Latest News

Not Whizzy Enough! - 06/11/2012

When we completed the first batch of smartphone apps for Patronus, they happily submitted them to the Apple and Android app stores. No problems at Android, the Apps were available for sale within a few days. Not so simple at Apple where after the customary 10 day wait, the Apps were rejected, basically for being technically too simple and lacking in iOS whizziness. Talk about being completely blindsided, none of us saw that coming!

So it was back to the drawing board and after a fairly intensive week or so of R&D, we had some whizzier Apps in both Apple and Android versions. Even better, the added features are really useful. The Apps feature a set of buttons that open a map, drop your GPS pin on to it and show you the locations of the nearest Police, Medical, Fire or Other services. Very handy in a tight spot.

The Future of Mobile - 06/11/2012

We downloaded this slideshow from BusinessInsider.com earlier this year. If you don’t yet know how mobile devices are going to change your world, you should read this. While it is no longer freely available on their website, there is a lot of other interesting information, just search on “Future of Mobile”.

To 3G or not to 3G - 01/10/2012

We’ve had a pretty conservative attitude to the wonders of accessing your data from anywhere across the 3G mobile networks. In our testing, 3G’s performance has been well under it’s marketing hype and the stability hasn’t been great either. But today, being caught short by a very secure network that prevented him from getting an outside connection, Matthew tethered his iPad to his Android smartphone to access our own cloud-based FileMaker solution. Our in-house system is like the proverbial builder’s house; it is at least 5 years old, was never built for wide area networking, let alone 3G optimization. But it worked. It was slow but it worked.

The Brilliance of Data Separation - 27/09/2012

Just about every new project we have built since 2007 has been based on the data-separation model. In a nutshell, we place all the data tables and the data in one file and just about everything else in another file. And here’s why;

In the previous story, about 90% of the changes were made in the interface file so when we came to upload the changes to the client’s production server we could;
1. Update the data file with some minor changes without disturbing the current users.
2. Log everyone off, replace the interface file with the new copy, log everyone back on. This took less than 5 minutes to integrate nearly 20 hours of programming. The alternative of laboriously cutting and pasting changes from our master files to the production files just doesn’t bear thinking about.

Ask Us! - 27/09/2012

We just did some amendments to an existing FileMaker system that has been in use for about 5 years. All in all it was a couple of thousand dollars worth, nothing too excessive. One of the new tweaks was actually really easy and yet when we demonstrated it, the response was that to them it was worth the total cost all by itself*.

Now this is a modification to support a business process that wasn’t even in the original 2007 specification, nor was this technique available back then. So we needed them to ask before we could say “Hey, there is a really easy way we can improve this for you now!”

*What was this piece of brilliance? We added a column to a filterable list and modified the filters to let it filter by any word in that column, not just the first word in each record. So simple and yet it will save them a lot of time.

New Server - 23/09/2012

We’ve installed a new FileMaker Server 12 machine at the ICONZ data centre in the Auckland CBD. For the technically minded this a dedicated co-hosted machine with a quad core processor, 8GB Ram and a 256GB SSD primary drive. Bang-for-buck it compares very favourably with a virtual server and connects via ICONZ’s 100mb fibre service. FileMaker Server 12 is itself a very significant upgrade on previous versions combining the new v12 layout architecture with a separated back-up engine and incremental backups. Combined, these technologies make the v12 server noticeably faster than our existing V11 server. All of this goodness is available to all our clients and is particularly suitable for those needing to access their FileMaker 12 solution from various locations. Prices start from $65 per month + GST. This is actually very competitive with running your own FileMaker Server internally so give us a call to discuss how we can assist.

New Apps-making Capability - 23/09/2012

This is really exciting! Using two new development platforms, Sencha and PhoneGap, we can now make light-weight Apps for smartphones including iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry. These don’t require FileMaker Go and have more limited functionality in some respects but are quick, light and relatively economic to develop. The first project we are engaged on is a suite of mini-manuals. They have a straight-forward index system and are basically designed to be just read but also have some functionality like the ability to make phone calls from within the App.

Record FileMaker Conversion - 23/09/2012

We’ve just run a test migration from a very old FileMaker v5 solution of 90 files, across v5 and into v12. In our experience that’s a record number of files for a FileMaker v5 solution (the working limit was supposedly 50 files) and easily the biggest conversion we have ever undertaken. Apart from the known v5-v7 issues, there have been no significant issues so far. That’s pretty incredible really and a real testament to FileMaker’s durability.

Monkeying Around with iPads - 17/09/2012

This is too cute. Orangutans communicating with iPads. Incidentally, while we didn’t do this project, we have developed our own drawing utility similar to that shown. Great for site sketches, medical diagrams and just plain fun!

Newbie - 17/09/2012

After a rigorous search for someone prepared to work for what we would pay, we’re delighted to welcome Aleks Beer to the team. When he’s not learning the marvels of FileMaker, Aleks jumps off cliffs and planes and rides just about every board known to mankind. He has also turned out to be a man of hidden coding talents, more on that soon…