I discovered a new FileMaker blog today that looks good. I'll probably have some more soon as I search for what's available these days. This FileMaker blog is called Bits and Pieces and it is written by Mikhail Edoshin who has been a FileMaker developer for about 8 years. The photo here is of Mr. Edoshin.
At first glance, Mikhail's blog seems to mainly have explanatory posts about various FileMaker calculations. But, there are some longer articles if you go back a little ways. The post I found most useful was called FileMaker field naming conventions written on November 6, 2005. Mikhail says that he's tried very complex naming schemes in the past but has decided that simple, natural-sounding field names like First Name are better than the coded ones. He explains why.
A couple other posts I thought looked especially interesting were Merge Expressions and Custom functions to simplify reading the current state of modifier keys.
All of this content is valuable and should be on your required reading list if you are a FileMaker developer or intermediate to advanced user. The value a developer like Mikhail can add is all the real-world, in the field detail and context that isn't provided in the online help or user manual.
Instead of merely responding to a filemaker forum question, a FileMaker blogger is choosing among his wide experience and picking something he thinks is worth sharing with a wider audience. Generally speaking, you can expect the shared item will have value to the community whereas a forum question might apply to only a few other FileMaker folks.
These experience-based reports and explanatory articles are really valuable. At minimum, they (1) give you a different slant on something you've read before, (2) remind or introduce you to functions and aspects of FileMaker development that you may not have found or thought about on your own and (3) provide extra commentary based on road-testing in the real world.
Blogs can add a lot to the FileMaker community. And some FileMaker developers, who may have previously relied on static web pages are, like Mikhail, have started blogging. Blogs, comprised of chronological posts, are convenient to create and operate, tell users what is most current, have great automatic archiving features and are linkable by post rather than whole web page.
A blog is much easier to maintain, gives you more Google juice due to the metadata it provides automatically and offers the ability for users to interact via comments. While providing a great service, Mr. Edoshin also introduces himself to colleagues and prospective clients. Speaking for myself, blogging is a great way to contribute and participate in the FileMaker community and incidentally gets the word out about you and your FileMaker business.
Prior to establishing Bits and Pieces in September, Mikhail created a website in 2000 that was devoted to filemaker. Some of that material may be migrated over to the blog over time but I wasn't clear that any has been migrated so far. If you would like to take a look a Mikhail's previous contributions about FileMaker, check out his Onega Software: FileMaker from the other side website.