Level: Intermediate

Exploring Problem Spaces

Given its primary role as a database product, it’s easy sometimes to forget what a great teaching tool FileMaker Pro can be. One of my favorite educational uses for it is building models to explore problem spaces, for example…

  • viewing all possible outcomes for a problem with boundary conditions
  • conducting trials to confirm the likelihood of a predicted outcome
  • using “brute force” to find the solution to a complex problem

..and today we’re going to look at an example of each of these.

Dice Roll

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Demo Files: Dice Roll, v1 and Dice Roll, v2

Continue reading “Exploring Problem Spaces”

Level: Intermediate, Version: FM 12 or later

Generating Sample Data

Have you ever wanted to generate sample data for one of your solutions that was random in certain ways, but within a defined range or scope? For example, assuming an invoicing solution with existing tables of customers and products…

  • choose 20 customers at random
  • create between 4 and 8 invoices for each of them
  • dated anywhere between 1 September and 31 December 2013
  • choose products at random
  • from the subset of products where price is between $30 and $50
  • create between 5 and 25 line items per invoice
  • with a quantity for each line item between 1 and 24

Wouldn’t it be nice to wave a magic wand to solve challenges like this? Well, I have some good news: Jesse Antunes and Geoff Coffey made that magic wand available, in the form of a custom function, back in 2007 on the SixFriedRice blog (Creating Random Numbers in FileMaker)… but I confess that I didn’t really grasp how useful it could be till Beverly Voth mentioned it in her article on Aggregates in Filtered Portals.

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