In Chapter 7, we introduce you to the Specify Calculation dialog and demonstrate a few aspects of its utility and capability. However, if you have the impression that calculation is mainly about numbers, we have some surprises in store for you. Calculating in FileMaker is about getting the computer to work things out, but not necessarily just with numbers. In fact, calculations are great for people who aren't all that impressed with numbers. A bit of clear thinking will go a very long way, and the computer can do the rest!
Like scripting, calculations are integral to structuring and automating your solution. You can use calculations to determine access, control displays, and implement a variety of other features in your solution, as demonstrated in this chapter.
With FileMaker, a little work upfront can save you a lot of work later on. Calculations are one of the most extreme examples of this principle. Set one up, and it will keep chugging away producing results for thousands or even millions of records—enough to wear the buttons off a whole storeroom full of portable calculators.
You can employ the 243 built-in calculation functions FileMaker 9 offers, each of which is designed to do something very particular. However, what calculation functions can do on their own isn't the subject of this chapter, but how you can combine them together to achieve everything from clever tricks to downright astonishing feats is.
A full alphabetical list of the calculation ...