FileMaker Pro 12: The Missing Manual – A big but easy how-to guide by two experts – #bookreview #database

FileMaker Pro 12: The Missing Manual
Susan Prosser and Stuart Gripman
(O’Reilly,
paperbackKindle)

The good news is: “FileMaker Pro is the ease-of-use champion.” It avoids common database “jargon words like query, join, and alias.” Instead, the two authors state, it uses “simple concepts like find, sort, and connect.”

So, if it’s so simple, why does this book weigh three pounds and have 924 pages?

Two reasons, both good. The authors – each are FileMaker Pro Certified Developers — do a fine job of explaining the package, from the basics to the most advanced features. And they illustrate their points with a generous number of screen shots, lists of steps, and other learning aids.

“FileMaker Pro databases,” they point out, “can be as simple as a list of the things you need to pack when you’re camping (complete with pictures!) or as complex as a company-wide system for purchasing, sales, inventory, invoicing, shipping, and customer tracking. But all of them essentially work the same way.”

FileMaker Pro 12: The Missing Manual has six parts, and the first two parts (encompassing four chapters and 172 pages) explain and demonstrate how to get started with the software and use it to build and improve your first database.

In Part 3, you move past the beginner stage and into creating and maintaining a relational database, plus handling such choices as field options, layout mechanics, calculations, and using scripts. In Part 4, you learn how to start thinking like a relational database developer and using FileMaker Pro Advanced. Part 5 focuses on database security and integration issues, including managing accounts, sharing databases over the Internet and sharing data with other systems. Part 6 contains four useful appendices, including definitions of FileMaker error codes.

In a powerful package like FileMaker Pro 12, there are plenty of choices and capabilities to explain, and there are few ways to be reasonably “complete” without ending up holding a big pile of how-to pages.

Despite its heft and thickness, however, this excellent Missing Manual is structured to help you move forward at your own pace — whether you want to learn it all or just enough to scrape by at a new workplace.

Si Dunn