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CobaltSky

New FileMaker Book Released!

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CobaltSky

Okay, so I've been making myself a bit scarce around these parts in recent times. But here's my excuse - I've been toiling away writing a huge bunch of stuff about FileMaker, for incorporation in a new book, which has been published this month.

 

The book I've been working on is an end-to-end rewrite of the FileMaker Pro Bible, published by Wiley & Sons. The whole thing has been redone from scratch for FileMaker 9. You'll find it on the Amazon site here:

A big part of the intention with this exercise was to try to create a book that begins with the basics but moves up through to a lot of the much more challenging things that FileMaker is capable of, providing the sort of content that will be really useful when you "hit a wall". So the material in the later chapters of the book will be of interest to power-users and professionals, as well as talented amateurs.

 

Because the earlier chapters of the book assume no prior knowledge (of FileMaker or even of databases - we do assume you know how to use a computer...) it should also be useful for novice and occasional users, providing a single point of access to a wide range of information, skills and techniques.

 

So now you know what I've been doing with my "spare time" for the last year or so! smiley-wink

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HBMarlowe

Congratulations, Ray. I look forward to checking it out. Welcome back to the Cafe!

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CobaltSky

Thank you, HB.

 

Meanwhile, just an added note to say that I've been able to obtain the book's Table of Contents in pdf form, and thought I'd post a link here in case anyone would like to take a look:

 

Table of Contents (pdf)

 

It's 25 pages, so there is a fair amount of detail about the material covered. smiley-smile

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_henry_

Hi Ray,

 

Congratulation to you for releasing the book. Will the book be available only in hard copy or will it also be available in e-book?

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CobaltSky

Hi Henry,

At this stage, the publisher has not committed to making the book available in alternate media, so for the present it's hard copy.

 

I don't think the option has been ruled out, though, so if there is any change on that front I'll let you know.

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CobaltSky

To mark the release of the FileMaker Pro 9 Bible, NightWing Enterprises has made available a free demo of the standard version of our uID system for FileMaker Pro. The technique is as described in the FileMaker Pro 9 Bible (ref: Chapter 15 - Maintaining Referental Integrity).

 

The uID system allows you to efficiently create unique key values for records in your databases, safe in the knowledge that duplicate values will not be created, even if records are generated simultaneously in multiple stand-alone copies of your database. The resulting record sets can be subsequently merged without fear of key conflicts.

 

The uID system comprises a set of four custom functions. The first custom function generates the uID values, which contain the NIC address, the recordID (up to a billion records) and the current timestamp. For compactness, these values are concatenated and encapsulated in a base 36 encoded format (an alphanumeric string represented as four sets of five characters).

 

The remaining three functions are provided for diagnostic purposes and allow you to extract the embedded values (NIC address, recordID and timestamp respectively) from a given uID.

 

This new unlocked demo makes it possible for you to use the supplied custom functions in your own solutions. Additional information and links for the free download may be found via the demos page on our web site at:

 

http://www.nightwing.com.au/FileMaker/demos.html

 

.

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LingoJango

Hey, Ray,

 

Amazon.co.uk can't seem to get hold of your book - can you help it along or shall I cancel the UK order and go via the US? Where's the Commonwealth connection when it's needed?

 

smiley-undecided

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CobaltSky
Hey, Ray,

 

Amazon.co.uk can't seem to get hold of your book - can you help it along or shall I cancel the UK order and go via the US? Where's the Commonwealth connection when it's needed?

 

smiley-undecided

Hard to advise you on that - I've not yet been able to get a clear answer about when Amazon UK's shipments will arrive.

 

Certainly, the book is available and shipping from Amazon in the US. So it is possible (but not guaranteed) that you'd get it sooner if you cancelled the UK order and had it shipped to you from the States.

 

Sorry I don't presently have a definitive answer for you on this.

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harryglos

Greetings Ray and Fellow Fine Feeling FileMaker-In's,

 

I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath, that’s a fisherman who puts worms in their mouth before baiting the hook,smiley-wink for my review of Ray’s “FileMaker Pro 9 Bible” and you won’t have long to wait.

 

Unlike others who have merely skimmed the book, I kind sir and madam, have read every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every page, completed every exercise and divined the meaning, the nuance and the overall flavor of the entire publication. smiley-laughing

 

I know what you’re thinking “Harry… You don’t mean someone would buy Ray’s book before you review it do you”? I can only tell you I’ve heard rumors to that effect! smiley-cry

 

Ray obviously recognized the importance of my review when he sent me a pre-release copy of "FileMaker Pro 9 Bible" for only $99.95 and sent it via SledEx at no additional charge! smiley_cool

 

Ray and I are of course close personal friends so as you’d expect he added a personal note to the first page of his book and I hope Ray will not mind that I share it with you. "Harry, when I think of you as a FileMaker Developer I really don’t have to think at all. Ray"! See what I mean? "Close and Personal"! smiley-laughing

 

Harry

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LingoJango

Hi, Ray, received the book and it's helped over a couple of difficult spots as well as outlining some obscure-but-relevant points very clearly. Thanks! The "Managing global dependencies" section was really great, and generally speaking I really like it that you go into the pros and cons of the choices a designer is faced with, rather than merely advocating one approach over another.

 

Not sure I'd recommend it to an absolute beginner, though. I think they need more hand holding.

