Tim Dietrich

Custom Software Developer

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December 2015 Newsletter: Swift, Xojo, Airtable, and More...

Below is a copy of the newsletter that I sent out to subscribers yesterday.

If you'd like to subscribe, click here.


It's been a very long time since I last sent out a newsletter, so I've got a lot to cover.

Here goes...


Developing Mobile Apps With Swift

Over the past several months, I've been transitioning from developing custom databases to developing native mobile apps. In October, I wrapped up a prototype for a large client project (an iPhone app for first responders). We're now in the process of converting the prototype to a production system. I'll write more about that project soon.

I also recently completed development of my first commercial app. It's an iPhone app that helps healthcare professionals lookup medical billing codes. It was an interesting and challenging app to develop, and I learned a lot in the process. I submitted to the App Store on Monday, and it's now awaiting review by Apple. If you're interested in checking out the app (screenshots, etc), click here.

I used Xcode / Swift (Apple's "new" programming language) for both the client project and the commercial app, and I've been blogging a lot about Swift. If you'd like to get a sense of what this type of development work is like, you might want to read some of these posts.


Digging Into Xojo

Another development tool that I've been using is Xojo. I've written a lot about Xojo over the past year, and continue to be impressed by it. Xojo is a multi-platform development tool that can be used to create native desktop (OS X, Windows, and Linux), Web, mobile (iOS), and even Raspberry Pi apps. I've been using Xojo on iOS projects that have a "short fuse" and require rapid application development (which is something that Xojo excels at).

If you are curious about Xojo, then I invite you to join fellow FileMaker / Xojo developer Hal Gumbert and I for "Xojo Q&A for FileMaker Developers," a free webinar being held next week. We'll be panelists on which is being hosted by Xojo's Developer Evangelist Paul Lefebvre. We'll discuss Xojo from the point of view of FileMaker developers, as well as techniques for integrating Xojo-based apps with FileMaker. If you're interested in joining us, click here. (Be sure to signup soon. The Webinar will be held on December 8th, and space is limited.)


On The FileMaker Front

It has been several months since I made a decision to stop doing FileMaker development. Since then, a number of people - from novice users, to Bento hold-outs, to seasoned developers - have asked me about alternatives to FileMaker. I recently wrote about six FileMaker alternatives that I've looked at, and my experiences with them. Here's the post.

One of the FileMaker solutions that I continue to use is fmEasyAPI, the open source RESTful API server for the FileMaker platform that I first released back in July. I've used it on a number of projects, and have been gradually enhancing it. In a few weeks, I'll be releasing a new version of fmEasyAPI which will add a number of new features and make it even easier to create REST APIs for databases hosted with FileMaker Server. I'll announce fmEasyAPI v2's availability on my blog and Twitter. In the meantime, you can learn more about fmEasyAPI v2 here.

Also on the FileMaker front, today I wrote about potential security and scalability issues with regards to WebDirect. If you're using WebDirect (or considering it), you might want to give the post a quick read.

And finally, later this week I'll be publishing a step-by-step guide to migrating data from FileMaker to Airtable. If you're new to Airtable, this will be a great way to learn about it and help you move some data into Airtable to give it a try. stay tuned to my blog and Twitter for more info. And if you don't already have an Airtable account, click here to set one up for free.


Other Goodies

Here are a few blog posts that you might also be interested in...

Helpful Web Sites: Ten Web sites that I find to be incredibly helpful - and I think you will, too.

Successful FileMaker Consulting Q&A: Advice on starting a successful FileMaker consulting business.

Successful IT Consulting / Marketing: Simple and effective ways to market your IT consulting business. These techniques worked for me as a FileMaker consultant, and continue to work well now that I'm developing mobile apps.

That's all for now. Thanks for subscribing - and Happy Holidays!

~ Tim