It was way back in 2007 when I saw the first glimpse of an early version of Clip Manager. Until today it is a tradition at Lesterius to have regular full day meetings with the whole team to share the latest news, techniques and trends.
It was during one of these meetings that a simple tool was demonstrated which could save the clipboard of tables, fields, scripts, script steps and layout objects. It could even store custom functions, that were scrapped from the FileMaker interface. At the time, you could not copy and paste custom functions into FileMaker. A few months later we shared it with the community.
The goal from the beginning was a search for the holy grail: reusable code and modules in FileMaker.
I joined the Clip Manager development team in 2008 to help rebuild the solution in Xojo, a cross-platform development environment. With the new design, based on iTunes, we wanted to make it easier to add reusable code to our FileMaker solutions. Over the years, we introduced new features such as search and replace, a clip analysis tool, occurrence selector, quick access to snippets, … Our baby grew into an adult with over 55000 lines of code, 450 classes and 4550 methods.
In our challenges to ease the way of building solutions in FileMaker, we experimented with new features that never made it to production:
- Live sharing clips over the LAN via Bonjour with your colleagues
- A pallet that analyses a layout, script or function live in FileMaker Pro
- A visual theme builder/manager
- Templates with placeholders: e.g. adding a new table into your solution with pre-filled fields
- Code blocks: a way to automatically add a combination of tables, fields, custom functions and layouts to add new modules to your solution
- And much more
The best part of building Clip Manager, is dreaming about all the possibilities that suddenly become possible. The feedback and dreams of our users were also a great motivator to keep improving and extending the tool.
However I couldn’t help thinking “it would be nice if all this could be done within FileMaker.”
Over the years the FileMaker platform has changed and some of our dreams have come true. It started with a customizable template for new tables, all new clipboard formats in an open format, the field picker, the objects panel, the data migration tool …
During the pre-release versions of FileMaker and the new open communication of the Claris product management team, we could see a glimpse of the future: taking away the difficulties of a FileMaker developer, whether he is a no-code, low-code or pro-code developer. And we liked what we saw.
As the icing on the cake, Claris introduced add-ons to the FileMaker platform last year. With add-ons you can add small reusable code or complete modules to your solution with just a few clicks. And the best of all, you can easily create these add-ons yourself.
This feature ticks most of the boxes of what we and many of our customers dreamed of.
This left me with a big dilemma: continue to build on Clip Manager and make the full switch to the new ARM chip set, or put my energy into all the new possibilities that Claris offers us today.
My heart and passion lie first and foremost with the Claris platform. So the choice was quickly made.
So in that sense, the choice was an easy one.
I personally would like to thank all ClipManager users for the great feedback, inspiration and criticism we received. This was the great motivator for me to continue all these years.
The end of an era. The start of a new journey.