FileMaker Addict Has Moved!
FileMaker Addict can now be found here: http://www.filemakeraddict.com
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Our first interview of 2007 is with Joyce M. Lillemon Boschert, the owner of Cross Platform Solutions, a Virginia-based training and development company. Read on to learn more about Joyce, her company, and how she manages to keep up with the constant changes to complicated applications such as Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, QuarkXpress, and of course, FileMaker...
How did you get started in IT?
I started way back on a Mac IIc. My jobs in St. Louis included computer work; I also installed and set up a church with accounting software. When we moved to Richmond, my husband suggested I start a business teaching and developing, and I was successful.
How long have you been using FileMaker Pro, and how did you get started with it?
I have been using FileMaker Pro since 1989. A friend asked if I would be willing to look at paper forms she had, and had heard that FileMaker Plus would be able to track all of them. I quickly became enamored of the concept and usability of FileMaker Pro.
Tell us about your company, Cross Platform Solutions.
Cross Platform Solutions is a training and development company. I teach Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, QuarkXpress, and FileMaker. I program in Access and FileMaker. Training is done on site, and development can be done on or off site. I work with a lot of schools, non-profits, and small businesses.
Besides using FileMaker to develop solutions for your clients, what role does FileMaker play in the operations of your own business?
I use it for billing my clients, and am building a database for a Habitat for Humanity golf tournament this fall.
You also offer training -- not just for FileMaker, but for other application as well. What challenges do you face in a training environment? And how do you keep yourself "up to date" with so many applications?
It is hard to keep up with new versions of software. As a consultant, I have to learn software well enough to teach it, even if I'm not using it that much. One of the challenges of training is determining the skill level of students, and training to that need. Students often have different skill levels and experience with the software I'm teaching, so I have to make a quick judgment of how well they'll do working through the manuals. I also have to be extremely flexible in subject matter. Knowing more programs makes me a better trainer, but it takes time and concentration to get good at an application.
What do you like best about your job?
I like two things best - one is when a student 'gets it', and the other when I'm able to figure out how to do something in a database - solving a puzzle.
What do you like least about your job?
There's a lot of unpaid work involved in learning software and researching.
What are your favorite new features of FileMaker 8.5?
Using object names, and of course, the web viewer.
If you could add some features to FileMaker, what would they be?
Being able to use the arrow keys on the keyboard to scroll down through a list of fields on the relationship graph, and being able to center align objects without having to go to the menu. It would be nice to be able to copy and paste privilege sets, but that's not really reasonable. :-)
What's your favorite tool, plugin, or technique for developing
It's not a tool per se, but I use and recommend using the QUE Special Edition Using FileMaker Pro, and the FileMaker Bibles. They're well written without being patronizing or cute. They contain a LOT of material, and I use mine as my reference. The other development 'tool' is the FileMaker Solutions Alliance; it's a great community of developers and trainers.
You're a FileMaker 7 Certified Developer. Has the certification helped you? If so, how? And are you planning on getting certified on 8?
I'm working on my 8 certification. The test is hard, and is a good indicator that you have a handle on developing in FileMaker. Certification is always a good thing. Being certified doesn't make you a better developer, but it sometimes gives the client more confidence in your abilities.
What advice would you give to someone that is just starting to do FileMaker development?
If you have an existing database, re-build it on your own. Recognize that it will take some time to get experienced enough as a developer. Use any resources that are available - seminars, user groups, and web sites. DevCon is also a fantastic place to go, if you can. You spend five days with other people who understand why you get excited by something. User groups are a good place to meet other developers, and learn more about FileMaker.
What significant changes have you seen take place in the FileMaker world over the years?
Of course, going from 6 to 7, which changed the database model as we knew it. I also remember going from 2 to 3, when FileMaker became relational. That was a tough concept to learn, at least at first.
You're also involved in the Richmond, Virginia chapter of FMPUG. How has being involved in the group benefited you?
Being involved with FMPUG has introduced me to other FileMaker users in the area, which is always a good thing. We talk about different topics at our meetings, so I'm able to share and learn tips and tricks from other members.
What technology has most changed your life?
For me personally, I would have to say the cell phone. Computers changed the world we live in; the cell phone has made the difference to me in making me available and able to communicate easily. I have a special child, so it is important to me. It's a mixed blessing, always being available, but it's worth the trade off.
What are your favorite things to do that don't involve work?
I read, and do a lot of different needlework projects. I have a Girl Scout troop and I volunteer in the community. These give me a creative outlet.
What inspires you?
I think, if inspiration is the right term for me, it's being able to make someone's job easier. Knowing how I can help an organization reduce the amount of work to be done makes me like my job.
What's next for you and/or your business?
Next in my business is my 8 certification, and beginning work on a summer camp database. I built one several years ago, and my goal is to be able to create a marketable solution.
To learn more about Joyce M. Lillemon Boschert, please visit: