One of the great things about FileMaker is the extensibility of the platform. No matter what you need to do, there’s always a viable option out there somewhere, and you just have to reach out and find it. Even if the functionality you need is not offered in the core of FileMaker itself, you should be able to find a third-party development tool that gets the job done, and there are plenty of options to pick from if you search around. The community around FileMaker is very active and the people involved keep coming out with new solutions to common problems.
Resolve issues more quickly with BaseElements
When working with a complex FileMaker project, it’s not rare to run into situations where you’re dealing with lots of obsolete or outdated systems, as well as references that don’t make sense. It can be difficult to get a good overview of the current situation with the default FileMaker tools though, which is where BaseElements comes into play. It’s a neat little tool that can help you visualize your FileMaker solutions and figure out if something is out of order. It specifically highlights issues like missing references and other semantic problems, and while it won’t point out every single thing that can potentially go wrong with a FileMaker application, it can still go a long way in helping you prevent some of the most common problems.
Speed up your workflow with Typinator
If you’re tired of entering certain strings on a regular basis because you refer to them constantly, Typinator is another small addition to the platform that can simplify your workflow significantly. Auto-completion is a traditional element of programming IDEs and there’s no reason you shouldn’t benefit from it yourself when working with FileMaker, and when you have something like Typinator at your disposal, it becomes quite easy to enter those complex statements all the time. You’ll be able to focus more actively on the other parts of your development workflow that have a more serious impact.
Automate table creation with FMrobot
On that note, if you regularly find yourself having to create tables according to a specific pattern, FMrobot is a great automation tool that can reduce your workload significantly. It won’t completely replace manual table creation of course, as the tool can’t predict every single parameter that you might need to enter, but it can still make things a lot easier if you want reduce the time you’re spending on table and field creation. Making small changes to fields and relationships is also quite easy when you’re using FMrobot, although you may need to combine it with some other tools in order to get the full benefit in a more complex solution. It’s also worth saying that you should not come to rely too heavily on tools like this, as it’s still important to know how to create your own tables and how to define the structure of all components involved. But once you’ve got a good grip on how the underlying system works, you should be able to benefit a lot from a tool like FMrobot to handle the “grunt work” for you and allow you to focus on coming up with sensible designs and other organizational manners.
Take care of security with SecurityAdministrator
More and more is being said about the security aspects of FileMaker, and for a good reason – it’s a critical issue that everyone involved needs to pay close attention to. And yet, we still see developers taking shortcuts that end up compromising the integrity of the entire application, just so they can shave off a small chunk of work. SecurityAdministrator won’t help you if you want to go against the grain and do something that you normally shouldn’t, but it can still be quite the nice addition to your assets if you want to make sure that you have a good overview of the current security state of the project. Combined with a reliable partner for your FileMaker hosting, it should protect you against most types of issues you would have to deal with. It can point out some common problems, and it can also analyze the solution for potential holes that can be exploited by attackers. Remember, in most cases where a FileMaker application gets compromised, it’s often the result of a developer mistake that is then exploited by the hacker, not some flaw of the platform as a whole.