Relational databases, of which FileMaker™ is one of the best, are built around relationships.  Yes, I know that is obvious if you understand relational databases, but not everybody does.   For those who only have a very vague idea of what relationships are, below you will see the relationship graph for a reservation system that I’ve designed.


The purpose of showing this is not that you need to understand it but for you to realize how complex, and involved, the work is that goes on behind the scenes to produce a program that does everything the user needs it to do with a minimum of effort. Each table occurrence (TO) is there for a specific purpose and reason.  Is it an optimum structure for the requirements that it needs to fit?  Probably not.  Does it work flawlessly?  Yes, it does.  Could it be better?  Yes, of course, but of course that depends on the skill of the individual developer and there are some incredibly skillful developers out there.  

Now, please bear in mind that creating the structure of the program (as shown here) which includes adding all of the tables and fields required is only going to take approximately 15% of the entire development time; about the same amount of time is spent in discovery – finding out what the user needs.   The rest of the time is spent designing the screens and writing all of the scripted routines that perform the magic; this part of the program all comes under interface design.  Although many people think that the interface is just what the user sees, it is far more than that; it is much more accurate to say that it is the tip of the iceberg where what you see is only about 1/3 of what is there.

This particular program represents over 300 hours of development time and many months of work.  So when somebody tells you that they can build you a FileMaker™ program in just a few hours, they are either telling you what they think you want to hear or they don’t know what they are doing.  Unless, of course what you want is absolutely simple which is about as rare as finding a snowball in hell.

P.S.  If you thought this post was about human, or interpersonal, relationships, I’m sorry to have disappointed you but I have absolutely no idea how they work <grin>.

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