Experiences of a FileMaker Pro Database Developer

FileMaker Beginnings

I began using FileMaker Pro in the early 1990’s. Version 2 was just coming out and it was going to be cross-platform, just what I needed. I was the studio manager for an in-house art department and I needed to bridge the gap between the art department’s Macs and the product department’s PCs. There had to be a better way to manage work orders and copy. FileMaker Pro fit the bill. No more crazy file conversions and I could finally get those hand written spreadsheets into a database. The Mac artists could open FileMaker, find their product and then just copy and paste the product copy from FileMaker directly to their Quark or Illustrator catalog and packaging projects. Back then that was a big deal.

Having a design background, I fell in love with FileMaker Pro’s design capabilities. I used Microsoft Access when it first came out, about a year or so earlier, and got a taste of what I could do with databases. But, it’s design tools made it difficult to create a decent user interface. Using FileMaker Pro, I was able to take my design skills and create screens and reports that not only worked well, but looked good too. Now I could design and get organized.

From that point on, I continued to create and develop projects in FileMaker. In the beginning I was developing purely for my own needs and that later grew to other areas of the company. On the side, I started taking on small jobs including my mother’s estate sale business. Things grew and in 2000, I started The Business Helper, Inc. with my wife Nancy. Today, Nancy is a realtor with Coldwell Banker here in Danbury and I’m still developing in FileMaker Pro, just a bit older and hopefully wiser.

Many FileMaker Pro developers started their careers much like I have with no experience or formal training in database development or theory. We had to learn along the way. We are the “Bob the boat builders” of software development, just no longer building boats. I started this blog to write and share my experiences as a software database developer. These are my stories.

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