Whatever happened to …

… Filemaker Pro?

Life was good for me working databases.  I became pretty proficient working with Microsoft Access and had so many things that were database-able tucked away in them.

Then, I started to work with a superintendent who was a Macintosh fanatic.  It was all or nothing there.  He liked his databases too and it’s important to share, right?  That pretty much made me sit down and learn how to program and convert my stuff to Filemaker Pro.  Before long, my work habits mirrored his because we shared so much.  Even things like form letters were done that way so that we could share that.  The standing joke was that you could tell who created the letter because the default font was different on Windows than it was on the Macintosh.

We also became competitive, trying to outscript each other in our work.  We’d add features to databases that nobody would ever use but it was fun just trying to outdo him.  In case he’s reading this, I never could outdo him.  But it was fun trying.

I had this huge database of Webquests that I ported over so that he could make reference to them but I also kept and maintained the Access version because I had it programmed to work on the web.  That’s the nice thing about the web – people don’t necessarily know or care what’s driving it.  They just look for results.

For the desktop, Filemaker Pro was very nice.  You could browse, create layouts, and preview all in one spot without going to another application.

Ontario Educators will have fond? memories of the electronic report card coming in Filemaker Pro format and then a company taking off and enhancing it.  It was the focus of so many of my workshops.  I swear that I could do them in my sleep!  I was fortunate enough to work with a couple of secretaries and an administrative assistant that learned the program inside and out.  I could start a project and email it to them and it came back incredibly sophisticated.  

I was also on the OSAPAC Committee that licensed the product for use by all Ontario teachers.  More workshops.  We had a favourite teacher who would always call in to see when the next File Pro Maker workshop would be.  Despite not knowing the name, she did amazing things with the program.

As with many things, Filemaker Pro continues to be under development and is now up to release 15 but it doesn’t appear in the current OSAPAC listing of software titles.  There are so many powerful alternatives – Excel, Google Sheets, SQL, If you want to see what’s up now, Filemaker is active on Twitter.

Where does it fit into Ontario education these days?

For this Sunday, some questions:

  • Have you ever developed a database application in Filemaker Pro?
  • Do you have a need for a database in the things you do on a computer?
  • What sorts of things do you collect that would be suitable for inclusion in a database?
  • If you’re not using a Filemaker Pro version, what are you using instead?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

As I said last Sunday, “I’m liking this Sunday post and want to make it a “Whatever happened to …” regular feature, at least until I run out of ideas!  I’ve put a link at the top of the page here so that you can see them all.  I’ve also added a link to a Padlet if you want to stir up stuff for me”.


OTR Links 05/29/2016

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.