Although FileMaker Pro (FMP) -- the best-selling free-standing data management program -- provides a truly excellent instruction manual, practical tutorials, and the best Help features around (take note Microsoft!), the program has so many features and possibilities that a structured learning experience can only help you move up smoother and faster. I've tried other FMP books, but was disappointed by their slap-dash make-over compilation of unstructured tips and tricks (see my other review).
Jon Star, a former entertainer who started out by booking his shows with FMP and streamlining his wife's business, is now a full-time FMP developer with years of experience. He shares that experience with flair, style and wit -- taking you through the basics (with tutorial files on the CD-rom easing much of the drudgery) up to mid-intermediate level. [For instance, I'm now converting my original Access files to FMP using ODBC.] All along, he comes up with tips for speeding repetitious steps. Clearly, this book is well-planned, well-written, well-organized and not at all dull (without resorting to cutesy Dummy-book 'humor'); Mr Star, quite obviously, has spent a great deal of thought, time and effort to make this book both useful and attractive to the reader. It outshines other FMP starter books by orders of magnitude. Jon works you hard, but you don't seem to mind as progress is swift and mostly painless. Jon Star is a five-star author and educator.
The FMP 6.0 learning guide (which covers XML if you care) will be out in Fall 2002, and should be as good if not better.