Developers: Where Do You Keep Your Tools?

I think every developer should create their own toolbox of code snippets to reuse as needed. There are many good reasons to develop a toolbox and start reusing code. There has already been a lot written about the benefits of reusing and even sharing code (here , here, here, and here). Instead of rehashing the reasons why this is a good idea, I’m going to show you some options for getting started. Over the years I’ve seen people attempt to make a “starter file”, or some people have tried to sell a toolbox/framework of sorts to the developer community. Typically, the problem with these approaches is that they either offer a lot more or a lot less than what you need. I’ve seen systems/frameworks that look to be amazing and incredibly well-thought out, but often these systems just don’t fit the way I program. So, in addition to learning FileMaker (yes we are all still learning), I also have to learn their method and their process. So, what do I mean by “creating your own toolbox”? I’m so glad you asked! (I love how when blogging I can make you ask whatever I want) I’m going to show you some ideas and help get you started creating your own toolbox. Here are some ideas for using a toolbox:

  • Toolbox File
    • a FileMaker file where you store code
    • as you run across snippets of code (scripts, script steps, fields, custom functions, calculations, even layouts), collect them into one place
  • External App
    • TextMate
    • the TextMate bundle allows you to collect xml from the clipboard and to set the clipboard from xml
  • External Tool
    • ClipManager
    • FMClips

To see how some of these examples work, please watch this short video: If you are like me, you’ve hunted through old solutions looking for that one calculation or script that you know you spent two days getting right, and now you need to do something similar in your current project. My advice is to start your own collection. Put all of those techniques in one place, so when you need them, you know right where to look. Chad Adams is a Senior FileMaker Certified Developer at Skeleton Key. About Skeleton Key Skeleton Key helps turn complex, complicated, and outdated systems into true information platforms. Our team of consultants and developers do this by developing custom-fit software tools and reporting dashboards that help businesses find, use, and understand their data, freeing them to focus on and grow their core business. In addition to custom databases and applications, we also provide training and coaching for getting the most out of your existing systems and understanding your unruly data. Skeleton Key is an open-book management company and active player of the Great Game of Business.