Productive Computing

With a record crowd of over 40 people, Marc and Keith Larouchelle demonstrated all their best stuff.

Core3

Marc started with the amazing Core3 CRM, which is a full featured solution that could run an entire company from companies and people, connections between them, quotes, opportunities, orders and invoices. Also there is a full-fledged calendar, email integration, and tons more. A company could easily use this beautiful FileMaker 11 flagship solution to run their business. And all for only $2500. I would hope for some different license levels, perhaps a lite version, and some other options, and maybe that will come in time.

Plug-Ins

Next up, Marc started showing the great plug-ins. Not many people in the room were interested in the Outlook manipulator, so he quickly moved on to FMBooks Connector, as over half the people in the room use QuickBooks. He showed the really cool features of pulling and pushing data, and reminded users that to implement this, some knowledge of QuickBooks is required, as QB is a very complex database that you need to understand a little bit.

The Plug-In was initially created internally to save them time, and then they realized that this was a big time-saver for lots of people.

iCal Manipulator Plug-In

Allows FileMaker to import calendars and events, and modify them directly in iCal. iCal has a unique ID for each calendar, and also a UID for each event. This allows modification of the existing event from either side, which is nice. Google Calendar and Outlook can subscribe to vCal (iCal) events. If you subscribe to a calendar, some servers don’t allow you to modify the event, it’s ready only. Repeating events are also supported. It handles multiple records for a repeating event, or a rule-based single record with a (potentially) very complex advanced screen.

It also supports attachments, multiple invites, and other features where iCal goes beyond the vCal standard.

Address Book

This plug-in outsells the iCal solution 10 to 1. It’s such a central and great thing on the Mac, since so many things on the Mac connect to Address Book, such as the iPhone, calendar, mail, spotlight search, and more. The Plug-In can push and pull data from Address Book, and the latest version supports groups. The address book is very relational on the Mac, but amazingly, Outlook on Windows is still a totally flat address book. Or perhaps thats not amazing.

eSign Signature

Allows you to bind a database record to a signature. Connects with hardware that is a USB device that captures a customer signature. What is stored is binary data that stores the X and Y coords of the signature, not just the final graphic. If the text of the record is changed, the signature can be invalidated. This is a Windows only plug-in, which may become Mac compatible at some point.

Biometric

Anyone remember the Sony Puppy reader? Very few. Not many people… Now there is a very advanced and pretty bulletproof reader. The plug-in is not quite released yet.

Drinks

We will be establishing a standard venue where we go drinking after the meetings each month. This is a tradition in Seattle that works out well, and really binds the community, and allows time for socialization that’s not easy to do in a meeting format. This month, we are testing the waters at Bistro Montage, which is 4 blocks North of MacForce