The big book for FileMaker Pro 11 

FileMaker Pro 11: the missing manual – “the book that should have been in the box” is about 900 pages long and, had it been supplied with the program, would have needed a quite large box. It will meet the needs of both the novice and the experienced user. Consequently, it will prove valuable when both initially using FileMaker and when developing more sophisticated applications.

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FileMaker Pro 11 is the latest version of a database program that has evolved over the years and is now an extremely versatile and sophisticated program. It is relatively straightforward to get started and yet has the advanced features to meet virtually every need. Consequently, even though one can get started rapidly because it is intuitive in operation and incorporates fairly extensive help features including a 150 page user guide  and a 94-page pdf tutorial as well as sample starter template files. That having been said, a paper manual is far more convenient to use.

Those new to databases almost invariably find the experience daunting. They know that the need one but they don’t really understand what it is and how to go about using it. Susan Prosser & Stuart Gripman who have written this book, as well as having many years experience of using FileMaker, have not lost sight of the problems faced by the beginner. Consequently, the opening chapters of the book cover the basics and there are step-by-step tutorials with many illustrations showing screens and pull down menus.

For the user who has mastered the basics, and can happily build a simple database, the book then covers searching techniques prior to going onto more advanced issues including field types and the use of different layouts including printing labels.

As users gain more knowledge and experience, and they need to make better use of their data, the chapters on calculations and scripts will prove of value – both at an introductory and at an advanced level – as will the chapter on reports and analysis.

The chapters on security are of importance to all users even though the chapter entitled “Sharing data with other systems” will seem to be only of interest to the corporate user at first sight. However, it explains how to import a folder of pictures or movies and even working directly with a digital camera. This could well be of interest to the keen photographer who wishes to learn how to develop an archive of all his photos incorporating a large amount of data and, equally important, be able to search and retrieve images as and when required.

At a cover price of £30.99 FileMaker Pro 11: the missing manual by Susan Prosser & Stuart Gripman pub. O’Reilly (ISBN: 978-1-449-38259-9) is not likely to be everyone’s impulse purchase. However, irrespective of whether one intends to use Filemaker for business or pleasure, data is valuable and one needs to make best use of it. Hence, this book merits serious consideration. This decision is made much easier as it can be bought on Amazon for £20.14.

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