Some months ago I set out to review FileMaker Pro version 10. I’ve used earlier versions of FileMaker and built an invoice system which I’ve used for the last ten years to handle the billing for my freelance journalism business.
The invoice system converted to FileMaker Pro 10 without a hitch, but I wanted to give the software more of a workout and try a different project. So I rebuilt my List of New Zealand media people and organisations on Twitter as a relational database.
In the original list I grouped names under various headings, but some people qualify under more than one heading, so I wanted to build a relational database which could be sliced and diced, but which specifically could treat headings as tags to reorganised the entire list in a more useful format.
I’d already been through this process using Microsoft Access 2007 to build the NZ media people on Twitter list. Although there were problems with using Access 2007 the basic database design was trivial, it took me less than a couple of hours to covert the HTML list into a Excel spreadsheet, import the list into Access, create extra tables, make the relational database links and pretty things up for the web.
FileMaker Pro is often easier to use than Access, but this time it wasn’t the best tool for the job. I went through the same basic steps, but couldn’t figure out how to use FileMaker to build the tags. I’m sure it is doable, but there’s nothing intuitive about structuring databases and in this case, I found Access way easier.