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SQL Explorer for FileMaker 12

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John Sindelar

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Very proud to have shipped SQL Explorer, a tool for learning SQL (so you can use ExecuteSQL in FileMaker 12) using FileMaker metaphors you already know. You can learn more about the Explorer and download a copy here: SQLexplorer But I wanted to take a moment and point out three things that make this a new kind of product for us…

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1. This is the first product we built using a FileMaker 12 theme. All the layouts in the solution are based on the Onyx theme, though we did add some of our own objects, most notably the big tab-based navigation bar at the top. This made some things a lot easier (not as many design decisions to make) but I can’t say it really sped things up. Since the portals and fields in Onyx have an inner glow (a glow not addressable in the inspector), we couldn’t use them in virtual list portals where we wanted empty fields/rows to disappear. Portals like those on the tables tab took a lot of work. Not more work than in 11, but the theme wasn’t a silver bullet. 

2. Jason created a walk-through video for every screen of the software–every step of creating a query–and I can’t believe how well it worked. It really makes it easy to jump in here and, if you get stuck, there is a video of how you’re supposed to do it right at your finger tips. 

3. This was also our first wizard-based solution, and the native tabs and script triggers in FM12 made this much(!) easier. I’d encourage folks to take a look at the “Steps…” nav bar on the Query Builder layout: that’s just a “body-less” tab control with a script trigger on it so it acts like a  button bar. Jason says that this turned out to be a very flexible object: and doing that in 12 was substantially simpler than doing it in 11. We’ve already written about how hiding and conditionally formatting tabs is a huge help in 12, and that was the case here as well.

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