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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book for beginner, intermediate & advanced FileMaker developers, 24 Jun 2008
By 
Chaim Bacon (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: FileMaker Pro 9 Bible (Paperback)
As an advanced developer, I initially wondered how much I would benefit from this 735 page tome, but was pleasantly surprised; I would even go further and say that I was astounded! There is just so much information here that I still find I'm able to learn something new almost every time that I pick it up.

No familiarity with FileMaker is assumed, although a basic acquaintance would be helpful and you probably wouldn't be reading this book if you hadn't already dabbled with FileMaker at least a little bit. The main sections of this book are as follows: The Fundamentals, Introduction to Database Design, Beyond the Basics, Integrity and Security and finally, Raising the Bar. Each section includes chapters covering pretty much everything you would ever want to know... and then some!

Unlike some other books that I've read about FileMaker, this one is not a repetition of the FileMaker Help file; it does not list every function and script step in alphabetical order, explaining what each one does. Rather it takes those very features and demonstrates ways of using them to help improve your development skills. Furthermore, the author's insights into the way that FMP functions `under the hood' actually appear throughout the book as tips, further enhancing your own knowledge. These demonstrations and tips put you, the developer, in a far better position to then know how best to design and develop your own solutions.

The chapters are well organised, but I'm not keen on some of the arrangements used within chapters; they sometimes seems to wander off on a tangent or two before getting to the point. However, to be fair, FileMaker is a complex beast and as we all know, there are more often than not, twenty seven different ways to address a single challenge. Therefore, praise where praise is due, this book shows you the many different ways to approach any challenge and should arm you with the knowledge to choose which method is the best one.

Worth almost more than the book itself, are the many sophisticated demonstration files that the author refers to throughout the book. These files demonstrate and improve upon the techniques in the book and greatly enhance your ability to understand the concept being presented. Your immediate reaction when downloading many of these files will probably be, "I didn't know you could do that in FileMaker!" and then you'll spend hours ignoring your wife and kids learning exactly how it works and replicating it in your own solution.

The only chapter I felt could have been improved was the one about Custom Functions, a much undervalued feature of our chosen development platform. If you don't already know, FileMaker Pro Advanced is required to create and edit custom functions, although once created they can then be used in FileMaker Pro as well. The author explains what custom functions do, how they work and provides several basic examples, but the examples are of little use in every day database development. Some samples of more useful custom functions would have been beneficial and will hopefully be included in a future edition. No need to wait however, since there is a excellent source of useful custom functions at Brian Dunning's website.

There is a wise saying, "Give a man a fish and you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime". This book is not a fish, it teaches you how to fish, or in FileMaker terms, how to become a knowledgeable and self-sufficient developer. My minor quibbles aside; I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Filemaker Book since Scriptology, 15 July 2008
By 
Nick Lightbody (Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: FileMaker Pro 9 Bible (Paperback)
FileMaker Pro 9 Bible

I have scanned through some of the mighty tome received a few days ago and rapidly concluded it is the best Filemaker book I have bought since Scriptology in 1998 - this great compliment is well earned.

I have bought very few Filemaker books over the last 10 years or so that I have been engaged in working with Filemaker full time as most computer books of this genre unashamedly recycle the manufacturer's own documentation and, if you are lucky, add a few elements of insight or creativity - hence are generally of little value given that Filemaker's own built in help is generally very good.

The Filemaker 9 Bible is different in that it offers both lucid enhancement of the Filemaker documentation and normal features together with many genuinely creative explanations and techniques of real and significant value.

I am sure that it will influence and inform my own approach to development for the better.

There are a few less positive reviews on Amazon.com which complain the Bible is too technical and demands that the reader follow instruction on how to build various aspects of a Filemaker Application.

This view is difficult to understand. Ray Cologon is in my view one of the best and most lucid communicators regarding the use of Filemaker stuff generally. Whilst others may hide behind sloppy language he is very good at communicating about sometimes necessarily complex matters clearly and concisely.

His approach in providing precise instruction in how to use the techniques he has documented seems ideal since he is providing real value with this knowledge transfer.

This book is head and shoulders above other works aiming to give an overview of the use of Filemaker Pro in the real world and as such is very welcome.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars as good as it gets, 8 Feb 2009
By 
Michael Croft (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: FileMaker Pro 9 Bible (Paperback)
Not much too add to the other reviews except to confirm that this is not only the most outstanding and inspiring book yet published on Filemaker, but probably the best software guide I have ever owned. I'm a full time Filemaker developer, and this book is a total joy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book you need when you exhaust the others, 30 Nov 2008
By 
C. M. Gill (Bath, UK) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: FileMaker Pro 9 Bible (Paperback)
I've been developing in-house FileMaker systems for about a decade, and have lately been making more use of third-party books to take me beyond what the help system and FM pdf manuals provide. For a couple of years I have been using the Missing Manual book, and find it generally helpful - but have increasingly been finding that it doesn't go far enough.

This "Bible" is in a different league. Within minutes of opening this book I was finding techniques that will improve my solutions, and I can see that the volume will soon be plastered with post-it notes identifying key passages that I want to explore further and make use of - for example, in improving functionality of portals (which I use a lot) and improving the structure of relationship graphs.

The authors are a bit two-faced about their target audience: "If you want to create database solutions ... you're the target audience for this book" makes it sound like all things to all men. But this is followed by: "Whether you're a serious amateur ... a professional managing data ... or a developer building solutions to sell ... FM Pro 9 Bible can help you attain your goals". The key word in the second part is "serious". The book is really aimed at people like me, who want to go beyond what is documented in the other reference material I have mentioned above. If you're starting out with FM, get the Missing Manual and progress to this later.

Although the book runs to 700 pages, hardly any of it is wasted on the kind of "reader-friendly" padding that soaks up space in so many American texts. No chummy anecdotes, no totally unhelpful metaphors, no end-of-chapter summaries of what the chapter has covered. Just clear, carefully constructed text and screenshots.

The book is not a visual treat - it follows American norms in this area, being printed on rubbish paper with the result that black (the only ink) is never really black. With most headings employing grey tints, the whole thing looks grey. But I can live with that.

Although I consume technical books at quite a rate, I am rarely motivated to post a review. This is an exceptional book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book loves FileMaker and developers, 9 Aug 2008
By 
Katherine Russell "Russellware, Inc." (Orlando, FL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: FileMaker Pro 9 Bible (Paperback)
Adding my kudos to the reviews so far...

Ray Cologon is the best mind in FileMaker today, and has been for a long time. Ray's depth of knowledge makes each section of this book riveting. While you might not read it like a novel, it is worth reading every word, because not one is wasted.

The book provides an essential and thorough explanation of both the simplicity and power of FileMaker, making it invaluable for developers at every stage. It also offers the insights of a unique, dedicated, and generous thinker. As I both skimmed and read in depth, I felt that, through this book, Ray wants all FileMaker developers to succeed by knowing both the steps and the thinking behind them, and by using our imagination to apply this knowledge to our own particular situations.

Thanks for all the hard work, Ray!
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FileMaker Pro 9 Bible
FileMaker Pro 9 Bible by Dennis R. Cohen (Paperback - 28 Mar 2008)
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