How to Future-Proof Your FileMaker Apps
When building a new FileMaker app, it’s important to make sure that it will make sense in the future, not just in the immediate circumstances. True, sometimes you just need to get something up and running as quickly as possible in order to solve an internal problem that the organization is facing, but if you’re developing something that’s expected to be around for some years, you should pay attention to some important points. Working with a good expert who understands FileMaker is a good idea if you don’t have the time to familiarize yourself with all the intricacies of the platform, but you should still have at least some basic level of understanding of what’s going on.
Dynamic references should be preferred
Wherever you can make a reference dynamic – that is, not hard-coded or linked to a specific static database – you should always move in that direction. You can’t guarantee that the structure of the system will be preserved in the long run, especially after a potential major upgrade of the environment. If you have hard-coded references to resources, it can take a lot of time and effort to replace all of them, and this is also prone to mistakes. You don’t want to get yourself involved in a situation where you’re juggling all kinds of references that you have no idea how to substitute, and this can quickly kill the performance of an application.
Don’t rely on outdated technology
Using a piece of tech that’s not supported anymore may seem like a good idea right now if it solves your immediate problems, but it can often create more serious issues down the road that you don’t want to have to deal with. If you ever run into a situation where your whole project relies on some obsolete technology that has no viable replacement on the market, this can be a huge disaster. There are even cases where FileMaker projects have been completely killed off due to an issue like this, and it’s not something you should consider trivial. What should you do when the only answer to your current problem is found in something outdated though? Implementing it in-house might work in your favor if you plan things ahead carefully.
Have the assistance of reliable partners
If you feel like you can’t get this done on your own, you should get in touch with experienced partners who understand the field properly, and rely on their assistance as much as you can. This is especially valid when it comes to things like FileMaker hosting, which is definitely something you don’t want to handle yourself for a more important project. While you may be able to get the job done on some basic level, there’s a huge difference when you’re using a professional hosting company’s services, and you’ll be given a good guarantee about uptime among other important factors.
Always keep development tools up to date
This is somewhat relevant to what we mentioned above about obsolete technology, but it’s not quite the same point. Whenever a new update comes out for some of the tools that you’re using in your workflow, you should make sure that you don’t skip it. Even if it’s a larger change that completely alters some part of the design process, you should not postpone these updates too long. Otherwise, you might run into a situation where some part of your project can’t be maintained any longer, as it requires on technology that’s not supported at this stage. Getting in touch with the original vendors and requesting an older version may or may not work, but it’s definitely not something you will want to have to go through in any case. And avoiding this situation is as simple as just making sure that you’re always up to date with your tools.
Other than that, it’s mostly a matter of keeping up with current trends in software development, and knowing how the market is evolving. There are various changes coming out on a regular basis that you will want to consider carefully, and keeping yourself informed is a good way to ensure that you won’t find yourself suddenly stuck in a situation where your applications are no longer relevant, and there’s not much you can do to fix that without redoing a huge portion of them.