The FileMaker Approach
An Easy Learning Curve
Experienced MS Access users will have no trouble building a new database with FileMaker. Tasks such as setting new field properties and restricting the type and format of data are similar to MS Access, but are menu driven. Like MS Access, field attributes can be controlled both at the table and layout design. The Screenshot below illustrates the field design interface in FileMaker:
Layouts vs. Forms and Reports
FileMaker database architecture differs from MS Access once you get past the the table-building process. Specifically, after the first table is ready, FileMaker generates its first layout or form-like "object" that serves as an input form, report or data viewer. FileMaker uses the same layout for data entry forms as it does for reports. Layouts have three views: design, browse, and find:
♦ The design view allows for editing the design of the layout. Layout designs are similar to the MS Access form and report and have header, body and summary sections. Layout design is intuitive and similar in its user interface to MS Access.
♦ The find view is used to search for records displayed by the layout.
♦ The browse view displays the active records. Scripts vs. Queries and Macros
A FileMaker Script is much like a combination Access query and macro. Scripts are an array of embedded commands that FileMaker uses to run a database in a variety of ways. Among a vast variety of uses, scripts can be attached to a "switchboard" layout to run a FileMaker application; they can embedded in buttons on layouts in the same way Microsoft Access uses buttons on forms, or they can be used for display sorts or finds when a layout opens.
The screenshot below is an example of a simple sort script that can be executed every time a specific layout is opened: