We are getting really close to releasing Studio Manager 8. It has a new look which took many woman hours to hammer out. It is based on FileMaker 8.5. So it's not for the faint of heart. It requires the commitment to purchase or upgrade to the very latest FileMaker technology that's only available in version 8.5.
When we created this new version, we had the choice to support FileMaker 8 but it really didn't make sense because FileMaker 8.5 included essential new features that, when taken advantage of, make Studio Manager a better tool.
The main feature we are running with in Studio Manager 8 is what FileMaker calls Tab Controls. Tab controls let you create a tabbed interface in minutes. Well, one tab interface, we've got a whole bunch of them and we put tab controls within tab controls, so it took us longer than a few minutes to re-do all our entry screens with the new tabs.
Tab controls were introduced in FileMaker 8 but they needed a few auxiliary features that didn't come out until 8.5. I've been wishing for an easy tab-making tool in FileMaker for years because they are essential when dealing with a lot of information. And, drum roll please, they look better now that they are native in FileMaker.
The interface of Studio Manager 7 was already modifiable. But, tab controls, make it falling-off-a-log easy. You can simply sit down and do it right now without breaking a sweat. It's like flipping a switch.
The advantage to our users is that you now have this amazingly flexible interface architecture to work with. You can say to yourself. I sure wish that those Studio Manager folks would have put the Tasks tab after the Estimates tab, and then just drag and drop to make it so. It takes about 30 seconds to add a whole new tab that you decide you want. Really.
By putting more tab controls on the screen, I can tuck away less frequently used functions and reference information. This helps create sanity. You don't have to see everything at once. Just the stuff that you think is important. We've set up the screens in Studio Manager with a lot less of the information shouting for your attention, but it's still safely tucked away if you should ever want it. And, you can drag items out from hiding in a back tab, if you need them. Drag and drop.
If we haven't hidden complexity to your satisfaction, you can make your own tab controls or extra tabs in a couple minutes and hide anything you want.
So, this new product is targeted for release on November 15th. We wanted you to have time to consider Studio Manager 8 before holiday madness sets in. We'll do our best to have the Studio Manager 8 demo ready for evaluation by November 15th as well.
There's lots to do to get this baby out the door, so I better get back to work. Even now at the eleventh hour, designers are working to put in some critical finishing touches. Stay tuned.