Using Filemaker Pro for Development 
Author Message
 Using Filemaker Pro for Development

A friend has an single user app that was written in an older version
of Filemaker Pro.  The developer has gone under, and my friend needs
some major reworking, ie we will probably have to start from scratch.

How hard would it be for me to learn filemaker Pro.  I used to do a
lot of Foxpro for DOS apps.  I understand relational design very well,
but I have done very little development with any Windows packages.

My friend needs this:

1.  A prospect/customer databse to keep track of phone numbers,
addresses, etc.  He needs some fields to hold different info so he can
categorize his prospects and customers.

2.  He needs an inventory system to hold part info, desciption, price,
and quantity.  He does not have a lot of inventory so he is not
interested in anything complex.  He simply wants something to show how
much he has in stock and what he paid for it.  If he needs to adjust
quantites, he will do it by hand, ie he doesn't want purchase orders
or inventory valuation.

3.  He needs an invoicing system that allows him to call up a part,
calculate an extended price, ie 4 parts at $50 = $200, do sales tax,
and total everything.  He wants to be able to look up name and address
info.  And, here is the most important part, he needs to be able to
put in calculations that are fairly complex to determine his and other
sales reps commissions.  This last part is why he is not using an off
the wall package.  I don't know what the calculations are, but
evidently they are based on the types of part he sells, the size of
the order, and his monthly total sales.

4.  He wants to keep the invoices for reporting, so we need some
reports like who bought what, how long has it been since a customer
bought.

5.  He would like a word processing function or form letter function.
This way he can send out friendly reminders to people who haven't
bought in awhile.

6.  He would like to have labels for a newsletter to his prospects and
customers.

7.  It would also be nice, but is not critical, to have an email
capability if it isn't too complicated, ie expensive to program in.

I realize this is a rough spec, but what is the learning curve on
filemaker Pro?

And are there any Filemaker Pro pros out there who might like to quote
on doing this for us?  If so I can get you a more detailed spec.  My
friend thinks there are about 100 to 150 other sales reps like him
that might buy this.

Oh, and to keep costs down, can this be done in a runtime version of
some sort?  What is the costs for a developer's package and whatever
software packages I may need to buy if I choose to do the development?

Thanks for any help,
Al Frick



Wed, 05 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Using Filemaker Pro for Development

You probably won't like what I have to say, but, probably 90% should be
done with off the shelf stuff.

Quote:
>The developer has gone under...

Perfect example of why they should go pre-packaged

Quote:
>How hard would it be for me to learn filemaker Pro

- very easy, except for the little nuances that can really make the diff --
compared to other apps, very easy

Quote:
>My friend needs this:

>1.  A prospect/customer databse to keep track of phone numbers,
>addresses, etc.  He needs some fields to hold different info so he can
>categorize his prospects and customers.

Zillions of these out there prepackaged -- find one that fits his needs, is
widely available and been around awhile -- and has import/export abilities
for custom situations that may come up

Quote:
>2.  He needs an inventory system to hold part info, desciption, price,
>and quantity.  He does not have a lot of inventory so he is not
>interested in anything complex.  He simply wants something to show how
>much he has in stock and what he paid for it.  If he needs to adjust
>quantites, he will do it by hand, ie he doesn't want purchase orders
>or inventory valuation.

Again, use off the shelf stuff

Quote:
>3.  He needs an invoicing system that allows him to call up a part,
>calculate an extended price, ie 4 parts at $50 = $200, do sales tax,
>and total everything.  He wants to be able to look up name and address
>info.  

Still off the shelf stuff can do it and probably do it better

Quote:
>And, here is the most important part, he needs to be able to
>put in calculations that are fairly complex to determine his and other
>sales reps commissions.  This last part is why he is not using an off
>the wall package.  

Fine, export the data needed for the calcs to a custom solution and maybe
even reimport it to the off the shelf stuff --- but to go totally custom
just for this is imo a waste

Quote:
>4.  He wants to keep the invoices for reporting, so we need some
>reports like who bought what, how long has it been since a customer
>bought.

Again, simple simple with basic off the shelf stuff

Quote:
>5.  He would like a word processing function or form letter function.
>This way he can send out friendly reminders to people who haven't
>bought in awhile.

Again, very basic in zillions of off the shelf products

Quote:
>6.  He would like to have labels for a newsletter to his prospects and
>customers.

