Blog By Night

The official blog of Fly By Night Graphics, Ltd.          Serving the Twin Cities since Tuesday!


FileMaker’s Let function

If you hang out on the the FileMaker forums (like TechNet), and pay attention to the advice given by those developers in the know, you will no doubt see heavy use of the Let function. I have to admit that at one point, I just didn’t get it. As a novice developer, it seemed like using Let was redundant and unnecessary in many of the example calculations. The official help documentation on Let can be found here.
However, it’s usually not until you see a great example, that it really “clicks” in your head. I don’t remember when that particular example was for me, but I recently came across another one that you may find helpful. Stuart Gripman of FullCity Consulting, Inc. had this informative and concise blog post as part of their “Function of the Week” series. You can read it here.
Another thing to keep in mind with the Let function is that it gets even more useful as your calculations grow in complexity. I cringe when I go back into some of my early FileMaker solutions and try to decipher some of the massively complex calculations I created, often with little to no white space formatting to improve readability or commenting (bad developer!). I had some that I had broken out into multiple fields, just to keep them organized. So I would have fields called something like Xcalc1 and Xcalc2, that would then be used in XcalcFinal to reach the total. All of this would be done very differently, knowing what I know today… especially the use of Let. The Let function will let you reduce the number of times a chunk of code needs to be calculated, and can reduce multi-field dependencies. These things may not matter much at first, but they can become major performance drains as your solution scales up, and as you expand to WAN clients and FileMaker Go clients.
Hopefully after reading Stuart’s post, you will “get it” much earlier than I did!


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on September 4th, 2014 at 11:24 pm. Filled under: FileMaker,Geek. Tags: | No Comments |

FileMaker 13!

This week, FileMaker released version 13 of its database platform. We are really excited about the new capabilities it brings and how it will help our clients.
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Image courtesy of FileMaker, Inc.
The big push here is getting your data mobile. Anyone who thought that FileMaker Pro was “just a database” (or worse yet, a glorified spreadsheet *gasp!*), has been wrong for a long time… but now they are completely off base. FileMaker is moving more and more to a custom app development tool, with a big focus on iOS. New tools like popovers (sorry, no honey butter!), slide controls, and swipe gestures make a FileMaker Go solution feel closer to a native iOS app. The new WebDirect feature is intriguing… it feels like this is finally what IWP should have been all along. But the way that the Server concurrent connections are priced might find itself shutting out some soho clients that would have used IWP in the past. Time will tell.
But we are very excited to put the new features to good use, be it for iOS or desktop… or both. Contact us today to chat about how your operation could be made more efficient with a custom solution built on the FileMaker platform!


Published by Shawn A. Krueger, on December 4th, 2013 at 11:25 pm. Filled under: FileMaker,Geek. Tags: | No Comments |