FileMaker Pro 9: The Missing Manual
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: August 2007
Pages: 800

FileMaker Pro 9: The Missing Manual is the clear, thorough and accessible guide to the latest version of this popular desktop database program. FileMaker Pro lets you do almost anything with the information you give it. You can print corporate reports, plan your retirement, or run a small country -- if you know what you're doing. This book helps non-technical folks like you get in, get your database built, and get the results you need. Pronto.

The new edition gives novices and experienced users the scoop on versions 8.5 and 9. It offers complete coverage of timesaving new features such as the Quick Start screen that lets you open or a create a database in a snap, the handy "save to" buttons for making Excel documents or PDFs, the multiple level Undo and Redo commands let you step backwards through your typing tasks, and much more. With FileMaker Pro 9: The Missing Manual, you can:

  • Get your first database running in minutes and perform basic tasks right away.
  • Catalog people, processes and things with streamlined data entry and sorting tools.
  • Learn to use layout tools to organize the appearance of your database.
  • Use your data to generate reports, correspondence and other documents with ease.
  • Create, connect, and manage multiple tables and set up complex relationships that show you just the data you need.
  • Crunch numbers, search text, or pin down dates and times with dozens of built-in formulas.
  • Automate repetitive tasks with FileMaker Pro 9's easy-to-learn scripting language.
  • Protect your database with passwords and set up privileges to determine what others can do once they gain entry.
  • Outfit your database for the Web and import and export data to other formats.
Each chapter in the book contains "living examples" -- downloadable tutorials that help you learn how to build a database by actually doing it. You also get plenty of sound, objective advice that lets you know which features are really useful, and which ones you'll barely touch. To make the most of FileMaker Pro 9, you need the book that should have been in the box.
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FileMaker Pro 9 : The Missing Manual -- Review

By Tom Cremer

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly FileMaker Pro 9: The Missing Manual:

FileMaker Pro 9 : The Missing Manual/ Geoff Coffey and Susan Prosser

Pogue Press/O'Reilly Sebastapol, California 2007. US $34.99

"FileMaker Pro 9 : The Missing Manual" Review -- Thomas Cremer

Filemaker Pro is a database application (a program for storing any systematic collection of information) compatible with both Mac OS X and Windows and other platforms. It is known for being easy to use and powerful as well.

Filemaker was developed in the 1980's and is now very popular and adaptable, you don't have to be a "geek" or a programmer to use it. Home users to large corporations

such as NASA are amongst the millions of users of this database management system. Apple uses Filemaker as the database to handle customers and transactions to do with the online store, for example.

FMP can handle relational databases, which are collections of related files that share data like invoice numbers which link important transaction information together, such as customer, inventory, or shipping and handling data.

Geoff Coffey and Susan Prosser are the authors of this "Missing Manual" and their book helps novices to create their own databases, covering the changes in versions 8.5 and 9. FMP comes with printed and online documentation, but it is not as user-friendly or as detailed as the Missing Manual.

Coffey and Prosser have been developers and users of FMP for over ten years, and their language is simple, helpful and non-technical, just the ticket for "newbies" eager to learn.

The exciting thing about FMP is that users can begin with ready to go templates or so-called starter solutions, which are available for many common database needs. The book, published in August this year, covers old and new features of FMP thoroughly, with many examples and sample databases. For readers who prefer the PDF format, that version of the book is available on the website, advertised on the last page.

The first three chapters give the reader a quick tour of the main features of FMP, getting started on a simple contact management database, used to track useful details of people, organizing and editing records in such a database and designing a contact database from the perspective of the user.

The second part of this book discusses database structure, looking at layouts or views of records as used for different purposes. A computer database can generate tags, forms, envelopes, labels, reports and even mass mail-outs. FMP can now use links to information like shipping details found on the internet with the new webviewer function. Layouts and reports are covered in chapters 4,5, and 6.

Part 3 explains relational databases, a major strength of FileMaker Pro. This complicated section is systematically and expertly approached, something that cannot be adequately done by the online documentation of FMP alone.

Powerful calculations performed by database functions are introduced to the reader by chapters nine to twelve. Actually processing data is basic to FMP, doing all sorts of useful things like summing, analysing and comparing values. Functions done with numeric data include mathematical, financial and trigonometric processes. A scientific or statistical research background would be very useful to readers working on this aspect of database development. FMP can be a very sophisticated tool, useful for much more than routine business inventories. Data can be output in the form of PDF or Excel files.

Scripting is a form of programming which can automatically perform a series of steps working on database information to produce a useful, routine report. Scripting can be a tool for developing very specialized databases. Three chapters of the book are devoted to ever more complicated scripting examples, beginning with the basics and building up to advanced forms. Luckily for the novice database user, FMP can be used with about 40 different templates without necessarily requiring scripting skills. This Missing Manual book illustrates what a powerful tool FileMaker Pro can be in its latest incarnation, depending on the skills of the developers and the users.

Database security is about which users can access the database, what privileges they have while working with it (what aspects of the database they can modify), and who they can share information with. External sources of data like SQL and ODBC are discussed, data sharing over networks and the internet, and setting up a FileMaker server are all advanced topics covered in chapters sixteen to eighteen. FileMaker Pro 9 can now be integrated with external data sources such as Microsoft SQL servers, so FMP can talk to the rest of the information world.

The final chapter covers special programs for FMP developers, including database structures, and script debugging, or working out problems with scripting. The final sections on security and database development are fairly advanced, and everyday users of FileMaker Pro will not have to concern themselves too much with them. The beauty of this book is that it gives readers an overall view of issues involved in working with FileMaker Pro from the basics right through to advanced problems.

The appendices on Getting Help and FileMaker Error Codes are very useful, while the table of contents and the index are excellent for finding help as users work with FileMaker Pro 9.

This "Missing Manual" book well and truly lives up to the formidable reputation that this series of software books deserves, and authors Geoff Coffey and Susan Prosser are to be congratulated for tackling a complex topic so well. FileMaker Pro 9 users are thus given the confidence they need to work with this popular database software.

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