trigger a screen refresh, even if it is indicated as frozen. The same could possibly be true if there is a plug-in feature that is kicking in as the script runs. A corrupted graphic or font on the page might cause any number of goofy windowing issues.

IN THE YOU MIGHT TRY DEPARTMENT
If you are on a Windows machine, try editing the acceleration setting or test on a different machine. You also might try to make developer layouts that only have the fields you need for the script to perform. Update the script to go to those unique developer layouts and see if the issue still occurs.
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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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Friday
Aug222008

A READER ASKS: Contemplating Move From Version 6 To 9

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

A READER ASKS
I came across your blog while researching FMP conversion issues. We are contemplating the move from version 6 to 9. Can you give us an idea of a customary fee that we can expect to have this done? The FMP 6 database is a very involved system that is in use across our state.

Do you think 140 hours sounds excessive for this?

Thanks in advance for your help! We are just trying to sort through some issues.

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DWAYNE RESPONDS
It depends on how how the 140 hours are spread out. Are you talking specifically development hours or total time spent by everyone on the project team? In the former, you are probably ok but not if the latter.

PREPARATION

There are a number of things you can do within your FileMaker 6 files to prepare them for conversion to FileMaker 9. You will want to identify any major problems you have, fix the ones that makes sense and clean out as many of the database dust bunnies as possible. There are still a number of tools out there that can be used to analyze the database solution.

This is also a good time to organize your layouts, delete any files/fields/scripts/relationships/layout/value lists you know are not in use anymore. If you haven’t documented exactly what passwords do what in the old system, you will want to do that as well. FileMaker 9 security settings are a big improvement over FileMaker 6 but sometimes there are tweaks needed for the security of converted files.

Depending on the state the files and the number of them, this might take up half of your 140 hour budget. However, it will pay great dividends when the conversion is complete.

By the way, make sure all your users machines have the minimum requirements to be able to run FileMaker 9. FileMaker 9 isn’t that intense of an application but you have to check first.

Sometimes, the conversion process from FileMaker 6 to the current version of FileMaker ... well ... feels a little bit like this.

DUE A TEST CONVERSION
Perform a test conversion of the files and see how it goes. One of the potential problems is in the area of file references, which can generally be cleaned up via a FileMaker 6 tool called MetaData Magic. After the conversion, test the files, run a FileMaker Database Design Report on them and perhaps give them a run by a trouble shooing tool such as BaseElements.

TESTING THE CONVERSION

If things do not look too bad after the test conversion, identify a set of power users that you respect their input and ask them if they would test the system. Ask them to perform the actions they normally would in their business day. It would be great if you had a testing sheet in place as well, to help guide them on the things you want them to test on the system.

IMPLEMENTATION
If you have done all the pre-work, the final conversion and implementation may be a bit boring for you.

I am available to do test conversions and analysis of FileMaker 6 solutions if that might be a service you would be interested in.

Here are some links to other posts that might be of interest in regards to this topic...
MIGRATION: The Hand You Are Dealt
Conversion Of Secured FMP 6 Files
Converted Files
Cleaning Data For Reports, Imports and Exports

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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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For more information on the InBizness SOHO and other quality FileMaker framework solutions, please visit http://www.dwaynewright.com/solutions.html

Wednesday
Aug202008

Starter Solutions / Templates / Framework Applications

A Starter Solution (sometimes called a Template) is a collection of FileMaker files that have been designed to help a user get a leg up on building their own customized database solution. They are usually free of charge or come in a low cost package of templates.

Another term that is roughly equivalent to a template is a Framework Solution. Framework solutions are super sized templates (much like a massive oak tree is a super sized acorn). Framework solutions are generally expensive but contain hundreds (if not thousands) of man hours in the design process. Considering that the average wage of an in house FileMaker developer is around $30 a hour and the average price of a professional developer from a premier design firm is about $125 a hour, the price for a robust framework solution is a bargain.

Starter solutions are automatically installed via FileMaker and your first experience to them comes via the FileMaker 9 Quick Start screen. From this screen, you can click a large (Fisher Price like) button labeled Create Database. To the immediate right of this, you can click an option to Create database using Starter Solution. Then you have a pair of scrollable selection areas for solutions of different vertical markets. This interface is a world class effort on FileMakers part to introduce the new database user to the FileMaker experience.

Here you can see that I’ve chosen to create a new database based upon a starter solution in the Education - Administration area and the specific starter solution I’ve chose is Research Notes.

After you have selected the starter solution you want to use, FileMaker will create a new database for you in a location you specify on your hard drive.

Here you can see the dialog box asking me where I want to save my new copy of Research Notes.

Here you can see the new copy of the created database.

So that covers the Starter Solution experience, templates and framework solutions can be found in a number of areas but the most widely visited area is likely from the filemaker.com web site. There is an area labeled “Made For FileMaker” that has a collection of templates, framework applications and plug-in products. There is even a robust search engine which allows you to target what product you may be looking for. The listed products can be Freeware, Shareware and Commercial options to investigate.

Here you can see a listing of small business search results.

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For more information on the InBizness SOHO and other quality FileMaker framework solutions, please visit http://www.dwaynewright.com/solutions.html

Monday
Aug182008

Kiosk Mode Explored

Kiosk Mode Explored

CATEGORY: Design
CLASS: Advanced Design
VERSION: All Current Versions

One of the many Developer Utility features available to FileMaker Advanced users, Kiosk Mode allows you to setup a database to be in a full screen mode that has no access to menu commands. In fact, FileMaker takes over the entire screen with no access to other applications, operating system settings and the non FileMaker part of the computer screen is shaded in black.

FYI ... FileMaker databases running in kiosk mode are great for computers setup with touch screen interfaces.

The setting for Kiosk mode ensures that all accounts other than administrator will be in Kiosk mode when the database opens. So everything looks the same when you open the database with admin access and everything looks kiosk when you open using any other privilege set.

Here you can see the setup for Kiosk mode. ( you may need to click the picture to see a larger version of it).

A FileMaker database in Kiosk Mode is used primarily in public areas in which you want to display searchable information, gather data from strangers or a combination thereof. For example, you might want to have a FileMaker DB Kiosk at a trade show to allow users to be able to search for products and order them. At the very least, you might want to use it to capture information about users that would like to be on a mailing list for product updates.

FileMaker databases in Kiosk Mode are self running and do not need to have FileMaker installed on the machine. When running in Kiosk mode, the database does not have access to the Quit menu. So you will want to build in a backdoor somewhere within your database to log in as an administrator.

By default, the database does not hide the status area, so you will likely want to do that in your startup script. That will mean that you will need to design record by record navigation of your own.

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For more information on the InBizness SOHO and other quality FileMaker framework solutions, please visit http://www.dwaynewright.com/solutions.html