I guess I am a risk taker or just an idealist. I want all my Studio Manager customers to learn enough FileMaker to be dangerous. I want you to kick the tires, try things, duplicate stuff, create scripts, add fields and create lots of new reports. I want and give you permission to delete, yes, delete, the pieces of Studio Manager that are in the way.
Before I continue, I want to be clear about one thing. I don't think everyone in your shop needs to be dangerously smart with FileMaker. I just want to make sure that you don't miss out on one of the biggest advantages of FileMaker. In a turbulent world, you need a responsive tool that will allow you to move quickly and get what you want. I don't mean to convert everyone in your shop to be FileMaker tinkerers. One person in your shop or work group who has acquired intermediate FileMaker skills is all you need to get a lot more value.
It is too bad that, for the most part, only my customers who have had previous experience with FileMaker are as dangerous as I would like all my customers to be. Studio Manager is designed to be your mission critical application. It has to be right for you. It is built in the most user-friendly and accessible database available. FileMaker has risen to the top of the database world because it allows users to get what they want and need.
That's why I based Studio Manager on FileMaker. That's why I chose FileMaker. It wasn't going to give me geek cred back in 1986 to use FileMaker. I was already an experienced computer professional at that time and FileMaker was not your database power tool. But it didn't have to be and I seemed to be one of the first computer professionals to realize that complicated power features in vast quantities do not translate into customer satisfaction.
My criteria for a software development tool are: (1) it allows me to rapidly develop useable business applications, (2) it is sturdy so that systems don't break easily and (3) I need to be able to figure out what is wrong and fix it within 5 minutes. I have had to stretch that to an hour with some of my more complex FileMaker features that weren't even possible back in the early days of FileMaker Plus, but FileMaker wins this competition hands down.
Have you been paying attention the last few years? There is a huge movement called user-generated content. Think of FileMaker Pro 8.5 as the best tool to develop user-generated database capabilities. User-generated customization is what I want to talk about in a series of blog posts I am writing.
I kicked off my efforts with an introductory post on FileMaker Fever. Please check it out if you would like to be a little more dangerous with Studio Manager or your home grown FIleMaker solution. Actually, I promise to guide you so that you stay out of trouble. Rule one on that is: you have nothing to worry about once you have a current backup (x2).
When I am actively developing in FileMaker, I just duplicate the file before I start so I have a revision to revert or refer back to if I need it. If you have your backups, you can try new things and experiment. No harm, no foul. Try it!