by Brian Dunning
article | del.icio.us
Once in a while it's wise to brush up on the basics. Though many
of us have been working with FileMaker Pro for quite some time,
a lot of new versions have appeared over the past few years and
there may be some vocabulary expressions that are new to you.
With this in mind, here is a list of many often-heard FileMaker
Pro terms that you should know, and their definitions. If you
are handy with these terms, it increases your own value in the
corporate marketplace, and makes you a superstar around the office.
Access Privileges: Privileges conferred upon those who
run the Windows version of Microsoft Office rather than the Mac
version. Also refers to those who have not yet received a copy
of FileMaker Pro.
Ascending Order: The direction that a request, such as
for more paper clips, takes through the corporate command structure
before apparently achieving escape velocity, leaving earth's gravity,
and never being heard of again.
Body Part: The portion of your anatomy that you flash
at the sysad when he turns his back. Usually found in the gluteal
region, except in France.
Button: That thing you have that the sysad pushes with
his negative response to the slightest request.
Cache: The stuff you never have enough of, especially
when everyone goes out after work.
Client Application: This is what some FileMaker consultants
have potential customers fill out ahead of time to determine whether
they have what it takes to be a good client (a lot of money and
a pliable personality).
Client Server: A guy whose job is to personally hand deliver
papers to non-paying customers of FileMaker developers.
Clipboard: A good thing to hold when you have nothing
to do but are enjoying just strolling around the office. It lends
a sense of management ability, technical knowledge, and goes well
with a white lab coat.
Clone: That guy in the office who wears the same shirt
and tie as the boss, mimics his annoying speech patterns, and
receives an according amount of respect for his troubles.
Constant: The amount of complaining that comes from the
guy who's too ignorant to do anything for himself, and has to
have you come over to his desk every five seconds and show him
how to find records.
Container: That thing beside your desk that you fill with
AOL 2.0 floppy disks, CDW catalogs, and probably some important
papers that you shouldn't have.
Cookie: What the sysad gives you when you try to explain
to him that his Windows network will not, in fact, burst into
flames if you plug in your Mac.
Database Management System: In some non-FileMaker equipped
offices, a process that involves lifting the computer keyboard
and striking it sharply across the top of the monitor repeatedly.
Or, in extreme cases, raising the monitor clear of the desk and
causing it to soar across the office via a throwing motion.
Descending Order: The direction that blame takes through
the corporate structure before landing squarely in your lap.
Embedded OLE Object: A pointed thing that finds its way
deep inside your entrails during the annual Running of the Bulls
in Pamplona. Many FileMaker developers travel to this event as
a way to escape, and replace the rigors of database peril with
Function: Something that one person at every office tries
to avoid having. This person is usually seen standing at the water
cooler cracking wise.
Group: That subset of corporate personnel that the FileMaker
developer is just never quite cool enough to belong to. "Hey
fellas, want to see this cool unstored calculation?"
Guest: A way to log in to most co-workers' computers.
Handle: A distinctive anatomical feature found on the
waistlines of FileMaker developers who spend the bulk of their
spare time, as well as their working hours, at their computer.
Host: At the crack of five o'clock, this is what you turn
the FileMaker Server into so that everyone can enjoy a brutal
first person shoot-em-up game.
Import: The practice of replacing highly paid, experienced
FileMaker professionals with overseas talent who work for less
than minimum wage, and even that in some foreign currency that
no longer has any value since the Euro.
Insert Object: What you tell the sysad to do when he
cops a 'tude.
IP Address: In small offices, a label affixed to a restroom
stall door bearing the name of the principal user.
Key: What you probably forgot to get back into the building
when you went up onto the roof for a smoke.
Layout Mode: What everyone goes into just after the lunch
hour, usually involving the transport of sofa cushions onto the
office roof, or at least under the desk in that unoccupied office
down the hall.
Locked Object: Where all the necessary office supplies
like rubber bands, Bic pens, and staplers are kept.
Lookup: Famous last words heard by many a stall sitter.
Master: The proper way to address a sysad when requesting
permission to install FileMaker Pro on the office network.
Object: What the sysad is going to do when he finds out
that people in the office are using FileMaker Pro to be more productive
Operand: One of those cryptic sounding words that you
should always have scrawled on your whiteboard so everyone thinks
that (1) you’re working, and (2) you're smarter than them.
Operator: That guy in the office who always has a bit
of chest hair showing and a gold chain. Often seen in the men's
room making excruciating yet imperceptible adjustments to his
Plug-In: A troubleshooting step that solves most intractable
computer problems, i.e., "Screen will not come on,"
"No lights glowing," etc.
Protocol: Something you should require your users to follow
when addressing you. Usually this involves grandiose titles, and
a procedure where problems should be sent through other channels
Query: A good thing to have at the ready whenever you
see someone who looks like they're bringing a FileMaker question
or problem to you. Before they have a chance to speak, deliver
your query first, thus turning the tables and giving you time
QuickTime: The way everyone walks when the boss is visible.
Record: A unit of data in a database, and if you're looking
it up here, it's probably because you just deleted it. Sorry,
refer to "Embedded OLE Object" above.
Recover: The first order of business on a Saturday morning
following that big TGIF party.
Relationship: One of those things that are absolutely
forbidden in the office (does not apply in certain southern states
or New York).
Remote Access: The process of everyone gathering at the
window to stare across into the adjacent building where that weird
guy is giving another of his apparent motivational talks to his
team, with broad sweeping gestures, great bowling tosses, and
then conducts while his team breaks into the feverish corporate
Row: This breaks out on days when the executive team is
away at the retreat, and some of the FileMaker developers want
to play Half Life, but the rest want to play Myth.
Script: That thing you refer to when the boss comes in
and demands to know why nothing productive has been accomplished.
It's important that the rotation of Script contents is maintained
to minimize repetition.
ScriptMaker: The one guy who is elected by the others
to keep the Script fresh and vibrant. Usually this is his only
discernible contribution to the corporate work product.
SCSI: The way you invariably look whenever you chance
to encounter that extremely attractive co-worker from Accounting
that you've been trying to meet.
Sliding Objects: Pay scales, promises made under duress,
and especially, software delivery schedules.
Status Area: That portion of the parking garage closest
to the elevators, where each space is marked with its owners name
on a little printed sign. FileMaker developers are contractually
excluded from this area by the building management.
T Square: Everyone's nickname for the FileMaker developer
with the Buddy Holly glasses, greased hair, and the pocket protector.
Tab Order: The direction around a restaurant table that
the bill is passed, usually toward the guy believed to hold a
company credit card.
Table: What to do with design requests from users who
don't have any idea what they're talking about.
Text Expression: An angry epithet included in an email
to the facilities guy about why the coffee is always so damned
bad, and why Office Depot is consulted on cuisine.
Web Browser: A developer whose output is measured not
in completed layouts and scripts, but in Amazon dollars spent,
chat sessions completed, and mailing list flame threads contributed
Web Companion: A "co-worker" with whom you engage
in "videoconferencing" during office hours, for a monthly
Read this list several times to familiarize yourself with all
the terms. You'll find that your own knowledge of FileMaker Pro
has become enriched, and by extension, you'll be happier in your