Welcome to the latest post on using FileMaker to build a simple app.
To recap, we’re going to use FileMaker to build an app to manage a charity golf tournament. At the end of this series of posts, we’ll have gone through the basic steps of building software, and subscribers to this blog will receive a link to download the finished app. To follow this post series, you don’t have to be a superstar developer, just technical enough to open FileMaker and work through the software.
But before we get to actually using FileMaker, we need to take a high level view of our project plan. Project planning is an integral part of the software development process and, usually, a great deal of time and effort are put into the planning aspect of a software project. A thorough discussion of software project management is beyond the scope of this post, but good resources are listed at the end.
In it’s simplest form, the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a series of 5 phases:
1. Requirements Gathering. This step seeks to answer fundamental questions about our project. What does this app need to do? Who is going to use it? Requirements can be incredibly complex, but we are going to stick with a numbered list for simplicity.
2. Design. In this step, we are going to take our requirements and translate them into views that will solve the requirements. For example, one requirement will be to produce a list of all sponsors. The simplest way to do this is to build a report that the user can click on. When we design the report, we will mock up what the report will look like and what data it will contain. Once we have the views designed, we can lay out what the data underneath will look like.
3. Development. This is where we will actually start building the views we created in the Design phase. This is a combination of building FileMaker layouts and the database structures to support the layouts. In large software projects, software is built in layers, or tiers, but we are going to simplify the process and work through one view/layout at a time.
4. Testing. We don’t want to wait until tourney day to find out something isn’t working in our app! Testing verifies that all the requirements are met and that the software does what we expect it to do.
5. Implementation. Where is our app going to run? Larger projects will have complicated packaging and installation procedures, but ours will be a simple process to install our app on an iPad.
That’s the SDLC in its barest form. In our next post, we’ll start gathering our requirements.
First post link – Links to all Simple FileMaker posts can be found on this page.
These are some of the better books to introduce you to software development. See here for full disclosure on Amazon links.
Project Connections – A site that has hundreds of project planning and management templates.
TutorialsPoint – This site has tons of tutorials on a variety of topics. This is the link to the SDLC tutorial.