Michael E. Kupietz

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About Michael E. Kupietz

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    15 Advanced
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    Mac OS X El Capitan
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    FileMaker Consultant
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  1. In case anyone comes here via Google as I did: FieldBounds coordinates are relative to the window. GetLayoutObjectAttribute(field,"bounds") coordinates are relative to the menubar, whether it's inside the window (as on Windows) or on top of the screen (as on Mac). To get the coordinates relative to the window, using getLayoutObjectAttribute ( objectName ; ''left'' )-get(windowLeft)) for the left edge coordinate and getLayoutObjectAttribute ( objectName ; ''top'' )-get(windowTop)-(get(windowHeight)-get (windowContentHeight))+16 for the top edge coordinate will get you very close on Mac.
  2. Good points, well-taken; but I can't shake the feeling that you're thinking like salesmen rather than like customers. Many people are "penny wise and pound foolish", whether we like it or not, and I used to make my living getting hired to cater to that and then guiding them to better decisions — but only if their decision to use FileMaker allowed me to get my foot in the door. It's nice if you can say, "Well, I really don't know if I want those people as clients" but I made a decent living off them, once, and now I'm not anymore. I agree FileMaker Cloud is a step in the right direction (taking your calculations at face value - I have a cold right now and can't really think through the figures myself at the moment.) Thinking back to when my clients were mostly small mom & pop businesses and nonprofits (and I was much busier as a consultant than I am today) I'm sure about half of them would have seen your reasoning. But for half of them, the appeal was that they could host FM on the old mac mini they had sitting in the corner and never have to think about it. The conceptual hurdle of dealing with AWS & EC2, for the non-computer-literate clients that it used to seem to me were FileMaker's bread and butter, is much more immense than it is to you and me. For the same reason that clients still insist on onsite visits even after TeamViewer and Skype have made physical presence 99.9% unnecessary, mom & pop operations also aren't going to cotton to offsite virtual servers with complicated administrative interfaces that they have to learn (when they can just barely figure out how to use word.) It makes them feel like they're now dependent on more things outside their control, and they don't like that. I can't imagine selling a virtual-server-based 5-seat-minimum system with monthly licensing to a lot of the people who I used to survive off of. They just wouldn't bite. Even if it was free they'd still think it was too complicated for them, it's too weird and abstract, and they'd be too worried about perpetual dependence on me keeping the server running. Whether it was true or not. The whole point was the FileMaker used to be for people who didn't want to have to become technically-adept computer geeks. AWS is precisely for technically-adept computer geeks, and it's a very beautiful thing for them, but that's who its for. The thing that sucks, to me, is, FileMaker doesn't necessarily have to be one or the other. There can be both a monthly cloud-based licensing model for teams AND a FileMaker-Go-for-desktop-type "thin client". Also, I know I've seen people cringe when I mention the software subscription model. I know it's worth it, and you know it's worth it, but Mr. McGintee whose little heath food store could improve its narrow margins running much more efficiently on on FMP only hears "I want you to keep paying forever and ever for something you used to only have to pay for once". Yes, I know the flaws in that reasoning. But that's what people hear. And I, for one, would really just rather be developing databases than trying to sell Mr. McGintee on whatever licensing model FMI has decided to adopt this year. Sucks dealing with human quirks, but until I can reliably score consulting gigs on planet Vulcan, these are the things we have to think about. If FM could find a way to increase their penetration in the enterprise realm, and I could get steady enough corporate gigs not to miss the small businesses who used to call me all the time, I'd have no complaint. And the funny thing is, I still get a fair number of calls for help from solitary users using one-person databases. It's that small business, the 3-5 person companies that used to be a rich vein for me, are where the demand seems to have completely been hollowed out. I hope to be pleasantly surprised, but I just don't see FileMaker Cloud bringing those kind of people back to the platform. And there used to be a lot of them. I've posted this elsewhere, but look at this Google Trends graph for search interest in FileMaker: Despite vast improvements in the program, interest (as expressed in google searches for information ) has dropped by 50% every 4 years. It's now declined to about 1/10th of its peak. That should scare the bejeezus out of anyone who makes their living this way, and I just don't think that decline was because of lack of a technically abstruse (to non-IT-professionals) monthly cloud-based licensing option. I firmly believe, based solely on my own experience then and now, that 10 years ago there was a huge, solid base of very small, funky business users that just aren't there anymore, and I would really like FMI to try to find a way to get them back. Not a way that sounds good to you or to me, but to THEM, something simple and uncomplicated yet still powerful under the hood (just like FileMaker used to be.) AWS support isn't that, regardless of price. And, again, it doesn't have to come at the expense of other options. They could offer thin clients on the bottom and all kinds of fancy licensing at the top, broaden their appeal on both ends. Oops, looks like I've ranted again. Apologies, I didn't mean to harangue you. But that graph above is what it all comes down to for me, and I find it very frustrating, because FMI's product marketing strategy seems to be alienating a formerly lucrative segment of their former user base, as if they must be sacrificed to attract a new segment - one which isn't proving itself at the same rate. It baffles me. I just think "FileMaker Go For Desktop" is a good step towards getting those lost customers back in the fold.
