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solutions wanted Access 97 to FileMaker 10 Pro

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Hello everyone. Let me assure you that I have been searching this site for four straight days now and have NOT found what I am asking for. ???

I work for a public utility. We have a nuclear plant, and several fossil plants. I work on the fossil side of things, supporting process systems (control room computers, PLCs, historians, etc...)

New government regulations require us to monitor physical and cyber security at a level that has never been done before. We have an old Access 97 database, created years ago by my current supervisor, that tracks assets, personnel, software, etc...

I have no FileMaker experience but have read all white papers, The Missing Manual, FileMaker help forums, etc... I keep hearing the same thing on each--inventory databases are complex and tricky.

I need to develop a database that tracks assets (based on an inventory tag each piece of equipment is assigned), software and hardware installed on the asset, patches, ports, services, and backups. I have all of my tables and relationships set up and I think I have done a fairly solid job there.

Turning that data into something we can add records to, edit, archive, run reports with...I'm at a complete loss. I'd like to know if anyone has any advice about examples, consultants who have done this type of database before, articles that I may not have yet found, that sort of thing. My supervisor has tentatively approved me bringing in a FileMaker consultant but I want to make sure I've exhausted all other possibilities first to try and save some budget money.



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Your very best thing here if you have the structure in place is to look at examples of what people have done. What you really are looking for is a workable interface. Lots of developers have either screen shots or movies of their programs in operation up on their sites. On mine there are three movies, two for nutrition programs and one for a series of CRM's and a set of screen shots. Others may chime in with their own examples.

In general things that I have found to be good:

1. Minimal icons - Text buttons are better for training. They shorten the learning curve tremendously

2. Don't enter data into portals. Use global fields on a form layout and then a script to (a) check that the data is complete and (??? to form the record in the applicable table and set the data.

3. A mix of linear versus lateral navigation.

An example of linear navigation is the back button on a browser. Lateral navigation is a set of tabs.

Try to use linear going from one discrete section of the program to another so that they know they are going somewhere different.

Once there, feel free to use tabs to open up that section as a unit.

This strategy keeps people from getting lost.

I am sure there are lots of other suggestions out there.


Dave McQueen

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