Again, very basic in zillions of off the shelf products

Quote:
>7.  It would also be nice, but is not critical, to have an email
>capability if it isn't too complicated, ie expensive to program in.

Again, very basic in zillions of off the shelf products, especially with
export/import solutions

Quote:
>I realize this is a rough spec, but what is the learning curve on
>filemaker Pro?

Very small -- but what you describe is complicated enuf to make it a major
undertaking if all done custom

Quote:
>And are there any Filemaker Pro pros out there who might like to quote
>on doing this for us?  If so I can get you a more detailed spec.  My
>friend thinks there are about 100 to 150 other sales reps like him
>that might buy this.

>Oh, and to keep costs down, can this be done in a runtime version of
>some sort?  What is the costs for a developer's package and whatever
>software packages I may need to buy if I choose to do the development?

A "FRIEND" ??  uhhuh - perhaps a sales rep looking to develop a custom app
for himself he can sell to other sales reps ??  mmmmmm ????

IMO, A true developer would look at at least $1,000 to $3,000 per major
module committment (be it per user or committed versions bought)



Wed, 05 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Using Filemaker Pro for Development

Quote:

> How hard would it be for me to learn filemaker Pro.  I used to do a
> lot of Foxpro for DOS apps.  I understand relational design very well,
> but I have done very little development with any Windows packages.

FMP is, without exception, the easiest relational DBMS I've ever
found to learn, and the best tool for prototyping relational
databases I've ever used.

But you MUST do it this way: RTFM.  Forget whatever it is you
actually want to do with the DBMS and work through the manual
page-by-page.  It'll take under a week.  Then you can pretty-much
throw-away the manual and just code.  If you don't do it this way
you'll end up trying to buy books on it because you'll be asking
the wrong questions.

Quote:
> My friend needs this:

> [snip]

I see no problem with any of this.

Quote:
> I don't know what the calculations are, but
> evidently they are based on the types of part he sells, the size of
> the order, and his monthly total sales.

Assuming that the required totals are available or can be
pre-calculated then I see no problem.

Quote:
> 5.  He would like a word processing function or form letter function.
> This way he can send out friendly reminders to people who haven't
> bought in awhile.

Form letters including fields from the database are trivial.

Quote:
> 7.  It would also be nice, but is not critical, to have an email
> capability if it isn't too complicated, ie expensive to program in.

How yo do it depends on whether you're using a Mac or a PC.  It's
trivial on Macs and I've heard of several solutions on a PC.

Quote:
> Oh, and to keep costs down, can this be done in a runtime version of
> some sort?  What is the costs for a developer's package and whatever
> software packages I may need to buy if I choose to do the development?

If you need a networked system you'll need to buy <n> copies of
the client.  The Developer Edition doesn't support networking.
If you just need to give out identical copies to people and they
don't need to be networked together, the Developer Edition can
be used to generate packages for both Mac and PC.

Simon.
--
<http://www.hearsay.demon.co.uk> | ... you start off with a typical message,
           No junk email please. | let's say a 2.5MB Word document containing
 ET may've phoned /us/.          | three lines of text and a macro virus ...



Thu, 06 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 Using Filemaker Pro for Development
I have to disgree with some of your thoughts.  Se below.



Quote:
> You probably won't like what I have to say, but, probably 90% should be
> done with off the shelf stuff.

> >The developer has gone under...
> Perfect example of why they should go pre-packaged

Perfect example of making sure the developer does not lock the
solution, making it no solution at all.  The freind would probably have
a product which could eassiably upgraded if not for a developer who did
not have faith in his/her own abilities.

Quote:
> >How hard would it be for me to learn filemaker Pro
> - very easy, except for the little nuances that can really make the diff --
> compared to other apps, very easy

FMP is easy and intuitive.  You could probably develop the solution
from the templates provided in the regular version.  With the help of
people on this list and others we could walk you through problems.  If
that is what you want to do.

An alternative to using the runtime version would be requiring those
whose use the solution to have a full copy of thier own. Then you don't
need to need to deal with binding and such.

Just my humble opinon.

Make sure any off the shelf solution is unlocked.

Steven Scharf
SCS Media Services
57 East 11th Street, 9th Floor
New York, New York 10003
212-822-8555

--
Posted via Talkway - http://www.talkway.com
Exchange ideas on practically anything (tm).



Sat, 15 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT
 
 [ 4 post ] 

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