  3. 1.) Yeah, I know, but I prefer things to be explicit as a programming practice. Purely a personal preference. I always include default cases in Case() statements too, even if they're empty. 2.) Old habits die hard. FM still accepts them when inputting calculations, but converts them to semicolons itself. As long as FM accepts both, it's just a matter of personal preference. I happen to find commas more intuitively readable for sample code. Also a preference because semicolons are commonly used as statement terminators in many other languages (such as javascript on the web, and BASH on OS X's Terminal command line) so semantically it makes less sense to me to use semicolons as parameter separators. For this reason, I do tend to use them, rather than commas, to separate multiple variable declarations in Let() statements, but still not between parameters - like this: Let ( [ a = if ( x = 1, 4, 5 ); b = 2; c = if ( y = 2, "Z" , "" ) ]; ... ...is just much more immediately readable to me than: Let ( [ a = if ( x = 1; 4; 5 ); b = 2; c = if ( y = 2; "Z" ) ]; ... Programmers coming from other common languages will understand the first immediately, the second not so much. Nice thing about FileMaker, there's more than one right way to do these things. 3.) Yeah, but I posted my example not because it was preferable, but because it's what the original poster seemed to be trying to come up with, and I thought it was instructive for them to see exactly where they went wrong in their original attempt. Although there's really no reason to favor one approach over the other, other than a stylistic preference to write either minimally more compact code or minimally more explicit code. In my own database, I might use list(). In projects where I know the client might want their admin assistant to go in and make tweaks to calculations occasionally after I'm done, I'd use the code that's least likely to result in a phone call to me to ask, "What does this mean?" Beyond that, it really doesn't matter.
  4. If only most small business owners were as rational as you're being here. Unfortunately, I, too, have seen business owners blanch at the upfront cost. It's just a reality. A lot of us smaller consultants are techies, not salesmen, and can't afford our own marketing departments to clinch the sale. We do our best—and two decades at this has certainly taught me a few things—but to expect small business owners to always be reasonable about parting with money is just not realistic. My experience just hasn't borne it out. And as you said: Either the solution provides value over and beyond the total cost or it doesn't. The more expensive FileMaker is, the more that equation will tip over into the "doesn't" column. I actually have a corporate client right now who has completely hobbled their solution by loading more services onto what started as solely their FileMaker Server machine. Performance has been dragged down almost to unusability. They've spent thousands on me developing these databases, and yet their IT department won't release a few hundred dollars of budget more for a dedicated machine to keep things running usably. People just can't be relied upon to be rational, especially where money is concerned. "Penny wise and dollar foolish" is a well-known saying for good reason. Larger companies do tend to be quicker to recognize long-term value, but for many years my bread and butter was small businesses and nonprofits - a large chunk of business that I still feel the loss of as FileMaker demand has tapered in those sectors in recent years. There's more to that phenomenon than sticker-shock, I'm sure, but the I'm likewise sure the pricetag doesn't help. An appreciably low-cost entry point would make a huge difference. EDIT: I should add, though, that they're essentially already doing what is being requested here, just not for desktop. FM Go actually could fill the "thin client" void nicely. They should release "FM Go for Desktop". EDIT 2: Though only tangentially relevant, it was just after I posted this that I discovered that FileMaker Server 15's new EULA terms prohibit resellers running shared FileMaker Server hosting... all commercial resellers must host on one dedicated server per customer, pushing the costs of FileMaker hosting much further out of reach of most small businesses. We're ok while the latest file format is still compatible with FileMaker Server 14, but that's going to change at some point. Taken together with other moves they've made, it really seems like FileMaker is making a concerted effort to raise the barriers for entry up past the affordability that originally made it attractive to small business. Why in the world they're doing that, I have no idea, but it certainly seems like that's what they're doing. The reason I came back to mention it here is, I think it's a bellwether. If you read the signs and portents, unfortunately I don't think an affordable FileMaker "thin client"-type package is likely to be considered (nor any change aimed at making FileMaker adoption more affordable or attractive to small business).
  5. XML is one of the import formats FileMaker understands natively, although you may need an XSLT if the XML doesn't arrive in one of FM's two native FML schema. There's no standard rule for data archiving, it depends strongly on the specific use. FileMaker can hold and index an enormous amount of data, but sometimes it's useful to offload old records in certain circumstances, such as frequently needing to do finds on unstored calculations, which can slow down as indexes grow.
  6. The above works, but as an alternative: You were very close. I think what you were grasping for was this... Preset message = if (preset question 1 = "yes", "preset text 1" & ¶,"")& if (preset question 2 = "yes", "preset text 2" & ¶,"")& ... if (preset question 10 = "yes", "preset text 10" & ¶,"")&