As you may have guessed by now, I love working in an optimized environment, designed for getting the crud out of the way so that I can focus on development. Just like a carpenter needs to not be thinking about the hammer, or the painter about the mechanics of the canvas, my computer and its operating system need to fade into the background, almost as if they were not really there at all.
Have you ever, in the course of working with a database, needed to do a long import, export or other time-intensive task? For example, I have worked on a very large solution recently that required 4 hours to import the DDR into BaseElements. Not wanting to lose an entire 1/2 day to the task, I needed a solution where I could both perform the import and continue working on other projects.
More Than One Install
The best solution to this conundrum is to simply have more tools available. In this case, since I have two legal licenses of FileMaker 11 available to me, I have installed the application twice on my development machine.
Here are the steps to do so on Mac OS X:
- Rename the current installed version folder of FileMaker Advanced (or FileMaker). I used FMA11-A.
- Rename the installed FileMaker Pro Advanced application. Again I used FMA11-A.app.
- Install FileMaker/FileMaker Advanced again, using the second license key.
- Rename the folder and install application for this new installation. (FMA11-B in my case.)
That’s it! Now both versions can be run simultaneously. Note that when performing an update of the FileMaker software, the updater will ask you which installation you want to update. Select an installation, complete the first update, then run the updater again and it will update the other installation.
Two Tasks At Once
I can run that ginormous DDR import on one instance and be happily developing a solution on the other. It also means you can have two Manage Database windows, two data viewers or two script debuggers open at the same time. Or even two separate logins (Admin and User for example) into the same solution.
Here is a peek at what this all looks like in Finder. Just for fun, I created new icons (download) for each of the installations. In OSX, use the finder info pane to change the assigned icon for an application:
Well, the icons are more than just for fun, as they provide a visual cue in the OSX dock and application switcher. I hope you enjoyed this quick tip for setting up a more efficient FileMaker development environment. I’d love to hear about your super-secret tips and tricks in the comments.