Important Rucksack news and announcements for the last days of July and the first ten days of August 2018.
THIS WEEK (July 30): WE WILL BE HARDER TO REACH THAN USUAL
William Porter will be out of the office a little more than usual on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday this week (July 30 and 31 and August 2). On those days he may not be his usual rapid-response self. Apologies in advance.
NEXT WEEK (August 6): NOT CLOSING EXACTLY, BUT GOING DARK FOR FOUR DAYS
The FileMaker Developers Conference 2018 will take place in the Dallas area August 6–9, 2018. This international gathering of database nerds is the biggest annual event in the world for FileMaker developers. During those four days, we will not technically be closing, but we do expect to be deeply absorbed and so we are "going dark" for a couple of days. Things will be back to normal around here August 10!
MID-AUGUST: WE'RE MOVING TO 17
As soon as the Developers Conference is over we will be moving all our clients to FileMaker 17. More information coming shortly.
FILEMAKER 17 CERTIFIED!
We don't toot our horn as much as our friends in marketing tells us we should. But we do want to mention that, in July, William Porter took the very challenging FileMaker 17 Certification examination and we are proud to say that (once again) he passed — one of the first developers in North Texas to earn this feather in his cap. With each new version, the FileMaker platform gets more capable and also more complex. Certification is a token that your favorite developer (well, we hope!) is staying ahead of the curve.
Of course, don't hesitate to email support@rucksack-technology (or write directly to William Porter) if you have any questions.
Data formats matter! NOTE that the following info is as current as I can make it as of the end of March 2018. If you see a mistake here, please let me know!
I TRY TO USE OFFICIAL FORMATS EVERYWHERE
In all areas of the work that I do I attempt to format the data clients enter into my databases in a manner that complies with current recognized standards. So for example, I try to format mailing or street addresses according to the recommendations of the USPS in publication 28 (no commas or other extraneous punctuation, no extra spaces, etc).
THE NANP AND PHONE NUMBER FORMATS
This is a bit unclear but the current "rules" for phone numbers seem to be set by the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), which prescribes the format 713-555-0123.
Back when seven-digit dialing was still the rule in many parts of the country, the use of parentheses for the area code was intended to suggest what parentheses usually suggest, that is, that something is sort of optional. But that old system has changed in two major ways.
So to the extent that there is such a thing, the "official" rule for phone numbers, set by the association that promulgates rules about this, is to format them 713-555-0123. Formatting them per this rule means that the numbers are less likely to cause compatibility problems with other systems (say, if you export contacts from a database and import into some other application or data-management system) and less likely to cause a hiccup when the phone is passed as a parameter to a dialing system.
BUT THE RULE DEFINITELY AIN'T A LAW
And it's worth noting that, while the NANP's rule is followed by the government and widely respected by programmers, much of the world is simply unaware of it — or is aware of it and doesn't care.
That said, the format used for the display of phone numbers is just packaging. Before a phone number is used to dial the phone, it always get stripped down to a simple string of numbers. I suspect that the most important issue, from the user's perspective, is consistency, rather than "correctness".
If you are using FileMaker 16, you probably got a notice that an update to version 16.0.4 was released this week. It's a solid update and you ought to install it.
This only applies to users running FileMaker Pro on their computers. If you're access ing Rucksack apps in your web browser, you do not need to worry about this.