As a bespoke development company we often utilise FileMaker as a development platform to design software systems for our clients that are locked down to allow for a robust environment. The disadvantage of this is that end users are locked away from the great reporting power of Filemaker Pro.
We solve this problem by creating a separate FileMaker file called ‘Report Generator’ which is pre-configured for the client with all the relevant data tables and key relationships created, pulled from the main file through FileMakers ‘External Data Source’ feature.
The ‘External Data Source’ feature can be accessed from the ‘File’ menu, under the ‘Manage’ sub-menu. All you need to do is click the ‘New ‘ button and then select your main FileMaker file through the ‘Add File’ button, just like opening any file. This can be either a local file, or more likely a Server hosted file.
Once the file has been added, all of the tables from your main file will be available within the Relationship Graph for you to create Table Occurrences. Depending on the level of users you can set the security levels to only allow them to create layouts and scripts, or alternatively full access to the file to even create their own relationships in the graph; with peace of mind that they can’t damage your primary solution.
Users now have their own file in which to create custom reports for themselves and other users of the system. The other advantage is when we, as developers, need to update the primary file and replace it with a new version, their Report Generator file is untouched and can continue to be used, with any new fields automatically available to the users.