If you are like most FileMaker users you use your database to produce merge letters. In fact, I think that the ability to easily produce documents with merged data is one reason many people choose the FileMaker platform. And it works great. Except when you need to have the same letter but with a different paragraph. Or a different sentence. Or a different addressee. Then you are headed for layout mode. Duplicate the layout and change it. Or change the layout with the intention of changing it back. Or create a new one and rename it, say Steve's letter...
Wow. It has been fun watching fmSpark get started. The response to our initial announcement and press releases has been awesome. We have seen the fmSpark release published all over the place. We have received several supportive emails from other developers congratulating us on fmSpark. In the first full week there were over 200 demo downloads from the SeedCode site, and that is with the 4th of July long weekend included! Honestly, that is just very, very cool.
fmSpark began with a simple thought: what if we could save our FileMaker letter templates in the database itself? What if all correspondence data were unified in a database so that you could go to one place to print letters, send emails or create labels and envelopes?
Keeping mail-merge templates in FileMaker layouts worked well for smaller tasks, but for larger multi-user applications it wasn't ideal. Layouts proliferated, people lost track of their templates, it was difficult to individualize the letters after they were merged, and the list of challenges went on.
Another day, another milestone. fmSpark has entered release candidate status (rc1). What does this mean? It means that development and bug-fixing for version 1 have officially ceased. That said, we'll continue to squeeze any last minute issues that creep up in on-going testing. Stay tuned for a release date!
As always, thanks to everyone for their many contributions.