Why Is Documentation Important?

There are two general types of software documentation: user instructions and system documentation. User instructions generally assist people who need to use or administer an application. System documentation is a resource for developers who need to make functional changes to a system. This chapter focuses on techniques for creating system documentation for FileMaker-based projects and covers a wide range of ways in which a developer can make a solution easier and more systematic to understand. Documentation for us goes far beyond an external document explaining various functions of your system: Elements of documentation are interwoven throughout ones database from commenting to naming conventions.

Creating high-quality documentation is an important yet often neglected activity in the software development process. It can be tempting to think that FileMaker is in some regard self-documenting. The natural language support it provides in naming fields, tables, scripts, and so on goes a long way toward making a system comprehensible. Also, people often choose FileMaker as a rapid application development tool because they e in a hurry to deploy a system and don have time to budget for documentation. And finally, FileMaker systems often evolve organically. They get constantly added to and tweaked, and at no point can someone sit down, declare a system done, and produce documentation.

Nonetheless, its important to balance the temptation to just get started and the need for speedy development, with the need to create a readable, maintainable system that will still be comprehensible after the original developers have moved on.

The most important step in documenting a system lies in developing a consistent naming convention and in making liberal use of comments. This "document as you go" approach is extremely economical and actually assists in the development process itself, by requiring that developers stop and think through how a routine or process should work before starting to build it.

Good documentation starts at the beginning of a project. Its a rare developer who can go back through a system and add comments at the end of a project.

Part I: Getting Started with FileMaker 8

FileMaker Overview

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

Implementing Security

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

FileMaker Mobile

Documenting Your FileMaker Solutions

Using FileMaker 8
Special Edition Using FileMaker 8
ISBN: 0789735121
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 296

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