It was a Thursday night. The kids were in bed, I was sitting on the couch, prepping my notes for the next morning, looking forward to watching the next episode of Anthony Bordain’s Parts Unknown, when my wife asks me from the kitchen, “Hey hun, could you make me an iPad app?"
I began to feel my chance at gastro-economic world exploration slip through my fingers.
“What would the app need to do?” I asked.
After about 10 minutes of conversation, we decided that the app needed to quickly take contact information while asking the potential sales contact a few survey questions, all done from an iPad. I showed her the “Contacts” starter solution, but it proved to be overkill for her needs. So I decided to take her field requirements and start with a blank slate.
Since the iPad was going to be set up as a “kiosk” of sorts, I decided to keep the contents of the app within a single layout, using a slide panel to navigate between splash page, data entry, and confirmation pages. A single script controls the navigation between slide panels, checking required fields, and allowing the user to cancel. Logging in as an admin gives the user an additional pop-up button with options to search, export, and email data.
After about 20 minutes, I showed the app to my wife, she asked for a few adjustments, and in another 10 minutes, the app was good to drop onto the iPad.
With some careful planning and a bit of experience, a simple FileMaker solution can be built to fix a simple problem within 30 minutes. This experience brought me back to FileMaker basics and reminded me why I got into the platform in the first place. No plugins, no Java, no PHP, just FileMaker Pro. Plain and simple.