Would like to get people's feedback and ideas, and maybe find a way to influence Claris on some long standing issues. Would you like to see a "Legacy Feature Czar" at Claris? I certainly would. I came out of some other products before working in Filemaker, and I'm amazed at some of the features that essentially go ignored for years, often with what I would consider an 80% completion rate. I've worked for decades as both an in-house and Contract developer. There seems to be little prioritization in going back and finishing or revamping current, well used, features that have glaring deficiencies, especially when compared with competitors.
Some issues become obsolete. I.e. built in Charting is very basic, and never really evolved to what it should have been. It takes a lot of work, and we now have very good third party alternatives we can plug in that are far more capable than we could ever expect of the built in feature set.
Other features are harder for developers to work around if they are deficient. I.e. ESS and SQL integration as a whole. There is no reasonable way for a developer to fix problems with ESS and no complete ways of working around the bugs/performance issues, aside from very complex synching solutions. Other products handle SQL Data and SQL syntax as standard as say brakes on a car. It is simply expected to be there and work.
Another long term pain is the minimal functionality of the EXPORT Dialog. When can we get a revamp to bring it up to speed with the new Import functions? How many years do we need to wait to get the ability to export a field name alias in a friendly, scriptable manner? Yes, this can be worked around, but this is something even the most rudimentary user often needs, and they should not have to jump through hoops for such a basic feature.
Next, when will the Reporting/Sorting/Subtotal feature get some needed love. Again, this is possible to replace with third party tools, but beyond the scope of many Filemaker users. Sort field and the number of Sorts must essentially be hard coded, making it difficult to build run-time/dynamic options. It is possible to use indirection, but at the cost of a great deal of complexity and a significant performance hit. Even with native Filemaker data, Filemaker is notoriously slow in Calculating Sub-totals, and sorting data. We should also be able to have sum-aggregate fields that do not need to be defined in the main table schema. These are basic database functions that should be done well.
I'm sure everyone who works in Filemaker has their own list. These are some of my pet peeves. New features and marketing seem to drive the priorities at Claris, and it takes a lot of momentum and push to try and get them to go revisit features they consider "done". I really think some of this lake of polish is loosing them potential business.
Filemaker has many unique and fantastic features, and the company and community are second to none. But someone at Claris needs to be a advocate for making sure the older code and legacy features are kept up to snuff.
What do folks here think? Any ideas on how we can encourage Claris to make these kinds of issues priorities that get attention over the long haul?