|Built on the popular FileMaker Pro application, the
manages quality assurance and/or film designs. It includes sample
databases and BASIC macros which integrate specialized
coating tasks with powerful general business tools.
A first step in implementing this solution is to
your IT manager. He/she is likely to remind you that your company uses
MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle or Access as its enterprise
(corporate) database. He might even indicate that the high cost of
database consultants is 'prohibitive at this time'. (Don't expect
the IT manager to be a database expert; that's not really his job.)
the enterprise database deals effectively with payroll, order entry,
etc., it probably offers no help in storing and analyzing measured
spectra, thin film designs and other technical data. In IT terms,
local needs are not being met by the enterprise database
Modern and expensive database tools are
used in the front office, but the coating department is left with
DOS-level technology (storing data in separate files in multiple
directories) or even saving printed curves in filing cabinets. And
as for thin film designs, we've heard about redesigning
previously manufactured filters because that's easier than locating
the design in some directory on someone's computer.
Can FilmStar users really maintain the FilmStar
Database? FileMaker Inc. claims its software is very easy-to-use.
But easy for whom? A computer science PhD? What level of effort is
really required to modify and adapt the supplied FilmStar Database
Last summer, an optics division
of a major corporation (known to all) implemented the FilmStar
Database to manage measured spectra. The task was quickly
accomplished by an intern (college student) with no previous
experience in either FileMaker Pro or FilmStar.
But what about that enterprise database? It must
be part of the solution. As an example, we'll assume it maintains
your company's customer list. Surely
you don't want to maintain a separate list in the coating department.
Therefore, you need the ability to exchange data with the FilmStar Database.
You need to connect the
workgroup (coating department) with the enterprise (front office,
As an illustration, we set up a simple
enterprise database with a table called 'customers'. Note the list of companies
names in the following screenshot. (Don't worry about all the icons
and buttons; maintaining the 'customers' SQL database wouldn't be
your job anyway.)