Here at EvolvIT we are always striving to push the limits of what can be achieved with Filemaker in order to maximise the positive impact a Filemaker database system can have on an organisation. Outlined below are details a few of the recent developments that we have worked on.
One of the great features of Filemaker Server is it’s web hosting capability. We have recently worked on projects using both Instant Web Publishing and PHP publishing.
Instant web publishing is especially useful to allow external organisations safe access directly into your database system. We have used this feature to allow suppliers to tender for a project, allowing all of the tender information to readily accessible in the clients database without any data entry taking place. Most recently, we have used this feature to allow contractors to enter their timesheets directly into the clients database system, again removing the need for the client to perform manual data entry themselves from hand written or typed timesheets.
The PHP publishing capabilities of Filemaker are also incredibly useful, allowing any webpage to have safe access to data and processes stored within Filemaker system. This is especially useful for public facing websites. Recently we have used this feature to create a Medical Insurance quotation system that calculates quotes for web users based on the structure and processes within the Filemaker databases, which then delivers leads directly to the sales force with the user details and product requirements already entered into the system.
Another very useful feature of Filemaker is the ability to restrict access to records to only those users that are permitted to see or edit them. We have recently used this facility to great effect by allowing over 100 remote workers access into a Filemaker system that we host, with the remote users restricted to seeing only the records assigned to them, whilst allowing the users at the head office full access to everything. The system we have created also includes the facility for the remote workers to upload and download files that are attached to the database records.
Filemaker is feature packed and can generally achieve most of the requirements of a database system out of the box, however, if it can’t do something itself, it will be able to interface to a Filemaker plugin or external application that can. One project that we have worked on required a Suitability Letter to be automatically generated based on information entered in a Fact Find database. The document required was highly complex, involving 132 separate sections that may or may not be included in the final document depending on the entered data, within those sections there were multiple options on the wording of the paragraphs as well as having merged in data, including variable length tables and charts. Filemaker alone was not able to generate such a document, so we created an application called EvolvIT DocGen that interfaced with Filemaker to seamlessly export the required data, automate Microsoft Word and Excel to merge, combine and manipulate the templates to create a single final Word document – all at the press of a single button.
Filemaker on the IPhone
Filemaker have now released a version of the Filemaker software for the IPhone called Filemaker Go. This allows portable access into your Filemaker database. This is especially useful for salesmen out and about to get up to date information on prices and stock levels, and we have recently worked on a system that did exactly that.