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Can one be an FM developer and not know Mac?


Ted S
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Hi all,

I've been an in-house (part-time) FM developer for many years now and recently I have been considering offering my services to other companies as an FM consultant/developer. Probably on a PT basis at first but who knows what that can turn into.

One reason (of many) I hesitate to make a move like this is my complete, and I mean complete, lack of knowledge about Macs. The last time I touched an Apple product was circa 1990 and I didn't do much even then.

I do know that Filemaker sells more product into the Windows environment than they do into Mac but I also assume that there are a lot of mixed environments out there which MAY be the reason that a lot of companies run FM in the first place. I'm afraid that if I took a job working with a Mac house or a mixed house I would be completely lost if I had to do anything outside of FM itself. I would look like a bumbling fool.

The answer of course is to get a Mac and learn how to work with it; which is probably what I will do. But since there is a learning curve I have a couple of questions for you developers with clients out there:

1. What percentage of your clients are Windows only?

2. Mac only?

3. Mixed?

4. How long should I expect it to take me to get adequately proficient on the Mac?

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If you mastered Windows then you'll probably crack a Mac in about an hour. Personally I hate Windows because I see so many technical and support issues.

If you gonna get involved you need to see it from both environments so get an Intel Mac, a second screen, Parallels workstation (www.parallels.com) and a full copy of XP pro.

Run Mac on one screen and windows on the other - what could be simpler than that?

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Hi Ted,

Being a Mac guy, I have the same problem when dealing with those pesky PCs. For the most part, I try to stay clear of them. When I have to work on them, I have trouble just configuring the stupid printers! I'd like to think it's because Windows just has a poor interface and tries to make it hard, but I'm probably just used to the Mac OS and set in my ways. So my guess is that you may figure out the basics within a couple hours, but there will be some things that just won't come naturally after years of PC brainwashing. :D

Fortunately, the FileMaker environment on both platforms is pretty consistent. You do have to deal with variations in fonts and certain graphics, and there are different bugs and configuration settings to be aware of. But you should be able to pick that up pretty easily.

As to your questions, well, I'm an in-house developer too (all Mac,) so I don't get out too much. But I do have a couple external clients with occasional business (one all Mac, one all Windows.)

Hey, where are you located anyway? We should get together sometime. :beer:

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Hi Ted:

1. What percentage of your clients are Windows only?

When you get away from the areas that Apple specialized in, such as graphics, education, printing, etc.

Windows is so overwhelming that not knowing the Mac is not a problem. I do Windows only (residential real estate software). I've had maybe 2 requests for a Mac version over the last 5 years.

Like it or not, most of the business community is PC based.

Steve

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I'm with Steve on this. 99% of my business is on Windows. I have no preference when it comes to OSs, they're not a life-style choice for me. I run Windows, OSX and Linux in my office.

Whether or not you need to get comfortable with Mac largely depends on what business you're going after. There are many FM requests from smaller companies, a large portion of those are Mac in my experience. Larger companies tend to be all Windows, except in some market segments.

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  • 1 month later...
  • Newbies

hello, you seem to have alot of knowledge for this. I have a question I'm wondering if you can answer. one of my databases in my FM Server Administrator is in 'closed' status for reasons unknownn to me. And when I hilite it and choose 'open' under the Actions menu, it says 'checking' for a few seconds and then stays in 'closed' status.

Tom

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What percentage of your clients are Windows only?

How long should I expect it to take me to get adequately proficient on the Mac?

I'm comfortable with either Mac or Windows but my preference is certainly Mac. Having said that, 90+% of my clients run Windows :

As someone mentioned in an earlier post of this thread, if you've figured out Windows you'll figure out Mac in a very short time.

Bottom line...don't worry about it!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ted,

I do my FM work on the side and all my clients are 100% PC. However, I have both Macs and PCs at home. The only real place I see a difference between the two platforms is with FM Server. At home I have FM server on a Mac and the GUI is different than on the PC servers. I actually prefer the PC version. The manual for FM server does a good job explaining what you need to do for both platforms so that should not be a concern.

HTH, Mike

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As an ex bigotted anti-Mac person, I have to disagree with those who reference the ease of a Windoze person's picking up the Mac easily. It has some quite strange quirks when you have only used Windoze and these can get you into trouble.

Having said that, I would not worry about not knowing Mac. Just tell any potential Mac client that you are not too familiar with the Mac and you might need some help (from them.) Most people accept the fact that you don't know everything.

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I wouldn't say accept, i would say "find comfort in the fact" or "are relieved". I was forced to work on mac for a year when i was doing pure flash stuff. To tell you the truth, i don't find it as comfortable, but other than that and a few different ways of configuring general settings, it's quite easy to make sense of if you use windows as your main platform.

~Genx

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Ted,

These are things i found behave differently from one OS to the other (I try to know as little as possible about windows, but oddly, I know more than any client who uses it regularly):P

Print driver behavior (for reports other than letter vertical, I switch format based on current OS and switch to pre-saved set up scripts with desired settings),

OS effected UI behavior (pulldown menu/list is different mac to pc, the ability to access menus and change settings while in preview mode, window zooming, hiding)

Optimal image format for printing on various devices (EPS/not),

and I've given up using fonts other than the cross-platform arial and arial black: On a mac using a font manager application that flags font problems, it can display a warning for every font you ever once used in a FM file! UGH!). And of course, always review layouts on all OS's as the fonts don't quite match. I have my overseas client's send me a screen shot to review after layout changes. Now try teaching a windows user how to send a screenshot. THATS the hard part!

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