Some of the best, most lovingly developed FileMaker Pro systems are only ever used by a single person. A certain author's mother is a prime example: Her entire insurance sales practice is driven by a FileMaker Pro database. It is a mature system, built so that "someone's mom" can use it, and lives without any expectation of being extended to include other users.
Then there are the rest of the databases out there. FileMaker Pro enjoys a graceful growth curve from single-user applications to systems that support enterprise-level workgroups and operations of hundreds of users.
This graceful transition from single-user to multiuser thankfully means that issues to take into consideration when building multiuser systems are reasonably modest. Much of what you already know about building FileMaker Pro systemsregardless of your planned deploymentalso applies directly to building a multiuser application.
We'll cover two primary topics: how the FileMaker engine handles multiple users, and development techniques you need to consider when building multiuser applications. As a third discussion, we also go into some depth about audit trails, given that they often are used to help ensure data integrity in systems used by larger organizations and are used specifically to track multiple-user scenarios.
We recommend that anyone intending to deploy a system to multiple users read this chapter. Some of the issues we discuss become necessary considerations only in systems that are getting heavy use from multiple users, but they're good to have in mind nonetheless.
This chapter is a good companion to Chapter 24 "Deploying and Extending FileMaker," p. 755.
To grasp the IT infrastructural logistics of hosting a FileMaker Pro solution, read Chapter 25 "FileMaker Server and Server Advanced", p. 779.
Part I: Getting Started with FileMaker 8
Using FileMaker Pro
Defining and Working with Fields
Working with Layouts
Part II: Developing Solutions with FileMaker
Relational Database Design
Working with Multiple Tables
Working with Relationships
Getting Started with Calculations
Getting Started with Scripting
Getting Started with Reporting
Part III: Developer Techniques
Developing for Multiuser Deployment
Advanced Interface Techniques
Advanced Calculation Techniques
Advanced Scripting Techniques
Advanced Portal Techniques
Debugging and Troubleshooting
Converting Systems from Previous Versions of FileMaker Pro
Part IV: Data Integration and Publishing
Importing Data into FileMaker Pro
Exporting Data from FileMaker
Instant Web Publishing
FileMaker and Web Services
Custom Web Publishing
Part V: Deploying a FileMaker Solution
Deploying and Extending FileMaker
FileMaker Server and Server Advanced
Documenting Your FileMaker Solutions