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CobaltSky
Hi, Ray, received the book and it's helped over a couple of difficult spots as well as outlining some obscure-but-relevant points very clearly. Thanks! The "Managing global dependencies" section was really great, and generally speaking I really like it that you go into the pros and cons of the choices a designer is faced with, rather than merely advocating one approach over another.

 

Not sure I'd recommend it to an absolute beginner, though. I think they need more hand holding.

Thanks for your comments. Good to hear you've been able to get something out of the book!

 

As far as absolute beginners go, the way the book is designed it's kind of like several books in one. The first 260 pages is all that would be useful to a beginner first up. Then they most likely will want/need to go away and work with it for a bit and come back when they are ready to go deeper. The idea is that the book remains useful along the journey up to higher levels of understanding.

 

Tricky to do - but that was the aim... smiley-smile

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atlascott

Congratulations on releasing the book!

 

It is a great book, but maybe not the best choice for beginners!

 

Once you have mastered the basics, though, I found found it to be the best book out there for showing alot of tips and tricks for the more experienced developer--stuff that it would take a million years to figure out, but really neat elite developer approaches to problems we often have in db design and implementation.

 

It is the third FM book Ive read (Missing Manual for 9 and the FM9 Special Edition--both okay but more basic books) -- and it is definitely the best for the more experienced of us. I mean, literally, within the first 2 or 3 days of going through the book, I used 3 or 4 of the approaches I found in the book in the db I am working on. You just do not get that sort of advanced 'instant fix' many places.

 

I found it a bit hard to read in places, but that's bc I am a newcomer.

 

All in all, great book. Essential purchase.

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sonny01

Ray, love your book, as a novice/intermediate. Filled with tons of great info not found in "manual"-type books. Great discussions. And, importantly, very clearly written.

 

The print is gray instead of the normal black print. Did I get a bad printing?

 

Sonny

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CobaltSky

Hi Sonny,

Thanks for your comments. I'm pleased to hear that as a novice/intermediate reader you've found the book clear and helpful. That was certainly the intention.

 

Meanwhile, I agree that the inking in the first print run is a bit pale. In fact I've already raised this with the publisher and I'm told they're looking into it for future printings.

 

However, I hope that on balance, you've found that the content makes up for the lightness of the ink!

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CobaltSky

Hi All,

Everyone who's already read their copy of the FileMaker Pro 9 Bible, will most likely have noted the mention (Ch13, pp470-472) of passing more than one parameter to your scripts.

 

Together with Custom Functions and Recursion (discussed (Ch18, pp627-635), it becomes possible to devise some easy and very effective ways to work with multiple parameter values (as name/value pair strings) and access the values as required within your scripts. Very useful.

 

I've recently released a demo of an extended technique for passing multiple parameters to scripts and automatically converting them to local variables using a Custom Function. The function need only be called only once on the first line of each script. It's very straightforward and compact.

 

You can get a copy of the (free) demo via a link on the demos page of the NightWing Enterprises web site. More info (and pix etc) are provided on the demo file's download page.

 

The demo file is unlocked, but please note that the technique is advanced - and also, you need a copy of FileMaker Pro Advanced in order to access the Custom Functions, or install them in your own files. smiley-smile

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Molson
Hi All,

You can get a copy of the (free) demo via a link on the demos page of the NightWing Enterprises web site. More info (and pix etc) are provided on the demo file's download page.

 

Hi Ray,

 

Thanks for the new demo, but the URL is off by a /.

 

Should be URL="http://www.nightwing.com.au/FileMaker/demos.html", I think.

 

Michele

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David Head

I fixed it smiley-wink

Thanks for that Michele.

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CobaltSky

I appreciate you catching that Michelle! smiley-smile

 

And thanks also to David for the speedy edit. smiley_cool

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Josh Ormond

Picked up your book the other day.

 

Fantastic presentation of the material. It's always nice when the author can cite real life examples of the application of the principles at work. Too many books only present the idea and say "...with that you can modify it to do anything you want...".

 

Not that a statement like that isn't true, but good examples get you moving quicker because you see actual relevance.

 

Can't say I agree with the couple post that say this book isn't for beginners. While some of the ideas are a little more advanced, by the time you get to them (assuming you were testing the techniques out on an actual database) you are at least familiar with how a database works.

 

And another side note...its nice to have examples that actually work. I picked up another book last year, and half of the examples didn't work they way they were presented. Even the sample files that you could download, either didn't work or weren't setup the same as they were written in the book.

 

Kudos!!! Love your book. One of the best in the "Bible" series I have ever used.

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CobaltSky

Hi Josh,

Good of you to chime in - and I appreciate your comments. I certainly agree that examples have an important role to play to make the theory "real and relevant" - and they *must* work and match the descriptions in the text or else it really defeats the purpose (except perhaps that they may show you what *not* to do!).

 

It was certainly the intent to have the book provide value to developers without ignoring the needs of novice and intermediate users - and I must admit it was a challenging goal. It's great to know that you feel it achieves that.

 

All the best,

Ray

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oldmrt

I have just moved into a new role as database administrator at my school and was recommended your book as a reference. I have found your set out and explanation easy to follow and understand and is helping me with fundamentals. smiley-smile

 

Richard

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Leoff

Spare time? Ha...we ALL know better...

 

Leoff

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