FileMaker Pro 8 – The Missing Manual

FileMaker is one of the most useful programs to all sorts of computer users. It is just off most people’s radar. This book should help to make it more accessible.
Filemaker book review

FileMaker Pro 8
The Missing Manual
By Geoff Coffey & Susan Prosser
O’Reilly Media, 2005
ISBN: 0-596-00579-2

So many of us need to track information in one way or another. Many of us do this on scraps of paper, some use card files or electronic equivalents, some their word processor or others Excel. But many of us do not think about using a database.

FileMaker is one of the two, big database products for desktop computers. The other is Access. However, while Access is a Windows only program, FileMaker is a cross platform application, running on both Mac and Windows. In addition many of us believe it is easier to use than Access.

This book sets out to take you from the very beginning with what is a database up to making serious applications using FileMaker. Chapters include:
*    Your First Database
*    Organizing and Editing Records
*    Building a New Database
*    Layout Basics
*    Creating Layouts
*    Advanced Layouts and Reports
*    Multiple Tables and Relationships
*    Advanced Relationship Techniques
*    Introduction to Calculations
*    Calculations and Data Types
*    Advanced Calculations
*    Extending Calculations
*    Scripting Basics
*    Script Steps
*    Advanced Scripting
*    Security
*    Exporting and Importing
*    Sharing Your Database
*    Developer Utilities

This book achieves all it sets out to do. The chapters gradually build your knowledge from what is a database to how to use FileMaker to the more advanced topics. It does this in a logical and excellent way, never leaving you struggling for understanding. You can dive into particular chapters or work through the whole book, doing the exercises yourself. The best way to use this book is to read some of it and then go to the computer and try what has been discussed.

I’ve used this book myself in building a complete database system to manage my web hosting clients and their hosting accounts and domain names. The key and area to concentrate on with this book is understanding just what a database is, how they are structured, table relationships and such. Once you have this worked out, the rest flows pretty easily.

So why might a reader of The Digital ImageMaker want to play with database software? Well, what about keeping track of your sales of artwork, your wedding photography clients, commercial photography clients, web site work or publication history of your images? If you are in business in any way in the image making area there are probably many ways that you can use a database. Filemaker is a great way to do this and this book will help you to do it.

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