About NautilusFM

Several years ago, I had a wild and crazy idea; not my first and certainly not my last, but I found myself wondering if it would be possible to create a FileMaker™ solution where everything happened on one screen; the underlying thought behind that being “If you never leave home, how can you ever get lost!” I started playing around with the idea, found many obstacles that had to be overcome and eventually refined it to a point where it became the basis of every project I developed and I’ve now developed a dozen or so using it. Having refined it to that point, I wanted to have other developers use it and the only way that I could think of for that to happen was to release it under an Open Source (BSD) license which I did on January 3, 2020, putting together an example file (which is free to download) and a 200 page ebook as a step by step guide available on the iBooks store and, of course, a web site (www.nautilusfm.com). So far NautilusFM has been downloaded in 38 different countries.

But what makes NautilusFM different, other than it is a single screen solution?

It uses sliding panels for the different modules
The user is always in context which means they can navigate’ to a different module, do whatever they want in that module and then return to exactly the same place and record that they were in
Users can find a specific record almost instantly and see all of the related data for that record
New records can be added ‘on the fly’ without having to leave the current slide panel
Reports are opened in Card Windows
The relationship graph is very simple to work with

It is very easily scalable and adaptable
It uses a custom theme which means that it can be re-skinned in a matter of minutes
Traditional List Views are available and can be used for complex searches
List Views are opened as a Card Window which sits on top of the main screen and at exactly the same size; thus the user is not aware that a card window has been opened.
The screen dimensions have been optimized so that it can be used on virtually every monitor and laptop (larger than 13”) without any scrolling.
It does not use anchoring (other to top and left); a personal pet peeve of mine since all it does is stretch objects and create an ugly mess.

NautilusFM allows for the quick location of any record by using sets of radio buttons (populated by standard and related value lists) to display portals that can then be filtered down.. When you see the record you want, you click on that portal row and it loads all related information on that item in the screen you are in.

Once you've selected a company, you can see all of its details, all of the people who work there and all of its invoices. Clicking on any invoice will reveal all the items on that invoice. You can also open the invoice itself (in a card window) and print or email it, a well as switch to a completely different invoice. However when you close that window, you are still on the same record you were on when you opened it.

The portal shows all products with their current inventory levels. Clicking on any product shows its details including a photograph as well as a radio button list of all the people who've bought it.

The list of clients changes as you select different years. Clicking on any client will only display their invoices for the selected year or all invoices if no year is selected. Clicking on any invoice shows all items on that invoice and reverses out that row in the portal. Where the Invoice # is reversed out on a green background, that invoice has not been sent and can be edited.

And remember all this happens on a single screen.

When it is necessary to open a different screen, that screen is opened as a card winow and then closed so you can't have a proliferation of open windows or lose context because you went somewhere else.

As I said at the beginning, this took over a year of work to refine it to a point where it was ready to distribute and it was a huge learning experience. Happy to answer any questions.

Thank you for presenting this system. How does this system fair in terms of performance?

From the testing I've done, it seeems to be very fast and responsive. Part of that is probably due to the fact that you are simply reviewing one record at a time and there are hardly any unstored calculations or summary fields. Now I haven't tested it with a huge record set but most businesses don't have that anyway and, if they do, are likely to go with a more powerful system than FM. However, having said all that, the main benefit to users is the simplicity of being able to do everything on the one screen, never get lost and never lose context.

Very interesting implementation. I once thought about something a few years ago about an iOS application for an iPad but never went so far. It's nice to have a framework to start with.

Thanks a lot !

You're most wekcome. I wil tell you that the framework does work on ISO but the implementaton is more complex because you have to use lots of card windows that are exactly the same size as the main screen. The reason you do that is so that when you open a card window, the user is not awre that it is a card window as it seamlessly covers the entire screen. In NautilusFM all of the list views use this technique but allow you to switch between the different modules without closing the window and, of course, you have to close it before you can continue to work on the Home screen.