Tim Dietrich

Custom Software Developer

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Let FileMaker Be FileMaker

Remember when FileMaker was an application that gave non-technical people the ability to develop their own custom database solutions?

I do.

And do you know what? That's still what FileMaker is.

Visit FileMaker's home page today and there's copy there that reads, "Easily create custom solutions that meet your unique needs."

As FileMaker developers and consultants who use the platform to create solutions for clients, I think we sometimes lose sight of this. We forget what the platform is and what it is intended to do.

The title of this post, "Let FileMaker Be FileMaker," is actually a phrase that FileMaker Inc's Rosemary Tietge used several years ago in a presentation to a local user group. Her point was that you no longer need to hide the FileMaker user interface from users. Instead, you can use FileMaker as it is intended to be used, and through the use of new features (new back then anyway) such as Script Triggers and Custom Menus, you can give users a true FileMaker experience - and do so safely, without having to hide FileMaker from them. It was the type of eye-opening, thought provoking presentation that Rosemary is famous for. And it changed how I approach FileMaker clients and projects. (Thanks Rosemary!)

Today, I'm borrowing Rosemary's phrase and using it in a different, but I believe equally important way.

As developers and consultants who live and breathe FileMaker, I think we have a tendency to look at the platform and see all of the things that it doesn't do, or that it doesn't do well, and we get frustrated. We forget that FileMaker is an amazing, unique, powerful, and flexible database platform. We forget that it still empowers technical and non-technical users alike. We forget how far it has come.

We start to complain. We get grumpy. We get angry. We write up wish lists with items that, when you really stop and think about them, just don't make sense. I've done it, and if you're a professional FileMaker developer or consultant, I bet you have, too.

How many times have I wished that the ExecuteSQL function supported INSERTs, UPDATEs, and DELETEs? Too many. And sure, I would love to see that feature someday. But is that what the average FileMaker user really needs?

I'm suggesting that we give the team at FileMaker a break. That we take the time to be grateful for the platform. That we help spread the word about what FileMaker does, how insanely cool it is, and encourage others - regardless of whether they're technical or not - to check FileMaker out.

Let's "let FileMaker be FileMaker."