I’m using the trial of FileMaker Pro 13 to test a new project management system for my Macs, iPad and iPhone. The only issue with it I’ve found so far is when the iMac goes to sleep because of Mavericks’ Energy Saver settings in System Preferences. But I really like the ability to check on my projects, make notes of tasks, and then track my progress through the process of developing them. Here’s a review of the product and a tutorial for setting up sharing to mobile devices.
FileMaker Pro 13
Before I go into the problem I’m having, let me first talk about FileMaker Pro 13. I’ve been a Bento user off and on for about five years now. It priced at $49 or a threshold very reasonable to get into and it was quite useful as a database management system for my needs. There was even an app for iPhone/iPad and from time-to-time I used them. Then, in September 2013, FileMaker killed off Bento and even though I’ve paid for Bento and had the iPhone/iPad apps, when I got a new iPad at Christmas I tried to migrate the app onto it and it would not. It’s dead. I have issues with that, but that’s not germane to this post.
So FileMaker is offering 30-day trials of FileMaker 13 in various versions on its site. They’ve even begun a year-long subscription model, very much like Adobe uses for Creative Cloud–but it’s a one-time, (for FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced) of $180 price per year, not staggered out monthly like it could have been so it’s easier on the pockets of the smaller business owner. (FileMaker Pro has a $9/month option). Otherwise, one can flat out buy the product.
Now I chose to use FileMaker Pro Advanced because when I invest in a product I go for as much muscle as I can afford and might need so I’m not looking back and wishing for an upgrade later. With software and computers, that just seems to be the best strategy to live by.
There are some tutorials that come with FMP 13. Lynda.com is still running FMP 12 lessons and I’ve not seen anything for 13 yet. I suppose that’s in the works.
There is a great template that comes with FMP 13 that allows the creation of a management system for projects. It was easy to set up. And, because of it being FMP 13 advanced, apparently there’s a server setting inside that allows me to push the file for this out to my iPad and iPhone so that I can check or make updates to projects over there, too.
UPDATE: I forgot to include a screen of how easy projects are to manage:
To take my Projects file and make it available to my iPad and iPhone, I apparently still have to be on my WiFi to share it, so I’m doubtful it’s going to work when I’m not home. I’m hopeful it will, but I’m not seeing how that’s going to work. It would seem critical that it would work away from my IP. That’s a test for later today. But here’s how to set it up so it works here.
One the project is ready for sharing to iPad or iPhone, go to File > Sharing > Share with FileMaker Clients … and then pull up the following dialogue box:
This works great. Except for one issue with Mavericks.
The Problem – Energy Saver and App Nap
As has been noted before, an issue occurs with saving to hard drives on the iMac in Mavericks when the settings in Energy Saver get too far away from their factory defaults. A very odd, “error -50” dialogue box begins to appear when one tries to write, particularly to G-Drives, which of course, are critical for storing video. As one doing graphics, video and books for iPad, you can see how this would become a problem fast–not being able to save to a drive.
Last night, when my computer had gone to sleep, I could not connect to the iPhone or iPad.
So, while it’s great that I can have my projects available on iPhone/iPad, there’s a problem with my host. I don’t plan to go out and buy a dedicated server right now to host this, nor pay the additional money to FileMaker to get the FMP Server software loaded, too. A version of that comes in FMP 13 Advanced, which I have already. So the issue then is how to keep the server on the iMac operational.
Already this morning I’m trying some new settings in Energy Saver, and one in FMP.
For starters, I’ve changed the setting on my hard drive so that it never goes to sleep. I’d had this on before, with “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” being unchecked before, and that’s when I got the error -50 messages. Hopefully, that was just because I’d unchecked the PHDTSWP box, and not because of “computer sleep.”
I also did a little more investigating and did one other thing. I turned off App Nap in FMP13 so that it theoretically won’t “go to sleep.”
To get to this setting, I opened Applications, then hit CMD+i on the icon in the list and up popped the window below.
As you can see, I have checked “Prevent App Nap.”
And so the experiment is on today to discover if these changes will keep the app available on the iPhone/iPad regardless of what is happening on the iMac. If this works, and I will make updates, I will also experiment to see if the Prevent App Nap or the Energy Saver settings were the key.
I’m pleased with the over all functionality of FileMaker Pro. When the trial is over, I’ll probably invest in the product. I have a couple of clients that already have been sparked about the potential it has for their own data management. And yes, I realize it can do a lot more than what I’m using it to do so far, but setting up a project management system that works on my iPad/iPhone when I’m out and about will be quite beneficial.