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The Index Indexes makes finds and other features fast. Think of looking for a word in a book by flipping through each page. It’s much quicker to go to the index where it will tell you each page where the word is contained. This is exactly how an index works, it only stores each word once per field across all records. There are two types of indexing: Minimal and All. Minimal means only one index type has been created while All means two index types have been created. The most commonly used index type is a Word index and can only be created for text fields. Up to 100 characters of each word are indexed. Words are defined most often by spaces but can also be determined by commas, periods, colons and other characters. A word index does not differentiate between uppercase and lowercase. Searching for “FRED” also finds “fred”. A Value index is used for searching number, time and date fields as well as relationship key field matching. Up to 100 characters of each return-separated value are indexed. While searching can be done on partial text in a Word index, only complete values can be searched for in a Value index. When you think about it, why would you want to search for a partial number or date. Indexes are utilized in a variety of features other than finds such as value lists based on the contents of a field and unique validation. Understanding how an index works can help you better design a database.
Level: Intermediate Version: FileMaker 19 Category: General Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Quarterly Releases So far, I like it! I get the same amount of FileMaker but I don't have to wait a year to get it. Compare that to the three year gap in new FileMaker versions between FileMaker Pro 2.0 and 3.0. Sure, it was worth the wait but I'd rather get new technology now. And, frankly, the industry has completely changed, warranting more frequent releases to accommodate the fast moving world.
Not only do we get new FileMaker features faster but we get beta features to try out. This could never be done with yearly releases. Imagine Claris releasing a beta feature, getting customer feedback and possibly releasing the feature months later rather than years later. They've already tried it a couple of times already. The main feature was a new beginner experience for Macintosh users only.
Scroll down the article for the content on the "Quick Start Experience" if you are interested in the exact feature.
However, the point is, Claris is releasing a feature that isn't ready for prime time and they are completely open about it. Crazy, right? Crazy smart, I think. In fact, they did the same thing with the ability to create your own Add-Ons. They introduced the feature silently in FileMaker 19.0. There's no mention of it but developers are clearly creating their own Add-Ons. That's because this feature is really a beta release and way too difficult for beginners. They officially released them in FileMaker 19.1 but there's no menu item or button to activate the feature. It's a fairly complicated procedure that will undoubtedly be streamlined in the near future. The best information can be found at DBServices:
Again, this is really a pre-release feature. Sure, you can create your own Add-On for FileMaker but is it easy? The answer is "No" which is why you don't see the feature being advertised or promoted in any way. On the other hand, we all get to try it out sooner rather than later and provide feedback that can be incorporated in one of the quarterly releases. I like the direction all this is going!
The Book is Dead I've been talking, behind the scenes mostly, about how publishing books in the FileMaker market is a thing of the past. I think I even mentioned it in a couple PodCasts. When Claris went to yearly releases in 2015, the book market for FileMaker continued to limp along. Sure, there were new books published but most people were unwilling to spend time on an advanced book since it would be updated soon after it was finished. There were still some FileMaker beginner books out there but nothing geared towards a developer or a budding developer. Certainly not the number of titles everyone was used to seeing when there were multiple years between releases.
Then came quarterly releases. How is anyone supposed to write a book in three months, LOL. The book is dead! No more flipping through pages on the toilet or while lying in bed. Sure, you could get an electronic book and read it on your mobile device but electronic distribution is almost as bad off simply due to the time restrictions. From personal experience, it took six months to write a developer level book Scriptology - FileMaker Pro Demystified.
The only real solution is publishing in small chunks. That means blogs and videos are the only way to get technical information out there in a fast moving world. In fact, I'm even a victim of the brave new world. I started writing a book to follow up Scriptology but stopped after finishing about twenty-five percent because I came to the realization that I would never finish it before I had to revise it. I took all the content and poured it into the first year of this blog.
Public Speaking Public speaking takes a lot of preparation time if you want to make an impact. For DevCon, it takes weeks of time researching, creating slides and example files, rehearsing and traveling. I spoke at DevCon at least a dozen times but hung up my hat for many reasons but mostly because it took a month out my business life. I determined I could do much more with that month producing videos, writing articles, working with clients and creating content for my blog and download site.
I think Eric Matthews sent me dozens of emails asking me to speak at DIGFM (Developer Innovation Group in FileMaker) in Santa Clara. I kept telling him I don't do that stuff anymore but he never stopped. So, I relented and spoke on October 5th, 2020 about the Philosophy of FileMaker covering:
Conditional Tab Control
Never say never is my philosophy but many thanks to Eric Matthews for never stopping. I had a great time and would definitely make another visit to DIGFM. But, I have lots to say whether it's verbally or written or by example:
Claris Engage 2020 Formerly known as the FileMaker Developer Conference, or "DevCon" for short, the Claris Engage conference took a sharp turn in 2020. The name change was due to Claris purchasing Claris Connect but the change in direction was mostly due to the pandemic. Sure, the content is great as you can see from the videos that remain available to the public free of charge:
What's missing is the best part, which is meeting with people. Maybe you sit down at lunch and meet someone at the table who's working in the same field as you. You could also have a chance encounter at the bar and get a problem solved. Bonds from the events at DevCon last decades. You just never know what's going to happen when people get together. When they don't, you just get content :(
I would expect Claris Engage to be virtual again in 2021 but it's hard to say until we get there. There's no announcement at the Claris Engage web site, just information about Nashville 2020 (which never happened):
I tired to present links here but the videos are not very well organized on YoutTube. I'll let you guys take a crack at finding the correct language.