I have been a user of FileMaker Pro since version 1 in the early 1990s. My professional career as a FileMaker developer began accidentally in 1995 when I was a social worker. We were a typical social work agency with about 10 social workers, each of whom had an active caseload of clients signed up for and receiving various services, in addition to which new referrals came in daily. When I started there, we had no mechanism for keeping track of who had been referred to the agency, who did or did not already have an assigned case worker, who were the active clients of a given worker, what was the history of previous caseworkers assigned to a given client and when and for what reasons. In addition, our funding came from multiple sources, and each funding source wanted monthly, quarterly, and annual service statistics submitted--calculated slightly differently for each funding source and reported, of course, on THEIR proprietary forms. Developing a database to track the data, calculate the stats, and display information on a wide variety of report forms was the only way to eliminate the huge diversion of time and energy away from doing social work and towards wrestling with the cumbersome paperwork! Because of my familiarity with FileMaker, I volunteered and created a database in FileMaker 2.1 and soon had it running in a cross-platform multi-user environment.
What happened was that I found that I had more of a flair for developing the database than I did for doing social work, and when the agency lost its city funding in the late 90s, I found myself more employable as a FileMaker developer than as a social worker.
Here is a brief portfolio of the various solutions I've developed, along with screen shots to illustrate their features, in reverse chronological order (resumé-style):
1. Feb 2009 - present -- Freelance consulting for various short-term clients
... including a financial portfolios investment firm, a home schooling educational supplies vendor, a Broadway show investment management organization, two printing companies, a tour operator, and a handful of others.
During this timeframe, I picked up SQL skills, created MySQL databases and FileMaker front ends to them, learned PhP and wrote PhP web front ends to both MySQL data sources and FileMaker data sources, and obtained my FileMaker 10 Certification.
I also refined an IWP (Instant Web Publishing) project: A FileMaker-based message board to replace my static "guest book". Links to it are at the bottom of this page. (I also created a PhP front end to the same architecture, intermittently available here)
Screen shots to be added at a later date.
2. May 2007-Jan 2009 -- alwaysBEthere -- 606 N. Washington Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55401 -- FileMaker Solultions Developer
Lead developer responsible for structure development and end user support. Converted and streamlined a 53-file, 414-table solution into a single-file 58-table design with full backwards compatibility, ported data, and deployed new system, prototype in 4 months, final conversion in less than a year. Original system had been built as needs arose, with little to no attention to removing obsolete elements, designing around generic rather than immediate and specific needs, or doing much advance planning at all. Solution was not deployed according to accepted best practices, resulting in file corruption in several of the files. The combo of instability and bloat led the company to seek a full-time developer to rebuild, clean and streamline the system.
- A glance at chaos -- what the relationship diagram of a 414-table 50+ file unplanned jungle of a solution looks like
- The replacement, at the same resolution.
- File corruption -- the original solution was chock-full of custom functions, some of which were corrupted and could not be read from the Define Custom Functions screen, as with this one. Such functions had to be reverse-engineered from scratch.
- Unhappy file -- file corruption is not the only thing that can cause a file to stop drawing its own elements, the way this one does midway down this list view. But along with other factors it's an indicator.
- Very outdated techniques, like this use of Copy and Paste to move values around, coexisted with the calling of scripts with script parameters, the deployment of custom functions, etc; apparently many developers with a wide range of skills and experience had worked on the files at various points.
- Bug Report Button, one function on the standard menu bar I put on each & every user-accessible layout. Provides all the technical details of the context in which a given user is experiencing problems. This and other standard features helped simplify and unify this sprawling solution.
3. November 2002-January 2007 -- Digital Color Concepts -- 627 Greenwich Street New York NY 10014 -- FileMaker Solutions Developer
Sole Staff FileMaker architect and developer for printing company deploying solution for complete management of their workflow. Conversion of FileMaker 4 system to FileMaker 6 in 2002 and early 2003; implementation of logging, permissions, and auto-add personnel system. Integrated several disparate and unrelated FileMaker systems to form unified system. Eliminated many redundant / unnecessary files while adding others in the course of expanding feature set. In 2004, began converting system to single-file FileMaker 7 solution (never deployed); in 2006 started over and converted FileMaker 6 solution to single-file FileMaker 8 solution.
- Architectural changes -- combining systems, combining files, splitting files, etc.
- Auto-Adding new users -- Foolproof access for administrative personnel w/ no advanced FileMaker skills
- Complex pricing: client-specific prices on a quantity and size gradient
- System map
- The incredible flexible Proposal
- The DCC System in FileMaker 7
- The DCC System rebuilt in FileMaker 8
4. June 2000-November 2002 -- BBDO -- 1285 Avenue of the Americas New York NY 10019 -- FileMaker Solutions Developer
Programmer, systems manager, and support liaison for over 60 concurrently running FileMaker Pro database solutions used by advertising account management teams. Rapid application development in FileMaker as new needs develop. Development & deployment of global FmPro security system.
Among the solutions and features I designed and implemented at BBDO (in addition to the abovementioned security system):
5. June 1998-June 2000 Infomax Incorporated -- 29 West 38 St New York NY 10018 -- FileMaker Solutions Developer
Senior Programmer responsible for planning and development of SpecView® and LineView®, a set of FileMaker Pro garment design and showcase database solutions, leased by license to fashion industry companies. Design of custom solutions for agency clients. Maintenance / modification / upgrade of previously existing legacy Filemaker database systems.
6. September 1993- August 1997 -- East Bronx Council on Aging -- 2233 Westchester Avenue Bronx NY 10462 -- Associate Director, Social Work
Designed and deployed a database to track client information. Administrative responsibilities as social worker included supervision of 6 case managers and submission of monthly & quarterly statistics to funding agencies.
I have created a message board in FileMaker (IWP) for people to leave comments, read comments that others have left, etc;
To read the board as a guest, click here. Guests can read but cannot post. Registration is easy and instantaneous though -- no waiting for a confirmation email.
To log on as a registered member, click here. After entering your Account Name and Password, click "FmBoard" on the next screen to enter.
There is also a php front end to the same message board! To access it in that format click here