Your backstory | FMGenesis

Can you share with us how you first got your hands on FileMaker?

If you make a living from it, can you share how that switch happened?

Feel to give us a timeline context (FM version, year) or not if you are somewhat shy and turn red easily :hot_face: when you speak to a group of people.

If you prefer to add this information to your profile, just do so and add a comment below so the ones who are curious like me can go check it out.

Let’s learn about each other…

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My story may be quite common for a FM developer: a user who could not be provided with what was required for doing the job, started development on his own.

In the 90’s I briefly came in touch FM for the first time while consulting for a small pharmaceutical company. After that I had no FM activities and almost forgot about it.

Then in 2009, I was looking for a platform for development of a document management solution for issuance of EASA Form 1* and the legally required traceability and conformity checking that goes with it. Wearing different hats, I worked as designer, developer and operator of AeroDocument for more than 7 years. It started out on FM 10 and ended with FM v16.

It did not have a sophisticated UI but was a real industry workhorse that made a significant contribution to safety in aeronautics (think of it when you board an :airplane: next time).

While working as a project manager in aeronautics, I used FM on various occasions for troubleshooting when processing of larger amounts of data was required.

Fast forward, a bespoke CRM for a M&A specialist is what I am working on since last year. Already transitioned to FM v18.

*for business and holiday flyers: EASA Form 1 is the legally required certificate for each part to be installed on a commercial or general aviation aircraft (it really means all parts, from the nacelle to engines, wings, navigation equipment, seats, carpets, coffee machines and so on) . The FAA and other competent authorities around the world do all require a Form 1 similar to that of EASA.


I first ‘met’ filemaker for a member-administration, it was v1, but I can not remember if it was FileMaker or FileMaker Pro… must have been end of the 80ies

Later, while I was working on GIS (early days), VAX/VMS, Unix, Siemens MVS, Silicon Graphics (just for a short time), etc. We did not have any reporting tools at all (Siemens/MVS/BS2000) - So I created one with filemaker. The next step was a controlling tool with kind of a graphic interface with filemaker pro 2.0

Under 2.1, I created a tool for a manufactor, later I joined (partially) a small company that was creating/maintaining filemaker based solutions. At the end of the last century, I left my ‘GIS’ job completely, joined full-time that small company. From this time, I’ve been working exclusively with filemaker, founded my own company in the early years of the new century…

Just before the end of the filemaker 6 - run, we checked some of the alternatives (4D, Servoy, etc.), but with the new .fp7 versions (v7 was somewhat a problematic version…), we were quite happy with filemaker. That said, I check out alternatives every now and then… (at the moment open source db’s)

I still have a license of xojo - but to be honest, I mainly use that for starter-files for filemaker solutions (-:

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1987 My uncle showed me the FileMaker Plus contact database he made on his Mac SE. It was spectacular, but I didn’t realize it then.

1992 Saw an ad in MacWorld Magazine for FileMaker II. I considered it for the school paper I worked at, but it wasn’t in the budget.

1994-1996 Built and maintained a database to track computer usage at an hourly Mac rental shop in Brooklyn. Used FileMaker Pro 2.1 on a buggy Power Mac 6100, but it was used for years after I left.

1997-2002 Used FileMaker Pro 3 thru 5 for creating a database for tracking software and clients at various Mac IT positions in NYC & Boston using an underpowered PowerBook 1400 and later an iBook.

2003-2007 Continually built and improved a database for one of the first environmentally safe cleaning companies in Boston using FileMaker Pro 5.5 thru 8.5 on an iMac.

2008-2010 Created and maintained databases for some high profile clients in NYC using FileMaker Pro 9 & 10 as a freelancer on my white MacBook.

2011-2016 Worked at a well known FileMaker Development shop in Massachusetts using FileMaker Pro 11 thru 15 on all types of Macs. Finally started using FileMaker Pro Advanced and getting certified.

2017-2019 I currently work at a university and also do my own consulting providing and maintaining FileMaker solutions built on my MacBook Pro.

In 1993, after I finished my studies, I was working a short amount of time for an Apple system solution house (a kind of consultant with sales). That’s when I got into contact with FileMaker II for the first time. With a “safety copy” :wink: I started programming for my own needs at home and developed my own database for my first (but unsuccessful) self employed company.

In the late 90ies we did some cool database publishing with FileMaker Pro and Quark XPress in a local city magazine, where I was doing the layouts.

Around 2000 I developed a small Address-Database for my new boss in a truck advertising company. That was a huge milestone in my career!
After I quit the job I took the code with me, because I had put a lot of private effort into it at home and therefore considered it as my own intellectual property. I refined and extended the solution called ContactX (the X was very popular at that time) to use it for my own purposes as a self employed graphic designer.

In 2005 I started selling the completed product (now with invoicing and project management) as a runtime on the internet as a second source of income. The name changed to AZURO office after I found out, that another FM product called “Kontakt X” already existed. The sales increased more and more and around 2010 they exceeded my income as a graphic designer. Ever since I introduce myself as a developer, not a graphic designer anymore. :grinning: